SUZUKI GSF1200 BANDIT (1996-2006) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"One of biking's true bargains"

Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding

"One of biking's true bargains"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 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.

Engine 5 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 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.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 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 group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

40 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GSF1200 BANDIT (1996-2006) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your SUZUKI GSF1200 BANDIT (1996-2006)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
5 out of 5

great all-arounder great value

21 February 2016 by Black Bandit

This bike does everything from a long day of touring to commuting to work to horsing around on a Sunday afternoon Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
brake quality improved after 2000
Engine
5 out of 5
bulletproof rocket launcher
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The Engine is bulletproof and have had no problems with anything. Regular service is required on brakes, valve adjustments, and finish but that's half the fun of ownership
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
about average for any bike I would think, depending on how much you ride
Equipment
5 out of 5
Love the gas guage
Buying experience

This bike came off a private lot in pristine condition with only 3500 miles. only paid $1750. a bargain!! Had to rebuild carbs (sitting to long)-stage 3 jet kit and aftermarket pipe.

5 out of 5

Bandit Bandit Bandit

17 September 2015 by gixerfixer

Upgrade suspension,brakes are early GSXR items and work really well, they do on my bike anyway! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
changing standard soft shock for a GSXR 1100L unit, standard is soft and bouncy...progressive springs should sort out the front end
Engine
5 out of 5
cant beat GSXR motors even detuned they go like stink when you pull the throttle back, though mk1 bandit benefits from 14tooth front sprocket, gearing is too long standard and struggles to get to its top speed, 14t sprocket sorts that out quickly and easily, and cheaply!!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
my bike has only done 1500 miles, the only corrosion on the bike is on the torque arm, and the little piece of mild steel guard over the collector on the exhaust, other than that it is pretty mint for an 18 year old bike
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
good on fuel for a bike its size, £11 to do 85 miles, and that isn't travelling slow! is better than my car that does 42.5 mpg
Equipment
5 out of 5
engine all day long is the best part of the bike but I am a GSXR fanatic.
Buying experience

my bandit is an italian import, got it with 1300 miles on the clock, (in kmh) paid £2295.00 for it, absolute bargain, basically a new bike!!

4 out of 5

Huge piece of machinery for little money

29 May 2015 by Daddy Gray

Fantastic machine for the money. Mechanically simple and more than ample for what most people would ever need. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I find the seat super comfy, and the brakes are more than sufficient to bring me to a halt. Rear brake seems a bit vague, but it is a heavy machine so that is more due to physics than mechanics.
Engine
5 out of 5
Grunty 1200cc engine means you dont have to rev it above 5k. If you are bringing up the revs, you'll be doing some serious illegal speeds. The engine is a bit lumpy at tickover, but once moving is fine.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Travelling around Scotland the link pipe rotted through and it made one heck of a noise. Had to get all the way back to Lincolnshire with one shouty pipe. Everything else is engineered well enough to last if looked after, whilst not feeling over engineered to make it expensive.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I've only had it a few months and decided to replace oil, filter an plugs. All cheap standard items so no issues there. One big trip around Scotland I was getting almost 200 miles per tank, which means about 50mpg.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Mine came with Renthal bars which are great around town, not so great after 4 hours. The fairing seems to direct air into my face once you get past motorway speeds, but that might just be my long body.
Buying experience

Bought privately. Offered a fair price as plenty for sale and the seller knew that.

5 out of 5

Great Bike Properly Tuned

16 June 2014 by dwfree

The 1200 Bandit is nothing special stock, but modified correctly it's the best value out there. The engine is easy - jet kit, exh can, big hole in the airbox, then one has to know how to tune carbs. Suspension - revalve forks, custom shock highly... Read more recommended, raise the rear 1-1/2" for quicker handling. With these changes it will handle as well as anything out there, and the engine will make 120 hp 80 #-ft torque from 4400to7500 rpm. Nothing else out there with that king of torque in that rev range - perfect for the street. All that at a very affordable price! I've had my '97 for 15 yrs and 55k of the 60k miles on the clock. I did have to replace 3rd gear (broken tooth) so it gets knocked down some for that.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

great bike

24 March 2014 by daibandit12

after riding and owning a large number of bikes for over 40 years i wanted a more upright riding position but still a bike with a fair amount of power and i must say the bandit lived up to both. I bought a 2004 1200S with 8000 miles on the clock in... Read more very good condition one owner and good history for just over £2000 and in the last year have done over 4000 miles on weekends and days off from work and must say i have loved every mile.It pulls like a train,is more than fast enough for todays camera infested roads and is comfortable one or two up my wife reckons it is more comfortable on the back than my previous bike which was a vfr800 and i must say i prefer it myself. Overall a very easy bike to ride and to work on with good build quality and looks like a bike should

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

My Great Find!!!

