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Suzuki GSF1200 BANDIT Naked Motorbike Review

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Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit is one of biking's true bargains. Grunty Suzuki GSX-R1100 derived engine, decent handling for its day and simple to tune up should you require more lairy A roads fun. The 2000 onwards GSF1200 Bandit's are more touring based, bit softer, but the finish is slightly better.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The engine in the Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit a really tough, torquey old motor from the 80s and by simply junking the stock end can on the 1996-99 Suzuki Bandits you can get another 15bhp from it - handy. Later versions are slightly better on fuel and have a tougher clutch.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit was never the best handling big retro around in the 90s and the 2000 onwards modifications made the bike feel even mushier, more vague, when pushed hard on bumpy roads. The GSF1200 Badnit is more stable than the GSF600 Bandit, especially at the front end, but it's no Suzuki GSX-R750 that's for sure.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Suspension and braking are adequate on the Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit, but nothing special. The six pot calipers on the 2000 onwards bikes are loads better. The later Suzuki GSF1200S Bandit is a comfortable semi-tourer, and has stainless steel downpipes, decent lighting, bigger half fairing.

Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit (1996-2006)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£1,680 (1997) - £3,610 (2006)
Private used prices
£1,510 (1997) - £3,250 (2006)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1152 cc
Power 100 bhp
Top speed 145 mph
Insurance group 13 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The overall finish on the early Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit wasn't great. The bikes look shabby pretty quickly and although the engine wears well, the suspension and braking need regular attention or the bike begins to handle like a Lambrini girl on a hen night.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

There are loads of GSF1200 Bandits to choose from on the used market and for relatively low money, you get a versatile motorcycle which can commute in the week, then let you play silly buggers at the weekend. The original Suzuki GSF1200N Bandit still has a certain raw-edged, brutal charm. Find a Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 13 of 17

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Model History

1996: Suzuki 1200N/1200S Bandit models launched.
2000: Engine receive 116 tweaks, chassis updated with new fairing, brakes, seat, shorter wheelbase.
2004: Suzuki GB chop £450 off list price.
2005: Price drops another £300.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 145 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.3 secs
Max power 100 bhp
Max torque 67 ft-lb
Weight 214 kg
Seat height 835 mm
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 13 of 17
Engine size 1152 cc
Engine specification 16v, in line four, 6 gears
Frame Steel tubular cradle
Front suspension adjustment Preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, compression
Front brakes Twin 310mm disc
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17 in

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(37 reviews)

  • Torque about grunt!

    Bigdog365

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I traded up to my 1200s from a GSX750f (teapot) which was getting a bit long in the tooth at 11 years old. Although the Bandit only has another 7BHP, it's the torque that makes the real difference. If it had enough grip, it could pull tree stumps out, no problem! It's comfortable enough to spend all day riding, and there's no aching wrists or knees to complain about afterwards. My only gripe was that the screen didn't do much, but a £50 touring screen from Banditmania soon sorted that, without affecting the looks of the bike either. If you buy a 1200 Bandit, you won't be disappointed.

    09 March 2010

  • do what you want

    H2pots

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    i've owned my 1200S for over a year now, bought has a second bike for 2 up touring. second bike must be friendly for home servicing and repairs, be comfy enough for me and her indoors for all day riding and be able to carry gear whether its camping gear or just panniers. the 1200 bandit does all of these jobs and more. i knew the motor form past experience (gsxr1100) and knew it wouldn't disapoint... it didn't. the bike is good to work on and has plenty of power and handling for 2 up work. riding solo is no bad thing neither... its good on the twisties and feels secure (its no race rep though). i had a gsx750f has the 2nd bike before this, good bike but 2 up destroyed the performance. brakes on the 1200 are a masive improvement but keep them in good shape. 6 pot calipers don't have much clearance around the pistons, they can soon fill with crud and start to bind/seize up. overall.. the 1200 bandit is very good bike for very little money with a bulletproof engine, easy to work on, cheap to fix and service and a comfy riding position... it will... do what you want

    24 February 2009

  • bandit 1200s

    alberttdm

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    now had it for another year,thats 4 years near enough,and still nothing has tempted me to part with my cash for a better bike etc.which there are, but at a lot more COST!for little gain.now fitted a hayabusa shock(£50 breakers)plus forks sorted.The difference is just amazing the way it now corners once set up,this + the jet kit and evo can+ignition advancer,more than fast enough thank you .Don,t think i want to spend that extra £3000+ to upgrade.

    29 May 2008

  • Had one for 3 years, changed to sports bike for 3 months and have had this one for 3 years!

    adamup

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Does just about everything you need it to. Makes me smile every time I ride it. Have noticed this year I am riding harder than ever, have tried BT020 and currently using D208 (good allround choice I think). Buy one you will not be diapointed, I have a flyscreen on the current one and it allows you to run a good 10mph faster on longer journeys, looks a bit weak but works! Strengths: Makes you smile and works in all places. You can ride it right to its limit if you like that sort of thing. Weaknesses: When youv'e had one a while you may like a little more performace and handling. But we all like a bit of a wobble now and then!

