NEIL SUZUKI GSX-S750
THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Saying goodbye.”
So long, farewell and, auf wiedersehen – goodbye. That’s right folks, it’s that time already. It’s time to give the GSX-S back; our stolen summer together has now come to an end. We’re parting as friends, rather than lovers – the Suzuki has been a willing rather than enthusiastic partner in crime, a reliable companion more than a soul-mate.
The GSX-S’s time with me has ended the same as it had started, blasting round my old haunts in Lincolnshire, reliving a misspent youth dodging cow shit and John Deeres in the quaint rolling hills of the Wolds. And for engaging in such antics, the Suzuki performed perfectly well. The 109bhp detuned GSX-R mill served up just enough performance to be engaging and fun, but never intimidating while navigating the ‘Shire’s narrower back roads. The steel chassis may be a bit basic, but overall, the handling proved to be pretty decent on smooth roads. Decent enough to scuff knee sliders, to not get totally left behind by sports bikes when it’s twisty and to explore – if not exploit – the grip difference between sports and touring tyres wet or dry. Unfortunately, bumpier roads highlighted the Suzuki’s biggest weakness – cheap suspension. Although re-hashing a 13-year old engine qualifies as a major cost cutting measure, the original GSXR750 engine was so good in the first place, GSX-S owners aren’t going to feel short changed by it. That’s not true of the GSX-S’s suspension though. I guess Suzuki didn’t find any old K5 Gixer forks or shocks when they went rooting about in the back of the stores for GSX-R engines. Shame, because proper adjustable forks and a shock would elevate the GSX-S from a respectable to an exhilarating ride.
Although the Suzuki’s ‘modern’ styling never really turned my head, I’m willing to accept that looks might be this bike’s biggest asset. Young and old, almost everyone seemed to think the GSX-S was a handsome beast. I did appreciate the richly flaked metallic black and blue paintwork though, when the sun caught it just right, the Suzuki did stand out. It’s been years since I spent any time on a naked bike capable of a good turn of speed. I’ve always gravitated to sports bikes, or tourers if I wanted to go, er, touring. But the Suzuki did surprise me with its jack of all trades character. I was convinced that a complete lack of fairing would make for an impractical bike. I was totally wrong. Apart from full-on tourers, most faired bikes just direct wind blast onto the rider’s head and shoulders. Unless you want to explore the last 30mph of the GSX-S’s top speed, the lack of screen to crouch behind doesn’t cause an issue, even on long rides.
In fact, given the chance, I would have been quite happy to use the GSX-S as a touring bike, the riding position and seat were easily comfortable enough for 200-300 miles per day. Once equipped with an SW Motech tank bag, commuting and spending weekends away were well within the Suzuki’s capabilities. Adding extra luggage capacity in the form SW Motech Blaze panniers put Europe within reach. Who needs a £16k GS when a sub-£8k naked can get you to the Alps and back and probably be more fun in the process? It’s been a good year. Cheers Suzuki.
YOUNG AND OLD, ALMOST EVERYONE SEEMED TO THINK THE GSX-S WAS A HANDSOME BEAST.