My lust for Suzuki Motorcycles goes back to the GT550, the smoking triple with four exhaust pipes and a unique top-end rattle. Flies on The Visor The Inane Ramblings of the motorcycle Obsessed
The Suzuki dealer was about a mile from my house, and I’d lust at the red GT550 they had on display, wondering how I’d ever come up with the £659 written on the price tag – about £7,000 in today’s money.
I’ve owned a selection of Suzuki GS and GT motorcycles over the years, and I still sometimes wonder why – four or was it five years ago – I sold my trusty V-Strom. Looking at the Suzuki range back then, my choices were either a GSX-R or another V-Strom. It was as if someone had pressed the pause button on new models.
Fast forward four years, and a lot has happened. Suzuki released the GSX-S1000 and the GT version, the V-Strom 1050DE and 800DE. The GSX8 and 8R, the road-focused version of the V-Strom the 800RE, and on top of all of that, we now have the GSX-S1000GX.
- 999cc Straight Four – 150HP – 106Nm
- 232 Kg – 845mm Seat Height
- 45.5 MPG (Imperial) Fuel Economy
- Semi-Active Showa EERA® Suspension
- Extensive Electrics Package with IMU
- Bi-directional Quick Shifter
- Brembo Radially Mounted Caplipers
- Tubeless 120/70R17 & 190/50R17 tyres
Some will say that many Suzuki motorcycles are simply the same bike in a different frock – an excessive exercise in platform engineering. I beg to differ. It is much more a case of Suzuki knowing the marketplace, what matters, and for which motorcycle.
There are core requirements that will apply across a broad selection of motorcycles, and using a refined base platform is just practical. However, adapting the rest of the bike is vital if you want to be successful.
Arguably, this is where Suzuki is succeeding and the driver behind them doubling their UK market share in the last couple of years.
Yep … Suzuki is smart, and it is not just about new models; that is the easy bit.
Back Your Product
When planning some of our in-depth road tests, some manufacturers we approach wince at the thought of their motorcycle being ridden more than a few miles.
It sounds daft, I’ll grant you, but one German manufacturer thought anything more than 500 miles was excessive for a road test. I wonder what they were worried about.
Conversely, when we asked Suzuki similar questions – 3,000 miles on a GSX-S1000GT – 1,500 miles on a V-Strom 1050XT – their response has never been anything other than “Sounds good. When do you want to start?”
Suzuki’s whole approach is different.
And this doesn’t just apply to flagship models either. There were no restrictions – other than please treat our motorcycles with respect – when we road-tested the SV-650.
Put succinctly, Suzuki has absolute faith in their motorcycles being able to deliver on the promises made in the advertising materials and has no problem with us testing them in line with those promises.
Very Long Warranty
It has been a while since I bought a brand-new motorcycle, but from memory, most manufacturers offer a two-year warranty from the factory and a third year that is partially dealer-supported.
Some manufacturers offer an extra year at an additional expense, while others want out of their liability as quickly as possible.
And then there is Suzuki’s Service Activated Warranty. Keep the bike serviced by a Suzuki dealer and enjoy warranty cover for seven years or 70,000 miles.
It is free of charge; just have the motorcycle serviced in line with the schedule, as you do with any other manufacturer’s warranty.
Compare that to an Austrian manufacturer who refused a burst radiator warranty claim because a Kawasaki dealer had changed the front brake fluid, and yes, you read that correctly. Changing the brake fluid can cause your radiator to burst … evidently.
Filling The Gaps
For what seemed like an age, Suzuki was synonymous with the DL1000 V-Strom, the GSX-R and the Hayabusa. A few revamped models were released, including my favourite, the 2021 XT1050 in yellow and black with the gold spoked tubeless wheels. Beyond that, nothing much appeared to be happening.
Yet, while the media salivated over yet another version of the GS, the product team at Suzuki was carefully studying our buying and after-market accessory habits to ensure they understood our needs, wants and desires.
