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Old 07-30-2015, 12:10 AM   #1
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2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 and GSX-S1000F | FIRST RIDE

They say:Developed to satisfy experienced, sport-minded riders.

We say:Those riders won’t be disappointed.

In 1978 Suzuki released the GS1000E, contributing a late contender to the then-burgeoning 1,000cc “sport roadster” segment that at the time already included Honda’s GL1000, Kawasaki’s KZ1000, and Yamaha’s XS1100. Fast-forward 37 years and Suzuki has just introduced the naked GSX-S1000 and faired GSX-1000F, late entries to a booming naked-bike class that already includes the Honda CB1000R, Kawasaki Z1000, and Yamaha FZ-09, not to mention European bikes like Aprilia’s new Tuono V4, the BMW S1000R, Ducati Monster 1200S, and Triumph Speed Triple.

Suzuki’s GSX-S1000 and 1000F (the “F” is for “faired”) are intended to appeal to older, well-heeled riders that in their early days would have kept a GSX-R sportbike in the garage. These days (polls show) they’re after something a bit more upright and a bit less audacious than a thoroughbred sportbike, but they still want agile handling, strong and usable power, and quality components.

The 2016 GSX-S1000 and GSX-S1000F (below).

A 1,000cc inline-four ensures plenty of power, while KYB suspension (fully adjustable in the front, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping in the rear), Brembo brakes (with available ABS), four-level (including off) traction control, and impressive fit and finish ensure that either of these bikes will bring both pleasure and pride to those that own them.

The S1000s are easily identifiable from the front. The faired "F" version is on the right.

The popular 2005 “K5” GSX-R1000 engine was chosen because its long-stroke architecture suited the design objectives of the bike by providing strong low- and midrange power as well as a narrow width.

The GSX-S1000 and GSX-S1000F are distinguished only by appearance, price and weight. Both bikes have the same riding position and they’re both powered by a retuned version of the legendary 2005 “K5” GSX-R1000 engine but with revised cam timing, steel valves instead of titanium poppets, new pistons, and revised intake and exhaust plumbing. This setup is said to be good for 145 horsepower and 78 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s less peak power than the current GSX-R1000, but a dyno chart shown during the press presentation showed the GSX-S making quite a bit more low- and midrange torque, which should be a boon on the street.

?We rode the naked bike first, departing our base in Monterey, CA, and heading north along the Pacific Coast Highway toward some twisty roads above Santa Cruz. The S1000 offers fairly relaxed and upright ergos that are status quo for the class. The 31.9-inch seat height is approachable for most but tall enough to leave plenty of legroom, and the reach to the tapered-aluminum Renthal handlebar is such that your torso is bent ever-so-slightly forward to help counter the wind at highway speeds.

Tap the starter button—there’s no need to hold it down since there’s an automatic-start function that’ll crank the starter until the engine catches—and the low-slung muffler emits a nice mellow growl that rises to an exciting howl as the revs climb.

Thrust is spread on thick in the low end and it only gets better the higher you rev the engine. Roll the throttle open in first gear and the front end will rise toward the sky at 8,000 rpm and continue climbing until the rev limiter steps in at 11,500. The bar get buzzy between 6,000 and 7,000 rpm, but cruising at 75 mph in 6th means the engine is spinning smoothly at a relaxed 5,000 rpm, with all the passing power you could want available in an instant.

The K5’s power profile and gearing are perfect for the category, but the bike’s throttle response is far from ideal. It’s touchy, and requires careful use if you want to make smooth progress in a parking lot, in traffic, or on a tight back road.

Exacerbating the abrupt throttle response is an unyielding fork that transfers bumps directly to the grips. If you prefer your sportbikes stiff you’ll like the GSX’s stock fork settings, but if you’d rather have the front wheel follow the road you’ll want to take advantage of the adjustments and pull out 5 clicks of compression and 3 or more clicks of rebound damping. Doing so will make the front end feel less like a jackhammer and bring the fork into balance with the softer shock. It also helped me be smoother with the throttle since the bar wasn’t dancing around in my hands.

