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Old 07-22-2015, 03:40 PM   #1
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Suzukiís New Standard | 2015 GSX-S750 Ride Review

While the naked-bike category has always been a hot seller in Europe, itís only recently caught fire in the US, which has resulted in a slew of new standard-style models from the manufacturers this year and last. Itís a hopeful sign, as there have been a number of great naked bikes offered in the past that never caught on with the public, leading to their quick demise from American catalogs. Bikes such as Yamahaís FZ-09 have been part of this new naked-bike vanguard, continuing to be hot sellers with a combination of fun performance and low sticker prices. Suzuki is hoping to cash in on this revival with its new GSX-S750 (and its slightly tarted-up variant, the GSX-S750Z).

Granted, while new to the US, this isnít an all-new machine for Suzuki. The bike has already been sold in other countries as the GSR750 since 2011, again demonstrating how strong this category has been outside of our shores. And the fact that the GSR750 has been well received sales-wise in those other markets certainly didnít hurt Suzukiís decision to include it in its American subsidiaryís 2015 catalog.

Itís not difficult to see why the bike has struck a chord with riders across the world. Utilizing the same basic engine from the 2005 GSX-R750, changes such as a new cylinder head with different cam profiles and reshaped intake and exhaust ports flowing to smaller intake and exhaust valves (27.2mm intake and 22mm exhaust versus the GSX-Rís 29mm intake and 24mm exhaust) breathing through significantly smaller throttle bodies (32mm versus the GSX-Rís 42mm) are aimed at boosting the GSX-Sís low-end torque and midrange power.

The GSX-S750Z features a blue/white paint scheme, red shock spring, and gold outer fork tubes, plus a silver matte finish handlebar for $150 extra over the standard GSX-S.

The steel chassis is a hybrid combination of twin spar and tubular girder (both round and D-shaped) construction for the best blend of smooth ride and cornering rigidity. A KYB 41mm inverted fork is adjustable for spring preload (and in the GSX-S750Zís case, the outer tubes are bright gold-anodized), with the front 3.50 x 17-inch hoop carrying a 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone BT-016 multi-compound tire and slowed by 310mm discs gripped by older Tokico slide-pin two-piston calipers. Out back, a box-section steel swingarm holds a 5.50 x 17-inch rim with a 180/55ZR-17 Bridgestone BT-016 tire; like the fork, the KYB rear shock is adjustable for spring preload only. For the GSX-S750Z, the shock spring is painted red, while the drive chain has blue sideplates, and the handlebar has a silver matte finish; the paint scheme on the tank and bodywork is blue and white instead of the standard modelís matte black.

Although the 41mm inverted KYB fork is only adjustable for spring preload, the damping and spring rates are on the firm side for good chassis control. The GSX-S750ís saddle is surprisingly comfortable enough for longer rides, with good shape and support. Bridgestone OE-spec BT-016 tires provide excellent grip and handling in both wet and dry.

The GSX-Sís listed 32-inch seat height looks moderately tall on paper, but in reality it feels a lot lower due to the narrow width up front that allows your legs a straighter shot to the ground. The conventional tubular handlebar is set at a nice height that keeps your torso relatively upright without making you feel like a windsail at highway speeds, and the seat and legroom are decent enough that we werenít forced to stand up and/or stretch our legs during the weather-enforced sedate 120-mile ride in the Austin countryside.

While the rain prevented us from really working the chassis side of the GSX-S750, we were able to hang back during the group ride and see what the engine had to offer on some grippier sections of pavement. Suzuki continually reiterated to us that the GSX-S is not a ďde-tuned GSX-R750,Ē and while the GSX-S powerplant certainly has more low-end and midrange steam than we can recall from the í05 GSX-R, it lacks the revviness and lively personality of the supersport machine. Granted, the now-smooth and linear power curve is amiable enough to easily handle the less-demanding scenarios that the GSX-S was intended for, and thereís still a good amount of power there to pull snap wheelies when you wantóitís just that it requires more effort because the engine revs slower and the top-end punch is gone. The Yamaha FZ-09 (a likely competitor, especially with the GSX-S750 coming in at just $7,999, and the GSX-S750Z retailing for $150 more) definitely will walk all over the Suzuki in any acceleration contest.

The GSX-S engine is based on the 2005 GSX-R750 powerplant but with a different cylinder head (smaller intake and exhaust valves) and tuning aimed more toward low-end and midrange power.

Part of that advantage could be attributed to weight. While the power outputs of both engines are similar (the FZ-09 cranked out 107 hp at 10,000 rpm and 61.6 foot-pounds of torque at 8,500 rpm on our dyno, while the European claimed crankshaft power figures for the GSR are 105 hp at 10,000 rpm and 59 foot-pounds of torque at 9,000 rpm), the Yamaha scales in at a comparatively lithe 417 pounds wet. The GSX-S750 is nearly 50 pounds heavier at a claimed 463 pounds with all fluids topped off.

All is not lost for Suzuki fans, however. While the Yamaha might have the power advantage, the GSX-S750ís chassis and suspensionówhile lacking the rebound-damping adjustability of the FZ-09ís componentsóseems more capable on the surface. The suspension especially so; yes, we werenít able to push hard in the corners, but it was obvious the Suzukiís suspension rates are set up on the firmer side, an obvious contrast to the flaccid setup on the Yamaha. Final verdict will clearly have to wait until we have an actual testbike, but from what we could tell from the few sections we did attack at speed, weíre pretty confident the GSX-S750 wonít have the handling issues that plague the FZ-09.

The GSX-Sís front brakes are budget parts-bin items, and their performance reflects that, with the two-piston slide-pin calipers requiring a lot of effort to get good stopping power from the 310mm discs.

Again, with the wet pavement we werenít about to test the limits of the Suzukiís stopping power. But we could discern with moderate usage that the GSX-Sís brakes were a bit on the high-effort side, and feel was a little lacking. That performance is understandable considering the circumstances of no ABS and budget braking components.

While the jury is still out on the GSX-S750 because of the weather during our initial ride, the impressions we were able to glean were clear enough to tell us Suzuki has a solid performer at a bargain price for 2015. And after years of hunkering down and weathering out the economic storm, the brand is making its presence felt again, with two all-new 1,000cc versions of the GSX-S coming out in July and a new-generation GSX-R1000 soon afterward.

The GSX-S750ís instrument panel is basic but efficient, with a big analog tachometer and LCD info panel displaying the digital speedometer and gear position indicator in large digits.


MSRP: $7999/$8149
Type : Liquid-cooled transverse DOHC inline-four, 4 valves/cyl.
Displacement : 749cc
Bore x Stroke: 72.0 x 46.0MM
Compression ratio: 12.3:1
Induction: SDTV, 32mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl.
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT-016F EE
Rear tire: 180/55ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT-016R EE
Rake/trail: 25į/104mm (4.1 in.)
Wheelbase: 57.1 in. (1450mm)
Seat height: 32.1 in. (815mm)
Fuel capacity: 4.6 gal. (17.5L)
Claimed wet weight: 463 lb. (210kg)

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