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The Suzuki GW250 Blog

Suzuki GW250 Blog
Suzuki GW250 Inazuma Blog
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
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Owner Comments (Below)

Background

Welcome to the Suzuki GW250 blog!

The GW250 is a webBikeWorld Project Bike for 2013.

I bought this bike on a whim, more or less, when I discovered that the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (preview) won't be ready until Spring of 2014.

By the way, despite the preponderance of the Suzuki brand in the Blog list, it's pure coincidence, nothing more.

The Suzuki GW250 is a "world bike", introduced in the summer of 2013 in Asia and Europe and in the fall of 2013 in the U.S.A. It was apparently introduced at the 2013 AIMExpo dealer show (report) in Orlando back in October but I completely missed it there and the Suzuki reps never mentioned it when I asked "So what's new?".

A new 250cc motorcycle is, to play on words, big news in the U.S.A. Motorcycles under, oh, about 800cc's are considered "beginner's bikes" in the U.S., as ridiculous as that may seem. And it is a ridiculous concept, as I am about to prove with the Suzuki GW250.

I first "discovered" this fact when I bought the Suzuki DR650 (blog) for the webBikeWorld project entitled "Budget Adventure Touring". I quickly discovered that simpler is indeed better and a single-cylinder 650cc bike that can basically be field-stripped blindfolded is, in fact, much more fun to own and ride than the $20,000.00+ overly-complex, over-engineered, computerized fly-by-wire "serious" motorcycles that we're seeing more and more of today.

B-B-B-But...It's a 250!

Indeed, I will now go even one step further and state a fact that will be considered absolute heresy, at least in the United States: A 250cc motorcycle is perfectly fine for motorcycling!

To prove it, I'm living with the GW250 over the next several months and we'll outfit it with as much gear as we can find. I've already discovered some luggage and other gear that will be the subject of this blog, so be sure to check back often.

The links to the reviews and articles are entered in the table below; some of the articles are on their own page and some are contained in the blog, so be sure to scroll down. Also, you can subscribe to the webBikeWorld.com RSS feed, Twitter posts, Facebook, Google+, YouTube Channel, Vimeo Pro Channel (info page) and more to get updated every time a new article is posted!

If you have any tips on parts or accessories for the GW250, please give me a shout at

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wBW Suzuki GW250 Blog
Suzuki GW250 Review
Initial thoughts from the first week of ownership.
NEW! Suzuki GW250 Center Stand Bags-Connection EVO Rear Bag
Suzuki GW250 Tank Bag  
Adding a Battery Tender SAE Harness
Planned
Suzuki GW250 Sport Screen Installation Oxford Temperature Gauge With Clock
Multi-Function Instruments? Stebel Nautilus Horn
GW250 Break-in Report Oil and Filter Change

Suzuki GW250 Center Stand

April 11, 2014: The Suzuki GW250 Center Stand is surprisingly easy to install (all things considered) and it adds a lot of utility to the bike. It's well made and nicely designed. Includes photos, narrative and a video.

Suzuki GW250 Tank Bag

March 22, 2014: The Suzuki GW250 Tank Bag finally arrived, 3 months after it was ordered. It's an excellent piece of luggage that's a perfect match for the bike. Details, photos and even a video included!

Battery Tender Harness Installation

February 11, 2014: It's very easy to install a Battery Tender harness to the GW250. The harness is inexpensive and it makes it easy to connect a Battery Tender or other accessories.

GW250 Sport Screen Installation

February 8, 2014: Too cold and icy to ride, so let the farkling begin! Installing the Suzuki GW250 Sport Screen accessory isn't difficult -- once you read the instructions about 15 times. Here are some tips.

Multi-Function Instruments?

From "K.D.B." (January 6, 2014): "Iíve owned my new Suzuki GW250 for a few weeks now and put 220 miles on it so far. I thought I'd adjust/observe the "Shift/RPM Indicator" function on the instrument panel but couldnít find it or access it. I canít see anything about it in the ownerís manual either.

The Suzuki U.S. website lists it in the GW250 features section: "Features a digital LCD speedometer, odometer, twin trip meter, clock and fuel gauge readouts, maintenance interval indicator and 3-mode rpm indicator (Normal mode, Eco mode and Off) on the right, plus LED indicators on the left."

But unless Iím just missing something obvious, I donít think my U.S. version has this feature. Thoughts/info/ideas?"

Rick's Reply: I have the gear indicator on the LCD, but have not heard of a "Normal/Eco" shift indicator and there's nothing in the owner's manual that I can find about it either. Perhaps some early feature that Suzuki planned that never made it to production. Why you'd need an ECO mode on the GW250 is a mystery... Perhaps our other readers have some insight on this?

Follow-Up from "K.D.B." (March 2014): "I thought Iíd update you on the ď3-mode RPM/shift indicatorĒ mystery. After speaking to a Suzuki "customer service rep" three times on the phone, it was confirmed that:

1) Yes, this feature was purposefully removed by Suzuki prior to bringing the GW250 to the U.S.A. and Canada even though it had been on the model that was sold in other markets around the world for the prior year.

2) Suzuki neglected to change their marketing/promotional materials and website after choosing to remove the "3-mode RPM/shift indicator". Due to my complaints and persistence, the U.S. Suzuki website was finally changed/updated with correct information, howeverÖthe information systems that local dealer websites draw from still are showing the "three-mode rpm indicator" as a feature on the GW250.

