New 2021 Suzuki GSX-S1000Armani Moffatt
Suzuki’s GSX-S1000, since its launch, has been a highly underrated naked motorcycle. Modest performances in group tests only underlined how the bike was behind the curve in terms of power and most especially the electronic paraphernalia department. With the new 2021 GSX, some of those weaknesses (in comparative terms) seem to have been addressed.
The 140-odd rear wheel horses the first GSX-S produced just about kept it roughly in the ballpark for naked sportsters. Yet make no mistake, the GSX was a roadster more than a naked sportsbike a la Aprilia’s Tuono, and was powered by an updated version of the venerable but effective GSX-R1000 K5 engine. With a focussed emphasis on low to mid-range stomp, matched with a chassis near perfectly balanced for attacking or strolling through varied national roads and an electronics suite that was far more angled at keeping you sunny side up than allowing you to push the envelope, it was nearly as good as anything else at the job.
Its styling was however, how shall we put this, extremely safe. It wasn’t a bad looking bike, neither was it ugly, it was just fairly run of the mill normal looking. And for riders who had a bit about them outside of commuting or general Sunday hacks, you had no option but to switch off the traction-control which even on the lowest setting curbed any enthusiastic throttle abuse. Yet 140bhp married to a modern chassis and tyres was more than manageable, and with the TC off the GSX suddenly developed a sparkling and rather fun personality. As we said, hugely underrated machine, and one that’s always been at a brilliant price.
The new bike we see here is anything but normal visage’wise, in fact it’s quite a brave choice by Suzuki. The stacked headlamp, for example, is the kind of design choice that will either be timeless, or look hopelessly outdated a few scant years hence. There will be no middle ground with this one! It does also leave a bit of a weird gap that will doubtless look far better when a fly-screen is fitted. The rest of the panelling is likewise as stark, with a neatly cut modernistic vibe. Suzuki’s new roadster looks sharp but best of all, folk will be talking about the styling now, rather than being generally indifferent about it.
It appears as though the K5 lump stays, heavily modified to meet Euro5 regs including modded cam profiles, reduced valve overlap and a new camshaft. There’s also a new ride-by-wire system to work alongside a more sophisticated electronics package, a Euro5 friendly exhaust and an updated slipper-clutch. She’s pretty stacked alright, and while many were hoping for a sportier version wielding an engine from the latest GSX-R1000, that would have only made it more expensive. Far more expensive, most likely, although the new GSX also benefits from an up/down gearshifter, another toy in the box.
We’re very much hoping the new traction-control is based on the GSXR-1000’s, because that’s a great system which on the lowest settings allows riders to test themselves and the bike if desired, holding a little finger rather than a hand, which keeps the edge of your seat experience popping. There’s a refreshed dash by which you can adjust the TC from levels 1-5 or ‘off’, or change between a trio of power modes. Oh, there’s also Suzuki’s easy start system to consider too, something that’s extra handy if you ride all year round.
On the chassis front it’s business as usual with fully-adjustable suspension from Kayaba, ABS equipped Brembo brake calipers biting 310mm discs, and rolls on OE developed Dunlop Roadsport 2 hoops. A new larger tank size is most welcome, with Suzuki teasing a potential tank range of over 190-miles from one filling.
The icing on the cake? An RRP of £10,999 makes this bike ultra competitive in a year when its natural rival, Kawasaki’s Z1000, isn’t even an option bar any 2020 versions left on dealer floors, killed off by Euro5. By rights Suzuki should sell stacks of these, the old bike was a gem in the rough and Suzuki have now gone and made it even better. At the very least it’s worth a test ride if you’re in the market for a naked roadster before you make a choice. The new GSX, plus that ace price, could just snare you!
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