suzuki GSX-S750 v Rivals
In this shootout we feature an Italian twin, a British triple and a Japanese in-line four, all of whom are in the middle-weight race
The four-cylinder naked street-bike takes on its middleweight rivals
IDING SUZUKI’s LATEST NAKED ROADSTER aT The BUddh International Circuit was quite an experience, but we’ve been waiting to test the bike on real roads to understand it better. as soon as we got our hands on the newly launched suzuki GsX-s750, we went ahead and called for the best middle-weight street bikes in one frame for this mega comparo. Get ready for an exciting ride ahead.
To begin with, we started with the Triumph street Triple, one of the most popular models in this segment, which seemed like an obvious pick. Now that we had two bikes at our disposal, things were looking up. we got the ducati Monster 797 and the line-up seemed complete: an Italian twin, a British triple and a japanese in-line four. The plan was to ride all the three from the city, on the highway, and on to the hills to bring you a winner at the end of it.
The latest bike in this Mexican standoff is the suzuki. This is the japanese firm’s first sub-1,000-cc big bike in the Indian market and looks the largest among the three here. The GsX-s1000-inspired design actually makes it appear like a 1000-cc bike. The 750 looks rather aggressive with its bold lines, large fuel-tank, and sharp claw-like tank and belly pan extensions. Like most other street bikes, the GsX-s750 also has a relaxed, slightly forward-canted riding position.
The suzuki is up against the popular Triumph street Triple 765. Getting on to the bike immediately brings back memories of riding the “rs” version on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya just before its launch last year. In this comparison, however, we have the entry-level “s” version due to its affordable price and matching performance.
as we waited for the Monster 797, we couldn’t help admiring the drastically different design approach of the Triumph and suzuki. The street Triple is very compact and has a distinguishably street Triple demeanour. From the shape of the fuel tank to the panels, it’s an evolution of the legendary street Triple design. The 765 looks a lot like the rx variant and gets a similar bikini-fairing above the headlamps. The twin-pod headlamp is more rounded as compared to the more angular ones on the older model. The new “gullwing” swing-arm promises better handling characteristics and a stubby underbelly exhaust helps make the bike more compact than before. The rx-inspired tail section and tail-light give the new street Triple a shot of modernity and sportiness. It’s a likeable design, but next to the GsX-s750 it falls short on sheer road presence.
The ducati Monster 797 with its after-market Termignoni exhaust makes quite an impressive appearance in the milky-white body colour with flaming-red frame. Its round headlight, beautifully contoured fuel-tank with a chunky fork, and bare trellis frame make the Monster create the ideal streetfighter stance; a proven old-school approach finished to perfection. Upon closer inspection, we noticed that being a dealer test bike it came equipped with a few more accessories such as the stylish rear-view mirror and adjustable brake and clutch levers. The ducati has a certain premium-ness
about it and attention to detail is pretty impressive.
With its low saddle (805 mm) and without any tank extensions or even a fairing, the ducati is rather convenient to manage as you pull it out of the garage. the triumph, with its slightly taller seat height (810 mm), compact dimensions, and light weight, was the easiest of the lot to manoeuvre.
hopping off the triumph and on to the Suzuki makes the gSX-S750 feel like a bike from another segment altogether. You need a little more effort to move it about due to its big-bike design. it has the tallest seat (820 mm) and is the heaviest among the three.
now, before we head out let’s do a quick tech check. the lCd instrument cluster of the Monster can be upgraded to the ducati Multimedia System (dMS), but in the standard format it offers the basic info, which makes the layout very easy to read on the go. the safety tech has a Bosch 9.1 MP aBS with an internal pressure sensor that comes handy during panic braking. Since it’s the entry-level Monster, sitting under the 821, it doesn’t get riding modes or traction control.
in comparison, the Suzuki is better equipped. like the bike design, the 750’s lCd instrument cluster is also similar to gSXS1000’s and gives out more information. But there’s a lot happening on the small display which might leave some riders in a tizzy. no ride-by-wire means no riding modes; though it does get three levels of traction control and aBS and it’s easy to turn them all off if you’re game for frequent lift-offs.
