Skip to content

Suzuki RF900 Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

Find By Make/Model

1 of 15
Suzuki RF900R motorcycle review - Riding
Click to enlarge
Previous image Next image

MCN overall verdict rating is 4

It’s not often that you get quality and style along with 'budget'. But Suzuki delivered just that when it produced the RF900R in the late 90s. A sporty sports-tourer, the Suzuki RF900R delivered plenty of punch, decent handling, comfortable versatility and, er, odd styling. Old hat today, but the Suzuki RF900R is still excellent value.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Suzuki RF900R's 937cc, GSX-R1100-derived engine is powerlifter-strong, pulling from just above tickover to the 12,000rpm red line without a dip, cough or stumble, and at 125bhp it is right in the horsepower ballpark. The Suzuki RF900R's fast, flexible and solid as old nails

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Steel perimeter frame helped keep costs of the Suzuki RF900R down, used the engine as a stressed member and provided taut and surefooted handling with a short wheelbase and quick steering geometry. Over-hard suspension springs and damping rates can cause some jarring, but once loaded up with a pillion and some luggage the rear of the Suzuki RF900R starts to work much better. At 203kg (447lb) dry the RF900R is flickable and competent and leans much more to the sporting side of its sports tourer personality than first appearances might suggest.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The Suzuki RF900R is better than the lowly price suggests. Ferrari Testarossa-like fairing side louvres hint at high rolling supercar style (an irony of fake Rolex proportions given the penny-pinching price) while the broad, flat, seat and grabrail provide comfortable accommodation if you've got a pillion on the back of the RF900R. The flared-out rear might endear the RF900R to pillions, but the taillight cluster and bodywork are wider than a pre-diet Vanessa Feltz while the plethora of bulbs and reflectors would rival Blackpool illuminations.

Suzuki RF900R (1995-1999)

Detail Value
Used price range View Suzuki RF900 bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 937 cc
Power 125 bhp
Top speed 162 mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 5 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Understressed engine based on proven oil-cooled design adds up to mechanical durability with the Suzuki RF900R. And as for the rest of the RF900R, steel predominates instead of aluminium and there’s a distinct lack of finiskity, cutting edge technology. If looked after, Suzuki RF900R's stand up weel, but watch out for hard and winter use…

Value

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

When new, the Suzuki RF900R was closer to 600-class prices than 1000cc ones and thius was excellent value. The RF900R was popular, too, despite it’s Alien looks, er, alienating some. As a result, used values hold up well. But find a good Suzuki RF900R and it’s still going to be a value purchase. Find a Suzuki RF900R for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 15 of 17

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes now

Model History

1994: Suzuki RF900R launched.
1995: Suzuki RF900R now fitted with preload adjustable forks.
1999: Suzuki RF900R discontinued.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 162 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Max power 125 bhp
Max torque 70 ft-lb
Weight 203 kg
Seat height 805 mm
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Average fuel consumption 44 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 937 cc
Engine specification 16v transverse four, 6 gears
Frame Steel twin spar
Front suspension adjustment None (preload post 1995)
Rear suspension adjustment Preload and rebound
Front brakes 2 x 310mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

See all Suzuki RF900 motorcycles for sale

Suzuki
RF900

27000 miles

£1,800

Suzuki
RF900

35458 miles

£1,495

Suzuki
RF900

55000 miles

£1,565

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(14 reviews)

