Middleweight nakeds are the most sensible sports bikes money can buy. Their popularity is exploding in international markets and the blend of a reasonable riding position and strong, but not scary power makes them far more practical for our death-trap riddled roads than a full-on supersport. This particular middleweight, the Suzuki GSX-S750, is quite a new machine and was only introduced to international markets last year. Our review comes after a brief ride at the racetrack and while we still need to see what the bike is like on the road, today’s ride was enough to discover the character of the machine in general.
Nature of the beast
Given the thrilling, almost frightening, ferocity of the big GSX-S1000, one can't help but expect the same from its smaller sibling. After all, they both look quite alike in person. The new 750 uses a similar version of the 1000’s headlight, but the ‘fangs’ that double up as the position lamps are now separated from the main headlight unit. The same goes for the mass-heavy front-end theme, with aggressive overhangs that extend quite close to the base of the engine.
As with the GSX-S1000, my favourite angle on the bike is the sharp tail end that’s complemented by a subtle brake lamp. The rider gets a spacious and nicely flat seat and the flat bar tapers towards the edges, creating a sporty forward stance, but not a punishing one. Facing the rider is the same LCD instrument cluster as on the GSX-S1000 – easy to read and sufficiently informative.
With such sharp and angry looks, it’s easy to expect a similar riding experience, but that’s not entirely the case. The engine, for instance, is borrowed from the faired GSX-R750 but has been re-tuned for this application. With 114hp and a peak torque of 81Nm, the GSX-S750 makes more power and a bit more torque than the GSR750 it replaces in international markets. That’s a strong dose of power, but it arrives in a friendly and predictable manner. The motor is tractable, like most inline-fours and you can haul it around in sixth gear at 40kph without complaint. Rev it out, though, and you’ll find that the real power arrives upwards of 6,000rpm and builds hard before tapering off just short of the 11,500rpm limiter.
The performance on offer is exciting and I was consistently seeing 227kph in sixth gear at the end of the long back straight at the BIC. That said, this is not the level of performance that produces power wheelies at will. And as with most Suzuki four-cylinder engines, it isn't outright smooth either, with some mild vibrations creeping in at the bar, pegs and seat from 6,000-8,000rpm; but these are minor enough to qualify as character rather than a flaw. Thankfully, the throttle response isn’t as on-off abrupt as on the GSX-S1000, and while it isn’t the smoothest out there, it doesn’t generate cause for concern either.
Friendliness seems to be the name of the game here and Suzuki makes up for the lack of a slip and assist clutch with what it calls the ‘Low RPM assist’. This system essentially prevents the revs from dropping too low when the clutch is released from a standstill, reducing the chances of stalling the bike. Basically, you can set off just by gently releasing the clutch lever, and this should also make the bike easier to ride in stop-start traffic; although, the clutch lever itself is a bit firm. Another nice feature is the Suzuki Easy Start system that requires you to press the starter button just once, removing the need to keep the button held.
The GSX-S750 gained a brand-new chassis when it first debuted and it continues to run the same spec along with pre-load adjustable suspension at both ends. The 41mm USD fork is by KYB and it offered good support under hard riding at the track. The overall suspension set-up is slightly on the firm side and it will be interesting to see how well it functions on the public road. Handling at the track is confident, but the Gixxus (...since it ends with an ‘S’) doesn’t feel light and it can’t change direction with the swift and effortless fluidity of something like a Triumph Street Triple S – the RS is in another league altogether. This is easily explained by the 215kg kerb weight – 5kg up on the more powerful Kawasaki Z900 and a whole 28kg more than the Triumph.
Thankfully, the brakes take no notice of this and the twin 310mm rotors bitten down on by four-pot Nissin radial brakes work well, with minimal ABS intrusion. For some reason, Suzuki insists on offering rubber brake hoses, so if repeated hard-braking is part of your regular riding routine, upgrading these to steel braided lines is advisable. We were in the first batch of riders out for the day and, in our twenty minutes of hard-riding, there were no signs of fade.
The GSX-S750 ships with Bridgestone’s new Battlax Hypersport S21 tyres, with some design inputs specifically for this bike. The tyres are targeted at strong performance in dry weather and they do well in that regard. Boosting the safety co-efficient is a three-stage traction control system, with Level 3 (wet or cold conditions) showing a heavy hand and cutting in at the slightest provocation. Level 1 on the other hand stayed quite unobtrusive and encouraged a few more liberties with the throttle, thanks to the knowledge that there’s a safety net watching your back!
Is this the middle-weight sports bike for you? Here’s the thing – there isn’t a single stand-out factor to this bike (for the segment) that makes you go ‘wow!’ It’s powerful, but the Kawasaki Z900 has an additional 11hp and nearly 18Nm more torque, both produced at lower revs. And, of course, there’s the Kawasaki’s incredible smoothness and refinement too. The Triumph Street Triple meanwhile makes similar power but it’s a much sweeter handler and it also offers a traction control safety net, although admittedly, it's not as intuitive as this one.
But that’s just the thing – the Suzuki is a fine sum of all its parts and it makes for a lovely, very sweet package overall. This is the kind of bike that won’t blow you away with one special talent, but instead it will win you over with a well-tempered and thoroughly likeable demeanour. And it becomes all the more likeable when you factor in the tempting price tag, enabled by it being a CKD import from Japan. At Rs 7.45 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) the GSX-S750 actually undercuts the well-priced Kawasaki Z900 (Rs 7.68 lakh), is significantly more affordable than the Triumph Street Triple S (Rs 9.19 lakh), and is also priced substantially lower than the Yamaha MT-09 (Rs 9.5 lakh). At this price, the Suzuki warrants serious consideration, and we’re itching to spend more time with it on the road.
2018 Suzuki GSX-S750 image gallery