AROUND THE TRACK
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.