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2009 Suzuki TU250X First Ride

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You’d be hard pressed to find an easier motorcycle to ride than Suzuki’s TU250X.
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.

If you’re looking for an efficient way to jet around town the 2009 Suzuki TU250X is it.
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.
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2009 Suzuki TU250X - First Ride
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2009 Suzuki TU250X Specs
Engine: 249cc Air-cooled Single, 2-valve SOHC
Bore x Stroke: 72.0 x 61.2mm
Fueling: Fuel-injection
Ignition: Digital
Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive 
Clutch: Cable-actuated, wet
Front Suspension: 37mm Showa telescopic fork
Rear Suspension: Dual Showa coil-spring hydraulic shock absorbers
Frame: Steel
Front Brake: 275mm disc with twin-piston Tokico caliper
Rear Brake: Drum
Front Tire: Cheng Shin 90/90-18
Rear Tire: Cheng Shin 110/90-18
Rake/Trail: 25.5-degrees/3.60 in.
Wheelbase: 54.1 in.
Length: 81.5 in.
Seat Height: 30.3 in.
Curb Weight: 328 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.2 gal.
Available Colors: Red
Warranty: One year, unlimited miles
MSRP $3799

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motousa_adam   May 2, 2014 07:11 PM
@Piglet2010- wow, that's cool-- can you show me how?? :) Regardless, it is a great bike at a great price...Adam
Piglet2010   September 11, 2011 05:35 PM
Waheed says the front brake is adequate, but I could easily do stoppies, and I outweigh him by about 75 pounds.
Piglet2010   September 11, 2011 05:32 PM
Recently took the MSF BRC class as a refresher (getting back into moto riding). Grabbed a TU250X since the other bikes were small cruisers (Kawasaki Eliminator 125 and Suzuki GZ250) which felt ridiculous for me to be on with my 34-inch inseam. Fun little bike and great for low to medium speed riding. If I did not had an even more practical and economical Honda NHX110, I would be real tempted to grab one for commuting and errands.
pigkiller   June 6, 2011 05:58 PM
A, excellent writing. Crisp and to-the-point. I rode a T595 Tri in my youth and loved it, but always wanted to slow it down. I live in NYC and Bonny gets all the props but can't cut thru traffic. Think I'll get the 250 because of your truth and it looks great!


Tony J
addwater -Need a perfect retro!!  September 21, 2010 12:37 PM
This is a nice looking bike but I wish they made a larger version. Maybe between 500/650 area and a taller stance. The rider looks kind of cramped sitting so low and I need decent power so I could drive comfortably on the highway.
Richard -Real UJM  August 20, 2010 12:24 PM
A real UJM has a factory centerstand, luggage rack, backrest and 400ish cc twin. The seat looks like an afterthought.
Alfonso Tobon -Hermosa  July 30, 2010 02:44 PM
Que Bueno que llegara este estilo Clasico a Colombia. Es demasiado bonito ese estilo retro. Que Motocicleta tan SEXY.
Stan -retired  July 9, 2010 01:09 PM
Only thing stopping me is at least a belt drive since i have a lot of experience with chain drives since after 20 years,i do not know when a chain needs maintainance! i broke a chain once and locked the rear wheel on a 305 super hawk and never trusted a chain again. I would buy it if it had a chain or drive shaft. I'd pay the differential if there was a modest pricce increase for the safety of either. How chain drive after all these years.
Prof -Older 250cc bikes were faster, because ...  July 5, 2010 07:48 AM
Sheesh folks, the old 250's were faster because they didn't have any of today's necessary emission and sound restrictions.

Heh, one other factor for those remembering the "good old days": You are likely 30 or more pounds heavier than you were in the 60's and 70's. That alone obviously will affect performance.

I had a chance to buy one last week, $3500 with no delivery/set up, on a 350 mile TU used by a training class. Alas, it sold quickly after I left the shop. Nice commuter and casual weekend rider.
bBRIAN -WHAT HAPPENED TO 250'S  June 16, 2010 10:17 AM
Kunaland Dave -TU fuel economy  May 2, 2010 09:26 PM
I own a TU-250 with almost 2,000 mile son it.

