Used Test

Get a GSX1400 mus­cle bike from just £4k

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week In Mcn - By Phil West MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then

“You’d have thought the GSX14 was a real knuckle-drag­ger but there’s sur­pris­ingly lit­tle Ne­an­derthal about this big-bore beast.

“Wrapped around its huge, 1400cc, fuel-in­jected, oil-cooled mo­tor is a steel, dou­ble-cra­dle frame that has the right amount of flex. At any speed, the en­gine is sur­pris­ingly man­age­able and tractable – but by no means tame. There’s a hell of a lot of torque – 93ftlb to be pre­cise, 20 more than a GSX-R1000. This is bik­ing at its most naked, most stripped down – which, for some, is not sim­ply one way to ride, but the only way to ride.” MCN first ride | April 22, 2001

But what is it like now?

Be­fore I even climb on board this im­mac­u­late 2006 ex­am­ple from Peter­bor­ough dealer Wheels (01733 358555, www.wheelsmo­tor­cy­ who’re of­fer­ing it for £5495 with 16,400 miles, I’m re­minded of the brash class of the GSX1400. The monster Suzuki may have been a late­comer to the big, retro road­ster class, be­ing launched, in 2001, well af­ter Honda’s CB1300, and Yamaha’s ev­er­green XJR1300 but it was quickly con­sid­ered one, if not the best, of the bunch.

With hand­some looks set off by clas­sic Suzuki white and blue liv­ery (by far the most pop­u­lar choice, although oth­ers are avail­able), class-lead­ing grunt from the big­gest dis­place­ment in the cat­e­gory and more than its fair share of classy touches, such as spanad­justable levers and chrome twin di­als in­cor­po­rat­ing LCD info dis­plays, the GSX had the stature to match its size. And as I ride out in the win­ter murk its class still shines through: smooth, strong-arm tur­bine drive; a roomy, man-sized up­right rid­ing po­si­tion, rea­son­able enough han­dling (though the bulky GSX al­ways ben­e­fit­ted from care­ful fine-tun­ing of its mul­ti­ad­justable sus­pen­sion) and equally big and pow­er­ful six-pot stop­pers up front. Bikes don’t get much more butch.

Com­mon faults ex­plored

GSX14S are gen­er­ally pretty bombproof with the main prob­lem be­ing leak­ing shock preload ad­justers on ear­lier, pre-2003, twin pipe mod­els. This, how­ever, is the later ex­am­ple with sin­gle pipe and red springs. Cos­met­i­cally it’s bet­ter than av­er­age, too, although wheels, fork bot­toms and en­gine cases can be vul­ner­a­ble to wa­ter get­ting in through chipped lac­quer.

An­other pos­si­ble area of con­cern is warped discs, brought on by ex­ces­sive use, the sheer bulk of the bike and in­cor­rect pad fit­ment – you’ll soon feel a hor­ri­ble jud­der­ing when on the brakes. This one, how­ever, is fine.

Wise ad­di­tions

Ac­ces­soris­ing GSX14S, as with most big retro road­sters, is vir­tu­ally com­pul­sory. In­deed, the end of the line Fi­nal Edi­tion FE model, is dis­tin­guished by hav­ing Suzuki Gb-fit­ted Yoshi can and main stand. This one’s typ­i­cal with a Givi fly­screen, Ren­ntec rack, white hug­ger plus front fender ex­ten­der (although nei­ther seem to do much to keep the road grime at bay), lots of R&G crash bungs, stain­less ra­di­a­tor guard, heated grips and a Data­tool alarm – though oddly no per­for­mance can. Most are de­cent qual­ity ad­di­tions and can eas­ily be re­moved if not to your taste.

Love rekin­dled

The big GSX14’S reign was short-lived, killed off by Euro3 af­ter just six years, which was a huge shame and part-ex­plains its strong fol­low­ing and con­tin­ued pop­u­lar­ity to­day. Me­chan­i­cally solid, most are also cos­met­i­cally pam­pered and, as with this one, fes­tooned with ac­ces­sories. As a re­sult, they’re not cheap but find a good one (and most, like this, are) and you’ll have a classy, burly road­ster that’s with­out equal, re­mains im­mensely com­fort­able and roomy for two, is rea­son­ably prac­ti­cal and ver­sa­tile and has more menace and pres­ence than any. As long as it’s in white and blue.

Other colours are avail­able… but why would you?

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