Suzuki GSX-S1000 review, test ride
20th Jun 2015 2:05 pm
Can Suzuki’s latest street-fighter work its magic in India as well? Read on for our first impression.
Suzuki has recently launched a pair of big bikes for the Indian market — the GSX-S1000 and its faired sibling with the same name, adding the suffix ‘F’, both here via the CBU route. In the flesh, the GSX-S1000 looks rightfully a bigger brother of the Indian-made streetbike, the Gixxer.
The designers at Suzuki have not gone overboard, having kept styling on the compact-looking S1000 simple, purposeful and sleek, with smooth flowing lines seen the bike. The naked new Suzuki’s headlamp is equipped with two LED lights that protrude below, aggressive and canine-like. Even its tank sports flowing lines that taper off. At rear, there’s a minimalist panel that gives the bike a subtle, yet strong presence. Suzuki hopes to charm a more mature audience with the GSX-S1000. Snugly fit, the details on the all-digital instrument cluster are clear to read on the go. Everything is packed in, from fuel gauge to tachometer; making this an informative bay. The S1000’s USD front forks are gold finished, lending the streetbike a premium touch.
Palm grips on the S1000 feel soft and good to touch, as do the curvy, stylish aluminium levers. Bear in mind though, only the brake lever is reach-adjustable. Suzuki provides good quality handle-mounted switches, a toggle button here operating the three-way traction control system, while the headlight's high and low beam are operated from the pass light flick-switch. The mirrors droop downwards, and are really stable on their stalks as required on a fast bike like this. They work well on the go to provide excellent rear view.
The 17-litre tank offers decent thigh grip and its shoulders tower forward enveloping the bike engine and radiator. Underneath, a single, neatly designed side-mount exhaust does duty. Overall quality and fit-finish are up to the mark, with Suzuki using high-quality materials on the GSX-S1000, uniformly.
The GSX-S1000 shares its engine platform with their litre-class superbike, the GSX-R1000, in a fresh state of tune. The powerful 999cc, four-stroke and four-cylinder engine makes serious horsepower — 143.5bhp at 10,000rpm. That’s a bit more than Kawasaki’s new Z1000 and quite a lot more than Honda’s CB1000R. The Suzuki’s likewise impressive torque figure is 10.8kgm at 9,500rpm. A three-step traction control system helps transfer all that power to the road, which works brilliantly, to ensure the rear wheel holds good at all points of time. We rode on damp, early-monsoon roads on undulating surface with varying camber, and found the electronics allowed pushing the powerful bike with harder throttle inputs than one could even imagine on a bike without traction control. Fuelling has been well-sorted out on the S1000, with progressive, even relaxed throttle response offered for this powerful bike, making it not-so-intimidating to ride as earlier generation litre-class nakeds, like the Honda CB1000R. A strong surge of power is delivered from about 5,000rpm to 7,500rpm, after which a really solid rush kicks in and catapults you all the way up to the rev limiter at close to 10,000 revs. It’s effortless to achieve an indicated 108kph on the GSX-S1000, in first gear! The Suzuki’s exhaust note is a loud, addictive and sporty note, that’s music to the ears when heard echoing in the hills. The new Suzuki comes with ample performance to get you to and beyond 200kph in a jiffy, or then cruise all-day long at 150kph, should that be what you were looking for. Holding speeds of over 160kph is a chore on the S1000, as it will be on any similar un-faired motorcycle. The gearbox shifts with a flawless, well-weighted feel, supported by a light action clutch, that isn’t too much of a chore to use in crowded Indian riding conditions.
Get astride Suzuki’s GSX-S1000 and you immediately notice the plush saddle thoughtfully provided by Suzuki. The seating position is comfortable, mostly upright but with a slight lean-in to the bike handlebar. The footrests are slightly rear-set. The S1000 comes with a lighter frame than even the current-generation GSX-R1000, which certainly is good news. The Suzuki feels like a slim machine for a litre-class bike, more so around the crucial thigh and knee-grip regions, making for ergonomics that are that much easier to live with.
The S1000 also comes with fully adjustable suspension front and rear, upside down telescopic forks with spring preload, damping, rebound and compression and an adjustable monoshock and alloy swingarm at rear. We rode the new Suzuki on twisty roads in the hills, and found that it handles really well, with a stable, still reasonably light feel, apart from a willingness to be flicked about. Direction changes are quick with good grip offered by Dunlop tyres, that held on gamely even when riding the new Suzuki in wet, far from ideal conditions. The suspension is set a touch towards firm in its stock setting but does still allow for spirited riding, while nicely soaking up bumps and potholes even at high speed. A set of 310mm disc brakes are used in front, with a 250mm single disc rear setup, combining to offer excellent bite, with our test ride confirming the ABS works well even in the wet.
Suzuki’s latest has solid street presence, helped by its loud, intoxicating exhaust note that has proved to be a head-turner throughout our ride. It’s a really quick motorcycle, as expected from a modern day litre-class naked, and handles really well too, proving about as much fun on rain- drenched roads as we hoped for. Riding on dry stretches confirm this is indeed an excellent handling naked bike. And Suzuki’s done well to equip the S1000 with upmarket electronics including ABS and traction control, both excellent aids to have. The GSX-S1000 costs an affordable Rs 12.25lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), at which point there’s enough value to pose a serious threat to litre-class naked rivals, the Kawasaki Z1000 and Honda CB1000R.
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