With more front-end compliance and better throttle control I was able to really enjoy the GSX-S’s sporting prowess as we snaked our way along bumpy single-lane roads beneath the redwoods. Suzuki designed the bike to be light, and while the claimed 459-pound curb weight (for the ABS model I was on—the non-ABS bike is said to be five pounds lighter while the faired bike weighs 474 pounds) isn’t exactly supersport territory, the GSX hides its weight well.

Handling is sporty but not too sharp—again, perfect for the intended clientele. The bike does what you want without hesitation, but it doesn’t dive into corners or quick-flick like a sportbike or even like some of the other, more aggressive bikes in this class. It’s calm yet quick to action, smooth yet excitingly fast, and turns in beautifully while on the brakes. The four-piston Brembo calipers, which squeeze sizable 310mm discs, don’t have a lot of bite but they have good power and they’re backed by surprisingly lenient ABS. TC monitors the rear-wheel traction and is adjustable on the fly, and your setting is saved when you turn the key off.

The GSX-S1000F that we rode during the latter part of the day displays all the same characteristic and behaviors as the naked bike, plus has a little more visual impact thanks to its full fairing. You’d expect the extra plastic to add a bunch of wind protection, but that short windscreen only shields your abdomen and the fairing’s draft only covers your knees. Still, the faired model will likely appeal to those that might be cross shopping the more expensive Ninja 1000, VFR800, and perhaps even the FJ-09, though Suzuki says saddle bags aren’t an available accessory as they are on those other bikes.

Besides the abrupt throttle response, both bikes are well developed and appropriately calibrated for their target audience. And while they’re designed for an older demographic, the GSX-Ss offer ample performance for younger riders that want something quick and comfortable, but maybe not as set-your-hair-on-fire fast as the offerings from Europe, and certainly not as expensive. Which brings us to price. The GSX-S1000 is only $9,999, plus $500 if you want ABS. The faired GSX-S1000F is only available with ABS and carries a $10,499 MSRP.

An all-digital dash sits neatly in the cockpit, providing all the usual information. The bar-graph tachometer isn’t the easiest to read but you rarely need to reference it—there’s power everywhere.

?Suzuki may have been late to the sport-roadster party with the GS1000E and a bit tardy with these new GSX-Ss, but just as the GS1000E and the half-faired GS1000S were strong contenders in their day these new machines should prove plenty competitive against their Japanese competition. We’re looking forward to seeing just how well they stack up.

The GSX-Ss’ split-spoke wheels are shod with specially developed Dunlop D214 sport tires. They worked very well, sticking like glue and providing great handling and feedback.


EVOLUTION*The heart of the K5 Gixxer slotted into a upright chassis and wrapped in respectably sporty styling.RIVALS*Aprilia Tuono V4, BMW S1000R, Ducati Monster 1200 S , Honda CB1000R, Kawasaki Z1000, MV Agusta Brutale, Triumph Speed Triple, Yamaha FZ-09TECH*PRICE$10,499 and $10,999 as testedENGINE999cc, liquid-cooled inline-fourTRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE6-speed/chainCLAIMED HORSEPOWER145.0 hp @ 10,000 rpmCLAIMED TORQUE78.2 lb-ft @ 9500 rpmFRAMEAluminum twin-sparFRONT SUSPENSIONKYB 43mm fork adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7-in. travelREAR SUSPENSIONKYB shock adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping; 5.1-in. travelFRONT BRAKEBrembo four-piston calipers, 310mm discs with ABSREAR BRAKENissin one-piston caliper, 220mm disc with ABSRAKE/TRAIL25.0º/3.9 in.WHEELBASE57.5 in.SEAT HEIGHT31.9 in.FUEL CAPACITY4.5 gal.CLAIMED WEIGHT459/474 lbs. wetAVAILABLEAugust 2015CONTACTsuzukicycles.comVERDICT*6/10 Stars - Strong, stylish, affordable, and fun, though throttle response could use refinement.

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