Suzuki recently announced that it was moving its focus away from the volume segment and training its sights on premium machines instead. Now, just a month after that announcement, we’ve got our hands on the first of these premium new motorcycles. Boys and girls, brace yourself for the new Intruder, and brace you should, because this bike looks like nothing you’ve ever seen at the price point.
What is it?
Based off its big brothers – the Intruder M1800 and M800 – this motorcycle is billed as a modern, sporty cruiser and it lives up to the sporty bit by sharing a majority of its mechanicals with the Gixxer naked. The Intruder offers a similar long and flowing design to the bad-boy M1800, with a head turner of a headlamp and a long fuel tank which looks substantial, but actually holds a litre less than the Gixxer. Above this lies the informative digital instrument display borrowed from the Gixxer, which sits within an angular cowl. The front of the fuel tank features enormous extensions that swoop down to encompasses a big imitation air duct and a large Intruder logo. The rear of the fuel tank tapers down towards a wide and accommodating rider seat which is split away from the flat pillion perch. At the tail, wide and chunky plastic panels extend a fair bit over the rear wheel, while the rounded grab handle and sleek LED lamp add some flavour of the bigger Intruder and even the Hayabusa.
So how does it all come together in person? Well, the Intruder is designed after some huge motorcycles and it too is remarkably large in the flesh. You could very well mistake it for a 400cc bike, or bigger and there in comes the undoing of the design. The front section up to the rider seat is quite striking and does a good job of hiding away most of the small engine, but there’s not much Suzuki could do about the relatively skinny tyres. The same 100 section front and 140 section rear from the Gixxer is the maximum size Suzuki could use for this level of power before sacrificing on both performance and efficiency. The result is the typical upper-body obsessed muscleman look. Further, while the front looks eye-catching and aggressive, the rear is quite disproportionate from behind the rider seat. The funky dual-port exhaust does well to boost the Intruder’s presence, but it sticks out too much to the side, and that nice silver finish is going to be prone to getting scuffed in traffic or the parking lot. Quality levels are decent, but a few plastics could use better finishing and the battering effect of our roads on that extensive bodywork should be considered in the long run – a couple of the test bikes had a minor buzz coming through the panels.
Big size, humble power
The Intruder borrows the Gixxer’s sweet 154.9cc air-cooled mill and will only be available with a carburettor for now. The motor is largely the same and continues to produce 14.8hp and 14Nm of torque. However, it does benefit from a revised intake with a bigger airbox, a differently tuned exhaust, as well as an additional tooth on the rear sprocket. All this is for the benefit of a stronger mid-range punch and the Intruder delivers well here. Meanwhile, the top end feels weaker than the Gixxer between 9,000 and 10,000rpm, but that’s probably down to the extra weight – 13kg over the naked Gixxer for a total of 148kg. City performance should be effortless, but the bike does start to run out of breath upwards of 90kph and we suspect top speed will hover somewhere around 115kph. The engine otherwise offers all the Gixxer traits we love, with smooth and eager responses and a refined gearbox.
Runs in the genes
The Intruder offers a relaxed, feet-front riding position that is accommodating for tall riders, while the low 740mm seat height means it will be friendly to riders of all sizes. It uses a modified version of the Gixxer’s frame with a brand new subframe. The bike sees a substantial 75mm increase in wheelbase, thanks to a 20mm increase in swingarm length and a new pivot angle, which is a result of an offset rear shock positioned as such to stay clear of the bigger airbox. The tyres and brakes are also shared with the Gixxer, which means good dynamics runs in the Intruder’s genes. At low speeds, the bike feels surprisingly light and agile for something that looks so big and this should make it friendly to handle in traffic.
But the Intruder really impresses on a winding road with a nicely stable feel, a willingness to change direction without much effort and generous levels of cornering clearance. Braking performance is safe and confident and we’re thrilled to see that ABS (single-channel) is a standard offering. The 41mm forks and a seven-step preload-adjustable rear shock are similar to the Gixxer, but have been specially tuned for this line of duty. As a result, ride comfort is quite good and rough surfaces are absorbed well, but the rear shock does have slightly less travel due to the new subframe and larger airbox. Couple this with the feet-forward riding position, and really bad speed breakers or potholes, and it can give the back a bit of a jolt. But in most scenarios, the Intruder does a great job of proving to be comfortable, yet engaging.
Suzuki has priced the Intruder on par with the range-topping Gixxer SF SP. At a price point of just under Rs 1 lakh, the Intruder is roughly Rs 16,000 more than the Bajaj Avenger Street 150 and about Rs 8,000 more than the Bajaj Avenger Street/Cruise 220. Suzuki maintains that they’re not targeting these bikes and are aiming at opening a new category – the focus on premium positioning is clear here. There’s no doubt that the Intruder is a well-engineered and engaging motorcycle to ride, but as for how it looks, we’ll, that’s a deeply personal decision. Love it or loathe it, you’re definitely going to notice it and this is a bike that is sure to polarise opinion. We’re very keen to see how it’s received in our rapidly evolving market.