The drastically different design approach of the Suzuki, Triumph and Ducati give each of these middle-weights a distinct character
the Street triple S version doesn’t get the colour lCd instrument panel seen on the rS model but carries forward the analogue-cum-digital instrument cluster from the older triple 675. the analogue tachometer is easy to follow and rev-limiter lights on it also come handy. the quality of switches is well up to the mark and the layout is pretty user-friendly. thanks to the ride-by-wire throttle and traction control, the 765 gets a couple of riding modes, road and rain, which modulate the throttle response and power accordingly. like the other two bikes, the triumph also comes with aBS as standard and we were pleased to see that because, as we set off to ride the bike, the rain gods unleashed their bounty upon us.
We start with the Suzuki. a light push on the starter and the in-line four comes alive with a restrained hum. Feed more gas and it becomes a soothing howl. keep the throttle pinned and the combined sound from the intake and exhaust will sound like symphony. the rev-happy motor is all about refinement and smoothness. it borrows the powertrain from the iconic k5 gSX-r750 sport bike but the performance has been toned down to make it friendlier. it now churns out 114 PS and 81 nm of torque. this has not just mellowed the manic power delivery the r750 was known for, but also helped achieve a flatter torque curve. there’s no juddering at low speeds and though the performance is brisk, it won’t give you the goosebumps. Being an in-line four, it doesn’t need to be constantly revved hard and hence doesn’t become a furnace in traffic. the Suzuki is an easy bike to potter around town and its controlled manners make it an ideal middle-weight to upgrade to.
Surprisingly, the three bikes are set up fairly well for street riding, without the usual stiff-for-the-road firmness one expects from bigger bikes. their chassis, however, are very differently set up. the Suzuki has the most heft, the ducati is fairly sophisticated, and the triumph is the sharpest. the 41mm kYB front fork and a rear monoshock on the Suzuki can be adjusted according to the road situation. even in the standard set-up, the suspension slings in the usual undulation and only craters manage to slip through. the muscular body, deep seating, and narrow handlebar make it feel bigger than the others. But the gSX-S750 will surprise you with its handling and cornering behaviour. it’s only while changing direction in a fast series of bends does one feel its weight; a trait which, otherwise, remains well disguised by the short wheelbase and the communicative Bridgestone Battlax S21 tyres. But those who’ve had experience with bigger bikes might find the bulk, soft-ish suspension, and the restrained power delivery a bit underwhelming. it remains precise and powerful but not as emotionally stimulating.
the ducati is all about emotion and passion. an 803-cc, air-cooled, l-twin engine bolted on to a trellis frame will
Each bike has a unique proposition - 750’s controlled manners, 797’s Italian flair, and the 765’s flexible power delivery
transport you to the simpler days when bikes weren’t overloaded with electronics. the Monster 797 also happens to be the least powerful bike in this comparison, generating a modest 73 PS at 8,250 rpm and 67 nm of peak torque at 5,750 rpm. it’s the same motor which powers the Scrambler and is pretty smooth at lower speeds. the fuelling is considerably better than in the Scrambler, though it falls short in refinement as compared to the Suzuki and triumph. the motor has the usual ducati characteristic clatter but the termignoni drowns everything around with its pronounced roar. the air-cooled motor does generate some heat but, thanks to the riding trousers, it didn’t bother me much. the light clutch with slip-assist makes the Monster a friendly ducati to live with.
a huge chunk of torque comes in around 3,000 rpm and continues to flow till the red-line, giving the 797 the punch you need in the city. on empty roads, one can keep the speedo at 80 km/h with the twin revving effortlessly and, as i opened the gas, it breached the 150-km/h mark in seconds. it clearly isn’t slow but gunning through a highway one has to put in extra effort to keep up with the more powerful competition.
