Having been a veteran rider of 135/150cc 2-stroke motorcycles since the late ‘90s until mid-2022, I have always wondered if their modern 4-stroke variants can match the performance.
In 1 word, Yes. Only marginal improvement. The modern-day 4-stroke counterpart has better torque but is limited by top speed performance – it doesn't go above 160km/h for most cases whereas the 2-stroke type could consistently reach that level anytime, as in actual speed, not according to speedometer readout.
For real world riding, what any rider needs is torque, which helps in accelerating out of tight situations without hassle. Top speed is hardly needed for daily commuting and going to work ride. And 4-stroke bikes hold their torque better than 2-strikers, thanks to engine braking, doing away with downshifting for certain situations.
Enter the Suzuki GSX-R 150 motorcycle, which shares the same engine configuration as its 2 other siblings, Raider R 150 and GSX-S 150 variants. Having the GSX-R designation means it is the youngest of the famed GSX-R supersport series. With that, it comes with similar feel and handling of its senior siblings.
Superior in handling over the other 150cc siblings, the GSX-R does have some limitations, among them are:
Inability to lane filtering in very tight gap as the Raider F!50
Feels heavier when trying to reverse out of parking zones
Full fairing might make steering a bit awkward when changing direction or doing a U-Turn
But these limitations are minor when the positives have sheer advantages – Lane filtering is better over GSX-S 150 due to narrower handlebars, intense wind pressure at higher speeds is reduced by the fairing, more stable than the Raider at faster speeds. And fuel consumption is “better” too than the Raider R 150.
And better top speed when compared to its 2 siblings, where the Raider and GSX-S top out at 159km/h and 155km/h respectively, the GSX-R did it on consistent 165km/h.
The GSX-R 150 has 1 feature that sets it apart from its 150cc siblings – keyless ignition system, which glows in the dark or when light conditions are low, to enable looking at the settings easier.
OK, in practical sense, not exactly better. The GSX-R, like the GSX-S, has the same 11-litre capacity fuel tank over the Raider’s 5.5-litre, enabling longer ride without refueling after 190km mileage of riding. The GSX bikes could sustain riding of nearly 400km before running low on fuel.
Its dual-way single LED headlight shines bright during nighttime riding especially at the Federal and Kesas bike lanes. Both normal and High beams are adequate to lit up said lanes with ease, enabling clear view of what’s ahead up to 15 metres in front.
Overall performance and handling of the GSX-R 150 are quite similar to its 2 siblings but as an all-rounder, my choice is definitely the supersport variant.
On a personal note, the GSX-R 150 could perform as much as I wanted it to do, based on the Precision Riding style I had perfected, that the limitations mentioned earlier were minimised during commuting.