Used Test: Suzuki GSX1400

It looked like a pit-bull, even if it was more of a lap-dog to ride. Blessed with good looks and mucho torque, Suzuki's GSX1400 has proved to be a popular retro bruiser bike in used circles

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

Back in the days when wearing Brut 33 was considered foreplay, real men rode bikes like these.  Retro bikes from the 1990s cashed in on naked nostalgia with a raft of machines from all the Japanese manufacturers.

Suzuki's plunge into the full-on retro market finally came in 2001, about five years after the Bandit 1200. Here was a pukka GS1000 replica with twin-shocks, fully adjustable suspension, air-cooled motor and resplendent in Suzuki corporate blues. Like most of the retros, the GSX didn't actually need to change much in its life (nor did it) but it got on with the job of winning over an army of fans, mainly on the basis of its excellent good looks, grunt, comfort and riding position.

At the end of its life just last year we in the UK got the limited-edition GSX1400 FE (for Final Edition) while those lucky sods in Japan got what we should have all had in the first place - the Wes Cooley Replica, complete with subdued GS1000 colour scheme and that all-important bikini fairing. Bastards.

Engine: Suzuki know the 16-valve, oil/air-cooled inline four well, so it's no surprising that this one's a belter. This 1,402cc of meat is sired by the GSX-R1100 motors of old, meaning that in the low to mid-range the GSX bows down to no other retro, but as the revs rise the fun starts to tail off. The class-leading max torque of 94ft-lbs kicks in at 5000rpm, with 105bhp maxxing at just 6700rpm.

Front suspension: The GSX is a bit underdamped and undersprung on the forks. Thanks to the weight you're carrying (a hefty 228kilos dry) and the overall high-ness of the bike, you could do with a set of progressive fork springs and thicker fork oil.

Rear suspension: Good as standard, but can do with some twiddling to get it right for you. Many purists change for something sexier as the piggy-back twin-shocks are so 'on show.' The shocks leaked after adjustment on some models (notably the K2) so if you're buying used question the owner to see if he has found any problems. If the bike's got red springs, it's a Jap import.

Handling: If riding a turbocharged blancmange is your kinda thing, then leave it standard. We would suggest four rings out on front preload, four clicks from hard on the compression and six from hard on rebound. At the back try third ring down on preload, rear rebound and compression both on three.

Build quality/finish: Pretty good and better than the Bandit. Chipping on the wheels is an issue.

Fuel-injection: Very good low-down, but was changed for 2005, along with a catalyser and a 4-2-1 exhaust (three kilos lighter) but with a longer end can. Changes to the FI helped acceleration still further as well as adding a fast-idle system.

Fuel range/economy: 22 litre fuel tank sees around 40mpg, with fill ups every 130-160 miles.

Comfort: The seat is the widest in the retro class - front and rear - making the GSX a popular choice with couples. A fly screen improves comfort. You've got six bungee hooks and a 10.8 litre space under the seat.

Aftermarket parts: Screens are the number one, pipes, bikini fairings, wavy discs, swingarms and curiously near the end, suspension mods! See for more info on the bike.

Secondhand Values

Suzuki GSX1400 K1-K4 (01-04)

Colours: blue/white, silver, black, blue, black/red
Price new: £6,500 (2001)
Price now: £2,500-£4,800

Comments: Big, comfy and lovely in blue - the GSX also had perhaps the best-looking and gruntiest motor in the retro class. Handling was 'interesting' when you got a lick on, but fewer bikes looked better. Killed off by Euro 3 emissions laws for this year. Some say that the K1 was Jap market only and that we in the UK only got the full-power K2.

Suzuki GSX1400 K5-K6 (2005-2007)

Colours: blue/white, silver, black, blue, black/red
Price new: £6,349 (2005)
Price now: £4,000-£5,500

Comments: Mildest of updates including 4-2-1 pipes (instead of 4-2-2) revised fuel-injection, new SECM coating on the bores and imobilisor.

Suzuki GSX1400 K6 Final Edition (2006-2007)

Colours: blue/white
Price new:
£6,349 (2006)
Price now:
£4,800-£5,500 (new!)

Comments: A worthy wave goodbye to a retro legend or an attempt to shift the last few? Only change to stock was a graphic and Yoshi pipe.