Can Suzuki now win race for road bike sales?

The fu­ture looks bleak.

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment - Gareth Ash­man, 01733-468118

Suzuki are do­ing some bril­liant stuff on the race track but now they need that suc­cess to tran­scend to its road bikes.

Run­ning a two-rider, fac­tory Motogp team does not come cheap and if UK sales are any­thing to go by, the car side of the firm must be foot­ing a large por­tion of the once-great bike builder’s rac­ing costs.

While new bike sales in the UK con­tinue to rise in 2016 with nearly six per cent more bikes sold so far this year com­pared to last, you’d think all man­u­fac­tur­ers would be reap­ing the re­wards, but Suzuki aren’t. Monthly sales are in the low hun­dreds, while Yamaha and Honda con­sis­tently shift nearly 2000 bikes.

Suzuki usu­ally lan­guish just in­side the top 10, with Lex­moto, Pi­ag­gio, KTM, and Har­ley reg­u­larly above them. It’s hard to know what Suzuki is now fa­mous for. Honda are known for build­ing solid, re­li­able bikes, Yamaha for giv­ing cheap thrills. But Suzuki? The brand once stood for cut­tingedge sports bikes... like the RGV250, the GSX-R750 and the ra­bid TL1000S. But in re­cent times, that edge has soft­ened. They still build some pretty de­cent bikes, but what is Suzuki’s essence? The thing they’re fa­mous for? For Suzuki to bounce back and be­come the big-hit­ting com­pany they once were, they need to take the brand aware­ness gained from the out­stand­ing per­for­mance in Motogp and build some bril­liant bikes that make peo­ple sit up and take no­tice. There have been a hand­ful of new bikes in the last cou­ple of years, but they’ve not led the way. The GSX-S1000 was okay but it’s ten grand and not as good as its ri­vals. The SV650 was brought back, but again it’s fol­low­ing the ER6 and the MT-07 and does few things as well. Let’s hope things turn around in 2017. We’re still wait­ing for the new GSX-R1000 that was un­veiled this time last year to ap­pear in deal­ers and let’s hope the firm that have brought us such bril­liant bikes in the past has got some pleas­ant sur­prises up their sleeve. Oth­er­wise,

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