First Ride: 2002 Suzuki GSX1400 review

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Niall Mackenzie's picture
Submitted by Niall Mackenzie on Mon, 20/09/2010 - 12:36

Visordown Motorcycle News


When I first saw pictures of Suzuki's new GSX1400, I had images of a big 1970s-style Eddie Lawson racebike thing. You know, big power, big engine, twin-shocks at the back and brutal horspower on a sit-up-and-beg naked racebike. That was the impression I got from the pictures, anyway. And when you get up-close for the first time, that's how it looks in the flesh, too. It really does feel and look like a savage old racebike. But then you get on it and ride away, and that's not what it's about at all.

When you ride it for the first time there's heaps of torque - but not much else. It pulls bloody hard from just 2,500rpm, but runs out of steam totally at 8,000rpm. I was expecting a redline of at least 11,000rpm with loads of midrange torque to it as well. Well the midrange is certainly there - the 1400 makes a Bandit 1200 feel like a teenage girl's blouse in the middle - but first time I tried to do a wheelie it all went to pieces when I hit 7,500rpm. The torque stopped dead and me and bike fell on our noses. You have to ride the torque-wave to make the best progress on the GSX. Just use the torque and keep shifting gears to get a move on, it's not a frantic or frenzied assault on the senses - just a crest of midrange power that you surf down the road. And it's really responsive low-down. In low gears it was a pussy cat, any throttle position, any rpm, it just pulls.

Once you get your head round the fact that how it looks is not how it rides, then the GSX is great. It's a cruise bike that looks like a dead hard racebike. The looks are intimidating, but the bike certainly isn't. And it does look brilliant, I've got to say. That 1,400cc sticker on the side carries heaps of credibility, with those huge, chrome exhausts, big engine and chunky bodywork. Just to complete the image you need to chuck away the mirrors and pull the handlebars back a bit to give you a slightly racier stance.

The handling is fine for such a big bike. The rear-end on those fully-adjustable twin rear shocks was really good, couldn't fault those shocks. Could probably even make it a bit better with some fine adjustment. But the front end isn't so good. Front ends always tend to be a weak spot on musclebikes like this, and the GSX is a bit underdamped and undersprung on the forks. The front is very high and carrying a lot of weight, and the springs need to be firmer. Considering how heavy it is it changes direction pretty quickly, but that's down to the high centre of gravity and wide bars.

Make no mistake here - at £6,500 on the road you're getting a hell of a lot of bike for your money. The GSX comes with fuel injection - a first for bikes like this - and it works really well. There's no snatchiness anywhere, just that linear drive that will allow you to pull 6th gear from as low as 1,500rpm.

The brakes are fine, but there's so much weight on the front that under really hard braking it will lock up before it starts to stoppie, so emergency stops on bumpy roads are best avoided. But I reckon people will like the fact that it's big and heavy and 1,400cc. That's all part of the GSX's charm. You're not buying a lithe sportsbike here - you're buying a bruising lump of a thing with real presence. It looks sharp, but it doesn't look like the ultimate naked racer yet. I'm sure you could make it into quite a trick thing with a race exhaust and the like.

Yes indeed, a race exhaust. You need to get a bit more noise out of the pipes, they need to have a bit more balls. All you can hear is the rustle of valves when you're cranking it on, so hopefully the aftermarket manufacturers will be making a set of cans for the GSX pronto.

The GSX is finished-off with a really comfortable seat and riding position. I kinda dig the the King & Queen seat, it's in keeping with the looks of the bike and good for taking the missus on the back for sure. The GSX would probably make a good tourer for laid-back cruising. The thing is, it's not the sort of bike you feel you have to thrash everywhere because it's got so much torque. I don't think you'd get into trouble with the cops on a bike like this. You'd use that torque at lower rpm and enjoy it. I quite like the idea that you don't have to turn into a hooligan everytime you get on a motorbike, and the GSX1400 definitely doesn't court hooliganism. But you still look the part, so the job's done and it certainly does nothing to stop you being a hooligan...

But to explore the pillion potential further, there's no doubt that a mate on the back would help improve the wheelie potential massively. Just let them know why they're along for the ride first...

Verdict

Definite hit, this one. Not as much anarchic fun as a Bandit 1200, but far more sophisticated. Huge amounts of midrange torque mean you just roll the throttle on and off, and it looks the business. Could well become a cult bike.

SPECS

TYPE - ADVENTURE

PRODUCTION DATE - 2002

PRICE NEW - £6499

ENGINE CAPACITY - 1402cc

POWER - 115bhp

TORQUE - 85lb.ft

WEIGHT - 228kg

SEAT HEIGHT - 790mm

FUEL CAPACITY - N/A

TOP SPEED - N/A

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

Click to read: Suzuki GSX1400 owners reviews, Suzuki GSX1400 specs and to see the Suzuki GSX1400 image gallery.

When I first saw pictures of Suzuki's new GSX1400, I had images of a big 1970s-style Eddie Lawson racebike thing. You know, big power, big engine, twin-shocks at the back and brutal horspower on a sit-up-and-beg naked racebike.

That was the impression I got from the pictures, anyway. And when you get up-close for the first time, that's how it looks in the flesh, too. It really does feel and look like a savage old racebike. But then you get on it and ride away, and that's not what it's about at all.

When you ride it for the first time there's heaps of torque - but not much else. It pulls bloody hard from just 2,500rpm, but runs out of steam totally at 8,000rpm. I was expecting a redline of at least 11,000rpm with loads of midrange torque to it as well.

Well the midrange is certainly there - the 1400 makes a Bandit 1200 feel like a teenage girl's blouse in the middle - but first time I tried to do a wheelie it all went to pieces when I hit 7,500rpm.

The torque stopped dead and me and bike fell on our noses. You have to ride the torque-wave to make the best progress on the GSX. Just use the torque and keep shifting gears to get a move on, it's not a frantic or frenzied assault on the senses - just a crest of midrange power that you surf down the road. And it's really responsive low-down. In low gears it was   a pussy cat, any throttle position, any rpm, it just pulls.

Once you get your head round the fact that how it looks is not how it rides, then the GSX is great. It's a cruise bike that looks like a dead hard racebike. The looks are intimidating, but the bike certainly isn't.

And it does look brilliant, I've got to say. That 1,400cc sticker on the side carries heaps of credibility, with those huge, chrome exhausts, big engine and chunky bodywork. Just to complete the image you need to chuck away the mirrors and pull the handlebars back a bit to give you a slightly racier stance.

Click to read the final page of the Suzuki GSX1400 review.

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