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Suzuki Tests American Waters with the 2019 GSX-R150 at AIMExpo

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Suzuki Tests American Waters with the 2019 GSX-R150 at AIMExpo

Post by toratora » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:39 am


Suzuki GSX-R150
Each year around this time the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) assembles in Las Vegas to introduce new motorcycles and powersports to the press, consumers, and dealer networks. This year Suzuki decided to bring a bike that they introduced to the rest of the world back in 2016—the Suzuki GSX-R150. Does this mean that Suzuki is planning to introduce the bike in the States for 2019? For now that's not confirmed. They brought the bike to the AIMExpo as more of a marketing focus group. Suzuki wants to know if there is enough interest in this segment.

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Inquiry Poster
The industry has acknowledged that the motorcycle population of riders is aging out. The average first time BMW buyer is around 56 years old. Young kids are not getting into motorcycles like they did in the 80s and 90s. There is no program in existent to introduce motorcycling to young people. To start addressing this situation Robert Pandya organized a meeting in January of this year at the Progressive Moto show in Los Angeles. From this roundtable talk the Give A Shift program was developed. One of the major takeaways from the discussion is that the current status quo is unsustainable, and if the motorcycle industry wants to survive then new riders have to be actively recruited.

Unfortunately in the States there is a misperception held by a vocal sub-population that new riders need to start out on a manly bike. This group frequently misinforms the inexperienced that they shouldn't buy a proper bike for their ability, because in three months they'll want to sell it, and they can just use throttle control—a skill the new rider has yet to comprehend. As ridiculous as this sounds the neophytes don't know any better, and end up with bikes that quickly end their riding careers. While the occasional outlier might develop that quickly most riders would benefit from years of being on a proper sized bike. Has the rider population in the States matured enough to understand this revelation? Suzuki believes that it's a possibility.

Many of the motorcycle manufacturers already have exciting entry level product in their warehouses. For instance Aprilia has the RS50/RS125, and the GPR125, KTM has the RC125, Rieju has their Century 125, Piaggio has their Race GSR125, Italika has the RT200GP, Motorini has the MT125RRi, Yamaha has the YZF-R15, and Suzuki has the Suzuki GSX-R125/150. These bikes already meet Euro4 emission standards—which are more stringent than even California's requirements. This begs the question why aren't these bikes being marketed to a large region of North America? Well Suzuki has wondered enough to bring a couple of bikes to Las Vegas to find out, and here we are being introduced to the GSX-R150.

To help orient and compare the GSX-R150 it will be useful to employ the Aprilia RS125 4T—a bike which most regular readers will be familiar. Both bikes are in the same class, and would attract very similar buyers.

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GSX-R150 Frame
Chassis
The GSX-R has a tubular mild steel frame shrouded in plastic to look as if it feature a twin spar unit (like the aluminum twin spar found on the Aprilia). Dimensions wise the seat sits at 785mm (31in), the wheel base comes in at 1300mm (51.2in), and a claimed wet weight of 131kg (289lbs)—at which the GSX-R isn't as light as the 2018 Aprilia RS125 at 120.0kg (265lbs). The front wheel measures in at 90/80-17M/C, and the rear at 130/70-17M/C. These are similar to the Aprilia, although the Aprilia's front tire is slightly larger at 100/80-17M/C. The fuel tank holds 11 liters compared to the RS's 14.5 liters.

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Suspension and Brakes
Suspension
The front is handled by conventional telescopic forks, with no adjustment. The rear features a mono shock linkage system with a two sided swing arm. Compared to other bikes in this class the GSX-R would be expected to have inverted forks, and yet it does not keep up with this feature.

Brakes
The front brake features a two piston axial caliper with rubber lines, and a single-piston rear caliper. This is another area where the GSX-R pales in comparison to the competition. The Aprilia RS features a four piston radial front caliper with brained lines, and a 300mm disc—as does the KTM RC.

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Suzuki’s 147cc Powerplant
Engine
The GSX-R150 features a water cooled 147.3cc fuel injected balanced DOHC four stroke single producing around 19hp. This is one area where the 150 is improved over its competition gaining about 4-5hp more than the 125s. There are kits available to bring those bikes up to 160cc which would ameliorate this advantage, but at stock levels the GSX-R has the power advantage.

