The 82 MPG 2009 Suzuki TU250X

Filed under: , , , , , , , by: TRuC

Bottom Line: One of the most vintage styled, affordable, fun and economical commuter bikes you can find under 4G's.

Update 8/7/09: The last two times my gas light came on, I was indeed, getting over 82mpg! That's with hard riding on highway, city and occasionally with passengers. I have also, since this review, buried the needle at 90+ mph on a wild hair I had one afternoon. I don't recommend driving it this hard but I admit that it was fun and not too difficult. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, I achieved this not going uphill.

Ok, let's face it. Planes, trains and automobiles (great John Candy flick by the way) are necessary evils. Sure, we could definitely fly less and, well, who takes the train for travel anymore? But automobiles will always be the king of transpo and something we ALL NEED. Yup, that's right, I'm pointing my finger at YOU. Don't own a car? Don't even try to play that - you mooch off of your friends car when you go roadtripping, making you an accomplice to a bigger footprint than you think. I'm not going to believe you if you try and tell me you've never left your own town (if that's truly the case then you probably should, it's not healthy).

I could write on and on about human powered gear but you know what? Everyone reading this blog depends on a petrol-chemical-cylinder-banger of some sort and it would be unjust for me to not share my point in hopes that we can stretch those reserves as long as we can!


So to break it down:

I drive an SUV. One that can carry me away from the hustle and bustle of the city, off the beaten path and into the wild. One that can also carry my friends, BCF (best canine friend) and all my gear. I've done a few fuel saving modifications on it to afford me 22 miles per gallon (mpg) and enough clearance to really get myself in trouble. I love it.

The downside: The 22mpg are lost as soon as I get back to Gotham. 17mpg if I drive like a sane human, but lets face it, I can't be Ghandi all the time when goobers are too busy texting on their phones, applying make up, talking to their passengers and unable to make up their minds on which lane they want all at the same time.

So after doing some math (pretty simple math because I hate numbers) one day while sitting in heavy arterial traffic with goobers all around me, I figured out that the amount I'm paying for gas and upkeep on my truck exceeded the cost I would need to pay if say, I got a motorcycle...

"Once a guy gets it in his head that he wants a motorcycle, there's no stopping him." - Chas Fisher of Nikwax

Suzuki has debuted a new bike to the United States this year with the TU250X (TU). Notably popular overseas (Japan, Taiwan, Spain and Italy have a good following), the TU has a lot of appeal for anyone looking for a retro styled bike. Especially one with a little more up-to-date technology and a high mpg.
I purchased the TU after several weeks of researching an alternative to bashing my truck up and down Seattle streets (did I mention that Seattle is decades behind in it's street construction?) in hopes to make a little reduction in our fuel consumption and vehicle upkeep costs. I searched every reasonable scooter and motorcycle in the city and fell for the TU as soon as I saw it online. It looks even better in person.

I've always wanted an 80's style bike and even though Suzuki touts it as something out of 69', it's undoubtedly retro. The simplicity was also something that caught my eye - not a lot of plastic, light and nimble (under 330lbs) flat(ish) seats, 7" round light and finished with chrome spokes and accents. In addition, the bike and most of its components can be taken apart with some basic tools; making customizing easy.

As a 250cc (actually 249cc) commuter, this bike isn't destined to set any speed records, but the weight and geometry of the bike lends itself to easy maneuvering around city streets, traffic and neighborhoods. The seat height is at 30.3 inches which allows most people to plant both feet on the ground. Stock handlebars are traditional risers with about a 2" rise and a relaxed sweep. I swapped out my handlebars for some clubman style bars to give it a little more of an aggressive position and reduce wind resistance.

The most modern feature of the TU is definitely not the outside, but the fuel injection and electric start feature. Aside from this, people will look in amazement when you tell them it's an 09'. There's no kick-start or center stand for it and the kick stand has a kill switch feature in the event you try to ride off with it still down.

The engine is a fuel injected, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, air-cooled, SOHC. What this translates into is a longer running, cleaner and more fuel efficient ride than when compared to carburated and/or 2-stroke engines bikes of yesteryear . As I mentioned earlier, the engine displacement at 249cc's isn't intended for crotch-rocket excitement, but it spells FUN any way you look at it. Leaving traffic at the light is pretty easy and cruising through the gears with the clutch action is smooth. The fastest I've gotten this bike is around 80+mph, but I think it's most comfortable around 50-65mph. There's only a single instrument display with speedometer, tripodometer and odometer. Light indicators let you know when the turning signals are on, low on fuel, neutral gear and Fuel Injection (FI) operation.

The starting process for the TU is similar to that of a diesel engine where glow plugs have to be primed a couple seconds before starting. There's no choke necessary and with a simple turn of the key, a humming noise and light lets you know the FI is priming. After just a couple seconds the light goes off and you push the start switch. As with all combustion engines, waiting a few seconds or a minute is always a kind thing to do for the engine before revving off.

Currently, my odometer reads approximately 350+ miles and I've been getting around 70 miles per gallon. At about 400 miles I will be inspecting the valves and giving it the first tune-up. I hope that the 82mpg will eventually come to fruition. I honestly don't see it happening because riding this thing is so fun, it's hard to be nice to it.

See you out there,

T

3 comments:

On July 12, 2010 at 4:42 PM , Kris said...

I like the look of the clubman bars. Are they the Bikemaster bars from motorcycle-superstore.com?

Kris

 
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