01 December 2013 by BRACK73RT

I bought my bike with 7488 miles on the odometer and paid $2500 in May 2013. I mainly use it for commuting 140 miles round trip in Northern Virginia stop & go traffic, and now have right at 12,000 on her. The summer heat took a toll on me but this... Read more bikes engine is bullet-proof and withstood the heat and traffic. I run full synthetic oil to lube the engine and clutch(wet-sump). This bike has sleeper like power. It will lift the tire off at a slight twist of the throttle in 1st gear and won't set it down until 3rd gear. This is my Diamond in the Rough!! Could not be more pleased in a bike. Suzuki hit a home run with this bike

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

My Great Find!!!

01 December 2013 by BRACK73RT

I bought my bike with 7488 miles on the odometer and paid $2500 in May 2013. I mainly use it for commuting 140 miles round trip in Northern Virginia stop & go traffic, and now have right at 12,000 on her. The summer heat took a toll on me but this... Read more bikes engine is bullet-proof and withstood the heat and traffic. I run full synthetic oil to lube the engine and clutch(wet-sump). This bike has sleeper like power. It will lift the tire off at a slight twist of the throttle in 1st gear and won't set it down until 3rd gear. This is my Diamond in the Rough!! Could not be more pleased in a bike. Suzuki hit a home run with this bike

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

2000 Suzuki Bandit 1200S

01 December 2013 by BRACK73RT

I bought my bike with 7488 miles on the odometer and paid $2500 in May 2013. I mainly use it for commuting 140 miles round trip in Northern Virginia stop & go traffic, and now have right at 12,000 on her. The summer heat took a toll on me but this... Read more bikes engine is bullet-proof and withstood the heat and traffic. I run full synthetic oil to lube the engine and clutch(wet-sump). This bike has sleeper like power. It will lift the tire off at a slight twist of the throttle in 1st gear and won't set it down until 3rd gear. This is my Diamond in the Rough!! Could not be more pleased in a bike. Suzuki hit a home run with this bike

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

2000 Suzuki Bandit 1200S

01 December 2013 by BRACK73RT

I bought my bike with 7488 miles on the odometer and paid $2500 in May 2013. I mainly use it for commuting 140 miles round trip in Northern Virginia stop & go traffic, and now have right at 12,000 on her. The summer heat took a toll on me but this... Read more bikes engine is bullet-proof and withstood the heat and traffic. I run full synthetic oil to lube the engine and clutch(wet-sump). This bike has sleeper like power. It will lift the tire off at a slight twist of the throttle in 1st gear and won't set it down until 3rd gear. This is my Diamond in the Rough!! Could not be more pleased in a bike. Suzuki hit a home run with this bike

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Great Bike

08 January 2013 by mrjaybee

Recently picked up my K1 bandit 1200s after owning several 600s (incl gsf) and a long spell away from bikes before that. Was between the bandit 1200s mk2 and a fazer 1000. Have always had a secret passion for Suzuki and especially the oil cooled... Read more variety. I found my 12 in a dealer and it ticked all the boxes.. Lowish mileage, 1 owner and no tacky add ons which seems to be rife on these bikes.. After the first 150 mile ride out I havnt been disappointed and the silky smooth black lump jus surges forward with no fuss. I had reservations after reading scary stories of this bikes tendency to drink fuel, but no need to worry as fuel consumption was reasonable. Still 2 bars on the fuel guage after the trip and we werent exactly hanging about. Complaints of uncomfortable standard seat I didnt experience.. Handles well, stops well and pulls like a train.. If there are any gripes then that would have to be the nigh on useless fairing screen at any decent speed and annoying engine vibes around the motorway legal limit, of course a 6th gear would be bonus too. The standard can is staying as lost count of the amount I have bought for previous bikes and to be honest the novelty has worn thin.. If you are looking to buy one these then I wont hesitate to recommend.. Go do it.. You wont regret it..

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 40 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1996
Year discontinued 2006
Original price -
Used price £1,900 to £3,300
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £200
Performance
Max power 100 bhp
Max torque 67 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.3 secs
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Specification
Engine size 1152cc
Engine type 16v, in line four, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tubular cradle
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 214kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, compression
Front brake Twin 310mm disc
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17 in

History & Versions

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.

Photo Gallery

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  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
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  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
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