Attention dwellers of the city! Suzuki has forged a single-cylinder, two-wheeled mechanical puppy for you to ride. The classically-styled 2015 TU250X is just that: a playful little 250cc number that makes bustling around the city much easier, and heaps more enjoyable.
If you think about it, there are a certain set of characteristics any bike should have to achieve perfection for city life. Firstly, it should be nimble; driving through a dense jungle of taxis, bicyclists, pedestrians, and unholy holes and calamitous cracks in the pavement requires constant swerving and manoeuvring. Next, it should be small and light; who are we kidding, when is the last time you could find parking in the city? A city-focused motorcycle should fit comfortably in tight spaces, and its weight should make a quick job of it. Finally – and possibly most importantly –, it has got to look good (though this may well be the case for a motorcycle of any purpose). The TU250X does all this to a new and astonishing level of proficiency.
When I first approached the TU250X (for I like the mystery surrounding a new bike), I fully expected it to be carbureted. Suzuki has resurrected designs of old – circa 1960s – and fitted it with a modern 249cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected (!!!), 4-stroke engine. The air-cooled engine, combined with the obvious lack of fairings, does not radiate much heat, an important characteristic for traffic-infested city-riding. The TU250X boldly states high quality with its appearance. Much of the bike is chrome-plated, including the front headlight, front suspension, and crank side case. Compared to others in its class, such as the Royal Enfield Classic 350, the TU might seem a bit… underdressed. The Classic does have a lot more finesse and polish, but considering the $5,299 price tag on the TU, it gets the job done.
Speaking of wallet burn, that’s something you won’t have to worry about at the gas pump. The 12 L tank is incredibly efficient and does not drink much fuel at all. The TU also utilizes the PAIR (Pulsed-AIR) system to burn away bits of fuel that would have otherwise gone to waste, reducing emissions and further improving efficiency.
This bike’s agility approaches that of a scooter, and it’s actually lighter than one of a similar displacement. Honda’s 280cc Forza is 428 lbs wet, whereas the TU is a full 108 pounds less! Parking lot manoeuvres, swerving around opening car doors, and getting out of the way of texting Thomas is as easy as you could possibly imagine it to be. The front-end disk brake is quite powerful and achieves an impressive stopping distance, while the rear drum brake provides decent support. Where the chassis starts to fail and lose its form is in higher-speed corners. The bike loses its confidence and, likely, so will the average rider. Then again, that is not the intended purpose of the TU250X.
Suspension was on the stiffer side, especially the front-end. I could really feel the bumps in the road reverberate through the handlebars. Still, the ride was comfy; the seat is quite plush and offers more than enough padding for your rear-end. Riding position is spot on as well for city-riding, with the pegs directly underneath the 30.9 inch seat, and the handlebars nice and high. This upright position, combined with the uncluttered and simple dash, gives the rider a beneficial vantage point of his or her surroundings.
The dash consists of the very basics; an analog speedometer, an odometer, a trip meter, a neutral light, and a low-fuel indicator. The simplicity of the instrument cluster is clean and sharp, but the bright orange plastic of the speedometer’s needle seems a bit tacky. A tachometer is missing, yet shifting through the 5-speed transmission using engine noise and vibration as an indicator is simple. This is true notwithstanding the exhaust, which is one of the quietest stock exhausts on the market. The TU250X seems to be happiest making its shifts in the higher-end of the rev-range.
Power output is linear throughout the rev-range, and throttle response is smooth and accurate. Still, this leads to my biggest qualm with the TU250X. Though this bike is virtually perfect for scooting around the city, the TU is simply not versatile. Taking this bike on a road with a speed limit of 80 km/h or greater is slightly nerve-wracking; the rider no longer has much torque to overtake, nor do they have enough torque to accelerate out of a potentially dangerous situation. Also, the inclination of the road is that much more apparent on the TU, as going uphill usually requires cracking the throttle wide open. Royal Enfield perhaps made the better decision by building a 350 as their lower displacement classic; the TU250X seems simply underpowered for any task other than city-riding.
The overall verdict is that the modern classic, the 2015 Suzuki TU250X, is tuned for city-riding, and city-riding alone, but it does its job better than anything else.
2015 Suzuki TU250X Gallery