The sporty one
You’ll be pleased to hear the iconic GSX-R1000 K5 engine is alive, well and living inside Suzuki’s uprated GSX-S1000F.
The 148bhp, 999cc inline four-cylinder motor has been tweaked to dish out more grunt and a smoother spread of power, but a leopard never changes its spots. It’s as raucous as ever and gives Suzuki’s sports tourer serious teeth when you rev it hard. Acceleration takes you by surprise the first time you properly open the taps and it wheelies off the clutch in third gear. The gearbox is a joy to use and that deep, intoxicating induction roar and screaming exhaust note at full pelt is pure Gixer filth.
There’s no question the GSX-S1000F sits firmly at the sporty end of the sports touring spectrum, in the same ballpark as the Ducati. It’s more performance-focused than the much-loved and slightly softer Kawasaki Z1000SX, too. That engine never fails to excite, but Suzuki hasn’t done enough to cure its aggressive on/off throttle response on this updated model, which makes it impossible to ride smoothly and hard to keep a steady speed on motorways.
It’s not all speed and savagery, because the Suzuki is roomy and delivers an Fjr-busting 57mpg. But there are cracks in the Suzuki’s armour: a low screen and minimal bodywork give you the least wind protection on the long haul, the buzziness of the engine sends your hands to sleep and the crudelydamped suspension and weak brakes can’t match the motor’s greatness.
Yes, the feisty GSX-S1000F makes much more sense as an everyday sportsbike than as a race-replica, but it just can’t match its sports touring rivals for long- distance refinement and equipment.
‘Gearbox is a joy to use, and the induction roar is pure Gixer filth’
Scotland provided some idyllic spots for leg-stretching