Inazuma is the Japanese word for lightning and if ever a word got lost in translation when applied to a motorcycle, this is it. Launched in 2013, the selling point of the GW250 Inazuma was its no thrills and back to basics approach. For beginners or riders who want a sturdy and reliable bike to commute on, this is a very good option. It is certainly no sportsbike!
The Inazuma came with the option of a half or full fairing, both look good so it was down to the buyer’s preference as to which one they opted for. There was also a version that came with luggage fitted. There’s no show stopping technology on offer, fuel injection is about as advanced as it gets, and it’s a machine that could’ve been built to satisfy the needs of the commuter market over two decades ago. The engine is a water cooled single overhead cam twin, it’s designed more with an eye on mpg rather than mph. The result is a 24bhp motorcycle that can return near to 70mpg in the right conditions. The chassis is pretty uninteresting, but it’s competent and well matched to the style of bike. A steel tube frame is mated to spindly forks, basic rear suspension and a single front brake disc setup, so if you fancy a workhorse that’s relatively inexpensive to buy and frugal to run, then the Inazuma is right up your street. From a beginner’s point of view, it’s actually a sensible introduction to motorcycling that’s easy to service, cheap to insure and a doddle to ride. Sales were never as strong as they should’ve been, mostly due to the back to basics Inazuma carrying a price tag of £3,500 when launched in 2013.
The Inazuma has quietly shuffled out of the Suzuki range for 2018 but it’s heart lives on in Suzuki’s new V-Strom 250 and GSX250R.
What’s it like to ride?
For a small bike, the Inazuma offers a big bike feel. Everything about its proportions make you feel like you are riding a larger machine. The seat is super comfy, it’s well sized and very well padded. The big bike feel flows to the bars which are nice and wide and also comfy. They help to make the steering feel feather light. That 24bhp engine won’t ever set your pulse racing, but it will give you enough punch when you need it in any urban surrounding. It’s well at home in town, easily seeing off cars away from the traffic lights and they are often a popular choice with London couriers. The water cooled engine can get hot at times in heavy stop start traffic, although the fan cuts in nice and early and there are never any further issues. Out of town it’ll stretch its legs comfortably up to 70mph, beyond that it’s a struggle to build and maintain any extra speed. The six speed gearbox is slick, though top gear feels more like an overdrive gear. Brakes are up to the job and, despite having basic suspension, it never gets you into trouble. For an everyday form of transport it’s hard to knock, but if you want something racier it’s obviously not a bike you should be considering.
What to look for when buying one?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, Sales Manager at Wheels Motorcycles, a Suzuki franchise in Cambridgeshire. He says: “The half faired bikes are more common than the fully faired ones, though (second hand) there’s nothing in it price wise between the two. The Inazuma is a good solid workhorse. The standard exhaust uses twin silencers which are quite wide at the rear, meaning that many will carry scratches. It doesn’t mean that they’ve been dropped though as they are picked up from filtering through tight gaps. The standard black paint is metallic, any resprays will show up. The rear suspension is worth checking, any bikes that have had luggage fitted will wear out the rear shock quicker. Service history gets patchier with age, a common theme of all bikes that appeal to those riding on a budget. Extras are usually sensible bolt ons, items like satnav mounts and heated grips.”
What goes wrong with them?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson from Grumpy 1260, they service all manner of machines at their motorcycle workshop and says that the Inazumas are generally pretty bulletproof. He added: “These bikes get lots of use, with 70mpg on offer they make sense if you want a bike to commute on. We don’t get that many of these come our way as they are dead easy to work on and most owners tend to have a go themselves. We always recommend that they use branded parts as even low powered engines will eat inferior consumables, such as the chain and sprockets. There’s nothing much to go wrong, some bikes we prepare for their MOT tests rarely need more than the chain adjusting and the odd fork seal.”