Nearly every motorcycle brand has announced a new adventure, scrambler, or dual sport model over the past couple of years. This should come as no surprise as the segment is clearly growing in popularity.
While a motorcycle capable of handling some light off-road is useful, not every rider can afford to buy a dual sport or adventure bike. Suzuki is well aware of this dilemma, which is why they created and launched the Skydrive Crossover recently. It was launched alongside the new Burgman Street. This new model expands Suzuki’s Skydrive family, serving as the more rugged sibling to the Skydrive Sport.
Truth be told, we’re surprised this new model hadn’t come earlier. Small motorcycles with light off-road capability have been popular since their first inception. Honda’s XRM had been relatively unchallenged since it was first launched. There were similar models from Kymco and Rusi but few were as widely received as the original XRM. Suzuki only dared to challenge it recently with the Raider J Crossover.
From Sport to Crossover
Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long for an automatic version in the form of the Skydrive Crossover. The use of the Skydrive name is no coincidence. The Skydrive Crossover is heavily based on the Skydrive Sport, bearing the same engine and platform as the road-going original.
To make it more rugged, Suzuki fitted it with tubeless semi-block tires. It also comes with a rigid sport touring handle bar to better handle the beating from rougher roads. This is also intended to offer an easy and relaxed riding position. It also has a generous 150 mm of ground clearance. That’s more than enuogh for most rough roads.
Propelling it is the same 113cc, 4-stroke single cylinder air-cooled, fuel-injected SOHC engine from the Skydrive Sport. It produces 9.1-PS at 8,000 rpm with 8.5-Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. It’s paired to a CVT that drives the rear wheels. It’s then brought to a stop with a disk in front and a drum in the rear. It has a 3.6-liter fuel capacity.
The Skydrive Crossover was designed to be accessible to wide range of riders. It has a low seat height of just 740mm, making it easy to reach even for the short of stature. It’s also very light and easy to handle tipping the scales with a 94kg curb weight.
Quite honestly, the Skydrive Crossover may not immediately impress when you read its brochure, with just a 113cc engine and 9.1 PS of power. Yet the little improvements make a big difference when on the road.
With its light weight, the 113cc engine is more than enough to get it up to speed. The Crossover accelerates from a full stop to 60 km/h quite easily. It takes a while longer to get up to 90 or 100 km/h. Still, most of its buyers will likely be satisfied cruising between 60 -80 km/h. It’s quite grippy on normal roads and also amply absorbs most bumps.
We love the wide floorboards that allow for a variety of foot positions. They also have anti-slip textures that make it grippy even when dusty or muddy.
When the roads get rougher, the semi-block tires get into action. We took the Skydrive Crossovers to dusty and rocky roads and they more than capably handled these tougher conditions. They capably rolled over fine gravel as well as larger rock-strewn roads.
Besides the off-road upgrades, the Skydrive Crossover is also comes with some practical features. It large, 4.5 liter underseat storage is more than enough space to store your things.
We found ourselves enjoying the front shield storage spaces, capable of holding a large 1 liter water bottle.
No matter how dusty the road got, the full-digital instrument panel was also handy, displaying trip info in large, easy-to-read digits.
Truth be told, we had quite a lot of fun taking the Skydrive Crossover off-road, simply because it was so light and easy to handle. It made us realize you don’t really need specialized off-road components like long travel shocks or wire-spoke wheels to take on the rough stuff. The right tires can make a big difference. And sometimes, the simplest approach is the best.
Will we see the Skydrive Crossover in more rural settings in the Philippines? It’s very likely. With its very reasonable price of Php 69,900, decent light off-road performance and low maintainance, it’s practically a no-brainer.