Although the bike is never fast, I attest to the outstanding fuel economy. I drive mostly on rural, two-lane roads with less than 50 MPH speeds. I have never gotten less than 80 MPG.

I took the back seat off and added a JC Whitney trunk. I can carry my gear and I have a back rest.

Buy the TU, you will be satisfied with it.

Kuna Dave
Kunaland Dave -TU fuel economy  May 2, 2010 09:25 PM
I own a TU-250 with almost 2,000 mile son it.

Although the bike is never fast, I attest to the outstanding fuel economy. I drive mostly on rural, two-lane roads with less than 50 MPH speeds. I have never gotten less than 80 MPG.

I took the back seat off and added a JC Whitney trunk. I can carry my gear and I have a back rest.

Buy the TU, you will be satisfied with it.

Kuna Dave
April -I want one!  April 21, 2010 11:43 AM
I am in love with this bike..and it WILL be my first, but when can I buy one in the UK?
velopeloton -new rider  April 13, 2010 07:44 AM
Regarding California: The TU250X is a clean burn bike, but it lacks an evaporative cannister. Seems silly to me... my bike never smells of gas, and there are no gasoline or oil leaks anywhere.
Barry F -Mr  April 1, 2010 11:57 AM
Does anyone know a good dealer in London, and the UK price?
CB -New to Motorcycle  March 27, 2010 12:39 PM
I completed my MSF beginner course last week and passed the exam. The next day I got my motorcycle endorsement. I have been eyeing this motorcycle even before I started my MSF. I knew from the onset that a crotch rocket was not for me. Today I got my bike and rode it for 21 miles on local roads and highway from the dealer to my house. The dealer said it is the only one they got and it would probably be hard to get another one because they don't make 2010 models. The ride was comfortable. The top speed I reached was 65 mph. I probably should not have rode it at that speed since it has not been broken in yet but I did not have a choice as cars and trucks were speeding pass me in the highway. I am glad I made it safe home. I plan to stick with this bike for a long time. It's perfect for beginners like me. I could put both my feet down partially during stops and make me feel secure. To put things in perspective. I am 5'5" tall, weigh 130 lbs and I wear pants with inseam of 30". I hope this helps for those who are looking for beginner bikes.
Texas -TU250X and tires  March 19, 2010 05:56 PM
Questions: Can I replace my cheng shen 90/90-18 front tire with a 110/90-18 rear tire on my TU250X? Is this a safe replacement tire? Will I have more or less control of the bike? A smoother ride? Thanks.
Gabe -RVD- another beginning  March 10, 2010 01:32 PM
I agree with RVD's assessment of the current small bore street bikes. My '76 Honda CL360T would run 70mph at half throttle, all day with comfort. Getting 65-70 mpg.
JohnG -58 mpg? I don't think so.  March 7, 2010 03:48 AM
I bought one in the spring of 09, and have put 3500 miles on it. I would have more miles than that if not for cold weather. And this bike gets far better fuel mileage than the review says. I consistently get 75+ mpg. And I weigh about 230 lbs. I do have a bigger bike that I ride on weekends, but I love riding this bike to work, and on short 1 to 2 hour cruises.
Dave -Street runabout  March 4, 2010 05:13 PM
I like it, but the mpg isn't that good in my opinion. If a Kawasaki 250 Sharpa with dual sport tires can get 70 + mpg with one person on a forum saying his wife gets 90 mpg, than what's with the Suzuki's mileage? Did they ride it hard?
Rick -Nice bike- but  March 3, 2010 09:18 PM
How about going up one tooth on the front sprocket ? Might cure some of the (perceived) problems.
unclewill -I think...  March 3, 2010 09:22 AM
...there is a large fraction of the motorcycling public that wants the manufacturers to build a brand new duplicate of their 1972 Yamazuki 123 so they can go sit on it in the showroom then not buy it because they think it is too expensive.
RVD -Yet another beginnner 250...  March 3, 2010 07:07 AM
And with a five speed. When will Suzuki get it that a six speed is necessary for small bikes? You'd think for nearly $4,000 you'd get domething that looks good AND could get out of it's own way on the highway.

