Suzuki GSXS 1000 F

Visual Impressions
This bike was launched in 2015, as a ‘comfortable sports-bike’. I’m not sure exactly what that is, and hopefully it’s not Suzuki admitting that the GSXR 1000 is uncomfortable. The R 1000 is actually one of more spacious super-bikes. Anyway, back to this one, and I personally quite like the styling of the Suzuki GSXS 1000 F. There are those that say it looks like a bird but I don’t mind that.

It’s large, imposing and built like a tourer. I didn’t even mind the short exhaust on the right, but there are several custom end cans available for those who don’t like it. From the side, the styling is very ‘front heavy’ but again, not a huge issue for me. It’s been around for nearly 5 years now, and still looks reasonably fresh each time I see one. Like most big bikes, a tail tidy and a 200 section back tyre really add to the aggression. Unfortunately, I had neither on mine!

On Board
The upright bars and squidgy seat make this bike very comfortable on long journeys. The bars are reasonably wide, and this gives the rider an option to either lean forward, or relax. I did a 1000 mile trip to France on one of these a couple of years ago, and had to deal with all sorts of roads and weather conditions. The bike was great throughout, even if I wasn’t.

The switch gear is laid out in a logical fashion, and there isn’t that much to adjust anyway. The rider can choose between 3 levels of traction control, depending on how brave they are feeling. The rider can also turn it off altogether, which I never did. I used to leave the traction control in setting 1, which is the least intrusive. This is not because I’m brave, more because I’m optimistic. And perhaps slightly delusional.

I changed to this bike from an Aprilia Tuono. My first impression was that this was one of the only in-line 4s that had a similar throttle response. I absolutely loved this, though I know some others have complained about it. This is a very politician-friendly engine which definitely stays alert at all times. The engine is also very flexible and has a wide spread of power. It will happily take off from rest in 3rd or 4th gear, although I wouldn’t do this on a regular basis. The radial brakes are very strong, which is reassuring as the bike is quick and not the lightest either. Both these factors are bad new for braking requirements, but the Suzuki doesn’t leave the rider needing more.

Officially it has around 150bhp, which is about 20 more than the Aprilia. The engine is derived from an old GSXR 1000, the K5 version. Unofficially, there have been several reports that suggest that the official may be a bit conservative. As I’ve been lucky enough to ride several 1000s, this rumour certainly holds water. 0-60 can be done in around 3 seconds, and it will carry on to around 160. Same absolute figures as the Aprilia, but (to my bottom) this feels faster. This bike delivers a huge rush of power at the top end, which just adds to the excitement. This is what motorcycling is about!

Driving Experience
It treads the tightrope of being compliant when cruising, and screaming when you decide the horizon needs headbutting. It is noticeably quieter than the Aprilia at idle, but if anything a touch louder at top revs. Actually it’s much louder at high revs, and caution should be applied when selecting a sports exhaust. There is plenty of suspension adjustment to allow all riders to create a bike that can handle whatever is asked of it. The standard set-up was perfectly fine for my liking but your preference may vary.

I was more than happy carving throw twisty roads. The Suzuki had Power 3 Tyres, which are not the most modern but still had both good grip and feedback. I felt perfectly safe and happy leaning the bike a long way over on these sorts of roads. I had a big smile on my face while doing so too. My pillion was much happier on the back of this, than on the SV650 or Tuono. The clutch on later bikes can be a bit sharper, but Suzuki have thought of this. It will raise the engine revs slightly, just as the clutch is engaging to stop me stalling. How very kind.

Running Costs
I had a very cheap finance deal for this bike, and insurance was actually less than on the Aprilia. In terms of security, I had many chains, covers and a tracker, as I believe you can’t be too careful. Considering how fast it is, getting fuel consumption in the mid-high 40s is quite an achievement. Returning from the French trip, having left the channel tunnel at Folkestone, it averaged more than 50mpg. It did this all the way back to London, and I was quite keen to get home that day so i wan’t hanging around. Budget about £200 for each service (less if you do some of it yourself). Good versions of the bike start at around £6500, at the time of writing.

Who’s it for?
It’s for those that want the thrill and performance of a super-bike. It’s also for those that don’t want the backache, the theft worries and the costs of running a super-bike. In the real world, it’s just as fast as a super-bike, and you are far more comfortable at the end of the day. It is unassuming, honest and fun. It provides access to the world of the super-bike while on the daily commute, and the rider looks more interesting for not just following the crowd. Game, set and match.

MotorKwirks Value Rating: 80%
This is a bike that appears to have passed a few people by. This is despite Suzuki making the most of this bike’s engine heritage. It’s rare, a bit different but very relevant. There are plenty who want to go quickly, spend less and worry less. That’s what this bike gives. If you can stomach the styling (and the fact that only one headlight comes on), you’ll really like it. I did, a lot. Thanks for reading!