FIRST RIDE: 2018 Suzuki GSX-S750
Middleweight naked charged with decent exposure By Don Canet
Suzuki’s modern naked gets redressed, reformed, refined, and a new lease on life in the public eye
Suzuki introduced its GSX-S750 to the US market in 2015 and although new to our shores the middleweight sport naked had seen no significant change since its 2011 European debut. And while the GSX-S possesses a degree of GSX-R DNA , it is not by any means (or intent) a high-bar GSX-R stripped of plastic. The performance disparity between Suzuki’s S and R platforms left wishful enthusiasts who hoped for a genuine Gixxer naked wanting more.
A host of revisions applied to the 2018 GSX-S750 aims to close that gap while retaining the performance value this platform has offered all along. New styling akin to its larger 1,000cc sibling, along with powertrain, electronic, and chassis improvements are front and center, but perhaps the most significant update to the GSX-S750 is now for the first time it’s 50-state legal and can be sold in California.
We recently got a first hands-on taste of the new GSX-S750 when Cycle World Assistant Editor Will Steenrod attended a Suzuki press ride along the Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California. Cost of ownership aside, relative comfort is a sport standard’s strongest appeal when compared to a supersport counterpart.
“Ergos are very comfy, even for my large frame,” 6-foot-2 Steenrod reports. “Legroom is pretty ample as sportbikes go, while upperbody ergos are a smidgen on the aggressive side as you’d expect. The new taper-style bar is nice and wide, making directional changes easy, and even though the seat is shaped for sport riding, not comfort, it’s soft enough for daily use.”
While this appealing aspect of the GSX-S750 hasn’t changed, updates to the 2k5 Gsx-r-based engine equate to a claimed 8-hp increase over its predecessor. Accounting for this are newly added crankcase ventilation holes for reduced pumping loss, a largervolume airbox, new 10-hole fuel injectors, and a revised 4-2-1 exhaust featuring a freer-flowing catalyzer.
Suzuki’s Easy Start System that premiered on the GSX-S1000 is now included on the S750, allowing onetouch auto-start that doesn’t require the clutch to be
disengaged when the bike is in neutral. It also gets the Suzuki Low RPM Assist feature that increases idle speed by a few hundred revs as the clutch is engaged with the bike in gear. This clever rider aid reduces the chance of stalls when leaving a stop and proved effective when we deliberately botched throttle/clutch coordination.
Now hooked up with the times, the new GSX-S750 includes traction control, offering three levels of sensitivity that can be changed on the fly via a mode button and rocker located on the left grip. The system can also be switched off (for unadulterated wheelie action) without coming to a stop, and your selected setting is retained for the next ride. We found TC Level 3 kept a tight rein on horseplay, while the other two modes allow the GSX-S to put its linear spread of power to pavement with vigor while having your back.
Although our testbike was non-abs, antilock brakes are a defining feature of the GSX-S750Z priced $600 more than our $8,299 base model. The new Nissin radial-mount four-piston monoblock calipers and 310mm petaltype rotors up front should put a stop to criticism the previous gen’s dated brake system has generated. Power and feel is very good, and for those preferring more bite, simply positioning the master a bit inboard on the new taper-style handlebar is easily done.
Spring preload remains the sole suspension adjustment front and rear. Damping is calibrated on the sporting side, providing responsive handling feel and steadfast stability at the expense of ride comfort when encountering sharp bumps.
I’ve always seen the GSXS750 for the attractive performance value it represents and have judged it as such. My verdict on this newly reformed edition remains unchanged with even greater evidence to support its case. Time will tell if modern style and features at a fair price hold up in the court of public opinion.