In a nutshell: Suzuki’s TU250X is a small, modest powered single-cylinder street bike that is perfect for a smaller rider looking for a fuel-thrifty and fun around-town ride.
The first versions of the TU250X, the TU250G Grasstracker and the TU250GB Grasstracker BigBoy, were introduced in spring 2002 in Japan. Both Grasstracker machines were nearly identical, but the Bigboy boasted a kickstarter as well as electric start, and came with larger tires and wheels.
The Grasstrackers used the same carbureted engine as the TU250 Volty, but featured a radically different body design. The Volty was introduced in 1995 and was produced ’til 2004. None of these early models were released in the USA.
The export version TU250X was introduced to the USA market in 2009, with a new electronic fuel injection system being the major difference between it and its Japanese cousins. As a result of the economic recession, the TU250X was not exported to the USA in 2010, but was continued in 2011 and 2012 virtually unchanged except for appearance. The 2009 TU250X was sold with a red fuel tank and side panels, while the 2011 and 2012 USA-model TU was imported in a steel-grey color.
Cyclepedia Shop Review
The Suzuki TU250X is a unique combination of retro styling and new-world technology, wrapped up in a non-threatening package sure to appeal to the very casual or inexperienced road rider. Designed to invoke the days when “you met the nicest people” on a friendly bike, the TU serves up eye-appeal, simplicity and economy while not skimping on the right details.
Chief among its positive traits is Suzuki’s decision to outfit the TU with electronic fuel injection in favor of the ubiquitous CV carb one would expect on a small-bore budget bike. The EFI system helps the TU achieve appealingly high fuel economy figures. Suzuki claims a potential 79 MPG, but magazine reviews support a lower figure that is still somewhat frugal (Motorcyclist magazine, 2009 TU250X, 68 mpg; Motorcycle.com, 2009 TU250X, 67 mpg).
With a single piston displacing 249cc in the TU’s four-stroke mill, experienced riders need to forgive this little Suzuki for its overall lack of excitement at full throttle. But, the same casual attitude towards acceleration makes the TU an almost perfect choice for a new rider looking for a way onto two wheels with a minimal amount of newbie terror. The TU’s literature boasts of a maximum top speed of 85 mph, but we’re sure that’s only going to occur under ideal conditions.
A five-speed transmission drives the power to the chain drive rear wheel, and does so without any annoying gaps in the transmission ratios. Folks interested in using the TU for a freeway commuter might ultimately wish for a six-speed box, but we had no discomfort piloting the TU at moderate highway speeds.
A 30.2 inch seat height only complements that “beginner bike” package, which is rounded out by a small overall size and reasonably light weight (326 pounds claimed). Yes, a larger rider is going to feel cramped in the saddle, but smaller, less experienced riders will likely never want to get out of it.
Careful attention to the TU’s frame geometry, courtesy of the Suzuki engineers, gives this machine a sure-footed feel that belies its small size. The TU feels solid in straight-line riding, yet is extremely fun in the twisties.
In spite of its decidedly retro rear drum brake, the TU is easy to haul down from road speeds. The front disc, of course, does much of the work, but the rear brake’s response was fairly strong and predictable. Of course, we’re only talking about a 250cc single here, so it’s not like the average TU rider is going to be pushing the brakes to the limit.
Overall, Suzuki has created an appealing package in the TU250X. It may not appeal to the hardened two-wheeled veteran, but as a choice for a new rider or someone of smaller stature this machine can hardly be beat. Also, derivations of the TU250X have existed in Japan for a few years, where the bike has achieved a cult-like status among customizers. In this age of internet globalization, access to parts and accessories for the TU is only likely to increase over time, and owners will find it a simple matter to build their own unique version of this appealing machine.
The original versions of the TU250 (Grasstracker/Bigboy/Volty) enjoys wide popularity in Japan, and receives vast attention from accessory manufacturers. Although the same attention so far is sparse in the U.S., the Japanese market can provide interesting appearance parts, making it possible to dress the TU250X in practically any outfit you can imagine.
Suzuki TU250 Service Literature
Suzuki TU250X Specifications
Enthusiast TU Forums: