Motoring journalist Andy Russell test rides the new GSX-S1000...
I have a confession to make – I’ve never ridden one of the giants of the Suzuki range that is affectionately dubbed a ‘Gixxer’.
And, with my advancing years and arthritic hips, I suspected I never would.
That is until I was handed the key of the new GSX-S1000 demo bike, the high-performance naked street bike. It’s powered by a 999cc in-line four-cylinder engine that, despite being tuned for road riding, was developed on the track and oozes winning superbike DNA.
So, for an adventure tourer rider, it seemed kind of scary starting at the top of the current 2021 Gixxer range.
Once I’d bent my stiff joints to suit the sporty riding stance, I soon felt quite at home. I’m not used to such a prone riding position but it’s helped by this new model having 23mm wider bars set 20mm closer to the rider to improve comfort without compromising handling.
As well as being comfortable, I also felt confident with the bike, despite not being tall. It was easy to manoeuvre at low speed and I could get both feet on the ground to support it.
The engine has been tweaked to meet Euro 5 emissions standards but produces more power at 152PS, now at 11,000rpm, and a broader spread of torque at lower revs.
The low-speed power delivery is much improved with a new ‘ride-by-wire’ throttle. Electronic throttle bodies give more controlled engine response when first opened, making riding in traffic much smoother.
With only a few miles on the clock, and great respect for the power, I did not push the GSX-S1000 hard but it is effortlessly quick and the exhaust’s rorty rasp is music to the ears.
An updated suite of electronics includes the new Suzuki Drive Mode Selector system with three engine maps. All modes deliver the same peak power, but vary the sharpness and immediacy of the delivery.
A bi-directional quickshifter reduces the need to operate the clutch during gear changes, close the throttle on upshifts or blip it on downshifts.
Five-mode traction control, which can be switched off, makes sure the power is transferred to the road safely.
I barely scratched the surface of the GSX-S1000’s performance potential but was impressed by how riding it soon became second nature. It’s a bike I could cover a lot of miles on comfortably and quickly.
I love the sharp, new look with the bold angular bodywork and futuristic vertically stacked LED headlight. It really stands out in this competitive sector.
The KYB front forks are fully adjustable while the preload and rebound damping adjustable rear shock has revised settings.
The big Gixxer is not unpleasantly firm and a new seat aids comfort. It feels well planted, even on bumpy surfaces, and ultra responsive on twisty roads, helped by those wider bars.
The 310mm front discs, with Brembo monobloc calipers, are powerful but progressive.
The Suzuki GSX-S1000 is big on power and performance but what also makes it attractive is the £10,999 price tag – it’s a lot of bike for the money.
Check out the GSX-S1000 at orwell.co.uk/suzuki/new-suzuki-motorcycle-range/street/gsx-s1000