1992 Suzuki Bandit GSF400

 01 August 2002 00:00

The bike I’m going to talk about is my GSF400, also known as the Bandit. This bike is not really a sportsbike, despite the engine, nor is it a commuter.

I bought it in October 1997, did about 40,000 km with it, but 20,000km were made on track day, I had some other bikes for everyday use.

To begin with, let's talk about the negative point of the bike. The seat is everything but comfortable. You'll feel bad after about 200 miles, and will really need to stop and take a break after 300 miles. Which is great, as the fuel tank will allow you between 80 miles (low record on track) and 165 miles (highest record on country road) before you have to push.

I strongly suggest you take a 10/15 minutes break when you're refuelling. Do whatever you want, but take a break. This is the only negative point I can think about.

I don't really remember how the stock bike handles, as I fitted some clip on handlebars a while ago. With these bars, the bike is very easy to ride on track, in the fast curve.

It's more physical on a very twisty road. If you're riding on the road for a long time (like 2000 miles in 4 days), you'll get a sore back/neck, pain in the wrist, but you'll be able to keep a 100mph speed without suffering too much from the wind.

At these speed, with stock gearing (I am know running a shorter gearing, for track use), the engine will rev around 8-9000 rpm, and if you have a race can, it will be painful. For you and the others.

The chassis is very good. On the track, I can follow the 600 Bandit, see them wobbling around in curve, while I'll have my knee down and the bike feels like it's on rails. Sorry for the Bandit 6 owners, but as Suzuki replaced (more or less) the 400 with the 600, I don't really like the 600, and love to point out it's downside.

Even with one disk on front (Euro spec model), it brakes pretty good. I fitted a Beringer race disk, some braided hoses, and race brake-pads. Tricky under the rain (cost me an engine side cover), but very impressive otherwise.

The rear shock is an EMC, tuned for track use. Confy enough to ride to and from the track.

As I said, the and can is very loud. I use two. A Mig aluminium race can for track use, and a Remus street-legal otherwise. It takes about 10 minutes to switch.

The engine is simply wonderful. It will let you cruise around in town in sixth speed, around 35 mph. Than, shift down, push all the gear in the red zone, and a lot of 600s will stay behind. Doing this, the music change from " pretty nice " to " so good " .

To compare (again) to the B6, on the track, I'll leave them behind on the standing ¼ miles, and I usually either out-brake them, or pass them right after the curve, pushing the gear almost to the red zone.

I often have some Bandit 600 owners who ask me what I did on the engine, as they could not keep up.

Furthermore, the engine is strong as hell. It's more then 65,000 km old (40,625 miles), does not drink oil, as been used on track for the last 20,000 km, I usually shift (up) without the clutch. I also downshift without the clutch, but not on track, since it makes the back wheel slide

For the tyres, I had a M89 when I bought the bike. Awful. I then changed for a Macadam 90 and TX15. Was better, but not really good.

Then, a Pilot Sport (front) and Pirelli Evo Corsa. That was great. The only way I found to crash was to pass the tire border. I had the knee, footrest, belly pan on the ground, and I did not take the bike up before to open the gas. Next, I was seating near my bike in the grass.

That is something else that's great with this bike. I crashed twice on track, one at 30 mph in a very slow corner, and one under the rain, around 100 mph. All I broke is an engine side cover, that's it (stock headlight has been replaced by an Acerbis).

I know use some Pilot race tyres, front and rear, so far, they work great. Uhm, what else could I say. Pillion warning, this is NOT a bike for you. It's just the same as the pilot seat, but worse. Anyway, I removed the pillion foot rest.

To finish with, I'll say I have been riding this bike for almost five years. I also have a 750 Gixxer (1990), and there is no way I could sell any of these bike, I simply love then. When I bought the 400, I wanted to keep it one year, and go for a CBR600. Five years later, I still have it, and I will buy a second one to keep this one " alive " .