At 147.3cc the GSX-R150 would not be allowed on the freeways in California—which is proper for a learner's bike as new riders have no business on the freeway due to their yet to be developed ability to proficiently read traffic.

Similar to the GSX-R125 14hp sibling the GSX-R150 retains the same bore of 62mm, and has increased the stroke from 41.2mm to 48.8mm adding the extra 22.9 cubes of displacement. Starting is handled by an electric motor, and there is no kickstarter. Torque is rated at 14.0Nm/9,000rpm. The transmission features a six speed gear box with a cable pulled wet clutch.

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Competition: Aprilia RS125
Pricing
While no retail price was discussed for North America—with current exchange rates the GSX-R150 sells for about $2900USD in the Philippines, and about $3500USD in Mexico. That's competitive with the 12" wheeled 125cc air cooled four strokes currently on the market. What would the Aprilia be in this market? That's a little harder to judge, but it would likely be more.

Conclusion
In many ways the GSX-R is similar to the Italika RT200GP. While the GSX-R features a water cooled engine the extra displacement of the RT compensates for this short coming. Other equipment like the chassis, suspension, and brakes are very similar between the two bikes. Compared to the KTM, and the Aprilia offerings the GSX-R comes up short. To some extent this is intended so as to be able to offer the bike at a lower price, and in that Suzuki has successfully achieved a more competitive price. The GSX-R is a good looking bike, and is available with the MotoGP livery too. That's a huge plus in the Replica scene.
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2017 Race Debut For Suzuki GSX-R150

Post by toratora » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:39 am

https://youtu.be/QREqLyi-dsg
The thing I like about this video is that in the first part there are 30, or 40 year olds out on these bikes because they realize that learning happens better on the smaller bikes. Kagayama san goes on to say that they picked these bikes because they are a better tool for learning. They obviously could have chosen to go with a 250, but they didn’t because they had the enlightenment to know that a 250 is not a good bike on which to train (at this level).
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Re: Suzuki Tests American Waters with the 2019 GSX-R150 at AIMExpo

Post by jkv357 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:23 am

Suzuki should concentrate on making a competitive 250/300 for the U.S. market. Their current GSX250R is a wheezer - way under-powered by current standards.

Yamaha just stepped it up with a new R3 model for the U.S. with USD forks and more aero (and better looking) bodywork that is more inline with the rest of the R line. A good step in the right direction.

Suzuki is just not on the ball these days (I'm not a hater, I've got 3 of them).
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What about the 250s?

Post by toratora » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:39 am

Fitness to Learn
For new riders a 250/300 4T just isn’t a good choice—they are too heavy, too expensive, and too powerful. These issues inhibit learning dramatically. That’s the entire raison d'etre for this thread. There are no decent and proper learner’s bikes currently being marketed in the States, and the 250/300 bikes are clearly unfit. Considering that ridership numbers are aging out it’s vitally important that the manufacturers stop acting like this problem doesn’t exist, and start providing proper learner’s bikes. Marketing the GSX-R150 to the States would be a nice step in that direction.

TwoFifties
The 250/300s are truly not appropo to this discussion, because they are in a wholly different grouping. However, they can be slightly addressed, and compared here since they suffer from a number of significant issues unbefitting a performance labeled bike in their class. In several remarkable ways even the smaller European Replicas, and scooters put these bikes to shame.

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Suzuki GSX250R
Suzuki GSX250R
There really is no defending the GSX250R, because most of Suzuki’s choices would lead one to expect a lower retail price than the Yamaha, and yet that is not the case. Had the GSX250R been priced significantly lower then concessions could naturally be made. What can be said is that at least they aren’t pretending that it has a twin spar aluminum frame, and it can be purchased in the GP Replica livery. The brakes, chassis, and suspension all suffer the same issues found on the GSX-R150, but the GSX250R is more expensive, and ostensibly not a starter bike. Therefore Suzuki should be called to task for these omissions.

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2019 Yamaha R3
Yamaha R3
As for the R3—yes Yamaha has made some improvements to a bike that was more than ready for upgrades before the very first one even hit the showroom floor. Why did it take Yamaha so many years to address these items? Why have they not addressed other issues like the frame, the front caliper, the rubber brake lines—why on a 2019 performance bike are they still running a floated axial front brake? In many aspects the 2019 R3 doesn’t even meet the component level of a 2005 Derbi GP1-50 scooter. That's fourteen years later, and Yamaha’s performance 300 is still lacking these basic features found on last decade’s scooter. Oh the indignity.

