Niall's Spin: Suzuki GSF600S Bandit (2000-01)

Niall spins his reviewing yarn on the bike that launched the budget middleweight craze way back in the mid 90s

Click to read: Suzuki GSF600S Bandit owners reviews, Suzuki GSF600S Bandit specs and to see the Suzuki GSF600S Bandit image gallery.

By the time the Bandit got an update in 2000, it had been trounced by the Fazer, Hornet and Suzuki's own SV650. But it's still got a few aces up it's sleeve - a decent pillion seat, the best fairing in the class thanks to this model's restyle and a price tag and running costs that undercut the rest. That and the legacy of being the bike that started the whole budget middleweight craze back in the mid '90s.

Models of this age will feel slightly dated now given that motive power comes from a decidedly aged 600cc air/oil-cooled lump that first saw service in the GSX600F 'Teapot'.

Still, it's a smooth, gutsy engine with easily accessible low down shove and passable if not class leading go at the top end. Certainly enough for the inexperienced, recently qualified or those just looking for cheap, reliable, unburstable workaday transport.

The Bandit's chassis is a perfect match for the motor. No frills, nothing fancy, just a steel tube frame, soft forks and a budget rear shock. Handling is workmanlike but you won't set the world alight, and it won't be long before  pegs and other bits are scraping on the road.

Higher mileage bikes may be in need of a replacement rear shock, but budget items can be had for a couple of hundred notes. If the rear end feels undamped and saggy, haggle accordingly. Ditto the front end; fresh oil and new springs will sort tired forks

The whole point of the Bandit was its budget build to suit tighter pockets, so most chassis components were never of the best quality to start with. Add hamfisted or innocently clueless first-time ownership into the equation and many Bandits are now hounds due to a lack of basic maintenance and TLC. The Suzuki's finish was never a strong point so even fastidiously well looked after machines will show their age.

Another weak area is the exhaust - check the  collector for rust - it's common but can be repaired by a specialist for under £100.

Key ID: distinguish from the outwardly similar Bandit 1200 by the skinnier, steel swing arm, thinner rear tyre and no fuel gauge
Walk away: from hideously neglected hounds. There are loads of Bandits to choose from so go and find another one. And don't pay more for aftermarket fairing lowers