First Ride: 2002 Suzuki GSX1400 review

Just another member of the Bandit family? Not quite. Suzuki delve back into the history books to bring you a genuine muscle bike with all the trimmings. Niall Mackenzie finds it's not quite what he expected

Posted: 20 September 2010
by Niall Mackenzie
Niall 'I can't do wheelies' Mackenzie
Can you feel the weight?
Torque meister

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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