Close to perfection: Suzuki GSX-S1000
Suzuki’s big naked is a grand away from being bloody brilliant
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