As a learner I found it very difficult to find reviews of entry level cruisers. After 9000kms and 13months I have now sold it. It’s now time for some unbiased comments to help any learners out there. When searching for a cruiser, I figured the main entry level contenders for my $7K were the Suzuki VL250LC Intruder and the Yamaha Virago. I never got to test ride either of these bikes, but it seemed to me that the Intruder had more space for my 178cm frame and had more of a big bike appearance. The intruder certainly catches the eye despite its modest price tag. Girls would come running and commenting on how shiny it was and would ask if it’s a Harley. “Yeah, a Harley Suzuki” I would reply (depending on the girl). I’d get lots of positive comments filling up at the servo. The bike certainly shines and has plenty of chrome. Not all that glitters on this bike is chrome though. Nevertheless, even the plastic bits shine up great and the bike looks fantastic on its own. The exhaust looks a treat. It’s only when you park alongside one of its bigger siblings that you realise it’s not one of the big boys. Coming in at a meagre 145kgs dry, the bike is perfect for the beginning rider. Reversing out of my garage was easy. The bike is a breeze to manoeuvre around parking lots and traffic queues. Practising the skills required for the MOST test is ideal for this bike as slow speed mistakes or loss of balance can be saved without dislocating a hip or dropping the bike. The low seat height of 685mm gives learners real confidence in this regard as well. As far as completing the MOST test, the U-turn is particularly easy on this bike. The cone weave and obstacle swerve proved a bit more challenging but it’s generally well suited to the test. I always liked the sound of this bike. I have heard some people say it is very quiet but that was never my experience. I could never rock up to work late on this bike because anyone around would know when I arrived. Of course, being a 250, the sound isn’t going to scare anyone. The bike is quite grabby in first and second gear making a smooth ride difficult at low speeds. Things smooth out as the bike gets going though and speeds in excess of 130km/h are possible without too much vibration. My speedo indicated speeds about 8% higher than the actual speed, a common complaint by many motorcycle owners. I also found that the location of the speedo meant taking my eyes off the road to have a glance. The clutch and throttle are light and easy. Actual neutral can at times be a bit difficult to find. Lane filtering is doable and you can beat most cars off the mark without holding anyone up. The front disc brake worked well but the rear drum brake is virtually useless. I really had to press down hard to prevent my bike from rolling backwards on a hill start. I usually used the front brake. My front brake would often squeal as well, a problem that the mechanics couldn’t seem to rectify. Replacing the pads would probably do it. The seat is soft and immensely comfortable. I never experienced numb bum, even after all day in the saddle. I did get a sore lower back after riding though, more likely from fighting head winds and the seating position of cruisers rather than an issue with this bike in particular. There is room for a pillion on the back. Acceleration becomes slow but doing the speed limit with a pillion is not a problem. Under the seat you will find a tool kit and a five litre storage area, great for all your motorcycling goodies or a loaf of bread after a run to Woolies. The 12 litre tank would give me 250km before hitting the reserve using regular unleaded. The wide handlebars made this bike a lot of fun to ride around town, but going through the twisties the bike doesn’t fill you with a sense of confidence. Hard cornering and you’ll find a bit of peg scraping. In conclusion, this is a great bike to learn on. The height and weight give you a sense of confidence and it’s always fun to sit on. Let’s be realistic though, after a year you will want something meatier. I began craving more power after a couple of weeks – a common thought – but that doesn’t mean more power for a learner is a smart thing. It’s well worth shopping around for a preloved model as there are a number for sale for around $5000 that have very low mileage on them. Try to find one with some warranty left on it – its transferrable as long as you have a Suzuki dealer inspect it within fourteen days of purchase. If you want a 250 cruiser, I give it the thumbs up.