  • Big Bang Little Buck

    hawkwinder

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    OK So I am 42 years old and still want to enjoy a bike that has some grunt (preferably 150 MPH+) but at the same time is comfortable enough to allow for my geriatric back and knees… Oh and also it cannot cosy more that £1500, Finally I want something a little “out of the box” and “different from the crowd”! I had a good look on bike trader and slowly the list of bikes that matched this wants list shrank smaller and smaller. Anything that was one or more of these was not the other. To be frank the biggest problem was finding anything that was not rotten and\or just another old Suzuki bandit at this price point, (nothing against Bandits as a bike but they are a bit like the two version of a clitoris, in that every c**t has got one… and the connotations of being a bandit in my era are most certainly not the same as they are now) pardon my French. Finally I accepted that the price had to go up and the speed requirement had to go down… Or did it? Literally just before changing my search criteria to add another £500 (and include the moon and inner solar system as locations in my search) I saw an add for a Suzuki RF900…. For £999. Now I remember seeing one of these back in the day and thinking “my god it looks like a cross between one of the thunderbirds and a wedgewood sideboard, from the rear anyway” but on seeing this one something clicked in my mind. Yes it does have an arse only a mother could love. And yes those vented grills do make it look like a 70’s doctor who robot… but wow its actually quite pleasing on the eye. This one was fettled in the silver, purple and orange (reminds me of the 1995 urban tiger Fireblade). The advert said it had 22,000 miles on the clock and also the photos were showing a pretty tidy bike. I rang the owner in anticipation and sure enough it was still available. The owner was happy to talk through the plusses and minuses of the bike and I got the feeling he was being straight. On arriving to test ride the owner (lets call him Ken, as that was his name) struck me as loving the bike and really would have rather kept it. Also very honest and fair-minded. He was at the senior end of the biking spectrum in age terms and had owned the bike for 15,000 of its 22,000 miles so no need to worry about the owner not knowing the bike well. Clean and tidy ticked over well, minor leaks from the fork seals and a back brake that had too much travel meant that we finally settled on £880. Now up to this point I had broken my golden rule about giving the bike a full test ride and had only ridden it round the local roads close to his house so had not really had a chance to go above 3rd. Money paid I left and spent the next 20 mins getting comfortable with the bike. Now at this point I discovered something rather interesting. This is no soggy old hector pretending to be a bit sporty. I has a massive and gargantuan, torque filled powerband that runs pretty much from 1500 revs in first to 9-10,000 revs in 5th… OH BTW that’s 5th… no 6th gear (mind you don’t need a 6th because your face will be ripped off way before then when you hit the quoted 162 miles an hour top speed, I of course did not do that but I know a bloke that did… AHEM) This bike is very, very VERY quick. But that’s the odd thing. Its not quick as in “Jayyyyyyssssuuuussss Keeeeeeeeeeeriiiiiiiissssssssssssst “ , its much more “good god did I really get home that quickly?” Its never going to really trouble any true sports bikes from its own era too much though I noted its stock torque numbers wee’s like a puppy all over the 96 Fireblades numbers so if you put it on a diet I expect they would not be too far apart. The comfort is OK and the 3 hour blast I took it on left me only a little tired. One thing to note on this bike. Its big and quite heavy so when you get to twisty roads you will feel it and although it’s essentially a sports tourer I did notice my wrists had begun to get that “loaded” feeling near to the end of the ride. Generally speaking the ride comfort is good with the suspension coping with most of the things the UK roads could throw at it. But on one occasion I did feel it begin to fall behind on the most severe C roads. The stock seat is horrible though, if you have a bus ticket in your back pocket you will feel it. I am going to have a Corbin fitted as soon as humanly possible. The whole shebang gets a bit vibey and buzzy around 4-5000 revs but nothing that cant be sorted out I am sure. Also take note. The carbs were way out of balance on mine when I bought it and the buzzing has dropped markedly since these have been synced. Handling. This is where the real and most obvious difference is between a bike like the RF900 and say a Gixxer or Blade from the same era. Nowhere near as flickable and responsive but by no means a slouch. It feels great on long flowing corners but does feel a little punch drunk on quick and tight corners. Mind you a big plus was no scary diving in feeling on the corners and once you get used to the slightly Rocky Balboa feeling nothing that cant be planned for at all but the most extreme speeds. Build quality seems OK. The plastics are all in good order on this example but I can see where little things in general were used to shave cost. The still frame (using the engine as a stressed member) is OK but I feel that a strip down and powder coat is required on mine. Brakes… Hmmm again OK but nothing spectacular. The pots are basic Nissin clunkers so I would suspect an aftermarket upgrade of these will be next (after a Corbin seat). In conclusion the bike is surprisingly fast, very different from the run of the mill, comfortable for extended periods and only cost me £880 (p.s the insurance is hilariously cheap £110 per year fully comp). All in all an awful lot of bike for very little money. If you see one and it has been looked after I would strongly recommend a test ride you might be surprised

