First bike? Yes please
CRAIG DUFF finds a two-wheeler to suit all tastes
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.