Big bore — but not boring
Suzuki offers a subtle, powerpacked tourer, writes Craig Duff
WRAPPING a fairing around Suzuki’s naked big-bore sports tourer has created a low-profile Bandit that will still get the job done in just about any situation this side of a race track.
And for riders who like to fly under the radar while commuting or carrying the weekend’s camping kit, that’s not a bad thing.
Add to that the fact the big Suzuki comes fitted with ABS as standard and this bike is a genuine steal at $13,990. It’s easy to see it was built to a price, but hard to criticise because its all-round ability is second to none.
The Suzuki is officially known as the GSX1250FA, and at first glance is a big, relatively bland bit of machinery with a basic fairing livened up by a Gixxer-styled front light. It comes in stealth colours, too — a neutral metallic grey and a deep blue.
It’s nowhere near as hi-tech, high- output or smartly sculpted as some of its sports-touring rivals, such as the Ducati Multistrada, Honda’s VFR1200 and the BMW K1300. But it costs half as much and is far from being half the bike.
In many situations the Suzuki is easier to ride than its competitors, thanks to the massive mid-range torque hit from the 1255cc engine that encourages short-shifting through the slick six-speed ‘box to ease strain on fuel consumption and the rider.
The massive low-slung exhaust on the left doesn’t look great, but does a superb job of taming noise to the point where you can’t rely on the engine note as an indicator of speed. Let the Suzuki have its head and you’ll be heading to the magistrates’ court, where ‘‘but it didn’t sound fast’’ probably isn’t going to help your cause.
That said, it does lose out when the tacho approaches the 10,000-rev red line. That’s not where this bike is meant to be ridden, though, and will only be an issue at a California Superbike School ride day at Phillip Island . . . the Suzuki will lap any other track in Australia without needing to come close to those engine revs.
The non-adjustable front suspension is stiff enough that the bike doesn’t dive under the increasingly heavy hits the dual front discs will endure once riders adapt to the ABS.
Overall it’s a good balance between compliance and compression.
The bike weighs just under 260kg fully fuelled, meaning it’s expected to deal with 400kg once the rider and a decent amount of gear are packed on. That’s why the Europeans — who are priced into the $30,000 territory — have on-the-fly adjustable suspension, but the Suzuki shows just what you can do on a budget.
It’s the same approach behind the bars, where the mirrors can be adjusted for any load or rider height and the tacho and speedo/fuel gauge/ gear position indicator can be read at any angle in any light.
The seating position is comfortable, front or rear, and the bike comes with a centre stand.
If you want a bike to brag about but don’t have the budget to blow $20,000-plus, the Suzuki should be high on the list. Just don’t expect people to pay attention until you blast past.