Consumer Report: Suzuki TU250

Remember when motorcycles were inexpensive to buy, easy to maintain and fun to ride? Suzuki does and so do riders of the 2011 Suzuki TU250. And it all starts from the moment you pull a leg over the seat, twist the trottle and push the start button to bring your TU250 to life.

A Mix Between a Huey and..Who Knows?

“What’s that?” my friend says as I step aside and give my TU250 a chance to warm up. You see there is something unique of an almost square, single-cylinder motorcycle engine as it roars down the roadway. You don’t here the Formula I-like shrill of a four-cylinder motorcycle engine at 12,000 rpm. Not do you recognize the familiar pot-a-pot-pot of a Harley-Davidson V-twin motorcycle engine. Single-cylinder motorcycle engines have a thump-thumpity-thump kind of sound that’s similar to a whacking-the-sheets noise that a Huey helicopter makes when it’s flying just high enough to clear the trees. Once you hear it, you’re hooked. It’s not a sound that’s complicated nor is it overbearing. It’s a polite as an English gentleman who is sipping his morning cup of tea.

And Suzuki knows this.

When a retro feel is everywhere, the TU250 motorcycle delivers. It’s reminiscent of the BSA, Triumph and Royal Enfield motorcycles of the 1950s and 19660s. You almost feel like the great actor Steve McQueen on a trusty Triumph when riding a TU250. All you need is one simple twist of the wrist and you are on your way. There’s enough sound to make it feel like you are on a machine, but not too much that you don’t hear the birds, the wind nor the sounds of passersby as you motorcycle down the highway.

It’s a simple time and it is fun.

Suzuki TU250: Powerful Enough

The TU250 comes with a single-cylinder 249cc air-cooled and fuel injected motor that delivers 79 mpg, according to figures provided by Suzuki Motorcycles. Mated to a 3.2-gallon fuel tank, this Suzuki will have you wishing to stretch your legs long before you reach its 230-mile touring range.

Horsepower? Well, Suzuki doesn’t reveal horsepower figures but when you ride the TU250, it feels comparable to motorcycles with about 20 horsepower. It’s enough to get you up to highway speeds fairly comfortably and the TU250 will cruise all day long at 55-60. However, you begin to feel as though the machine is reaching its limits at 70 mph. It’s similar in feel to that of a Honda Rebel 250 or the Lifan 250 or GS200III.

But being a single, the TU250 has enough low-end torque so that you can effortlessly get away from a standing stop at traffic signals. You don’t have to rev the motor to speeds that are near the sound barrier when you shift gears.

The TU250’s single-cylinder design means there is less to work on, less to go wrong and less troubles to encounter when setting the valve clearance. Sure, four-cylinder motorcycle engines deliver more performance. However, you have to worry about calibrating four carburetors, and setting 16 valve clearances. Sometimes, one is the best number you’ll ever hear.

Suzuki TU250: The Looks

The TU250 looks like a gentleman’s motorcycle. There’s no overbearing amount of chrome that takes away from the simplicity of the machine. The headlight is large and provides good visibility should you ride at night.

Suzuki TU250: Size

The Suzuki TU250 has a wheelbase of 54.1 inches, so it’s about the length of a Harley-Davidson Sportster. The seat height is a comfortable 30.4 inches so it’s short enough for people who are less than 5-foot-5 and tall enough for those who approach 6 feet. At 326 pounds, the TU250 is easy enough to back up out of a parking space when you have knees that may have seen a few sports injuries along life’s journey.

Suzuki TU250: Cost and Warranty

The TU250 lists for $3,999 and comes with a 12-month unlimited warranty. So for about the cost of one year of car payments, you get a motorcycle that will last for years and deliver the incredible fuel economy as well.

So, why don’t you ride?

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