Ever since underbones (and motorcycles in general) became popular during the 2000s, the Suzuki Raider R150 has come to be considered by many to be the pinnacle of underbone motorcycles. Its technology and design was considered by many to be advanced during its time of introduction and for nearly 20 years, little has changed with the Raider. Updates typically come in the form of new livery (decals), with the most major being fuel injection for emissions compliance.
In 2005, Yamaha responded with the Sniper 135. Immediately, it has become the Raider R150’s nemesis for both sales and on the racetrack, but the 15cc difference between the two was just too much.
The hyper underbone segment
We all know that these three underbones have been the subject of a lot of discussions across forums, Facebook groups/ pages, and even group tambays (when permitted). After all, this segment is the most favored by riders for the large engine, wide availability of modification and customization parts, as well as long list of performance parts.
The debate typically revolves around various mods, customizability, and even top speed. But, we’re not here to discuss that. We’ll just stick with some of each bike’s stock attributes offered underbone underbone riders right out of the showroom.
Raider R150 FI
Let’s begin with the one who started the “hyper underbone” segment – the Raider R150. In terms of cylinder displacement, it now has the least of the three, packing only 147.3cc versus the Sniper and Supra’s 150cc. It makes up for it by producing the greatest power output of the three at 18.5 Ps. As for the seat height, the Raider R150 is the most-friendly to riders who are vertically-challenged like me, with only 765mm from ground to saddle.
The Raider R150 FI also has the slight advantage in the gearbox with 6 gears. In terms of braking, the Raider has the most commendable stopping power (on paper), equipped with a dual-piston front brake caliper.
Yamaha Sniper 150
Cylinder-wise, the Sniper is at par with the Supra GTR with 150cc displacement. It is also at par with the Raider R150’s torque output of 13.8 Nm. Unlike the other two, the Sniper is the only one with a Single OverHead Cam (SOHC), meaning there is only one cam controlling both intake and exhaust valves.
The Sniper is also the only one with a 5-speed transmission. An extra gear is not necessarily better for acceleration or top speed. Though for some, this may be a deal breaker, particularly since 6-speeds is pretty much standard for many larger sport bikes.
In terms of the bike’s handling at high speeds, the Sniper 150 has a slight advantage over the Raider R150 and Supra GTR 150 by having the longest wheelbase of the three at 1290mm. This equates to greater straightline stability, making it better suited to high speed cruising.
Supra GTR 150
Pretty much a new contender in the hyper underbone segment, the Supra GTR 150 has plenty to offer. It also boasts a 6-speed gearbox like the Raider R150; also packs a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) and comes in second in terms of power output at 16 Ps. Compared to the three though, it produces the most torque at 14.2 Nm.
In terms of its wheelbase, the Supra GTR has the shortest at only 1276mm, but that also means the GTR may be the most nimble of all the three underbones when it comes to managing tight spaces, like crawling traffic or navigating tight corners.
The Supra GTR 150 also fares pretty well in terms of fuel capacity, having the biggest tank of the three with a 4.5-liter tank, which Honda claims could reach 189 kilometers from one top-up.
All three bikes are “beasts” in the underbone world, the only question is how much. The most expensive of the three is the Raider R150 FI with an SRP of PhP109,900, followed by the Supra GTR 150 and Sniper 150 (base), both retailing at PhP102,900.
Despite the price difference, the Raider, despite its age and higher premium continues to be a choice for many riders. Is the 2 PS advantage over its rivals well worth the difference?
A battle brewing
Is the Raider still the king? It may not be as definitive as before. The Sniper has certainly gained ground, while the newcomer from Honda is keen to take on both veterans. One thing's for sure, the hyper underbone segment is finally getting exciting.