Heir to the Throne
After much suspense and clamor from countless Suzuki Raider R150 fans, the heir to the throne has been finally launched. Last August 27, 2017 during the 8th year anniversary of the Motorsiklo Xkslusibo radio show held at the Tagaytay City Convention Center, Suzuki Philippines Inc. launched three new motorcycles, and one of them was the much-awaited Raider R150 FI. The clamor for the most part is understandable; after all, they’ve been eagerly waiting for the FI version to reach Philippine shores for over a year now since it was launched in Indonesia back in February 2016. But more importantly, the Raider R150 FI (called the Suzuki Satria FU150 in Indonesia) is only the third major engine redesign of the popular Raider model that spans 15 years, starting from the 125 version back in 2002. There’s no doubt as to the importance of the R150 FI to Suzuki and to its horde of fans all over the country. It certainly has big shoes to fill.
So it was with high expectations that we approached the presumptive heir to the title of King of the Underbones. The bike is not new to us in the motoring media, especially to those who cover the Suzuki Asian Challenge. We first saw the Raider R150 FI last year during the opening round of the Suzuki Asian Challenge in Sentul Circuit in Indonesia, though we were under strict orders from Suzuki Philippines not to reveal any details of the new bike on our social media posts. But according to Team Suzuki Pilipinas racers April King Mascardo, Mario Borbon Jr. and Eane Jaye Sobretodo who competed using the new bikes to several podium finishes during the last season of the Suzuki Asian Challenge, the new R150 FI is noticeably faster than the carbureted model in race trim.
While the new Raider R150 FI is all-new, it still bears a strong visual resemblance to the carbureted Raider R150 version. Some of the more obvious changes, along with the sharper body design, are the all-digital instrument panel and the unique LED headlight design. Though it is what’s underneath that sets the R150 FI apart from its carbureted predecessor. In their quest for more power, Suzuki engineers made a slew of improvements to the DOHC motor. Aside from bigger intake and exhaust valves to improve combustion efficiency, there’s also a larger throttle body and a new twin-spray fuel injection system that uses six sensors to provide optimum fueling under all climate conditions. Compression has also been raised significantly from 10.2:1 to 11.5:1, which will require using only high-octane fuel. For improved thermal efficiency, gone is the tiny oil-cooler replaced with a larger radiator for liquid cooling. Rounding off the changes to the motor is a lighter, short-skirted piston that sits inside a smaller and lighter block to aid in the engine’s overall mechanical efficiency.
Of course, all of these changes are nothing if the new Raider R150 FI doesn’t exceed, or even match, the performance of the carbureted Raider R150 model. To find out, we went to the Suzuki Philippines factory in Canlubang, Laguna to see if the Raider R150 FI lives up to the title “Pinnacle of Hyper Underbones” sitting beside its brother’s “King of the Underbones” label. A comparison of their specifications reveals that both bikes share exactly the same wheelbase of 1280mm and bore x stroke ratio of 62.0mm x 48.8mm and almost the same curb weight of 109kg. While both bikes share more than a few similarities, it’s how they deliver their power that’s slightly different. The fuel injected Raider R150 pumps out 18.24 hp at 10000 rpm and 10.18 lb-ft of torque at 8500 rpm while the carbureted Raider R150 churns out a peak power output of 15.42hp at 9500rpm and 9.14lb-ft of torque at 8500 rpm. That means the Raider R150 FI produce higher peak power at 500 more rpm compared to the carbureted model and higher maximum torque at the same engine speed.
On the road, the Raider R150 FI shows more eagerness to race to its 11500 rpms redline than the carbureted model, perhaps due to a lighter flywheel. There’s also less induction noise on the Raider R150 FI so it’s quieter at full throttle. In a quick acceleration run inside the industrial park, we were able to reach 100 km/h in less than 11 seconds in 3rd gear. That figure should improve on a well broken-in bike, as the one we used for this test is fresh off the factory assembly line. A top speed run as well as a fuel economy test will have to wait until we get a hold of a proper test unit a few weeks from now but according to Team Suzuki Pilipinas racers, the new Raider R150 FI can top out at 145 km/h in 6th gear.
Because both bikes share almost the same dimensions, they have the same riding position. From the saddle, the only indicator that you’re riding the fuel-injected bike is the absence of the analogue tachometer on the instrument panel and the addition of a clever glove compartment in front of the seat. Otherwise, you’d feel as if you’re still riding the carbureted Raider R150. Throttle response is smooth and power builds up linearly from 1st to 6th gear just like on the carbureted Raider. Tire size and brake setup are carried over from the carbureted Raider R150 so we didn’t expect any difference in handling and braking performance. Fuel capacity shrunk a little bit to 4L from 4.9L but the more fuel-efficient FI motor should offset overall tank range.
So the big question is if the new Raider R150 FI and the carbureted Raider R150 has almost the same performance, what edge does the FI has over the other? To answer that question, the Raider R150 FI is decidedly quicker off the line than the carbureted R150. It is, after all, almost 3 hp more powerful than the carbureted model. The Raider 150 FI should also return superior fuel economy than its carbureted counterpart. While it still remains to be seen, we expect somewhere between 20 to 25% improvement in fuel economy. What the carbureted Raider R150 has going for it, however, is the availability of aftermarket performance parts. With just a few bolt on mods, a carbureted Raider R150 could match, and even exceed the power of the new Raider R150 FI. The good news is both bikes will be sold side by side in Suzuki 3S Shops and multi-brand dealers. In the end, it’s your choice if you want the versatility offered by the carbureted Raider R150 or the power, refinement of the new Raider R150 FI. It’s still early to proclaim the new Raider 150 FI as the new “King of the Underbones” especially since the carbureted Raider R150 is still available, but we certainly feel it is a worthy heir to the throne.
Suzuki Raider R150 FI Specifications:
Engine: Liquid-cooled, single cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, 4-stroke
Displacement: 147.3 cc
Max power: 18.24 bhp @ 10000 rpm
Torque: 10.18 lb ft 8500 rpm
Seat height: 765mm
Fuel capacity: 4 liters
Dry weight: 109 kg
Top speed: 145 km/h (claimed)
Price: PhP 109,900 (Black, Red, MotoGP Edition)
Suzuki Raider R150 Specifications:
Engine: Oil/ air-cooled, single cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, 4-stroke
Displacement: 147.3 cc
Max power: 15.42 bhp @ 9500 rpm
Torque: 9.14 lb ft 8500 rpm
Seat height: 764mm
Fuel capacity: 4.9 liters
Dry weight: 106 kg
Top speed: 130 km/h (as tested)
Price: PhP 96,900 (premium colors), P97,900 (Matte Black Premium Edition)