Suzuki Intruder 150: First Ride Review
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The Intruder 150 is Suzuki’s first Indian-made cruiser, but does it offer more than just dramatic design?
The Intruder name has been synonymous with Suzuki’s large cruisers spanning capacities from 800cc all the way to 1800cc. So it seems sacrilegious that such a name be used for something as small as a 150cc cruiser. On top of that, the controversial design of this baby Intruder is certain to raise some eyebrows and turn a lot of heads. However, everyone will agree that its close ties to the Gixxer 150 is a good thing. The Gixxer has been a favourite thanks to its balance of performance and dynamics so hopes are high that there’s more to this cruiser than meets the eye.
The large capacity Intruders were well received due to their aggressive design and imposing dimensions which made them head-turners. We have no doubt that the Intruder 150 will grab eyeballs as well, though we expect that there will be vastly differing opinions due to its polarising design. The design is an exercise in excess, and its large dimensions can easily have someone mistaking this for a much-larger-than-150cc bike.
The headlamp has a unique triangular bezel that encloses a halogen unit integrated with a small DRL below. Above the headlamp is a crown that holds the full-digital instrument console from the Gixxer. The large-looking fuel tank is flanked by equally large tank extensions. Despite the massive size, the tank holds just 11 litres of fuel. The tail section is equally large and vaguely resembles the Hayabusa’s hindquarters. The exhaust unit is large and extends quite a bit from the bodywork. This might be an issue while negotiating crowded streets.
Overall, barring the angular exhaust, the rest of the design is dominated by curves. We believe the muscular proportions should help it garner a fan following. One issue with the design is that the large tail section and exhaust make even the 140-section rear tyre look skinny. We think there are going to be plenty of prospective customers who would prefer a fatter rear tyre to match the proportions.
The Intruder 150’s entire body is made up of plastic panels - well over 20 separate pieces bolted together. Given our road conditions, we believe that these are prone to rattle over time. On the flip side, in case of a crash or damage, one can possibly get away with replacing just the specific damaged section and not the entire bodywork.
The Intruder’s seat height is set fairly low (740mm) and the seat itself is wide and well scalloped. The average Indian rider should have no issue placing his or her feet on the ground when astride this bike. The seat was very comfortable during the time we spent in the saddle. The flat handlebar is angled towards the rider, so it doesn’t require much of a stretch - another aspect that’ll be appreciated by shorter riders. The footpegs too are an easy reach for anyone with below average to well above average height.
Engine and performance:
The Intruder 150 shares the Gixxer’s 155cc air-cooled, single-cylinder powerplant. The motor uses a carburettor and has a mildly revised state of tune due to a larger airbox and a differently tuned exhaust. All of which, Suzuki claims, makes riding around town a whole lot easier since the torque curve is slightly flatter. The motor makes 14.14PS at 8000rpm and 14Nm of torque at 6000rpm. The motor retains the same refinement and free-revving nature of the Gixxer. A fuel-injected version of the Intruder is on the cards as well. While the bike employs the same five-speed gearbox, the rear sprocket is now larger for better low-end response. The bike sure feels peppy at low speeds and performance up to 80kmph feels similar to the Gixxer despite the 8kg weight gain (over the Gixxer SF). You can potter around at low speeds in as high as third gear. The bike will cruise at speeds of 80-90kmph without fuss. The Intruder does 70kmph in fifth gear with the tachometer needle hovering around the 5000rpm mark.
Ride and handling:
The Intruder uses the frame, suspension, wheels, brakes and tyres from the Gixxer. The frame has been modified to fit the cruiser look and low seat. The front rake remains unchanged though the rear swingarm is now longer to accommodate the longer body and more rearward-set rider’s seat. The front forks use different spring rates and the rear monoshock has a smaller suspension travel than the Gixxer. The front suspension absorbs most of what the road throws at it and transmits a little of the road judders to the rider’s wrists. The rear suspension, though, can be a bit painful over bad roads. The rear monoshock is mounted right below the rider's seat and transmits road shocks directly to the spine. The short-travel suspension also has the rear wheel skip over mid-corner bumps. The ride gets substantially better with a pillion onboard. Turning radius is surprisingly short for a cruiser and we had no trouble executing tight U-turns on the narrow streets of Lavasa.
The Intruder is on of the best handling cruisers we have ridden. The front end is eager to turn in and the long wheelbase aids stability in corners. The cruiser turns into corners quickly and given a bit of time and a good set of corners, will have you scraping the footpeg feelers through most of them. The MRF tyres are the same ones offered on the Gixxer and offer fantastic levels of grip in the dry. For braking, the front disc has the same two-piston Bybre caliper setup but the rear disc gets a Bybre caliper instead of a Nissin unit from the Gixxer. The bike gets a single channel ABS which works well but the brakes themselves could do with a bit more feel.
The big question is, will the Intruder 150 work for its intended audience? We feel it might. For someone who is tired of the run-of-the-mill sports bikes and wants something different, something more attention-grabbing than the Bajaj Avenger 150, the Suzuki Intruder might just do the trick. It looks like nothing else in its segment and that itself should be enough for it make an impact in the market. It also gives the impression of being a larger capacity motorcycle than it actually is. On top of the way it looks, it’s a very capable motorcycle. It will be comfortable for riding around in the city, while the refined motor is efficient and Suzuki claims a fuel efficiency of 48kmpl. All that for a price of Rs 98,380 (ex-showroom Delhi), makes it a pretty good deal.
Words: Benjamin Gracias | Photography: Vikrant Date