Motorcycles

Road tests

Suzuki Marauder 250
This is a back-to-basics motorcycle with strong cruiser styling. minimal spec is reflected in the retail price.

HISTORY
Suzuki has have this one around for some months now, and there have been other variations on the Marauder name. The owerplant is donated by the GN250.

UNDER THE SKIN
No surprises here. A basic steel frame with single downtube, bolted to a twin cradle underneath the powerplant. The latter is an air-cooled four-stroke single, with two valves per cylinder. This suggests that home servicing should be well within reach of the careful beginner.

Starting: Entirely predictable -- hit the button, warm it up, and ride off.
Suspension: Spring and damping rates are set soft for this very conventional set-up, which is in keeping with the cruiser theme. It's comfortable, but don't go looking for sporting ability. The only adjustment is preload on the rear -- which is what you'd expect.
Brakes: This is as basic as you get, with a single-piston caliper working on the sole front disc, and a mechanical drum rear. The combo works very well solo, with plenty of feel.
Stability: Steering is the best we've met from anything with a Marauder name. It's predictable. The plot gives sufficient feedback even when pushed hard.
Cornering clearance: Not great. An enthusiastic rider will find footpegs and various underpinnings touching the deck -- which should come as no surprise if you buy a cruiser and then try to ride it hard.
Performance: Nothing to write home about. It is adequate around town so long as you don't plan anything too brave in traffic. Maintaining good highway speeds is pushing the performance envelope of this bike.
Rider comfort: There's a low seat height and forward foot controls. Fine for a cruise, though the padding on the rider seat compresses quickly.
Pillion comfort: Quite roomy and a proper grab handle would be a welcome addition.
Vibration/harshness: There's an ever-present single vibration happening, which becomes uncomfortable when the powerplant is reaching redline. Regard it as an in-built rev-limiter.
Finish: Much better than average for this price category.
Looks: If you want the full cruiser with the valanced guards look, this has it with the minimum of fuss. The laced spoke wheels are a nice (high maintenance) touch
Extras: Instrumentation is basic, with a speedo hanging out in the breeze, sans tacho, above the chrome headlight shell. All good cruiser practice. The Dunlop D404 rubber is, again, standard cruiser kit and seems to do the job.
Value for money: At $5????, we're talking about the bottom end of the 250 road bike price range, and the cheapest of the cruisers. Its nearest competitor is Honda's 250 Rebel at $5???


SUMMING UP
If scooting about at a modest pace with the bare minimum of running costs is your mission, this bike will do the job. However it struggles in aggressive metro traffic and is not a realistic proposition for maintaining decent highway speeds.

SPECS
Model: Suzuki Marauder
Engine: Air-cool, 2-valve, 4-stroke
Comp: 9:1
Power: NA
Torque: NA
Weight: 137kg dry
Wheelbase: 1450
Front tyre: 110/90-16
Rear tyre: 130/90-15
Fuel tank: NA
Top speed: 110kmh
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Article by Guy Allen

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