Having parted ways with TVS a while ago, Suzuki comes back to India with a new bike. Rishad Cooper takes the 125cc Heat for a spin
Among the first Japanese two-wheeler makers to treat India to top class bikes, Suzuki has a huge reputation to live up to here. Together with the TVS group, this Japanese giant has introduced several successful bike models to our shores through the 1980s and 1990s. But then came a big split, with Suzuki's departure from the Indian shores, while TVS continued onwards by itself. But that was then and this is now and we look at Suzuki's big comeback plans for India. Their first two models have already been announced as the Heat, and Zeus- style variants of one platform. We look at the Heat.With a round headlight the Heat is Suzuki's base model - and is clearly a basic commuter. More than a modern 125, the bike looks more like an entry level bike of yesteryears with conservative styling - a bit outdated for the evolved Indian owner living in today's times. Heat owners are forced to make do with a round headlamp, simple instrumentation, outdated indicators, clunky tank cap, basic mirrors and tube metal grab bar. However, there is absolutely fabulous quality and sound engineering to be found on the Heat, with great rubber and plastic bits, fine fit-finish and glossy well-finished paint - at least there's something to write home about. Heat will come in three colours for now - blue, red and black. There's no push-to-cancel indicators, and no pass light flasher either, with switchgear a basic headlight control, as well as horn and indicator buttons. A fuel gauge is present and this Suzuki also comes with handsome chrome bar-end weights, a pleasantly wide fuel tank and really great grips.
Fire in the belly
You get a muscular looking, all-alloy cased kick start four-stroke and air-cooled power pack on the Heat. It's a twin valve 124cc unit that puts out a maximum 8.7bhp at 7000rpm. Peak torque of 1.01kgm is achieved early at a healthy 3500rpm and the bike is better equipped than most 125cc Indian bikes in deploying a five-speed transmission box. Clutch feel is exemplary, as is the gearshift - as good as the best - with each gear desired falling into place with a smooth and positive action. The Heat lacks a CV carburettor, and could also use a better exhaust note. An engine with perfectly matched ratios that help it effortlessly pull away with good nature and a peppy enough feel for a 125. Throttle response is crisp and needless to say this lends a dash of fun element to the bike. Even with a gear engaged, a primary kick system allows a rider to start the Heat with the clutch pulled in.
The Heat's seat, with an upright riding stance and a comfortably tall handlebar keeps a rider fatigue-free at all times and perhaps it wouldn't be stretching things too far by rating the seat as one of the most comfortable in its class. A single downtube frame holds the Heat together, with front suspension a pair of beefy telescopic forks. It's at the rear Suzuki should improve on a simple tubular swingarm and twin hydraulic dampers. And we were really surprised to find the Heat using a ribbed tyre in front, and dated pattern rear rubber as well. We are of the opinion a Heat would ride far better with modern pattern tyres. While ride quality is decent enough, it is the handling that disappoints. Straight-line stability is adequate, but cornering at even sedate speeds reveals shortcomings and doesn't inspire the slightest confidence. High-speed handling is sad, to say the least. Braking is good enough and is 130mm cable fed drums all round.Well, that's what we figured after a short ride, which leaves us with the question of how the Heat will take on its many rivals. Hang in there and watch this space. We won't keep you waiting too long.
TECHNICAL DATASUZUKI HEATHow much?Rs. 39,321 (ex-showroom, Pune) How big?Length: 2,040 mm Width: 770 mm Height:1085 mm Wheelbase: 1,240 mm Ground clearance: 155 mm Fuel tank capacity: 12 litres Kerb weight: 110 kg EngineLayout: Single cylinder, air-cooled, four stroke, 124cc Max power: 8.7 bhp at 7000 rpm Max torque: 1.01 kgm at 3500 rpm Gearbox5-speed, 1-down, 4-up Tyres2.75x18 3.00x18