First bike? Yes please

CRAIG DUFF finds a two-wheeler to suit all tastes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

PRETTY packaging and sound me­chan­ics put Suzuki’s GSX650-F high on the wish-list for the av­er­age rid­ing Joe.

And with good rea­son. The bike car­ries styling and paint­work rem­i­nis­cent of its track-go­ing GSX-R brethren— and who doesn’t want to be seen on a good-looking bike?

Though it turns heads like the Gixxers, the GSX-F won’t threaten to snap your neck un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly the model we tested that com­plies with the Learner Ap­proved Mo­tor­cy­cle Scheme.

The LAMS ver­sion rides much like its un­re­stricted twin, but the grunt van­ishes at about 6000 revs, or half­way round the tachome­ter.

Up to that point, it spools up pro­gres­sively, with enough take-off to beat cars at the lights.

In short, it’s an ideal first-timer’s ma­chine that will hap­pily serve out your ap­pren­tice­ship and be­yond.

Be­neath the sporty fair­ing is a comfortable tourer; the ride po­si­tion is more upright and re­laxed than its sta­ble­mates and the screen de­flects most of the wind.

A comfortable pil­lion seat means two-up rid­ing can be more than just tak­ing mates around the block, but you need to ad­just rid­ing style be­cause the ex­tra weight will sap some per­for­mance.

The in­stru­men­ta­tion is again styled like a GSX-R, mean­ing a big ta­cho, dig­i­tal speedo and a gear po­si­tion in­di­ca­tor, which should be manda­tory on LAMS bikes.

The four-pis­ton To­kico brakes are more than a match for the per­for­mance, and the KYB sus­pen­sion of­fers preload ad­just­ment at both ends and re­bound on the rear monoshock.

There are plenty of points to tie down lug­gage and Suzuki will sell you a set of soft pan­niers if you are plan­nig on se­ri­ous tour­ing.

You should — han­dling is the F’s forte. It flows through a con­voy of curves with enough ground clear­ance for you to pre­tend you’re fac­tory racer Shawn Giles and it tol­er­ates the oc­ca­sional brain-fade novice rid­ers are prone to.

The best part is the price. At $9990, it is — like most bikes in the en­try-level mar­ket— sharply priced.

The GSX-F is a com­pe­tent all­round pack­age, in un­re­stricted or LAMS guise.

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