MCN Fleet: End of the road for the GSX250R

'It let me down more than once'

After seven months and 6500 miles, Dan's low-capacity adventure comes to a close.

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When I took delivery of Suzuki’s A2-compliant GSX250R last August, I was full of interest. This was the smallest capacity bike I’d ridden since the unreliable (but beautiful) Aprilia RS50 I had at 16.

With a parallel twin engine producing just 24.7bhp and 17.3ftlb of torque, the GSX was worlds away from my own ZX-6R and I was curious to find out how capable it would be.

First impressions count

I quickly grew attached to the Suzuki. On the commute, the dry roads of the late English summer provided enough confidence to exploit all of the bike’s power and its tiny dimensions made filtering a doddle. It was fast enough to keep up with traffic, delivering slightly less performance than an oldschool de-restricted two-stroke 125.

After a few steady short trips to find my feet, the bike soon became my go-to tool for two-up journeys to and from Lincoln city centre. Free to park and with no traffic to sit in, it was the ideal economical solution for running errands (and having fun in the process).

From there, our bond only grew. I took the bike for a weekend’s camping at a sun-kissed Silverstone for the British round of the MotoGP, blagging a ride with 1993 500cc World Champion, Kevin Schwantz, on the roads surrounding the circuit.

Unfortunately, as winter took hold, my love for the 250 began to wain. Although it remained the same traffic busting, frugal workhorse it had always been, the bike began to suffer a series of electrical faults, which were never fully resolved during our partnership.

Reliability problems

The first of these was a faulty oxygen sensor, which developed on exactly the stroke of its 5000th mile. This was the first recorded fault of this kind for this machine, meaning the bike was stuck at Suzuki for a month of repair work.

Alongside this, the bike was blighted with a series of blown headlight bulbs. The first of these occurred at 3000 miles, before going again at 5500 miles and then at around 6500.

The last of these was the most dramatic, with both the high and dipped beam failing, leaving me stranded at the roadside on a frostbitten Friday evening. Giving off a pungent electrical burning smell, the bike was returned to Suzuki for a thorough strip search, never to be returned to my possession.

Would you buy one?

That depends on what you’re using it for. The GSX250R is user-friendly and the 70+mpg is seriously impressive, as is the 200 mile+ tank range! But, the recurring electrical problems are a worry. The Suzuki’s lack of speed and reliability issues also count against it.

Thanks for the memories…

My highlight? That has to be meeting and riding with Kevin Schwantz on the Friday before the British MotoGP, during a Suzuki promo ride from the Super Sausage café. The sun was shining and the roads were dry – what more could you want? 

Best modification? That’s easy. Changing the tyres. In the colder temperatures, the standard IRC RX-01 Road Winner rubber offers minimal feedback and lacks grip on painted lines in the road.

To combat this, I installed a set of Pirelli Sport Demon tyres, which transformed the bike’s wet weather performance and made riding the bike fun again. My only regret is not doing it sooner, as the bike was returned to Suzuki prematurely after just 400 miles of riding on them.