I think the comments about the GS500 engine are correct, though I would rather see something like a dedicated 350 twin so the overall weigh is lower.

I think there is a fraction of the motorcycling public that is ga-ga about whatever is made by the manufacturers - "It was made therefore it is perfect!" That's a valid viewpoint and one I can (kind of) understand having owned many small bikes over the last 40 years, without the urge to modify them for better performance.

Conversely, there is a fraction (a bigger fraction IMO) that is critical of the currently available 250cc products because their performace doesn't even come close to matching what was available 40 years ago. The TU250X (pretty as it is) is not competent for highway use. This wasn't the case with my 1974 RD250 which could get quickly up to and maintain a smooth 70 MPH with a mere crack of the throttle.

So once again the rest of the world gets fine performance small scoots and we get this, pretty, but really only suitable for the most rank beginner or as a duffer bike to nose around on.

Gabe -Honda CB250 Nighthawk wannabe...  March 3, 2010 07:06 AM
Please do an article on Honds's sweet Nighthawk 250....I wonder where Milwakee Knothead... Er, I mean, Milwakee Mike is? This isn't a scooter, but it's sure not too heavy to be a paperweight and too light to keep a boat in place either! lol!
Mike B -Days Of Future Passed (by)  March 2, 2010 11:26 AM
I'm certainly glad they are building this bike.... but I have to say that, with the exception of fuel injection, my old Suzuki GS250T was a better, faster bike. It had the same basic UJM styling we all miss so much, but it also had a roller bearing enhanced 249 CC dual overhead cam 4 valve twin that kicked out almost 26 HP at 10,000 RPM. It had a tach (you needed it with that lofty redline way back in '81) and the bodywork seemed, well, a little more filled out than this bike (this one somehow reminds me of a mini-sportster in a vague, not quite unified, parts bin collection kinda way). The six speed gearbox was nice, too. I'd probably enjoy this bike a fair bit (I currently ride a Honda Reflex, quite a step down from the KZ1100 I had before it), but I think the lack of performance compared to the GS of 30 years ago is a bit disappointing.
FZ1Ryder -Suzuki TU250X  March 1, 2010 06:48 PM
Test drove a TU250X and a 2008 Ninja 250R.
Both great bikes and fun to ride. TU has EFI and the Ninja does not. It took awhile to get the Ninja warmed up. The TU cranked and was ready. Ninja 250R needs EFI or it would be the best 250cc bike out there. As for the Retro TU, it certainly stands out. Good 1stand 2cd gear power but goes down after that. I'm 5'11" 220lbs. I got them both up to 75mph flat highway . Ninja was of course faster with more HP. Both great starter bikes and a fun second bike. I am a 2008 FZ1 Ryder, which goes up to 160mph. I miss everything so I want a fun bike as a second bike and I am down to these 2.
Cannot decide?
unclewill -Thanks Texas!  March 1, 2010 08:52 AM
Partial list of standards for people who need more engine:
ER6n, Gladius, FZ6, Monster 696, Royal Enfield Classic 500, Triumph Bonneville, Street Triple, Moto Guzzi V7, Aprilia Shiver...
Texas -TU250X  February 28, 2010 04:40 PM
I'm a big guy, 6'2'', 200+ lbs., and really enjoy my TU250X. After 2 'big bikes', I wanted to ride a smaller bike as my highway and cruising days are over.(gettin' old). My TU has plenty of take off power and acceleration during country rides. Everyone must decide which bike is best for them (hopefully getting some real expert advice). For my slower life the TU is just fine and and I think it's fine for beginners as well as those who want (or need) to slow down a little in town or in the wind out in the country. Thanks.
bikerrandy -Cheng Shin tires, 250s  February 28, 2010 12:02 AM
Notsure, CS tires are not Chinese, they're Tiawanese. There IS a difference.

