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Old 10-20-2015, 05:00 PM   #1
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2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000F ABS test review

If you were in your 30s and owned a sportbike some 10 or so years ago, more than likely you or one of your friends owned Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 “K5” model from 2005. Revered among knowledgeable GSX-R fanatics, the K5 (as well as K6 and K7 models, which used an identical engine) utilized a long-stroke engine design that provided quick-revving midrange torque in addition to a top-end punch that helped the then-latest Suzuki stave off a very capable literbike field to win nearly ever comparison test it entered that year, including ours.

But now you’re in your 40s, and your back and wrists aren’t as flexible as they used to be. You still want good, solid sportbike performance, but you don’t want to have your massage therapist's and chiropractor's office as a second home, either. It’s for you older sportbike enthusiasts that Suzuki has intended the all-new GSX-S1000F ABS for.

The GSX-S1000F ABS is one of a trio of new liter-size GSX-S sport machines from Suzuki—besides the fully-faired F model we tested, there's the naked GSX-S1000 ABS and a standard GSX-S1000, all of which are basically identical other than the twin headlights and fairing on the F model—that all utilize the aforementioned 999cc DOHC inline-four from the K5 GSX-R. New pistons are 3 percent lighter while dropping the compression ratio a tad down to 12.2:1 from 12.5:1. A new cylinder head with revised intake and exhaust ports holds mellower cams, with everything tuned for better midrange power. Those cams actuate stainless steel valves instead of the ultra-light-but-expensive titanium valves on the GSX-R K5, and this results in a lower redline of 11,500 rpm versus the GSX-R’s 13,500 rpm.



This engine breathes through the same SDTV (Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve) 44mm throttle bodies as the GSX-R, although there is only one long-tip/10-hole injector per cylinder on the GSX-S rather than the GSX-R’s dual injectors. Like the valves, the 4-into-2-into-1 exhaust on the GSX-S is made from stainless steel instead of the GSX-R’s titanium makeup for cost reasons. The GSX-S’s less aggressive intent means that while the transmission is basically the same as the GSX-R, the clutch omits the slipper function.

With rider aid electronics now de rigueur with current sportbikes, the GSX-S comes equipped with a traction control system similar to the 2014 V-Strom that monitors wheel speeds, throttle position, rpm, and gear position, but with three modes (plus off) instead of two that is designed specifically for the GSX-S’s more sporting intent. The TC system can be adjusted on the fly via a rocker switch on the left handlebar switchgear.

The twin-spar aluminum frame is all-new, with modern design and manufacturing technology allowing it to actually come in lighter than the GSX-R frame, and the swingarm is the same spec and size as the GSX-R item. The fully adjustable 43mm KYB inverted fork (which features a slightly higher internal oil level on the half-faired F model for more anti-bottoming properties) holds radial-mount, four-piston Brembo calipers clamping on 310mm discs, with a single 220mm disc/Nissin single-piston caliper out back. The GSX-S1000F and standard GSX-S1000 are equipped with Bosch ABS, with a non-ABS GSX-S1000 available for those who prefer without.
"it packs solid performance into an easy-to-manage package...and even better is the fact that the new Suzuki is manageable on the pocketbook as well

A new Suzuki feature with the GSX-S1000 is an “easy start” system that doesn’t require you to hold down the starter button until the engine fires up (and if you’re in neutral, you don’t have to hold the clutch lever in either). Granted, the GSX-S isn’t some big V-twin, so the comparatively easy cranking and quick startup of an inline-four make this feature more a novelty than anything else. Warm-up is quick, and the clutch has that usual good feel Suzukis are known for, so quick take-offs from a stop are a snap.

Aiding those quick take-offs is the engine’s decent torque, which swiftly translates into a strong midrange pull that allows you to drive hard out of a canyon corner or easily zip into an opening in urban traffic (or practice pointing out local bird species with the front wheel, but we won’t get into that…). But the fun doesn’t stop there; let the rpm continue to rise, and you’ll find a good amount of top-end rush that doesn’t stop until the rev limiter kicks in at 11,500 rpm. While the GSX-S engine doesn’t rev as quickly as the GSX-R, it has a lot more flexibility that permits you to pick a gear ratio rather than the situation dictating it. On our own dyno, our GSX-S1000F ABS cranked out a peak of 137.8 hp at 11,300 rpm, and 74 foot-pounds of torque at 9,400 rpm, which doesn't sound that impressive...but the power under the curve is what matters with this bike's intended audience, and the Suzuki delivers in that area.



