Kuroneko gets his hands on a Suzuki Gemma!

Tue, Sep 9, 2008


Here’s a write up from our friend Kuroneko in Japan. He gives it a good comparison to the Yamaha Morphous (Maxam) and the Honda Helix (Fusion). Take it away Neko!

The Gemma is 100mm shorter than my Maxam, so it feels considerably more nimble on the road. Corners and lane changes are a lot less barge-like as a result. The shorter wheelbase also gives less distance between the bars and the seat; as a result you sit more upright than on a Maxam or Fusion, and with very little (none really) front screen, you sit right in the wind – normal for a bike rider I suppose, but not something those who have screen-equipped rides would be used to. Even for a Maxam (which is often criticized because of its feeble screen), the wind buffeting is noticeable.

Gemma Down the Bay. Garu!

Engine configuration (250cc, DOHC, 4-valve, water-cooled), power, claimed economy, twin-disks, and seat height are all similar. The analog instruments are clear and easy to read, they lack the Blade Runner light show of the Maxam’s digital display, but are a lot more recognizable in peripheral vision.

Analog Instruments.

Cute Rear.

No LED lamps are fitted, and the headlight is a combined projector low-beam, and separate high-beam.

Twin Front Lamps.

The handbrake is very car-like with a simple ratchet lift for on, lift for off on the left side.


Perhaps because of the 14-inch front, shorter wheelbase, and a little smoother engine, riding the same roads around Daiba on the Gemma was overall smoother than the Maxam. The Yamaha engine is often choppy, and rough – not to the point of problems, but enough to notice the smoothness of the Suzuki engine.

Gemma & Maxam.

Gemma vs. Maxam.

The shop recommends the Momo Design range of helmets, assume because they are the perfect size to fit in the helmet holder. Other than a small coin slot, and two small glove compartments, you have just the helmet compartment for storage. The under seat area carries no more than a small toolkit, and your shaken papers.

Helmet & Fuel Filler.

Glove Compartments.

The Gemma is about design, and even with the streets of Tokyo being populated with a variety of exotic looking machines, the Gemma was very popular. Stopping for a quick photograph session, the Gemma was met with comments of `kakoii` (cool) from two very pleasant door-girls at a local hotel. The garish gold color probably had something to do with that too. I would prefer one in white, with perhaps a few red stripes…

Hello Sir!

Like the Maxam and Honda’s Fusion, the Gemma is positioned as a two-up urban cruiser for the Shibuya-set. With its kakoii Akira-styling, and strong mechanical configuration, Suzuki should sell heaps. Price has it slightly above a similarly equipped Maxam or Fusion. See ya! Neko.

Fantastic! I’m as jealous as a Hummer driver at AmeriVespa. Thanks for the scoop on this baby. Kuroneko already sent me a brochure for the Gemma and just when the drool has finally dried, he goes and sends us this.

, , ,

12 Responses to “Kuroneko gets his hands on a Suzuki Gemma!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Love the Gemma! I think my fiancee would go bananas over this scooter. Perfect height for her as well. I suppose with the demise of the Morphous there is very little chance that Suzuki will see a market in the U.S. for this beauty.

    Thanks for posting the review.

    Dan in Milwaukee


  2. Anonymous Says:

    What a gorgeous scooter…I want one! This would have been perfect for me, regarding the height and just its coolness factor.

    I’m jealous. Why can’t the States have this????

    Mari in California


  3. sean Says:

    In this Rorschack scooter test I see a Honda Valkyrie Rune in the gold one and a Cadillac STS in the blue one!


  4. chris Says:

    Dan it sucks but you are probably right. The thing with the Morpheous is that it was butt ugly. The Gemma is tight and would do a lot better; but since they are similar types of bikes I can see how they wouldn’t think it’d be worth the risk.


  5. JO. A. BORRAS Says:

    I see this going after exactly the same buyer as the Morphous and Helix.

    With the Helix, though, you get some crazy 80′s retro-action that eludes both these bikes.

    Much as I wish it would come here, I wouldn’t buy it.



  6. scgt Says:

    Love it! Bring the Gemma over to US, Suzuki!! I can’t wait! What a beautiful street machine!–Lorenzo


  7. Leo Says:

    uhhh….ewww. It looks like it wanted to be a ‘busa with an extended swingarm or a Boulevard whose growth has been stunted! Anyhoo, Suzuki’s scooter division hasn’t cared for the U.S. market in decades. Why should they bring it over here? Oh yeah, it’s because they don’t make the most powerful scooter anymore.


  8. Steve Says:

    Dan! Yeah, doubt we’ll ever see her here. :(

    Mari! We’re not cool enough. :D Also, most Americans who are interested in Scooters (see how this category is getting smaller and smaller) wouldn’t know what to do with the Gemma. If they marketed it as a “low rider, automatic motorcycle”, it might stand a snowballs chance. Most Americans still think a scooter needs to look retro.

    Sean! Hrm… According to my Rorschach examination manual, YOU my friend, are crazy. :D. That is a Caddy rear end on that Morphous though.

    Chris! No love for the Morph, eh? So many Morph haters. I kinda like it. Oh well.

    Jo! You might change your mind if you road one. I guess we’ll never know though.

    ‘Renzo! (don’t hold yer breath)

    Leo! I keep hearing rumors that Suzuki is gonna offer us MORE than just the Burg. Maybe something in the 200 – 250cc range? Could be. The Gemma? I doubt it.


  9. Renze Says:

    Morpheus is still the best looking big-scoot out there. I don’t care at all for the superbike styling of most big scoots, at least the Morpheus has some character.
    The Gemma, I dunno.. I think it’ll look better in white.


  10. Anonymous Says:

    I think the Gemma has a huge ‘coolness’ factor as does the Morphous. I just wish the Morph was a little shorter and especially lighter (like the Gemma)for more nimbleness. Suzuki BRING IT, I’ll buy it. I’ll take mine in white please.


  11. Anonymous Says:

    The more gas prices go higher in the US, the more scooters will sell here (small ones are already going dime a dozen). This one absolutely reeks of anime, shukankasin (SP-bullet train) and 21st century bling. It will no doubt have a chance of being considered for US distribution if we make enough noise…does anyone have links to Suzuki marketing or product research, as their website in USA doesn’t have any kind of link, and I can’t read the Japanese one!
    The Burgman is a completely different class, the Yamaha Morph has a preponderance of cheap plastic and Cadillac garishness, so I doubt any of these will make it easier for the Gemma to get here. Again, it’s the fuel economy, stupid, and this thing is eminently more unisexual than a bloody penis on wheel Harley (as the hotel girls witness)!!
    JH Boston


  12. Anonymous Says:

    I would totally buy one if they brought it here. (not holding my breath) I'm just glad that I got my Morphous before they stopped production. I've put over 6,000 miles on it, and I still love it. It really is like a Cadillac in scooter form. The only complaint I have is with the brittle ABS plastic bodywork. The lower pieces are prone to breaking if you go over something like a speed bump or small curb while riding 2-up. Anyway, the reason why Suzuki is unlikely to bring the Gemma to the states is that the only people interested in scooters over here seem to be middle-aged, and only interested in something resembling a Goldwing with a ginormous windshield. I get tons of compliments on my Morphous, mostly from younger people, and "where can I get one?", but those same people think $5,000+ is way too much for a scooter. I hear a lot of "Well, you could get a real sport bike for that much!" They just don't get it.


Leave a Reply