Johnny, my first touring bike was a 250 Yamaha 2 stroke in the `60's. I eventually graduated up to 350 Yamahas and wondered why the Harley's then couldn't go over 55 mph for any length of time (vibrations).

Johnny, Reno bob summer before last rode his 250 MP3 coast to coast(Cannonball Run). He's going to do it again this summer even tho he also has a 400 MP3.

Your results may vary.
Johnny -Big Bike People?  February 27, 2010 01:46 PM
Yeah I guess it would be a “crime” if Suzuki also offered this bike with a really big, powerful, expert-only engine like a 487cc air cooled parallel twin dating back to the 1970s. I guess I will have to get my power/ego trip elsewhere and buy a used Honda Rebel 450. Look if you really want a 250 then great go buy a Rebel 250, GZ250, Virago 250, Nighthawk 250, or ninja 250. They are all great bikes but when a bike looks as good as this TU250 looks and has EFI most riders think Hmmm…it would be great if this model was available in a 650 single or 500 Ptwin; engines that already exist, work well on the street and highway for beginners and experienced riders. There are plenty of 250s on the market but hardly any inexpensive middle weight standard/commuter bikes. The 500R ninja is now history and the GS500, no more naked SV650 and etc. What is available in this segment? The Kawasaki ER-6N, which is a handful for beginner riders and cost $7K. So yes let’s add another 250 to the American market; a market that just loves 250s and forget about middle weight standards because the only people that want those bikes are Big Bike People with overgrown egos- sarcasm.
Tim B -Wow  February 27, 2010 01:14 AM
This is a really nice looking beginner bike! It looks classic with its retro looks, but doesn't look dated at all.
bikerrandy -Suzuki TU250X  February 26, 2010 07:55 PM
Good grief, why don't the riders here who just have to have more power go whine about some bigger bike ? This is a decent economical beginner or around town bike. Now if you want real storage too, then get a 250 scooter with a trunk.

I have a 250 MP3 for grocery shopping or short trips that get's 70 mpg on regular. If I want to do more than that I have bigger rigs.
BR -@unclewill  February 26, 2010 10:23 AM
Maybe you’re a small rider but I just like Vinny am a bigger rider, 6 ft. 5 in. 260 lbs. I have no choice but to NEED a little bit bigger bike. Plus a GS500 motor could do all the things the thumper can do AND more. The GS500 motor is an excellent beginners motor and how would a little bit more motor filter the joy of motorcycling? This bike is perfect the way it is for some people but so is a Hayabusa for some people. This bike is not perfect the way it is for everyone because not everyone is the same. Try to embrace that concept!
Pantah -Hope it's just the beginning  February 26, 2010 08:46 AM
This little bike stopped me in my tracks at the local dealer a couple months back. It's a sweet little looker! I hope Suzuki sells many of them and it looks like a great platform for an MSF course bike. I am not in the market for it but I would be if they created another model with a more powerful engine. Like Vinny posted the 500cc could be interesting or that 650cc single from the old Savage would appeal to me.
unclewill -@ big motor people  February 26, 2010 08:43 AM
This is a 250 thumper! It is not a GS500, it is not a 400, and it is most certainly not a 650 - 900cc twin! Embrace it for what it IS, not what it is NOT. What you get with this bike is the pure, unfiltered joy of motorcycling. This is a bike you jump on and take for that 30 minute ride around the neighborhood to clear your head after work. This is the bike you ride to your buddy's house to watch the game. This is the bike you take on that quick trip to the store. This is the bike you teach your wife to ride on! It's easy to ride, easy to park, a blast at speeds under 60 mph and people will dig it wherever you go. Plus fuel injection, for $3800! I think this bike is perfect just as it is.
Notsure -Chinese made Suzuki  February 26, 2010 04:50 AM
Front Tire: Cheng Shin 90/90-18
Rear Tire: Cheng Shin 110/90-18

What is a Cheng Shin tyre? Chinese Razortec!!!!!

