I recently bought my wife a GZ250 Marauder to replace her aging Aprilia Scarabeo 50 scooter. I've had the opportunity to ride it several times and thought I'd throw in my two cents on it.
Recommend this product?
Quality of manufacture and ease of use are paramount in this motorcycle: the finish is nice, the maintenance is nearly non-existant. Fuel economy is tops -- about 75mpg whether city or highway travelling. It looks like a cycle twice its engine: long, lean, and very handsome. For a couple hundred, you can plunk saddlebags (get the bag holders for the side or you WILL get the bags caught on the shocks, etc) on it.
The GZ250 has a tendency to want to throw its head around when turning it while being pushed. This disappears once it is under its own power. It is low to the ground and very well balanced; wind and weather don't push you around much at all. It is comfortable for me on short hops, but that's about it. I'm 5'9" and find the distance to the handlebars too short, though the distance to the footpegs is perfect. My wife is 5'2" and the bike is perfectly sized for her; this is a ladies' bike, in lamost every way.
It is carburated and needs to be choked for winter riding. In the deadly cold we've been having this year, the bike has been stalling under 10 degrees F, but will start right back up -- I suspect condensation in the tank, so nothing wrong with the bike itself. Normally, however, it fires right up. The gearshift is very light and easy to flick through the gears...a good thing, since you'll be in fifth gear by 4omph. It is a short power band in first and second; too short, I think, when compared to bikes like the Buell Blast and Honda Rebel. The clutch is a delight, though; it requires almost no effort to shift; the rear brake pedal is badly placed and awkward to use.
Surprisingly, the bike has a nice bit of power, even with the short shift range. Once in fifth, the GZ250 will hit 70mph reliably (the speed limit generally out here in the desert.) 55-65 are where it is happiest, and any good grade or headwind will lose you 10 or so mph. My wife has taken it on two hour jaunts through the mountains with me. The Suzuki is no match for my Triumph in raw power, but keeps up remarkably well in the twisties. It is comfortable for long trips.
Overall, this is a reliable and sexy little commuter.
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Amount Paid (US$): 1700
Model Year: 2001