Used Review: Suzuki Bandit 600

In 1995 Suzuki built the naked middleweight Bandit. Compared to Yamaha's Diversion it was a revelation: sure it was cheap, cheerful and built to a price, but it was also a hell of a lot of fun to ride.

Posted: 5 April 2008
by Bertie Simmonds

DAYLIGHT ROBBERY was not part of the deal when this Bandit stopped us in our tracks 10 years ago.
Instead, you were the one on the take. For just £3999 new back in 1995 you'd get a smart-looking budget bike with well proven chassis parts and motor. In fact, it was all a bit of a steal.

The engine came courtesy of the old GSX600F 'Teapot'. Not the fastest bike out there, to be sure, but the air/oil cooled motor was reliable and good for 70-80bhp and 125mph: and while the suspension was wibbly-wobbly and super-soft you could still wind up the wick and really enjoy twisty roads.

It seemed as if all these budget parts seemed to add up to so much more. The name was cool and the look was classical. Here was a nice-looking, modern and cheap naked bike, with just a hint of retro chic. It was a winner.

Suzuki, wisely realising they were onto a good thing, decided in 1996 to add another model to the stable - the GSF600S - basically the same bike with a half-fairing bolted on. These were soon joined by a Bandit 1200 for just £2000 more and both bikes shot to the top of the charts.

It was certainly the price that made the Bandit a big hit, but sadly, come winter, the budget bits could prove to be the bike's undoing. Exhausts rotted quicker than Shane McGowan's teeth and engine paint would dissolve on contact with the smallest drop of H20.

Today, things have most definitely moved on. Back then you could fool yourself that the Bandit was a sporty little number and better than its main opposition - the dowdy Yam Diversion. Sadly, the ravages of time and newer, smarter and better built opposition such as the Hornet, Fazer, Z750 and Suzuki's own SV650 have seen it revert from a smart little bike into something that's simply a cheaper, poorer alternative to better bikes.

But the upside of being one of the first budget naked middleweights on the block is that there's a Bandit out there for any sized wallet. Just beware of the mangy old hounds.

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I've found the number 2 produced 1996 susuki bandit 600 in an impound lot. Any idea how much this bike is worth to a collector?

Posted: 05/08/2011 at 03:19

A lot of the comments seem to relate to any bike being ridden on England's salt laden roads rather than the paint quality.I own a 600S 2000(first year of the new model).It is now 11yrs old and has done 17,000km (10,000 miles) for my fine sunday rides and a bit of touring.Its finish is immaculate.Chrome and paint are perfect.The bike is polished once per year and hosed down about 3 times to keep mud/grime from building up.The bike is fitted with a hugger at the rear and a "fenda extenda" at the front.The extenda should be a standard item on just about all bikes.It keeps (99% of road grime off the down pipes and front of engine).Awesome bike-80hp is heeps for all needs of any sane person.Does about 50-54 mpg ridden at normal brisk speeds (without regard for fuel economy).Fairing gives excellent protection from wind, rain, cold(Im 5' 10")13 stone.At(Very) high speed I can slide back a bit on the seat and get right down behind the fairing.Handling and reliability are great.After a 1700km summer(24degree) blast loaded with 30kg of gearover 4 days the engine used about 150mls(cc) of oil.Average speed about 120kph(range 100-150kph).Very smooth from 110 to 140kph with wonderful smooth acceleration.Great on straight or twisty roads.Good around town but keep in 4th or 5th gear.Rear tyre lasted 14,000km (9,000 miles)front a little more.Seat is moderately comfortable.At start of day I can ride for 2hours but by end of day 1 1/4 hours is my limit before numb bum sets in(riding 6-7 hours per day).This is my 30th and best bike to date.

Posted: 22/09/2011 at 01:25

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