    30 October 2006

  • What else can I add to other reviews on this great bike.

    Mikewindmill

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I was looking at a Tuono that was 3 years old and 12k on the clock and had almost bought it - then I thought I would do a last visit to the Suzuki dealership in York (top shop by the way - have bought 2 new bike there) and there was a new (old shape K4) Bandit for sale at £4500!! I had convinced myself for years that I would not like the Bandit but took an old one with 20k out for a blast - and within 5 miles was convinced I had found a gem. Walked straight into the shop and bought the new one on the spot. I am still enjoying it 5 months on - put it this way, except for a service and some polish - I haven't been in a bike shop since - which makes a change from once a week. I have started buying some trick bits for - Renthal Handlebars, HEL Brakelines - but what a bike for the price - Great!!! Strengths: Price Price Price! The torque is good - top end speed great fun - instant wheelies - but only if you want them. Fun and Fun! Weaknesses: Always hated the shape of the tank - but is that a weakness or just my personal taste? Some bits do feel cheap (but £4500 new!) - Stainless Steel brakelines are a must.

    21 September 2006

  • My Review

    StreetGeeza

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Just upgraded to the 1200S from a naked Bandit 600. The bike is fantastic!!! It just pulls in all gears and handles like stink. When I picked it up it was fitted with fairing lowers giving it the look of a sports tourer and with only 11,000 on the clock it's got lots of life left. I was cruising along enjoying the ride before I realised I was doing 100MPH and when I ducked down under the fairin gI ot 145MPH before I decided enough was enough (On private land of course). I think the only thing I don't like about the bike is the way I keep burning my boots on the exhaust (maybe my feet are just too big). I plan on keeping this bike for a lot of years and will likely enjoy every mile. Strengths: Pulling power, handling, looks, bulletproof engine, comfort, economy (I used to commute Newcastle to Edinburgh on my 600 and it would cost me £11-12 each way, it cost a little over £10 on the 1200). Weaknesses: I can't really find any that aren't just being too picky.

    18 September 2006

  • Still an amazing bike for the money

    Manicmax37

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Its a year since I last reviewed the bike. I was tempted to px for a sports bike & I tested a R1 & it cooled me down. This was an amazingly fast bike but it just felt clinical & the position killed me. Getting back on the bandit & it just felt it had more character - its that wallop load of torque @ 4k revs. So I've decided to keep it - @ the end of the day the riding position makes it great around town & it pulls fine on the open road - just wish it had the extra gear. The engine is strong & so far after 15 mths its been completely reliable - I use it everyday through the winter. Mods - fitted a blueflame pipe, fendaextenda & screen - not sure about the screen - The next is to get a decent seat as the stock it like stone after 100 miles. Aparently fitting a 14 teeth front sprocket releases 7% more torque with a slight loss @ the top end BUT post 2001 the speed is recorded from the front sprocket & so the electronic speedo will record extra miles than have actually been done. Strengths: Great bike - good around town & great on the open road - the torque is alot of fun. Weaknesses:
    Wsh it had an extra gear.

    27 July 2006

  • Excellent bike to tour or blast

    qwertylockley

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Bought my 2003 1200s a year and a half ago, it had 1100 miles on the clock with over £1500 worth of accessories, scottoilier, absoloute protec alarm, corbin seat, panniers, etc etc, been ridden two since I had it, pulls great, breaks great, and the screen is good, especially when you get over 90mph as you enter a 'pocket of air flow'. can be a little to heavy with luggage, other half and me. have addes loads of 'nice' mods, belly pan from france, stainless bolts, wavey black front discs, goodridge hoses, k+n filter, Yoshi can and stage 3 kit, ignition advancer, deristrictor kit for the ignition, as there restricted for the eu market, 14 tooth front sprocket adding 7% more tourque, nearly there now!!! Strengths: Engine, ride position, breaks, loads of accessories, grunt!! Weaknesses: Bolts, weight, lean angle (grounds out to easily).

    20 April 2006

  • Bog standard 1200 Bandit

    bradiedog

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    What a bike ! At this price , including 2 years free servicing !! There is no other choice. I was contemplating a vfr , but once I had a ride, I was convinced. all the write ups about monster wheelies filled me with trepidation , but there is no need to worry you can ride this bike and still enjoy oodles of performance without gunning it. the other good thing about this bike is that it looks like a real old fashioned proper bike. Strengths: Engine, torque, looks. Weaknesses: Haven´t found any.

    13 April 2006

  • Bought bike second hand, 10 months old when I got my hands on it

    buffallobill

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    As an older rider I find the bike comfortable to travel 100 miles + in one go, very impressed with the engine no matter what you do with it it wants more, the screen needs to be a little higher for my style of riding, but thats just my own opinion, on good advice I have fitted chrome engine protectors which fully protect the lower casing , this I think is a must. Strengths: Good riding position, mpg good if rode sensibly, good gear box nice and smooth. Weaknesses: Screen a bit low, foot pegs mounted on rubbers move a bit.

    07 April 2006

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