Close to perfection: Suzuki GSX-S1000

Suzuki’s big naked is a grand away from be­ing bloody bril­liant

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - richard.new­land@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com RICHARD NEW­LAND Sports­bike addict with a love of road rid­ing, in all weathers. Height 5ft 11in Weight 111kg

Rep­u­ta­tions are eas­ily gained, but much harder to shake. And the GSX-S1000 gained a less than glow­ing one pretty fast af­ter its launch back in 2015. It wasn’t for be­ing the class bully, or for its loose moral con­duct be­hind the bike sheds dur­ing lunch break – it was for hav­ing a throt­tle more snatchy than the fat kid in the tuck shop. But ig­nore the play­ground se­man­tics, there’s noth­ing much to dis­like about this naked bruiser– and af­ter a four-month bond­ing ses­sion through a de­cid­edly chilly win­ter, I’ve ac­tu­ally grown rather fond of it – just in time for it to be re­turned.

Rep­u­ta­tions are rarely un­founded – and the cause of the GSX-S’ woes proved to be the only facet of its per­son­al­ity that I couldn’t over­come by adapt­ing my rid­ing style, ex­pec­ta­tions, or tol­er­ance lev­els. But a Dyno­jet Power Com­man­der V made a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment to its fuel-squirt­ing an­tics, and trans­formed it from the class­room jerk, to just a rare an­noy­ance. The big pity was that its fuel in­ep­ti­tude masks what is an oth­er­wise fan­tas­tic en­gine. The power and torque both ar­rive with great globs of force, and

a beautifully rich and rorty ex­haust note. It changed how I rode on ev­ery jour­ney, turn­ing me into a 1990s Ban­dit 1200-rid­ing street thug.

Its other main weak­ness is the front brakes’ lack of power and feel. Hav­ing spo­ken to sev­eral own­ers, I know that pads help to a de­gree, but it’s a mas­ter cylin­der swap that re­ally makes the dif­fer­ence. MCN reader Tony Ad­lam swapped to Brembo pads, then added a Brembo mas­ter cylin­der that, in his own words, “was the game-changer.”

The GSX-S re­minds me of a naked bruiser from a decade ago – per­haps be­cause it’s the naked GSX-R1000 K5 we al­ways wanted at the time.

The lim­it­ing fac­tor of this bike is not so much its own skill set – or faults – but the fact that it needs to be rid­den with a level of com­mit­ment that isn’t in some rid­ers’ vo­cab­u­lary. If you own a Ban­dit 12, and want some­thing that adds re­fine­ment and moder­nity to that recipe, then you should take the plunge, and en­joy mak­ing a few choice mods to turn it into your per­son­alised weapon.

My hit list would in­clude a power com­man­der, up­rated rear shock, wider Ren­thals, new mas­ter cylin­der, and some de­cent rub­ber. Re­al­is­ti­cally that’s £1000 of ad­di­tional spend on top of the ask­ing price (£9599) – but snap up a nearly-new one from mcn bikes for sale (42 to choose from right now), and you could have a hugely en­ter­tain­ing per­son­alised naked for the price of a new stocker.

‘The throt­tle is more snatchy than a fat kid in the tuck shop’

Snow failed to stop play on the al­ways oblig­ing Suzuki

New­land makes a men­tal note of the changes he’d make to the GSX-S1000

The pow­er­ful 1000cc four eats up dry roads

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