    03 September 2013

  • Bikes Like This Should Still Be Made!

    edster71

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Had mine about a fortnight now, after many Kwakkers. So far, VERY impressed - plenty quick, build quality, contrary to opinions, seems to be quite good; and it's easy to work on - you can't say that about many modern bikes, can you! For the money, I don't think much will come close... True, a 6th gear would be nice, but you get used to it. MUCH more comfortable than the current stock of litre bikes, needless to say. Looking forward to using mine for the remainder of the Summer, and then lavishing some TLC on it. Some better tyres, fettling of the springy bits, heated grips, and MRA Vario screen, will all help make a great bike even better! Mine's a '96, with 20,500 miles on at the time of purchase. I didn't set out with the intention of getting an RF9, but I'm more than happy with my decision - if you can find a good one snap it up, sharpish! Underrated? Definitely! A really great bike! :-)

    21 July 2013

  • love the RF

    madsod

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    well what can i say iv had the rf 900 for a year now and the wife also has a 900 rs2 , and the 600rf , i also ride a gsxr 1000 k3 , but the rf is one hell of a bike it will do it all super fast goes round corners well , once you set it all up right , i put a gsxr wn shock on the back , suzuki should make this bike again , if you have not rode one then try it ,

    21 February 2011

  • Smooth and wicked fast

    Yesugi

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    It's getting to be an old bike now, but it still turns heads (and snaps necks). Smooth power delivery from under 2000rpm in top, to -- well, nobody knows -- and it pulls from a stop at idle. Great fuel mileage; eats road miles at a prodigious rate, or rewards hard-core attention by blowing a surprising number of other bikes onto the shoulder. I have had one for over three years now (see avatar), and just got a "parts bike" running. It's so pretty, in original purple and yellow, and its controls and bodywork -- everything is so nice, it looks like it's about 2 years old. I'm keeping it together! After 40+ years riding, plus racing, long distance touring, etc., on over 40 bikes, I must say that the RF900R has the best feel and balance of all of them, for what it's supposed to do. There simply isn't any other bike that can deliver the miles so comfortably, so stinking fast, with so little effort and on so little gas, and still be so much fun! Oh -- I have made a few mods: Corbin seat, Heli-bars, one tooth less in rear sprocket, Yoshimura can, Road Attacks, faired turn signals, car horns, LED lights, lots of powder coating and custom candy apple paint, and Hayabusa (Tokico) 3-pot front calipers. I'll never want another bike, 'cuz I'll never be able to outride this one. (Don't snicker, young 'un -- I'll bet you can't, either.)

    28 May 2009

  • RF900r..liked it so much I bought it back!

    h489agf

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Originally traded in my 1999 vfr800fi for the 1996 RF900R. Mistake? no!! the RF is faster handles just as well and the turbine like engine noise is addictive.. I must admit I prefered the noise of the V4 on full chat..but thats all I missed in terms of riding performance on the worlds best bike? The RF is fast enough and handles well enough..I just wish it had more aluminium parts (frame) and a clock and fuel guage..not too much to ask, I think.. Sold it to a mate..then 5 years later when I was in the market for a new bike, my heart said buy something different, my head said buy the RF back...and so I did...only thing I need to do is fit some decent tyres... huge fun..even the wife likes it!!

