Suzuki GSX-S1000 Review – Suzuki GSX-S1000F Review
Page Two – Tested by Trevor Hedge
Suzuki are never ones to embellish their power claims, but on the GSX-S they seem to have underestimated their figures. Suzuki claim 107kW, which translates to 143hp in proper numbers. On Phil Tainton’s dyno the GSX-S machines produced between 147 and 152hp, depending on which gear they were ran up in. On Phil’s same dyno a K5 GSX-R1000 makes 161hp and the latest 2015 specification GSX-R1000 registers 176hp. Thus the GSX-S1000 is down around 14hp on the legendary K5, and around double that to the latest GSX-R1000. The GSX-S1000 revs to 11,500rpm, which is 2000rpm less than the latest specification GSX-R1000 engine.
For this type of machine however it’s all about low and mid-range torque, and the GSX-S has plenty, Suzuki claiming a peak of 106Nm at a, surprisingly, high 9500rpm. At highway cruising speeds of 4000rpm is where the GSX-S1000 has the best advantage over the GSX-R engines.
Improvements in the engine management systems that control the injectors, throttle bodies and ignition maps of the GSX-S have come along way since the K5 was released and that translates to a better on-road power delivery throughout the rev range. Thankfully, it is still unmistakably GSX-R though, with a fairly linear throttle map compared to most modern motorcycles, which helps rider satisfaction immensely. You don’t get that feeling of computer says no when you open the taps, good stuff. Some might even say the throttle response is a bit abrupt, I don’t agree.
There is a little driveline lash, which does amplify any hamfistedness when getting on and off the gas, but it’s minimal, and the way the rest of the drivetrain works is perfection. I have always loved GSX-R gearboxes, and after not having the pleasure of being on one of late, I had almost forgot how nice swapping cogs can be. Up or down the change, was precise, positive, faultless. No quickshifter here and, to be honest, I think having one would take away from the riding experience when the gearbox is as nice as this.
There is also no slipper clutch. But again, I didn’t find this an issue. I am sure Suzuki must have done something with the mapping of the throttle butterflies on deceleration. Just how race tuners used to, legally, cheat Production Superbike rules that prevented the fitment of slipper clutches, by helping to lessen the effects of engine braking through clever manipulation of the throttle butterflies, even when on a closed throttle. Sure, you can’t go blasting down to a turn with a full fistful of radial Brembo Monobloc and just bang down the box, but ‘ride’ the motorcycle and everything works just fine.
Does this sound as though I am making excuses for a lack of standard equipment? Maybe it does, but I am just being honest. If the gearbox was a dog, and engine braking woeful, it would mandate a quick-shifter and slipper clutch for riding enjoyment. But the gearbox and clutch do a brilliant job. As much as I am a huge fan and proponent of the latest motorcycle technology, when analogue is done right, then that can bring with it a truly wonderful connection between the rider and the machine.
Gearing wise I would have preferred a taller top gear to keep the revs down on the highway. That way you could go up a couple of teeth on the rear to add more sprightliness to the lower cogs without the GSX feeling a little busy on the highway. Which I think would happen if you lowered the overall gearing, as around 5000rpm there is a minor tingle felt through the machine, which was not enough to become annoying, but I suspect it might become painful on long distance runs if you lower the final drive. And with the engine tractable down to 1500rpm in top gear, I don’t think I would bother.
On standard gearing it is certainly not afraid to lift its skirt. Monos are easy, even sustainable at relatively low angles of the dangle, thanks to always having a surfeit of mid-range grunt to keep the front aloft, even when you think it is on its way down. And the gearbox is so sweet that you just click gears and keep on going. Shift early and ride the torque curve, then shift again, and again, and again…