The take-away here for me is: If planning to purchase anything from Suzuki in the future, donít trust the promotional materials/website info. Personally confirm every feature being on the machine. As annoying/frustrating as this has been for me, my local dealer was also frustrated with Suzukiís misleading promotional materials/website. When Suzuki refused to discuss the issue further with me, my local dealer quickly made amends for the misleading info and offered a complementary accessory for my GW250 to make up for the feature/functionality that I paid for but didnít get on my motorcycle. I should be receiving/installing my new "top case carrier" rack within a few weeks."

GW250 Break-in Report

(December 3, 2013): NOTE: See Part 1: The Suzuki GW250 Review

I've discovered the worst part about buying a brand-new GW250 -- the break-in period! According to the owner's manual, the engine has to be kept below 5,500 RPM for the 500 miles. As I discovered, 5,500 RPM is only 45 MPH -- and that's on a perfectly flat road!

This means I can only ride it on roads where the speed limit is 45 or below. And the engine speed needs to vary -- it can't be kept at a steady 5,500 RPM, because the idea is to vary the speed to break in the cylinder walls and get oil up around the rings and parts.

In effect, this means you basically have a moped for the first 500 miles. I go out on the bike for an hour or 1-1/2 hours at a clip and come back with maybe 30 miles on it, when you factor in the requirement to vary the speed, stop signs, etc.

This is like torture, and the fact that winter weather has now set in doesn't make it any easier. I went out yesterday for another 30 miles or so but the entire week before that was a no-go because the weather was terrible.

And it's not over at 500 miles, either. From 500 to 1,000 miles, the limit is 8,250 RPM. At least that should get me up to 55 MPH or so...

The upside is that the engine is smooth as silk so far. We'll see what happens when I can get it up to the 11,000 RPM redline. The transmission shifts easily and feels precise, although maybe just a touch less so than the best. It's definitely better than the DR650 or any other bike I've owned, I can say that for sure.

First Month Riding Impressions

Note that the GW250 "reviews" in the print magazines that have been popping up are brief impressions with the authors only riding the GW250 for a few minutes on the track at the AIMExpo. They don't have a clue about the break-in issues and none have reported on the longer term "real world" riding characteristics of the bike.

The throttle return spring on the GW250 is very light. This is both good (less strain on the right hand) and bad. Here's the bad: the engine is so smooth and quiet and revs so freely that I find myself grabbing too much throttle sometimes when pulling away from a stop. This might be a problem for beginners.

What happens is that the touch needed to get the engine RPMs up is very light, so it's easy to give it more than you really need. I can't hear anything with ear plugs in and a helmet on.

Seating Position

The only real disappointment to me on the GW250 is the seating position. I really do find it to be difficult in several ways. First of all, I can flat-foot the bike with my 30" inseam. This is fine -- but not really necessary; tip-toes would be satisfactory.

The seat feels both too narrow and too hard. The seat contour for the rider is too deep; you can see in the photos that they really scooped out the foam towards the front, and this forces the rider in towards the fuel tank, with no room to move back and forth on the saddle.

Apparently, they carved out the seat to make the low seat height. But this forces me to fold my legs much more than normal to get my feet on the pegs, even with my 30" inseam. Combined with the too-far-forward seating position, it's difficult even to get my toes on the pegs -- the pegs usually end up just before the heel of my shoes.

And the handlebar(s) position is a bit strange. It's a long stretch for me with my 34" street sleeve length, so there's not much left over for me to bend my elbows. The leaned-forward seating position forces me to put weight on my hands and I have to consciously remind myself to give it a light touch.

This will be a problem for beginners, who should not get into the habit of putting weight on their hands. Combine this also with the suspension, which is fine on smooth roads but very stiff when it gets bumpy -- especially in corners -- and the beginner may end up putting too much feedback into the handlebars while unconsciously twisting the throttle with its too-light return spring. If this happens in a bumpy corner, watch out.

I'd like to completely re-contour the seat to make it flatter and higher, then raise the bars up and back about 50 mm. Not sure how this can be accomplished yet though. The good news is that the fuel tank is molded in a shape that allows the rider to easily "lock" the legs under the lip, which helps take some of the pressure off the hands.

Handling

I'm still very impressed by the overall ambience of the GW250 though. The very smooth engine really wants to rev, which is why I can't wait to get past the dreaded break-in period. Although the engine is very quiet, the muted burbling from the exhaust is still a surprise. It just doesn't sound like a 250 to me.

I'm also impressed by the handling, which is a combination of the bike's geometry, suspension and the IRC Road Winner tires, which seem surprisingly good so far. The handling is very neutral -- not too quick or "flighty" and it feels planted in the corners.

It handles like a bigger bike, other than when the cheap-ish suspension bits betray their price point on washboard roads. So the handling should be perfectly fine for beginners, if they can get beyond the seating position issues I mentioned above.

More to come on this topic as I add some miles to the GW250's odometer...

SW-Motech Bags-Connection EVO Rear Bag

(December 2, 2013): I procured a Bags-Connection EVO Rear Bag (review) for the GW250. It's a medium-sized tail bag with dimensions that are about as big as you'd want for the GW250. Read the full review for more info, photos and even a video.

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