SUZUKI GSF600 BANDIT (1996-2005) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"So successful it spawned a whole class – budget middleweight roadsters"

Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding

"So successful it spawned a whole class – budget middleweight roadsters"

  • At a glance
  • 600cc  -  78 bhp
  • 44 mpg  -  190 miles range
  • Medium seat height (805mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit was so successful it spawned a whole class. Budget middleweight roadsters. The recipe is simple take one aging but acceptable supersport engine, bung it in a basic, straightforward roadster chassis and price it as keenly as possible. The first Bandits proved best sellers, great for novices and as all-rounders. Latest versions are now 650cc and there’s an all-new engine in 2006. All, including the half-faired versions are great value.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

No glitter or baubles here, but the back-to basics steel-tube cradle chassis does a decent job. Cheap, unadjustable forks are a little on the soft-side but overall the Banfit handles well enough for most and is comfortable and practical, too.  For the money, you certainly won’t be complaining…

Engine 2 out of 5

Derived from the old ‘teapot’ oil-cooled GSX600F. The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit is outdated as a supersports, but fine as an all-rounder. Free-revving, flexible-ish, novice friendly and solid as old boots. The GSF600 Bandit isn't cutting edge, but no messing honest instead.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Forget the budget price for moment, the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit is a solid deal. In a nutshell it’s made by a repoutable manufacturer and is using proven, old tech components – so what can go wrong? The answer? Not a lot. That said, GSF600 Bandit's often dropped (by novices), caned, ridden through winter not always maintained properly and generally given a hard time, so inspect closely.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit’s sheer value for money. It’s always been the cheapest in class and if the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer knocked it off its perch in pure performance terms, the GSF600 Bandit still rules the roost when it comes to squeezing every last pony out of every pound spent. You can buy cheaper, you can buy better, but nothing has ever had absolute value nailed to it quite like a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit. Find a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit for sale.

Insurance group: 12 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

Pardon? What did you say? With price the over-riding criteria the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit was never going to offer much in the way luxury. That said, the twin clocks are stylish enough and the switchgear and mirrors are OK, too. That’s you lot on the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, though…

Owners' Reviews

32 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GSF600 BANDIT (1996-2005) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.1 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

First Big Bike

08 January 2013 by chazmeercat

My '98 Bandit has been my first big bike since passing my test and moving from a CBR 125. Initially the size and weight was daunting, but once it's moving it just feels light and stable and with enough road presence to stop car driving taking... Read more liberties. The lack of a fuel gauge or light has caused problems once or twice, but after a couple near misses I’ve worked out tank range. I've only ridden this restricted to 33bhp, but it still seems to accelerate well (for a newbie) and gets to motorway speeds and above with ease. A screen may help with some of the wind pressure at speed as I can really feel it on my chest and head, but it's not a big problem. I've had no reliability issues, although it can take a while to start when left unused for a few days, but once running and warmed up is fine. I love this bike, but am switching to a Yamaha R6 to fully fulfil my midlife biking crisis :)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5

GSF600N

18 June 2012 by catsick

Owned the bike for 12 years now, first gen Bandit 600. Only mods include prog fork springs, jack up kit and predator exhaust (full SS system as original rotted). Couple of issues to iron out but otherwise a perfect machine :) Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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

Bandit 600S

27 October 2011 by Furious607

I have owned this bike for 3 months now and have loved every minute for it. Due to my restricted licence, it has been restricted to 33bhp but still has enough power to get you into trouble. I commute 30 miles a day and am getting about 50-55 MPG.... Read more All-round it’s a good first big bike or just a normal every day bike and always leaves you with a smile on your face. Highly recommend it.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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

Just get one

03 June 2011 by mogulthrash

What an honest bike. Great value used. It'll rust and the exhaust collector will rust out. However you'll grin every day on it. Ive just put a Stebel horn on it - well worth doing cos the std horn is useless. 50 mpg sensible riding. Genuine 120 mph... Read more +. Starts, rattles and runs for ever.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Value and reliability

