A2 Friendly 2021 Suzuki GSX-S950Armani Moffatt
For those looking for a bit more excitement during their A2 biking years, or a bit more biker credibility if one was inclined to be slightly cruel, Suzuki has provided the perfect prescription with the new GSX-S950.
There’s nothing wrong with proper A2 bikes, of course, in fact, there are some real stunners that can form a crucial part of one’s biking education. By the same token, and given the extra control on offer with modern machines, going big early doors isn’t the questionable tactic it once was. Especially so in this case, as the 950 is basically a retuned GSX-S1000 (it’s still 999cc), with a few other changes here and there – welcome to big school.
Now then, while it’s clearly a big bike it makes (just) under 100bhp at the wheel, some 40bhp short of a GSX-S proper. This isn’t a bad thing for newer riders, and the 950 has a gorgeous perk in that it shoves out over 90Nm of torque which will deliver big bike thrills right where you need it and, let’s be honest, at the kind of revs most of us spend our time at on the road anyway. This also adds to the credibility of the model and gives A2 riders something to look forward to once their time is served.
Of course, if you’re buying one on an A2 licence, a kit will be fitted to bring it into line with A2 restrictions, meaning having just around 45bhp to play with for a while. So long as it retains a decent amount of torque it should actually still be fun and a great introduction to la vie grand moto. There doesn’t appear to be a quick-shifter, at least it’s not mentioned so could possibly be a future additional extra or just another way of keeping the price down for prospective buyers. It does feature Suzuki’s decent three-level traction-control system though, and the ABS will likewise be of the more intelligent variety. Also great for noobs are the easy start system and the handy low-rpm assist feature.
On the chassis side of things, it’s mostly as is bar a change on the front end with a new Kayaba 43mm fork, Tokico brake callipers rather than Brembo and straighter bars. This means the rest is a proper roadster chassis slanting towards the sporty side of things, so it’ll likely handle at least well as the 1000 does, or damn close to it.
There is one fly partly stuck in the ointment here, in the form of Suzuki’s own GSX-S750, a hugely and regularly underestimated motorcycle. If you’re in the market for a bike with around 100bhp at a cheap price (£7,999) and it must be a Suzuki, it’s almost a no-brainer in terms of choice – at least until we know how much the 950 will be. We still await a price for it, and with the 1000 weighing in at £10,999 perhaps somewhere bang in between that pair would be tempting enough to steal some sales from the smaller capacity GSX-S.
For A2 riders though, it should be like biking catnip, and if Suzuki is smart about the 950 they could provide a stepped, well-priced progression curve – 45bhp to 95bhp, then a trade-in for a full beans 140bhp GSX-S, all the while keeping them within the Suzuki ecosystem – if you’re at the start of your biking journey, what’s not to like about that?
Bikes are expected to arrive in August, so you could stop looking at all those 400cc machines now, and start working out how to finance one of these babies instead! This is a potentially brilliant approach by Suzuki, so it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.
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