Flawed ge­nius…

Suzuki TL1000S. It’s so wrong yet so right

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

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

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