Classics never go out of style, but they’re not for everyone. Some of us at the office are all-for shiny and new, while others prefer more retro designs. Then there’s me, who likes a bit of both, sometimes at the same time.
There are tons of bikes out there riding the retro wave of design, and there are also brands out there that are finding their footing selling motorcycles to customers with a keen eye for detail. Mutt is one such brand that wants to break into the custom scene as a motorcycle that will appeal to riders with a preference for the retro, and a good sense of style. That being said, Mutt Motorcycles are very new players in the big and bad world of two-wheelers but does this model, the Mutt GT-SS 250, have the chops to take on some of the big boys in the industry? Well, here’s a review to let you know.
- Outstanding build quality
- Well-behaved engine
- Friendly ergonomics
- A little heavy at 140 kg
- Tiny gauge cluster
- Hard seat
It all starts with a look. One glance and you know it’s a retro bike. It’s not a totally old bike by any means. Heck, it’s too shiny to be old because it isn’t. This is a 2022 year model Mutt GT-SS 250 and it’s called as such because Mutt made it more “touring” focused than anything else. Frankly, we don’t really see that outright, perhaps it’s because a lot of us got so used to seeing adventure bikes and sport-tourers with huge panniers and fully kitted-out riders that the concept of a slim long-distance motorcycle has become alien to us. Still, if you go back in time, adventure bikes were essentially standard bikes with more adventurous bits. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but enough to make you go: “yeah that makes sense on a long ride.”
That pretty much sums it up for us, correlating what Mutt stated in its marketing material with our experience with it. It doesn’t look the part of an adventure-tourer, but it is tour-friendly. The raised tracker handlebars straighten you up just enough so you can hug the tank and not tire out too quickly. The tank grips certainly help with keeping your posture on the bike plus the diamond grips also provides a good amount of grip for long hours on the saddle. Design-wise it’s a cut above the more common classics you can find on the road, and a lot of its parts are well-installed and tight. There wasn’t an ounce of rattle on this motorcycle, and we believe that’s its best quality—the quality. The paint was also done exceptionally well, and there was no misalignment in the parts, no loose bolts or flimsy panels anywhere—it’s just a well-built bike.
Then we get into the not-so-great part about the GT-SS. We suppose that it’s fair to say that it is a mid-distance tourer. In our experience, the seat wasn’t particularly comfortable given long hours. In fact, it only took about three before we started to feel a bit of a pinch in the posterior. The fixed footpegs are also a hassle to get around. While they are extremely stable especially if you stand on them, they get in the way if you’re trying to put a foot down or are trying to waddle the bike into a parking slot. If you’ve ever experienced hitting your shin on a footpeg of a motorcycle, be prepared to hurt your calf as well. The saving grace is that it comes with a beefy rubber pad to soften the blow slightly, but it still hurts nonetheless.
It’s not totally impossible to tour on a sub-400cc motorcycle. It can be done, and you can’t say that you can’t. Back when expressways were non-existent, if you wanted to ride, you just did. No fancy equipment was necessary. If you wanted to go far, it was just a matter of working up the courage and strength to do so, that and the upright handlebars help a lot, that’s most important. Though, for a small-cc motorcycle, the GT-SS is a very easy rider that we can kind of see why Mutt went with the idea of a “Grand Tourer Super Single,” which is what GT-SS stands for.
The engine that the GT-SS comes with is a Suzuki motor that has 250ccs of displacement and one piston. At first glance, it looked like the bike was carbureted, but it comes with a reliable fuel injection system that doesn’t require any choking or warming up, it just goes. Then once it goes, the bike likes to chug along smoothly at low engine speeds. You can even leave it in second gear and it will crawl through traffic happily with some minimal tugging on the clutch lever. Once you get up to speed, the bike can get a little eager in the mid-range of its powerband but don’t expect tons of performance out of it because its eagerness drops off at about 4,000 to 5,000 RPM. It’s not such a super-single, but it’s a good single. Mutt may have made a bold claim of it being “super” but we see why they were positioning this setup as a tourer because it just works if you’re cruising along, and for a classic single it’s decently smooth with a chill throttle hand.
So it’s not a performance engine, but it does exceedingly well in cruising. That’s what it was meant for in the first place, right? The throttle is rather slow to deliver power through its five-speed gearbox and to the rear wheel, which is fine if you’re not racing. The engine is a little slow to rev up, which is totally fine given that it has just enough performance to get you going and going far. With just 21 hp, it won’t win many drag races, and the bike had a hard time cracking 100 km/h in good time. Mutt stated that the bike can reach a top speed of about 128 km/h, which is fair enough given its displacement and par for the course for 250cc classics.
Handling-wise, it was a bit heavy to take around twists and corners, and the brakes are only adequate. The tires it came with come from an unknown brand but they were decent enough for the speeds that we were going. The bike weighs 140 kg and you sort of feel that weight planting the bike and keeping it upright through a corner, but it’s not something that you should be dragging knee with. That being said, handling is decent for what it is. Nothing too unmanageable to report here.
