When Suzuki set out to build the TU250X, the following were its guidelines: Blend retro styling and simplicity alongside modern reliability and ease-of-use in an entry-level motorcycle for the bargain-basement asking price of $3799. With the TU you get a stylish, economical little bike that’s easy-to-ride and perfect for jetting around town.
Small and simple, visually the TU is a stunning piece of machinery. We adore its classic ‘70s era scrambler styling cues, including the oversized chrome headlight, rear shock absorbers, chrome wire wheels, exhaust, and chromed chain guard. Additional eye-candy comes in the form of its shapely burgundy-colored body panels and two-tone and pinstriped fuel tank. We also appreciated the silver paint on the chassis and polished-glow of the engine.
Powering this 328-lb featherweight is an environmentally friendly and fuel-sipping air-cooled 249cc 4-stroke Single. The engine is fuel-injected and inhales gas from a generously-sized 3.2-gallon fuel tank. This gives it a range of nearly 200 miles based on its observed 58 MPG fuel mileage.
The fuel-injection system does away with any choke or fast idle lever which makes starting the motorcycle as simple as a push of the black starter button, regardless of the temperature outside. A 5-speed transmission shifts power back to the rear Cheng Shin rear tire via chain final drive, augmented by a cable-actuated clutch.
(Above) A large headlight provides above average road illumination at night. (Middle) Instrumentation is both simple and effective. (Below) The swept muffler does a admirable job of muting excessive engine noise.
First gear is really low and allows the bike to chug away from a stop with barely any throttle input—a boon for those just learning how to ride a motorcycle. The other four gears are well spaced and help optimize the engine’s mild torque curve.
From a stoplight, the engine delivers adequate acceleration force for you to getaway quickly from a stop, plus its 78 mph top speed allows it to run down the interstate safely. However, as engine rpms increase, so does the amount of vibration through the controls. At low speeds it’s not that bad but when you’re cruising in top gear at any speed above 60 mph it does get annoying. The swept chrome muffler does an excellent job of muting the sound of the engine.
Throttle response is immediate and the engine’s mild power characteristics allow the rider to explore its full potential without intimidation. An additional benefit of its modest power delivery is an abundance of rear tire traction even in the wet or on loose surfaces.
The TU combines a broad seat with thick padding, one that’s only 30.3-inches above the ground. This allows even shorter than average pilots to be able to place both feet on the ground while stopped. A standard chrome-plated handlebar and traditionally located and rubber-covered foot controls further contributes to its friendly demeanor. Extra newbie affability comes in the form of the clutch’s one finger easy lever pull. The riding position is both upright and relaxed and despite its small exterior dimensions the cockpit isn’t cramped for a taller pilot.
Suspension consists of a conventional spring/oil dampened fork and twin coil-spring hydraulic shock absorbers attached to a steel frame and swingarm. Suspension adjustment is limited to rear shock preload adjustment only and is designed to compensate for heavier loads or a passenger. The suspension does an adequate job of filtering out small bumps, but a spirited pace quickly exposes its lighter spring rate.
Given its short 54.1-inch wheelbase and minimal curb weight, the TU is an exceptionally easy to manipulate at any speed. The bike changes directions with minimal effort at the handlebar, yet it remains sure-footed and composed even at top speed. Given its petite size, the TU zips through traffic similar to a small scooter, which makes it perfectly suited for use in dense urban areas.
Despite its reasonable price tag, this Suzuki makes use of a single hydraulically-controlled front disc brake. The disc measures 275mm in diameter and is pinched by a double-piston Tokico caliper. A mechanically-actuated drum brake controls the rear wheel. Both brakes offer adequate stopping power and are easy to modulate.
Keeping in theme, instrumentation is simple yet stylish. A round analog-style speedometer houses an odometer and trip meter. The warning lights for headlight high-beam, turn signals and fuel-injection malfunction are also included. Below, additional warning lights come in the form of a neutral gear position and low fuel.
The new Suzuki looks awesome, it’s inexpensive and exceptionally friendly to operate, making it a perfect choice for those looking to get into motorcycling or rediscover life on two wheels. Simple, attractive, affordable and ultimately one of motorcycling’s best bargains. This is the essence of Suzuki’s TU250X.