Fast Bikes - - CORE TEST -

Never judge a bike by its cost… or its front head­light, in the Suzuki’s case. A looker it might not be, but be­neath the av­er­age-styled vis­age lies some­thing of a track weapon. This was my first time spank­ing a GSX-S on a cir­cuit and I was open­minded about the whole gig, try­ing to see past the harsh throt­tle pick-up and slap happy head­shakes that had damp­ened many a good road ride in the past on the Gixer-fu­elled del­i­cacy. That’s a real talk­ing point with this bike; it’s use of an old K5 en­gine. To some, that makes it iconic, while oth­ers call it a parts bin spe­cial. What­ever you think, on track, that mo­tor comes into its own. It’s pretty slack low down, but then it grows some balls and goes like a good ’un, scream­ing a heav­enly note through ev­ery step of its tall rev-range. To keep the Suzuki on the boil means be­ing a gear lower than you’d get away with on a torquey ri­val, like a Tuono or Su­per Duke. It’s no biggy to adapt to suit its style, but you’ll prob­a­bly get a few funny looks on the high street when tootling by at 30mph with the en­gine bark­ing out 7,000rpm. Any­thing be­low that magic num­ber isn’t worth both­er­ing, as I found out first hand on track. When the power came through, it came kick­ing like a crazed ban­shee, open­ing my eyes for all the right rea­sons. The mo­tor felt strong, pre­dictable and us­able, with its only hang-ups be­ing its lack of a shifter or blip­per to re­ally make the most of the en­gine. Ad­mit­tedly, the ini­tial throt­tle pickup at slow speeds still felt just as harsh on track, but com­pared to the overly-ea­ger ABS, it was a se­cond rate con­cern. Why the hell are man­u­fac­tur­ers get­ting their ABS so wrong? The Suzuki’s far from alone in this de­part­ment, and it’s not even the worst cul­prit, but there’s no way you can cap­i­talise on the stop­ping power of its Brem­bos. Any­way, I’m go­ing to ‘stop’ talk­ing about ‘stop­ping’ and move on to an­other of the bike’s ma­jor talk­ing points; how it han­dles. There’s no get­ting over the Suzuki’s twitchy dis­po­si­tion, but I found its weavy ways never com­pro­mised it that much in a bend. The front end on this bike is ge­nius and the pack­age is sur­pris­ingly stable mid-cor­ner. It feels a nice and ag­ile mo­tor­cy­cle that’s open to sug­ges­tion if you need to ad­just a line in the mid­dle of a bend. I learned to like it and ex­tract all of its chas­sis’ good­ness at ev­ery given op­por­tu­nity. The GSX-S felt like a wide-barred sports bikes, es­pe­cially with its sportily high pegs that as­sured ground clear­ance is­sues were never on the radar. Over­all, it proved a well-suited track tool and the stop­watch backed that up.

Boothy loves an easy hooker.

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