Suzuki TL1000S. It’s so wrong yet so right
The TL came from an era when the Japanese still sometimes shamelessly copied European machines (like Honda’s similar Firestorm and Yamaha’s TRX850, the TL was a rip off of Ducati’s 900SS). It came from a time when big power was left untamed by traction control. And a period when firms still got things wrong.
Its oddball rotary rear damper, for example, was plain wrong, overheating too easily; while the lack of steering damper to tame its ‘slapper-prone’ front was, arguably, also a mistake. And for these reasons the twin got an early reputation as something of a widowmaker which, despite later fixes, consigned it to ultimate failure. Suzuki withdrew the S and its sister R model after four years.
But after a few more years in the doldrums used examples are now bouncing back and the TL1000S is appreciated, with the rising prices to match, as something of a modern classic. Its 996cc V-twin is revered as a 125bhp punchy peach; its handling, though flighty (steering dampers were fitted in a recall), is manageable and exciting (especially if the rear unit is carefully set-up or, more likely, replaced) and the whole bike is well put-together.
For a time you could snap up a good TL-S for around a bargain £1500. No longer. But not much more than £2k could see you laughing all the way to the bank with good examples set to appreciate further. Just be sure to hold on tight.
Punchy power and a booming V-twin soundtrack
125bhp V-twin was an absolute peach
Steering damper was fitted after a recall