If you are a true believer of Japanese motorcycles, the Suzuki GSX-R engine is without question, the most potent engine there is. It may not be visible in the world of MotoGP but is often seen in the highways of the world. It is the preferred motor of stunt riders in North America and Eastern Europe.
My experience with this monster of an engine was felt when I travelled around the country on my Bandit 1200 and lived to tell the tale. My wife became fearless with our rides and sadly, couldn’t share the experience with her friends whose idea of excitement is shopping for a new bag. She just gives them blank stares while sipping her mocha frap. I have yet to experience a motorcycle that comes close.
Alas there is one. And is the next generation of the fabled engine. If I were blindfolded, I could immediately tell that it was part of the GSX gene pool. It has a rocket engine, smooth vibe and so nimble you would feel capable of using it as a getaway vehicle after robbing a bank. You will grow horns and wear a grin like Heath Ledger as the Joker. I’m not kidding.
The GSX-S features Suzuki Traction Control II, a system similar to that first used on the current V-Strom 1000. The system is tuned for a sportier application, offers an additional (third) level of adjustability, and can be turned off completely. When rear spin is detected, ignition retard is implemented to regain traction. This feature is godsend but may be frowned upon by thrillseekers but the switch puts the grin back.
The GSX-S is the lightest in its class. One ride on it and you’ll know. This pure sports roadster is actually a medium-sized motorcycle! Unbelievable for a 1000cc!
The main frame is lighter than that of the GSX-R unit, while the gull-type swingarm is straight off of the Gixxer. Claimed curb weight is 456 lb. for the naked model (add 5 lbs. for ABS), and 472 lbs. for the faired GSX-S1000F. Fuel capacity is 4.5 gallons, which is slightly less than its competitors, so factor that in for a fair comparison. The fuel consumption is what is expected from a liter but surprisingly, this one is merciful.
A 57.5-inch wheelbase and sporty steering geometry (25-degree rake/3.9-inch trail) indicate a great balance of agility and stability. Riding through Manila traffic poses no problem to this Gixxer. Stopping also is as reliable as the pull itself. The monobloc four-piston Brembo calipers and 310mm front rotor combo look add to the sporty presence, as does the fully adjustable 43mm inverted KYB fork. The KYB shock features a ramp-style preload adjustment collar and rebound-damping adjustability. With Jack as passenger we both enjoyed the kind suspension that is sorely lacking with its European counterparts. Say because it’s called for with sporty rides but this gentleman prefers the pillion butt-friendly.
It is apparent that the Japanese engineers keep the rider in mind. For one thing, the in-line four concept put the engine heat away from the rider. Sitting at long stops won’t cook your precious eggs. The Euros did try the fours but have failed miserably. I rode a few but a high performance bike just can’t make it in the real world. Especially in a tropical country. They just cannot equal what the Japanese have been known for.
But in terms of design, this is where the fallback is. A long look at the GSX-S indeed makes it identifiable as an Asian make. Its features are already familiar and also remind you of small displacement bikes you see swarming the metropolis. One rider on an underbone asked if it were a 200cc. In a world where brand and looks count the most, this is where the GSX-S takes a step back. I only expect experienced riders to get into this as they know the Gixxer’s history. Newbies nowadays looks for bikes like looking for a new pair of watch.
But they will one day soon discover why an epic bike like this doesn’t need any introduction or hard selling. It’s just there waiting in confidence and knows those newbies will discover the real deal.
Suzuki GSX-S1000 specs:
Engine, power & torque
Displacement – 999 cc
Maximum Power – 144 Bhp @ 10000 rpm
Maximum Torque – 105.75 NM @ 9500 rpm
Engine Description – 999cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline-four
Cooling – Liquid
Fuel System – Suzuki fuel injection
Ignition – Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Lubrication – Wet sump
Compression Ratio – 12.2 : 1
Bore – 73.4 mm
Stroke – 59.0 mm
No. of Cylinders – 4
Power-to-weight Ratio - 688.99 BHP per tonne
Torque-to-Weight Ratio – 505.98 NM per tonne
Specific Output – 144.14 BHP per litre
No. of Gears – 6
Primary Reduction Ratio – 1.553 (73/47)
Final Reduction Ratio – 2.588 (44/17)
Front Brake – Twin Disc
Rear Brake – Disc
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
Front Suspension – Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Rear Suspension – Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Seat Height – 810mm
Ground Clearance – 140mm
Kerb/Wet Weight - 209kg
Fuel Tank Capacity – 17 litres