Frame
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Yamaha R3 Frame
For instance let’s look at Yamaha’s R3 frame construction. Like the GSX-R150 Suzuki it’s another mild steel tubular frame. The plastics that are employed on these bikes beg the question “are they embarrassed?” This is a legitimate question because the coverings intimate that the bike has an aluminum twin spar frame—which is really what should fitted on these bikes. We know it is possible, because Derbi and Aprilia have being doing it for decades.

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2019 R3 Front Brake
Brakes
Another area quite lacking on the R3 is its front stopper. Even though the 2019 fork upgrade created a perfect opportunity for Yamaha to install a brake fitting of an R series entry they chose to employ a two piston floating axial caliper, connected to the axial master with a rubber line. Surprisingly, the front disc on the 250 R3 is slightly smaller than on a 2005 50cc Derbi. It is as if Yamaha had never heard of the Joneses. The AJP four piston radial caliper found on the 125 Derbi GPR actually looks a lot like what Yamaha fits on the R1 and R6. Something like this should have been fitted on the R3 to provide that familial appearance. People frequently mistake the AJP for a Yamaha part, sometimes even confusing the Derbi for a Yamaha.

Comparisons
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2006 Derbi GPR125
As a simple comparison the 2005 though 2009 Derbi GPR125 offered a 2T replica with an aluminum twin spar frame, aluminum swing arm, four piston radial front caliper, radial master, braided lines, GP liveries, and performance specs rivaling these 250 4Ts. The 250/300 bikes can, and should be looked at more critically than the 125/150 4Ts. The reason being is they are more expensive, and they are not starter bikes.

Nor are these bikes suppose to be cheap as they all share the moniker of the brands’ top performance bikes, and they have certain expectations even in this class. They are suppose to be their best of the best. Are they? Well do they come with features that can compete with a similar classed Derbi from 2005? For the most part they do not, and that really should make you wonder what’s going on.
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Re: Suzuki Tests American Waters with the 2019 GSX-R150 at AIMExpo

Post by jkv357 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:53 am

I do like that they race it, but the "Replica"-thing doesn't have much of a following in the U.S. (we obviously like it, though), and even the 250s were a tough sell to most new U.S. riders.

Seems like a strange move for Suzuki, as they are entering a market that doesn't really exist in the U.S. when they don't even have a decent 250/300 to compete in the market that does exist (and is finally growing).

It does look neat in race trim.
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Re: Suzuki Tests American Waters with the 2019 GSX-R150 at AIMExpo

Post by jscar » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:54 pm

I love reading about all these bikes but will I have to go to Europe to see them live? Here in Vermont the dealers rarely keep any of the smaller bikes around. If they do they have them tucked away somewhere.

Gary in Vermont :(
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Find me in TJ

Post by toratora » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:39 pm

jscar wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:54 pm
I love reading about all these bikes but will I have to go to Europe to see them live? Here in Vermont the dealers rarely keep any of the smaller bikes around. If they do they have them tucked away somewhere.

Gary in Vermont :(
Not necessarily. The GSX-R150 is available in Mexico, and as a resident of Vermont you probably know the ease in which you could register a sub 300cc bike in your state. :paw_prints:
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GSX-R Battle at the Track

Post by jkv357 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:24 am

Image
Looks like GSX-R150 racing is heating up. Visor Down didn’t know what they were.
Visor Down wrote:It’s tricky to make out the location of the race from this clip alone, feel free to let us know in the comments below, and the bikes are tricky to identify too—GSX-R style bodywork, but with a single disc brake, and single cylinder exhaust note. Answers on a postcard please!
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Re: Suzuki Tests American Waters with the 2019 GSX-R150 at AIMExpo

Post by jimmmybikes234 » Tue Mar 09, 2021 6:00 am

Is the new Suzuki GSX-R150 with a yellow and black paint scheme coming
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Yellow Gixer

Post by toratora » Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:39 am

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The Yellow Gixer 150

Black Gixer 150
Yes the 2021 150 will be available in in yellow, however as near as I can tell Suzuki America has yet to decide on bringing the 150 to our shores. Currently the smallest version they offer is the GSX-250R.

It does look like the 150 is still available in Mexico. :paw_prints:
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