Beauty is hidden in the details

Can you become the owner of a nice motorcycle for less than 4.000 EUR? The Brixton Saxby 250 is proof that you can. Clearly, for that money you won't break any speed records or beauties off your feet, but this retro motorcycle has solid riding characteristics, unobtrusive style and a better finish than similar Chinese competition

Photo & text: Igor Kreč

Beauty is hidden in the details

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It's Saturday, with Brixton passing downtown. Although it is the age of quarantine, there are people on the road. We make our way slowly on the way home. We feel the view. Hoping that she is a member of the opposite sex, we turn our heads and our gaze stops at the middle-aged man who has us in focus. Does he, like us, have memories of his long-ago youth? Eh, if we, the drivers of the "Koper giant" at the time, had a Saxby 250 like this, we would be the main guys, the girls would fight for the city.

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Yes, it is easy for us to imagine that with a Brixton like this, which seductively replicates past times with its retro design, we could once proudly stand by the side of the then owner of Kawasaki and Honda. And this despite the fact that the Saxby 250 is made in China.

Fifteen years ago, when the invasion of products from China to the European market began, we are drawing on some experiences that we would never want to repeat. These were called rides of life. But today the situation is completely different. We use a Chinese cell phone and we’ve never had a better one, and AliExpress is our first favorite and we often can’t resist shopping online, especially in this stupid age of quarantine. For the most part, we no longer view Chinese products with skepticism, especially if they are developed in collaboration with European design studios, as is the case with the Saxby 250.

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Brixton is a brand that appeared on the market not so long ago and is part of the KSR group. The name itself is well-hit, and is taken from a London borough adorned by a windmill in the past, so symbolic X-shaped details often adorn their products. No wonder you connect Brixton primarily to the British, because it sounds British (Thruxton, Triton, Norton), and that impression is even more pronounced if you consider that Saxby has recently been sold as Cromwell, on the street in that London borough. But behind it all actually stand the Austrians, who are in The KSR Group's R&D studio has designed a full range of Brixton models with the 125 and 250 designations, and a two-cylinder Crossfire 500 has recently been offered.

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Likeable from close

And it must be admitted that they really put in the effort, so all the models are adorned with a refined design in retro and café racer style. At the same time, the place of production is hidden like a snake's legs, but it is easy to conclude from the fitted tires that it is still made in China. And they shouldn’t be ashamed of it at all. After all, it’s easy to ignore half-cooked bats and this whole new situation when you realize that the price is Chinese, too. And that means very affordable.

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In addition, the Saxby 250 is not only attractive from afar, but it is also adorned with small details that will immediately catch your eye. The seat is beautifully profiled with an embossed logo on the rear, the stop light is minimalist in LED technology, just like the turn signals. At the front, the LEDs are arranged along a round hoop as daylight and position light, while the high beam and low beam are solved by a classic halogen bulb.

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The same chrome plug has been added to the retro fuel tank. The wide steering wheel is adorned with classic round mirrors, rubber handles with embossed logo and front brake oil tank, and there is also a USB port for mobile phones. The handlebar grip and fork bridges are adorned with a solid finish, and this also applies to other parts of the motorcycle.

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The front forks of the classic type are protected by rubber protection, and the exhaust pipes are wrapped with asbestos tape. A detail that may seem pointless to you, but contributes a lot to the overall impression. Above the ribbed tires mounted on spoke wheels are chrome-plated sheet metal fenders, and above the rear fender is the same kind of tubular handrail for the front passenger.

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In addition to the side landing gear, the Saxby is also equipped with a central one, on which it is easy to lift, while a lock is placed on the side of the lower axle to lock the steering wheel. And speaking of the steering wheel, let's mention that there is a small round instrument on it. The rev counter is of the analog type, and below it the small display shows the current speed, amount of fuel, mileage and neutral position of the transmission.

And for the big boys

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Switches could be better performed. For starters, the main switch or "kill switch" is missing, which means that you have to turn off the motorcycle by turning the key in the ignition lock or use the trick of lowering the side foot. Both can be awkward in some situations, just as the turn signal switch is awkward, which is not turned off by pressure but must be returned to the center position.

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We pick up the motorcycle directly from the showroom and are the first to sit on it. Slightly press the start button and move slowly. The gearbox is quite rough and inaccurate, but we are aware that we are doing the first kilometers, so we do not bother too much with it. This initial roughness can be common for some other much more notorious manufacturers. The first station, just around the corner - gas station. We pour about ten liters, and when we are already there, let's check the pressure in the tires.

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When we sit on a test motorcycle, our eyes first fall on the tires, and these were immediately a thorn in our side, which later proved to be correct, especially in the case of the front. In the first kilometers, the motorcycle entered the left turn finely, while in the right it would start slowly, and then suddenly began to descend. With the kilometers traveled, and the first layer of rubber used up, that feeling subsided, and at the end of the test it completely disappeared.

Let's move on. Um, it seems to us that the suspension is too gooey, or too soft. Obviously it is not set for a driver of a hundred pounds, so we tighten the rear springs, while in the case of the front fork nothing can be done.

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Although the motorcycle is smaller, the position of the rider and those of non-standard dimensions above 190 cm is quite good. The steering wheel is wide and high enough, the seat is flat so you can position yourself however you want. The fuel tank is narrow and just high enough to press it with your knees, and your feet are comfortably placed on the rubber-lined supports. The seat itself proved to be very good, neither too soft nor too hard, just right.

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The gearbox is a bit off, so those with smaller numbers of shoes will sometimes have to look for a pedal. Although the Saxby 250 has only 5 speeds, the gear ratios are finely affected, so the motorcycle is usable in all gears. Thanks to that, it seemed to us that the single-cylinder four-stroke engine has more than the declared 18 hp at 7,500 rpm, which is quite enough to reach a maximum of 126 km / h, with some smaller and lighter driver could certainly be faster. of which.

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Binary front brake

The unit works finely and evenly, and the exhaust becomes louder at higher revs. In city driving conditions, the delivery of power is decisive enough that, if you are the first at the traffic light, you can easily escape the convoy of cars and maintain a solid road speed on open winding roads. Between some 80 to 100 km / h you can enjoy enough without being burdened by legal speed limits.

With a declared 145 kg dry weight, which means a total of about 160 kg with liquids, the Saxby 250 is extremely agile and when you comply with it, driving on winding roads is a pleasure. In accordance with the norms, the motorcycle is also equipped with ABS, and one disc is mounted on the front and rear. At the beginning of the test, the front brake was quite weak and still worked on the principle of on-off, so for a more specific stop, the rear brake lever had to be used. Over time, the front brake became better, but the on-off characteristic was still pronounced, with the distance of the lever itself not being adjustable.

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We haven't explicitly mentioned the price so far, but it is the most interesting part of the story. The requested EUR 3.659 is far below the price of the competition from Japan, and still everything is nicely packaged in a motorcycle with a handful of details and a solid finish. Clearly, for that money you won’t get a wicked machine and the driving characteristics are all just not ecstatic. But the rideable and steerable Saxby 250 could be a good choice for a beginner with a pocket that is not too deep, and for some it will serve as another motorcycle in the garage, to go for coffee and race a bit with scooters - it's still a "café racer".

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During the test, we passed the location of the Kristina-Mandarina stand several times, as if by chance. Clearly, not wanting tangerines, but to take a picture of her next to Brixton, but the booth gaped empty. It was only after we returned the Saxby to the importer that the famous Kristina appeared - even though she was wearing a protective mask, we easily recognized her. E my Kristina, where have you been so far, you could take a picture with a real saw.

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