Trips on the Mutt were good at the start. You feel very secure on the bike thanks to the rather low seat height of 830mm, the tank grips, and the upright riding position. It’s a good city bike to take around and it’s pretty easy to ride on your commute to work. The mirrors, however, could be a little shorter. They’re rather tall and they can get in the way of efficient lane filtering since they’re around the same height as a crossover or SUV’s side mirrors.
If you ride on rough roads, however, be prepared to get tossed around a little. The suspension isn’t luxuriously comfortable, in fact, it’s rather stiff to a certain extent over potholes and bumps. The seat is also a little thin and you may feel a little something on your butt while you’re riding the Mutt. The engine also has a tendency to vibrate a lot at higher RPMs, so keep it on the low and you should be good. As mentioned earlier, the footpegs don’t fold in, so keep it in mind while putting your feet down and waddling. These solid pegs hurt, so master your low-speed maneuvers lest you suffer the wrath of bruised shins and calves.
Tech and safety
To our surprise, the Mutt GT-SS comes with an ample amount of tech and safety features for motorcycle riders. An ABS module is available here, and it activated quickly enough for us not to have long skid marks in the parking lot. Of course, we didn’t test this on public roads.
As for other tech features, it doesn’t scream modern, but it has LED turn signals and an LED brake light that still fits the look of the bike. The indicators also come with a smoked lens so that’s some added style points. To keep it looking like an old-school motorcycle, Mutt went with a halogen headlight which is not cutting-edge, but it keeps the bike’s design true to the retro theme, so we have no complaints about it in that department even if LEDs are superior.
Upfront, you’ll see a tiny little pod for its gauge cluster. It’s only one because that’s all the bike needs. What it doesn’t need are the indices on the tachometer that go all the way to 16,000 RPM (talk about optimistic), but it comes with a fuel meter, odometer, trip meter, gear-position-indicator, and a speed readout on its small digital display below the tachometer. The chief complaint here is that it’s rather small and hard to read, but it works since it kind of blends into the background given how it is so tiny. You can still read it at a glance but riders who don’t have great vision might strain a bit to read the fonts.
As a city bike, it’s perfect for beginners to start on or experienced riders to simply chill with. Its 140 kg weight is manageable enough, and at 5 ft 8 inches, I was able to put down my feet comfortably with no issues, but not without a little tiptoe.
The powerband is not scary and the clutch has a decent weight to it but the engine is very forgiving so it won’t stall out of nowhere, at least in our experience. We were able to get up to 35 km/L with this GT-SS, and it’s also got a 17-liter fuel tank which dwarfs other classic bikes and will keep you going for hours on end without having to refuel. The steering angle is decent, but it was a little hard to lean it over while doing low-speed maneuvers at first, but play with the clutch and stay steady on the throttle and it should be an easy bike to manage.
Pillion riders, be prepared for good accommodations. The rear seat is thick enough for you to enjoy, and there’s just enough length if your driver isn’t on the heftier side of the weighing scale. There are also grab bars so if you feel uncomfortable grabbing the driver’s waist, then there’s always another option for you to steady yourself.
Verdict and Price
If you’re in the market for a small-displacement classic motorcycle with some decent long-ride capabilities, then the Mutt GT-SS is something to consider. The riding position mixed with the friendly ergonomics and the very chill engine performance makes it a good choice if all you want to do is chug along for hours and hours on end. Just consider a seat upgrade at your nearest custom shop and it’ll make for a fine tourer of a small bike.
Either that or you can just have it and make it yours as a custom city scrambler. That’s the beauty with classic retro-styled bikes, you can do so much to it and the possibilities for accessories and customization are endless. It’s great out of the box as it is, but it’ll probably be so much better if you put your own spin on it—probably. Priced at P250,000, however, it’s a bit of a tall order, but that price tag carries a lot of quality, enough to rival or even surpass other competitors in the segment.
With giants like Royal Enfield pricing their bikes extremely well on top of being a known and old brand, it seems like Mutt may have an uphill battle to climb. Still, the GT-SS seems to match RE’s motto of being “built like a gun,” which is absolutely stupendous given that Mutt is still relatively unknown in the country. Its closest rivals in the RE stable include the Classic 350 and the Meteor 350. Oddly enough, these two models make around the same horsepower as the GT-SS 250, so it’s not totally out of the ordinary to consider a comparison between all the models. If you’re looking for more pep in your step, then consider the Husqvarna Svartpilen 200, it’s got more power and torque than the Mutt, and has a more modern appeal. It’s still not a pure-retro motorcycle though, and the same can be said about the Yamaha XSR155. Then you have the more affordable motorcycles in the market like the Keeway Cafe Racer 152, the Rusi Classic 250, and the Motorstar Cafe 400. In our eyes, however, this trifecta of affordable retro-styled motorcycles pale in comparison to the build quality of the Mutt. Only the Cafe 400 can be taken on the highway, but the price follows the quality you can expect from the bike. In conclusion, you pay for the quality if you buy the Mutt GT-SS 250 or any Mutt bike for that matter. It’s not totally retro either so there was some decent investment in tech and safety features to keep this bike up to the industry’s standards but enough thought to keep it from looking like the brand new iPhone (yes, I’m looking at you, Husqvarna). It’ll make for a good bike to ride but an even better one to customize and make your own. If customizing and tinkering around with your motorcycle excites you, then this is a premium template to work with.