Suzuki GSX-S1000GT - The Freedom Fighter

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT - The Freedom Fighter

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT

It seems the tide may well be turning, ever so slightly. For a few years now, it's been all about the adventure bike. Everyone makes them and everyone else buys them, it seems. 

However, are we looking at the return on the sports tourer? Maybe people have realised that 260kg bikes simply don't work off-road. Maybe the adventure bike thing has run its course? I guess we'll see. 

What exactly is a sports tourer? This is another tricky question. Is a sports bike with a tail pack a sports tourer? Is the Hayabusa a sports tourer? It doesn't have any luggage options so, does that rule it out?  I think the clue is in the name; sports tourer. A motorcycle that can tour, has space, luggage and protection, but has a sporty characteristic.

I was recently invited to the launch of the Suzuki GSX-S1000GT, a motorcycle that encapsulates all of these attributes perfectly. We spent two days riding in Scotland, in an effort to experience the GT in what will likely be its natural habitat. 

In 2021 Suzuki launched the GSX-S1000, their naked muscle bike. What we have here is an evolution of the GSX-S1000. The engine and drive train, the alloy twin spar frame and swingarm, the fully adjustable KYB forks and preload and rebound adjustable shock are all carried over from the donor. This is no bad thing as the GSX-S1000 is a great bike. 

The GT comes on 120/70ZR17 and 190/50ZR17 Dunlop Roadsmart 2 tyres which did a pretty decent job. Day one was a typical Scottish day; wet and windy. I wasn’t overly keen on the Dunlops in the wet, they didn’t seem to give much feedback and felt a little numb. Then again, it was the first time on the bike and the conditions were pretty horrible. Day two was partly dry so the pace was much quicker and the Roadsmart 2's were great. There's lots of grip, nice and progressive with decent feedback. If this was my bike, I'd probably change these OE spec Roadsmart 2’s for something a bit more sporty and be tempted to try a different profile. I found that when slow speed manoeuvring, there was a slight resistance to the steering. Nothing dramatic and I hadn't played with the suspension at all, so maybe it could be dialled out simply. Suzuki put a 50 profile rear tyre on this bike and I expect that might be the issue. Personally, I’d try a 55 profile rear tyre. 

Suspension is excellent. We had panniers and tank bags but weren't particularly heavily loaded. I found the suspension to be firm enough to make you feel confident enough to really push if you want, and plush enough to soak up the worst of the uneven, worn and potholed back roads we encountered, without crashing and jarring. I haven't tried it with a pillion and luggage yet but will. From my two days of varied riding I can say the suspension is superb. It definitely ticks the sports box, and we covered hundreds of miles in comfort, so that's the touring box taken care of too. 

Brakes are the same monoblock Brembos that are fitted to the GSX-S and are good. In the varying conditions, road surfaces and speeds, I had no trouble but they don’t offer a huge amount of feedback. The ABS works well and there's lots of stopping power. I like them and think they suit the nature of a touring bike well. They’re not too grabby and felt strong and safe.

Suzuki’s 999cc GSXR1000 K5 engine is widely regarded as one of the best sportsbike engines ever. Suzuki fitted it to the GSX-S1000, and now the GT. It’s obviously been refined, updated and developed over the years, but is an absolutely wonderful engine. It produces 150bhp with 106Nm torque. When you want a relaxed ride but want to make good progress, you are rewarded with a very nice, smooth power delivery, but press on above 10k rpm and this thing flies. There is a real shove at the top end of the rev range, a rush of power and adrenaline that is raw and addictive. 

 

The gearbox is superb. Suzuki has fitted an up and down quickshifter that is effortless and smooth as silk. It really is a great gearbox. I've heard different views about the ratios. Some have said the ratios are too long so it takes a while to climb through the revs, others have said the ratios are too short and it could do with taller gearing for more relaxed cruising. I found it about right. Gear ratios are sporty enough that you can really get a wriggle on if you want but tall enough to waft around effortlessly if that's your thing.

Something for the weekend sir? I found the protection was good. There's a full fairing as you can see, which offers a good level of wind protection. On day 2 I was just wearing jeans, despite some rain. The fairing deflected the wind and rain from my legs enough to keep me dry. 

The screen is not adjustable, maybe an error here Suzuki. It was ok for me, but I've heard taller riders grumble. It does a good job though. 

There's no top box option oddly. I'm not sure why as Suzuki have fitted a new, stronger,  cooler looking rear subframe. There is an option of hard panniers which we all had. They are very good. We had tank bags too. There's no centre stand either. 

Comfort on the GT was great. The pegs are somewhere between sports bike and cruiser. It’s a nice riding position that is sporty, but you can easily ride for miles without issue. Bars are well placed and overall ergonomics are excellent.

You do get a really nice TFT screen and there's an app you can download which provides satnav which is displayed on the TFT screen. We had a busy couple of days and I wasn’t all that keen on the app. It seemed that every time I stopped the bike and turned it off, the app stopped, so when fired the bike up again the app needed rebooting. Most of the time I left it and just followed the others. I didn’t play with the app at all, so It might very well be really good. I will play with it next time I’m on the GT. 

Styling is an interesting topic of conversation. It’s unlike any other Suzuki, that’s for sure. I think it looks great and is well made. A quality bike. I would guess the styling hints at a new Suzuki design language. Maybe future Suzukis will have similar styling. We’ll see, but as a stand-alone bike, it looks great through my eyes.

After two days in the saddle, I was a big fan of the GSX-S1000GT. The harder you ride it, the better it gets, and it will carry two in comfort with luggage. I think this will be the future for motorcycling, we could well be looking at the demise of the adventure bike. I can’t wait for summer so I can take the GT on an adventure.

 

Kerb weight - 226kg (498lbs)

Fuel capacity - 19.0L (4.2UK gallons)

MPG - 46.31

Power - 152 PS / 150 bhp

Torque - 106 Nm / 78.18lb. ft

Engine - 999 cc

OTR from - £11,599

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