First came the 1000cc mile muncher – the GSX-S1000GT aimed at those of us who loved sports bikes but for whom the practicalities of life now demanded something with a long-legged riding position.
Driven by the latest specification of the legendary K5 4-pot motor, now fully Euro5 compliant and with fancy fly-by-wire engine management controls, it has more than enough performance to invigorate the soul.
Next came the new 800cc parallel twin motor to fill the gap between the 650 and the 1050 L-shaped twins. The 1050DE and 800DE V-Strom were given 21-inch front wheels and longer travel suspension, removing any doubt that these are serious off-road machines.
Ensuring Suzuki didn’t alienate the road-riding community, street versions of the P-Twin 800s – the Suzuki GSX-8S and its sportier sister, the GSX-8R arrived, along with street versions of the V-Strom, with 19-inch front wheels in the form of the 800RE and V-Strom 1050.
Analysing the model range in the office, the only gap we could see in the Suzuki range was a sports bike to fill the space vacated by the GSX-R. The iconic Hayabusa has the power but perhaps needs the agility.
As a flagship model, the GSX-S1000GT can hold its own, yet it is more – as the name suggests – of a Grand Touring, mile-munching, continent crosser for the discerning rider. It is an absolute gem of a motorcycle but not quite the technical wonder wagon expected at the top of the range.
That one bike that brings everything together. Performance with comfort, enhanced by customisable electronics to maximise flexibility and enjoyment. That one bike that is the cherry on top of the ice cream, oozing those two most elusive factors – desire and affordability.
The cosmic shift we felt when Suzuki unveiled the GSX-S1000GX can be attributed to the desirability of the Kawasaki Versys 1000SE suddenly dropping 30 per cent. Weighing in twenty kilos lighter, with 30HP more power and costing a thousand pounds less, the GSX-S1000GX is going to give the Versys a tough time.
The BMW S1000 XR, perhaps until now the only four-cylinder comparison the Versys 1000SE faced, has the edge on power and is a tad lighter than the Suzuki, but the base starting price is £1,250 more than the GSX-S100GX.
If you want your BMW with a quick-shifter, cruise control and comparable electronic suspension – all of which come standard on the GSX-S1000GX – then you need to find a further £1,000 to go with the already more expensive BMW.
As for the Ducati V4 Multistrada, the base model is £16,995, £2,500 more than the Suzuki, and like the BMW, we haven’t thought about a quick shifter, semi-active suspension and cruise control yet, so brace yourself, as the price for the Ducati is going to sting.
The standard specification is impressive – it torpedos all of its rivals – but depending on where you are buying the bike, there are a few things in the accessory catalogue that you might consider essential.
Heated Grips may be optional if you live in southern Spain, but in the northern parts of Europe, they are essential. Sadly, the centre stand was also relegated to the optional accessories list.
There are two seat options available. A Premium (comfort) seat and a Low Seat.
Side cases that look very similar to the GSX-S1000GT cases are in the catalogue, along with two tank bag options which look to be rebranded SW-Motech.
All the options are listed in the Suzuki Accessories catalogue, which can be downloaded from Suzuki’s website – or click here.
There are rumours that Suzuki has more announcements in the pipeline, yet I’m having trouble spotting the gap in their line-up.
Nonetheless, and avoiding any parallels about the frequency with which London busses turn up, Suzuki may have had a few lean years when it came to expanding their range, but the drought is well and truly over. What they come up with next is going to be fascinating.
The queue of journalists trying to get their hands on a GSX-S1000GX to test will be long and is a testament to Suzuki’s achievement, and while my journalistic colleagues are all looking at the GSX-S1000GX, I’ll be the one trying to sneak off with a V-Strom 800RE on long-term test.
Not because the GX isn’t excellent, but because at £9,699 on the road, if the 800RE delivers as much as the 800DE does, there is so much more to discover than is written on the spec sheet.
Continue exploring the article at this link : https://fliesonthevisor.com/suzuki-gsx-s1000gx/
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