    28 May 2009

  • Love it

    son_of_smidsy

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Have had the RF9 for about a month now, it is my first big bike since losing my restriction an upgrade from a gpz5 and my god is it an upgrade. At first glance it looks like a bus but it handles fantastic, having kitted it out with a set of BT021's it handles in the wet and the dry and doesnt skip a beat. the power delivery is so smooth and easy, very confidence inspiring and forgiving bike. Very happy with it and have grown to love its huge arse. however have been told that riding behind it under braking is like riding into the gates of hell. Cant fault the bike, only thing it really needs is a race can.

    19 March 2009

  • under rated

    dghackett

    Billericay

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Smooth, powerfull,comfortable Oh! and I almost forgot, It is a good looking motorcycle and ideal for knocking up miles in one day. Just for reference MCN has it wrong as the RF900 only has FIVE gears

    23 November 2008

  • Excellent, a real beast. Only 5 gears though

    waynedl

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Best bike I've ever ridden in my life. Quick, powerfull (although u've gotta rev it), Strong and nice looking. Strengths: Speed, feel, strength. Weaknesses: 5 gears, lack of torque below 5000rpm, fat arse, handling.

    25 July 2006

  • RF900R

    M0JFK

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Having owned the Hayabusa and the ZX12R I was wondering what the hell I was doing buying this heap...well I can say the moment I sat on it to drive it out of the sellers garage I thought Mmmm I like the riding position and after another 20 minutes putting it down the country bends on the way home I could not get over the way it handled it was smooth, went like hell, and never even twitched through the bends giving me loads of fun and confidence of ride I never got with the Busa or 12 or even my Blade. Strengths: Its great on the Juice too and I found the brakes no worse or better than my previous bikes. Weaknesses: Only cosmetic looks realy...just the frame would of been better if it was made of aluminum.

    12 March 2006

  • So good, I bought another

    brandobiker

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I allways wanted an RF900 , but up in Scotland they were quite rare. When I finally found one, the handling was terrible it had Conti Continentals fitted, I put Bridgestone 020's on and it was like a new bike with confident roadhoalding and cornering, next the headlight not too bright, fitted a Philips H4 VisionPlus bulb and that lights up the night. Braided steel hoses improve the brakes. Fitted new chain & sprockets with one extra tooth on gearbox sprocket don't lift front so easy but touring 50ml to the gallon at 3figure speeds is good. This bike is so good that I bought a '99 model. I would reccomend it to anyone wanting a big bike that is cheap to run considering its performance. Strengths: Cost effective performance. Weaknesses: Needs a few improvements to bring out the best.

    12 February 2006

Page

Discuss this

Add your comment
kevinm6012

kevinm6012says

RF(an abbreviation for rocket fuelled) 900

I bought one in Norfolk and regularly blasted up the A1 to Scotland(where i come from) on it with lots of luggage. It was a peach of a bike for high speed touring. In 400 miles no one ever overtook me for very long. Even on the twisty roads it was good fun. A bit on the heavy side but handled well nonetheless. I had a black and purple one and it looked cool and mean. Got it cheap too considering it was from a dealer. It had obviously been winter driven as some of the steel areas were showing signs of rust, but the engine, gearbox and bodywork were excellent and with a lovely aftermarket exhaust, corbin seat fitted too and lots of other tasteful add-ons which complimented the bike. It was obvious the previous owner had loved and looked after it. I still miss it. One day in Norfolk a blind geriatric bitch drove out of a T-junction into my path and spoiled the party for me. Luckily i was only doing about 30mph. I was ok but the bike was a mess. Great bike though. Would recommend if you can get a nice example.  

04 February 2010 16:56

dghackett

User's Badge

dghackettsays

RF900

I just bought my RF (10 days ago) and just love it. done nearly 400 miles but work gets in the way. I rode it to work one day even though I have a company van. I would take it to scotland with me next week but I need my tools BAAAAAAAA. Going on the essex air ambulance run this sunday. will be great fun.

03 September 2008 21:42

Most popular

Rate my bike