The GSX-S1000’s traction control system was fairly transparent, although we only ran it in the least-obtrusive Mode 1 that is designed for clean and dry pavement. Even in Mode 1, you really have to get aggressive with the throttle to get the TC to intervene, and when it does, the system keeps a tight rein on the festivities (i.e., it doesn’t really want you spinning up the rear tire all that much).

We’d continue to praise the GSX-S1000 engine were it not for a fairly abrupt response off closed throttle, especially when getting back on the gas in the middle of a corner in the 5,000 – 8,000 rpm midrange portion of the powerband. While nothing like some of the worst offenders in this area we can think of, it does require some care when getting on the throttle. We also noticed that the throttle rotation on the GSX-S is longer than usual, ostensibly to help slow the opening of the throttle plates from fully closed.

The GSX-S1000’s overall handling strikes a good balance between supersport-agile and sport-tourer-stable. While not the quickest-steering bike we’ve tested, the Suzuki responds swiftly and easily to steering inputs, carving tighter lines and making midcorner line changes with ease. With somewhat moderate steering geometry numbers (25 degrees rake, 100mm trail), credit for the Suzuki’s nimble handling surely goes to the leverage provided by the nice tapered-aluminum Renthal FatBar handlebar—the GSX-S1000’s build quality is thankfully light years ahead of the parts-bin GSX-S750—and the quick-steering OEM-spec Dunlop D214 Sportmax radials.

The GSX-S1000F's seat is nicely shaped and padded, with enough comfort to handle all-day trips with ease. Ergos between the fully-faired GSX-S1000F and the naked GSX-S1000 are identical.




Braking from the radial-mount Brembo four-piston calipers and 310mm discs is strong and linear, albeit a little high-effort for really good stopping power. Overall feel and feedback is a tad numb, but that could be more a pad compound issue than anything else. And the ABS is also fairly transparent, not letting the lever pressure go soft or causing any heart-stopping freewheeling periods under braking because of overly coarse system cycling.

As far as ergonomics go, the GSX-S1000 (both the faired F model and standard naked model are identical in this area) continues Suzuki’s reputation for a well-researched riding position that feels natural and comfortable from the moment you sit on it. The seat height is moderate at just 31.9 inches, and the bend of the Renthal FatBar is nice; the handlebar’s height in relation to the seat offers just enough sporting cant in the rider’s torso to keep from being a windsail while keeping the weight off your wrists. Wind protection from the F model’s fairing and windscreen is surprisingly good (despite the screen’s non-adjustability), and the seat is comfy enough to handle an hour in the saddle without problems.

While we were a little underwhelmed by the GSX-S750, we came away very impressed with the GSX-S1000. Other than the abrupt throttle response, it packs solid performance into an easy-to-manage package, in both naked and faired versions. And even better is the fact that the new Suzuki is manageable on the pocketbook as well; the naked bare-bones version retails for $9,999, with the ABS version selling for $10,499. The faired F model comes standard with ABS, and sells for $10,999. Whichever model you choose, you’ll be getting some pretty good bang for your buck.

Specifications 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000F ABS MSRP: $10,999 Engine Type Liquid-cooled, DOHC inline-four, 4 valves/cyl. Displacement 999cc Bore x stroke 73.4 x 59.0mm Compression ratio 12.2:1 Induction SDTV, 44mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl. Chassis Front Tire 120/70ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax D214F M Rear Tire 180/55ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax D214 M Front suspension 43mm KYB inverted fork, adjustments for spring preload, rebound and compression damping, 4.7 in. travel Rear suspension Single KYB shock, adjustments for spring preload, rebound damping, 5.1 in. travel Rake/trail 25° /3.9 in. (100mm) Wheelbase 57.5 in. (1460mm) Seat height 31.9 in. (810mm) Fuel Capacity 4.5 gal. (17.5L) Measured wet weight (full fuel tank, all fluids) 475 lb. (215kg) Performance Quarter-mile 10.64 sec. @ 132.68 mph Top gear roll-ons 60-80mph: 2.64 secs.; 80-100mph 2.94 secs. Fuel consumption 36-46 mpg, 38 mpg avg.


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