MCN Fleet: Back to school for the Suzuki GSX250R
Late last year, I embarked on a 190-mile journey down to West Sussex from my home in Lincolnshire to visit Advanced Riding Techniques (ART) in Crawley.
The trip was primarily for a feature on how to become a motorcycle instructor, however organiser Steve Manning also agreed to lay out a course like that found on your Module 1 riding test for me, so I could test the full low-speed agility of my Suzuki. The course included slaloms through cones, figures of eight and an emergency stop.
Despite there being absolutely nothing at stake if I put my feet down or missed any cones, this was the first time I had visited a training centre since passing my test in 2013 and before I could throw a leg over the bike, I was suddenly overcome (again) with pre-test nerves.
Before attempting a run on the 250, I completed the course on Honda’s dinky MSX125 – a bike used by the school for their CBT training. A monkey bike for the modern era, the unintimidating power delivery and microscopic turning circle meant it demolished the challenge without breaking a sweat.
Despite having double the capacity and an extra 25mm of seat height, the GSX250R also proved a perfect fit around the tightly-packed obstacles. The bars offer plenty of lock for a tight turning circle and the feather-light clutch caused only minimal fatigue on my left hand, despite extended usage. The naturally-placed foot pegs and rear brake lever also allow you to comfortably crawl at an almost stationary pace - dragging the rear brake around the turns in a calm, collected and confident manner.
Away from the cones, the bike also proved its worth in the emergency stop scenario. The dry late October day provided plenty of grippy tarmac for the bike’s front IRC Road Winner tyre to bite into and the single disc and caliper set-up brought the bike to a halt quickly – without any real intrusion from the ABS.