Road Test: Suzuki Bandit 1200, BMW R1200GS Adventure, Triumph Sprint ST, Yamaha FZ1 Fazer

Can an ageing, bum basic £5299 all rounder really offer the best of all worlds against a raft of higher priced, specialist competition? Read on to see where the smart money lies

Surfing the Internet the other day I ended up on Suzuki UK's webpage. Among the usual banners flashing up 0% finance deals, Yoshi parts for GSX-Rs and cut price off-roaders, the one advert that actually made me stop and look was for the Bandit 1200.

For a start I'd actually forgotten Suzuki had updated the Bandit this year. Unlike the modified GSX-R600 and 750, and the new GSR600, the trusty old-but-new Bandit has had none of the fanfare usually associated with a new model. But what really got my attention was the price: a new 1200cc bike, with ABS and a half fairing, for £5299. That's cheaper than most middleweight 600s. There must be a catch.

Then I thought about it a bit more. If I was looking to buy a bike what would I do with it? Obviously commute, so I'd need a decent seat and some weather protection. There is a fair chance I'd go some distance on it, if not tour then at least long rides to wherever, so a big motor would be good.

I like the occasional blast around my favourite roads so a half-decent chassis is essential and last, but by no means least,

I want a bike that's fun to ride. Hang on a second... could the £5299 Bandit 1200S offer all this? Had I stumbled upon the biggest bargain in biking?

Continue the road test 2/3