Suzuki Inazuma 250
As I get older I spend more and more time reflecting on my teenage years. Of course for much of it there is a sense of denial that I ever knew, let alone happened to be, that annoying, awkward and smug little brat; but also there are the rose-tinted memories of crazy rides on unloved budget motorbikes that really should have ended much worse than they did.
This little Suki brought many of those images straight back to me – the low weight, low power simplicity of the machine took me back to many an evening’s stupidity on Superdreams and TS185’s where we used to ride like pizza delivery boys before such things existed.
It is exactly the sort of machine that the young me used to thrash up to a roundabout, stand on its nose, tip it over and hope something stuck, and within a few miles I was doing it all over again despite being well into my forties.
Of course then as now, we rode like that because the last thing you wanted to do was lose some of that hard earnt speed you had created. This bike won’t significantly out-accelerate the average hatchback and on two wheels it is always better to have some space between you and the larger vehicles. So you either ride defensive and steady, or hurl it about and hope for the best; pretty tiring these days.
To be honest the bike rewards you more if you take a more considered approach – thrashing adds vibration and volume but not much else whereas a more mature right hand gives comfort, easy commuting and excellent economy.
The bike was conceived exactly for this purpose; there is nothing superfluous on her. Trimmings such as tyres, suspension and panels are low tech but work fine. The engine is a simple single cam long-stroke parallel twin although it does boast fuel injection, and the display is a pretty but uncluttered affair boasting time, fuel level and gear position as well as the standard lights and dials.
It is made to a budget and designed to fill the growing niche of a properly affordable commuter. There is some question on whether the bike is made to more of a budget than the £3700 ticket would suggest, and for sure there are a good number of small efficient bikes at this price – the Kawasaki Z250SL is an obvious option, while the Benelli BN302 is a very stylish contender too.
Against these two the Inazuma does look the cheapest of the three, but it is the simplest, most economical (we averaged 72mpg over 400 miles) and cheapest to insure so if you are buying with your head it is a sure fire winner.
Have you ever bought a motorbike for pragmatic reasons alone?
Our time with the Inazuma was spent on all types of roads, from Motorways to rolling B-roads to busy towns and at no time was the bike either out of its depth, or a bit of a handful. On the motorway your licence was safe, and on the twisties you could easily find things to smile about, but in town it was a complete gem.
All controls are light and easy to operate, the narrow layout and generous steering lock meant filtering was completely undramatic and the well mapped injection gave good torque at very low revs. Also worth noting is the headlight which I found to be very good without irritating other road users for a change.
My overall impression of the machine is akin to an eager-to-please puppy; enthusiastic and bouncy with an aura of innocent fun, but not likely to snap at you if you get it wound up.
- Engine capacity: 248cc
- Power: 24bhp
- Weight: 183kg wet
- Top speed: 85 Mph
- Economy: 88 Mpg
- 0-60 Mph: 8.5 Sec