What I Want: Suzuki GW250 Inazuma
It's not the coolest-looking thing, I'll admit. With its headlight reminiscent of Cobra Commander's helmet and oversized mud guards, the Suzuki GW250 Inazuma has a look that reminds me of Johnny Cash's song "One Piece at a Time" – as if the bike were made from bits they had lying around the factory. Its 250cc engine is equally unlikely to inspire envy in a great many people.
Nonetheless, this, amigos, is the bike I presently have my heart set on. This is the bike I would like to be my first. A commuter bike to its core, I imagine it to be the ideal machine on which to gain full confidence before moving up to something sexier and more powerful.
The riding style is upright, which appeals most to me. Sport bikes just aren't my thing and I can't imagine being able to physically tolerate being bent forward for long stretches of time. Well, I could tolerate it – I'm not that old – but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy it.
The Inazuma's 250cc engine, meanwhile, sips fuel. Suzuki claims more than 85 mpg. Reviewers have suggested the actual number is about 10 mpg less, but that's still impressive. It is a bike that is cheap to run, and cheap to buy.
I don't know if money will allow such a thing (probably not), but if possible I'd like to buy my first bike new. Yes, that means I'll be triply stressed about dropping it, but I feel it would be worth it for all the advantages that buying new entails – in terms of reliability, warranty, etc. I don't want to have to be learning how to make major repairs to a bike at the same time as I'm trying to just get comfortable riding one.
The Inazuma comes with a two-year warranty and one year of roadside assistance (1). Most appealingly, it costs £3,408 (US $5,370), which makes it the second-cheapest 250 I've found – the Hyosung GV250 is listed as costing £9 less.
And, all importantly, the Inazuma is thin enough to fit through my garden gate.
When I imagine my first year or so of riding, I picture a series of short trips – many through city congestion – with the occasional jaunt to a spot no more than 50 miles away. It seems to me the Inazuma is built for purpose in such a scenario and will instill in me the confidence and experience to move on to bigger and better things.
What do you think? What would you choose as your first bike?
(1) For those of you living outside the UK, we have several companies that are like AAA but they aren't shit – they actually fix your car on the roadside rather than simply towing you to a garage where you can get financially raped.