Big bore — but not bor­ing

Suzuki of­fers a sub­tle, pow­er­packed tourer, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

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.

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