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

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