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Suzuki GSX-S1000 First Ride Review

17 December 2015, 11:49 AM Vikrant Singh

What is it?

The Suzuki GSX S1000 is a lot of things. It is Suzuki’s first litre-class naked. And one that isn’t just fashionably late to this naked party, it is late, period. And we say that because everyone from the Japanese to the Europeans to the Italians and even Aprilia already seems to have one. It has superbike championship winning DNA. And more importantly, it has sabre tooth and nicely filed ones at that. To us, however, the GSX S1000 is a motorcycle with minimal bodywork, lovely noise, and superhero performance; it’s one of those bikes that make you reach for your cheque book, only to realise that at Rs 14.5 lakh it’s also one of the most expensive in its segment.

How does it ride?

Once you get past the initial oversensitivity of the throttle, the GSX S1000 is as smooth and as satisfying as chocolate. You simply must have it. The engine – 999cc, liquid cooled, and inline four, borrowed from the GSX R1000 from 2005 – is the real gem here. It’s down on power compared to the old superbike (if 144bhp isn’t enough already!), but the potency and spread of the torque make it an absolute delight.

Those who like stunting, you’d love it for how easy it is to pick it up on one wheel. As for boring people like me who love short shifting, the GSX S1000 will let you amble around in 6th gear at as low as 50kmph; it’s great for the city. Even on the highway or twisties, one doesn’t need to go berserk with the revs just to make good progress or have fun. At 5,000rpm, the GSX comes alive. Hit 7,000rpm and it turns into a predator complete with a chilling snarl and neck-hurting pounce. Cross 10,000rpm and you better have strong arms and thighs to lock yourself onto the bike. The ferocity of the acceleration is so intense you would either have the bike’s front facing the skies or your butt on the ground watching the GSX disappear from under you. So pay attention when you turn that wrist. Plus, it has another 2,000rpm to go before it begins bouncing off the limiter, which in itself sounds really cool.

Suzuki GSX-S1000 [2019-2020]

Suzuki GSX-S1000 [2019-2020]

  • Displacement999 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)145 bhp
  • Kerb Weight209 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 12,52,633

Things just keep getting better with this Suzuki. The engine on the GSX S1000 might be from 2005, but the chassis, the wheels, and the tyres are all from today. So, the moment one gets on the bike and starts rolling, the near 210kg kerb weight felt while picking up the bike from the side stand, cuts to half. Ride it for 15 minutes and the GSX feels as light as the 150cc Gixxer (OK, not really, but you get the point). And this is at slow city speeds.

Take it out, hit a long straight four-laned patch of tarmac and if not for the lack of wind protection, even 200kmph on this Suzuki would feel pedestrian. But the real fun starts when the road starts to wind. The feel, the balance, and the grip from this GSX S1000 is outstanding. You don’t need to work this bike at all; you think and it does. Turn in: quick, precise and effortless. Mid corner: stable, adjustable, and grippy. Corner exit: WILD! Gas it, and like Flash you are sitting on the horizon.

Anything else I should know?

If there’s one thing Suzuki gets spot on when it comes to street nakeds from the 150cc Gixxer to this 1000cc bully, it is the seating ergonomics. The GSX S1000 might have rearset pegs and the intention to go like a bullet (no, not that Bullet), but it still has upright seating; one that doesn’t put any pressure on your wrists whatsoever, even under hard braking. The seat itself is large and well padded; something we haven’t seen on most litre-class nakeds. And then, the ride quality – though stiff – isn’t back thumping. One can spend long hours riding the GSX-S and still look ahead for more.

However, there are two things that I didn’t like about the S1000. First, is the initial response to the throttle opening – it’s too quick, too sensitive and too brain wrecking. Guess ride by wire might help here. For the time being though, being in a higher gear than necessary cuts the jerkiness significantly.

The second is the shape of the tank. Now, not many might agree with me on this, but sitting back in the seat, I simply couldn’t get my knees locked on. And this meant every time I got on the gas or the brakes hard, I was struggling to stay put in the saddle.

And if you are wondering how come I haven’t spoken about electronics on the GSX S1000 because it must have some; it is a modern bike, after all. Well, I didn’t have any on my test bike! No, it was all there, the ABS and the three-stage Traction Control system, but a malfunction meant, it wasn’t working on my test bike. So, yes, I was lighting up my rear and locking up my front unintentionally, and scaring myself silly. Apologies then for I can’t tell you how good or bad these electronics function.

Should I buy one?

Oh, I would…at the drop of a hat. No question. The thing with the Suzuki GSX S1000 (the electronics malfunction apart) is that it looks good, it is finely built and it is unexpectedly comfortable. But, it’s the easy accessibility to all that power and torque that makes it such a sweet motorcycle to ride. And live with. Among all the litre-class nakeds (at this price point), the Suzuki GSX S1000 is the only one I could think of as my daily ride.

Where does it fit in?

As we mentioned earlier everyone from your uncle to his granddad to his carpenter is making a litre-class naked. But, at this price point, you have three other Japanese nakeds to choose from. The Honda CB1000R with 129bhp and a list price of Rs 14.1 lakh; the 139bhp, Rs 14.2 lakh Kawasaki Z1000; and the Yamaha FZ1, which with 148bhp is the most powerful, but at Rs 12.7 lakh is also the cheapest.

Photography by Kapil Angane