Vinny -TU  February 25, 2010 07:17 PM
Can’t help to think that maybe the motor from the GS500F would have been just right for both beginners AND riders with some experience. It would not cost Suzuki anything and they could probably still sell it for about the same price. It’s not about ego it’s about bigger riders, like myself, who already know that 12-15 hp won’t get me up to highway speeds and maintain it especially with hills and wind factored in. The bike looks like a gem. I would love to own one but would also like to do more than just scamper around town with it. With the GS500 motor a passenger might even be possible. For those who would say just buy a GS500 I say it’s not about wanting a GS500 or a bike with its power it’s about wanting the TU but with more power. Besides, a GS500 is somewhat of a weak motor to begin with but acceptable. I picked that motor because it would fit the retro look and feel of the TU and be very low on cost.
Thomas So.Can -Nice Machine here  February 25, 2010 07:16 PM
I congratulate Suzuki Motors for bringing an affordable and decent beginner model to USA. This looks like a good fit for newbies or commuter-minded riders who need a little more than a scooter. It has been long overdue and will hopefully be a success. Maybe they will make enough dinero from selling these mini-bikes to import the whole line of 'giggys' to the fruitful plaines.
DG -Looks are great but power is lacking  February 25, 2010 04:14 PM
This bike has the looks and is some pretty sweet eye candy. Compared to the other 250 road bikes out there it stands out BUT... Ergonomically it feels like a 3/4 scale bike. A bit cramped for those of average height. The power is just not there for anything other than in town commuting. Opening the throttle results in a little more noise, more vibes and little discernible thrust. Put a 650-900cc parallel twin in a full sized version and Triumph would be sweating a bit.
Small-is-good -I like this bike  February 25, 2010 11:59 AM
I live in New Zealand and ride a Yamaha 223cc Scorpio, made in Indonesia, the cheapest 250 class bike. I came from an older CB400 Super Four Honda, which I found heavy around town, with a heavy, unbalanced throttle. The wide 17" tyres were also not to my liking. On full throttle it would suddenly take off in the middle of corners, once over 7k revs. Apart from very windy days (we have a lot of those...) the Yamaha suits me better. The light throttle does exactly what I tell it to do, the handling is utterly effortless and instinctive and really great around a winding road. There is enough power to achieve the 100 kph speed limit here, and even overtake to 120 kph on occasion. I did have to pay to have the seat widened and improved to better fit my bigger build. For 90% of my riding (town and short distance, to 2 hours riding) the Yamaha is totally enjoyable, keeps up with traffic, and saves me worrying about speeding tickets. All pleasure and no pain at all. I get over 80 mpg, but then I'm no maniac. If you park your ego, these little beasties are a lot of fun.
McFrak! -O.o  February 25, 2010 09:59 AM
FINALLY, Waheed on a bike suited to him, that he wont get a ticket on, or get stuck in the mud, or.... Bwahahaha!
Longing for the look -All I need now  February 25, 2010 09:54 AM
Now, change nothing in the looks department, but add another cylinder and 150 cc's and keep in under $5K, and you have sale. This country needs a good 400 cc commuter bike again. Not a crotch rocket, not cruiser, but a good 'ol UMJ. I rode a GS 400 for 8 years, put 125K miles on it and never had a problem. I still, to this day, regret selling it.
Desmolicious -CA legal?  February 25, 2010 09:41 AM
Is this for sale in CA?
Drunkula -Neat looking  February 25, 2010 06:43 AM
I saw one of these at the dealership last year. Quite nice looking. I suppose if I wanted an around-town type small bike I think it'd fit the bill nicely. It's a world-away from my 636 Ninja!
RET -I wish I could get one of these in Canada  February 25, 2010 02:54 AM
The TU250X looks like a perfect second bike and I wish I could get one here in Canada.

Tastytoast -Fuel Injection? Nice.  February 25, 2010 12:26 AM
I'm glad more bikes are coming with fuel injection. It really adds appeal; no more dealing with stuck float bowls...more time riding the damn bike! Hurrah!