the 43-mm uSd kayaba front fork is the chunkiest of the lot, while a Sachs monoshock with adjustable spring preload and rebound offers damping for the rear wheel. this combination ensures a taut ride which, along with the wide seat and relaxed rider geometry, makes the 797 supremely comfortable to ride for hours. like most ducatis, the 797’s balance among the suspension, chassis, and weight distribution is pretty spot on and it dips gracefully into sweeping corners. though not the sharpest in this lot, it sure is swift and confident. the Pirelli diablo rosso ii tyres communicated well with the rider but seemed less grippy than the Pirelli diablo rosso Corsa on the triumph.
talking of which, the Street triple gets 765-cc engine, derived from the one especially developed for Moto2. Besides, it gets a brand-new chassis and suspension set-up. it uses a 41-mm Showa fork equipped with Separate Function Forks tech and a Showa monoshock rear unit with a piggyback reservoir that offers adjustable preload. tuned to offer the best of comfort and sportiness, the S surely is more forgiving than its track-focused rS sibling and can ride over broken roads without protest. But if it hits an unexpected pothole while going fast, then the softer front tends to bottom out and upset the bike, which wouldn’t be the case in the more premium rS which has an adjustable front fork.
With 113 PS on tap, the triumph comes closest to the gSX-S750, though the highrevving engine peaks slightly higher power-wise at 11,250 rpm and 73 nm of torque at 10,421 rpm. the triumph takes the best from both worlds - blending the robust acceleration of a twin with the solid top-end punch of an in-line four. this allows the rider the flexibility to cruise around in a higher gear and open the throttle to surge ahead without shedding gears. and when the urge arises, one can kick down a couple of gears, bring the triple to a boil, enjoy its raspy exhaust note, and dart ahead to seize the empty patch of road. this dual character gives the Street triple 765 an edge over its
The Street Triple S takes this one, simply because it’s extremely versatile and a bike you can have the most fun with
competitors, while the nimble handling and sticky rosso Corsa make it supremely confident as it blazes through fast corners and sharp bends. and i exploited every inch of it on the winding hilly roads.
as we were riding back to town, we started to weigh the pros and cons of each of these beautiful bikes. the latest entrant is the Suzuki gSX-S750 which, at rs 7.51 lakh (exshowroom, Pune), is staggering value for an in-line four. the only thing holding it back from hitting a home-run are its bulky proportions and clinical nature. it uses good quality components which work well together, but considering the jaw-dropping price, you are not missing much.
the ducati Monster 797 oozes italian flair and enviable heritage, while the charming Desmodue twin brings it to the top order of the first big bike list. the entry-level Monster with its top-class parts is priced at rs 8.03 lakh (exshowroom, Pune). this would tempt me to invest another lakh and a half for the new Monster 821 which offers more power and features.
My pick in this trio is the triumph Street triple S. it happens to be the most expensive bike here with a sticker of rs 9.32 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune). that’s a lot of money considering that the triumph is assembled in india and is the entry-level Street triple that misses out on a few electronics and top-shelf parts that the rS gets. But i’d still put my money on the triple and, maybe, trick up a few parts to suit my riding style simply because it’s extremely versatile and a bike you can have the most fun with.
ABOVE: Using top-class parts, the 797 feels premiumLEFT: Not the most powerful but has a peppy power delivery and is fun to ride BELOW LEFT: Digital display offers basic info and is easy to read on the go BELOW: The entry-level Monster gets ABS but no traction control
ABOVE: Distinct bug-eye headlight LEFT: The Triple perfectly blends the peppiness of a twin and top-end punch of an in-line fourBELOW LEFT: No fancy colour display but an analogue-cum-digital cluster BELOW: Traction control, riding modes and ABS; it has them all
ABOVE: Sharp claw-like tank extensions look aggressive LEFT: Smooth motor with brisk but don’t expect goosebumps BELOW LEFT: The busy LCD gives out a whole bunch of information BELOW: Traction level control is easy to toggle through
ABOVE: Surprisingly, the three bikes are set up fairly well for street riding, without the usual stiff-for-the-road firmness one expects from bigger bikes
ABOVE: The Triumph is most compact ABOVE: The Suzuki is the heftiest ABOVE: The Ducati offers the most comfort