27 November 2010 by stevieboyni

What more can be said about the Bandit? It's a great bike! I owned a 1996 600 'S' a couple of years ago and it was great fun. Perfect for a weekend blast or even touring! I loaded mine up with luggage and took a 1300 mile trip around Ireland in 5... Read more days and the bike did not miss a beat, even though driving on on some terrible roads at times and exposed to awful weather it kept going! The brakes aren't the best for sure and the front forks can be a bit bouncy but the engine makes up for it. Although lacking in a bit of torque it's a gem and responds well to a decent can and dyno. Had mine tested at 86bhp! Very novice friendly but not the lightest bike so watch it if turning sharply at low speed. Spares are plentiful and bike is easy to work at. I eventually replaced my Bandit with a VFR but still have very fond memories of it. Well recommended!! :)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good Bike

21 April 2010 by djpert1

I bought my 1999 Bandit 600N a couple of weeks ago. It is restricted due to my licence but has plenty of power up to 9k then it just goes flat, but i've been told that that is where the rest of the power normally kicks in. The bike only had 11,500... Read more miles on it which i hav already aded another 1000 miles to. So far so good. The handling's good, the riding position is all day comfortable, and I've been averaging 50mpg (I dont like to hang around!!!). When i first got on, it felt very heavy but as soon as it starts to move it is as light as air. Very stable and confidence inspiring. However, the bike is not perfect. The front forks are a little soft and it is pain to do any engine work as you need to take the tank off (which takes time if you dont want to chip the mint paintwork). The brakes seem fine - after I rebuilt the front calipars. I would recomend a fly screen as motorways are hard work otherwise. Also, a tail tidy looks soooo much cooler than that grotesque thing it had before. All in all, a great bike that can do pretty much anything. I love every minute I ride her and deffinatlely have chosen the right bike for me. Also, at £1200 I cant complain!!!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

First Big Bike...

17 April 2010 by lmcgregor

I picked up my Bandit 600 (1998) on Thursday and have done roughly 200 miles. In that time all I can say is that I love this bike. I had been riding a CBR 125 for the last 2 years so I was quite intimidated when the keys to my Bandit were first... Read more handed to me as I new I had to get home on it. After riding for about an hour all the worries I had were gone. I found it very comfortable and easy to adapt to. I’m on a restricted licence so it’s been limited to 33 bhp but I think it has more then enough power for a big bike newbie and the restrictor kit hasn’t taken any of the fun out of riding. Now as I said above the bike is 98 and for a bike of its age I think it looks great. I won’t be able to comment on some things until I had it a while but my overall verdict is that I would defiantly recommend this bike.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Bike

28 December 2009 by donut1965

I bought a 2001 mk2 600 bandit soon after passing my test in Sept last year.I have loved every minute of riding this bike though I did find it quite heavy early but soon got used to it. Servicing it fairly straight forward although I did have... Read more problems fitting new rear brake pads due to poor design. It has got plenty of power and I have no problems keeping up with my friends FZ6, FZ6 Fazer and Honda Hornet.Fuel range is very good though I don't have a fuel gauge so have got into a habit of fueling up every 100 miles which costs about £8.00/£9.00. It has a nice smooth gearbox which is much smoother than the FZ6. The Bandit 6 is a great bike that will serve you well.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Wolf in sheep's clothing

12 June 2009 by MrDarcyZX6R

Had a 2000 model Bandit from new and it was my 1st 'big bike'. Plenty of power for a newcomer, comfortable ride and excellent handling (i could take turns faster on this than many race-reps i've ridden). Build quality was slightly iffy in places when... Read more compared to more expensive bikes, but then you get what you pay for. Ultra reliable though, the only problem i had in 4 years was the brake calipers seizing (design fault). The bike is also very heavy for a 600 which may catch some smaller riders out. Overall, a great 1st bike.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5

First bike, best bike

26 January 2009 by phillholmes

My first big bike, and it looks and sounds great, thanks to my brother keeping it very maintained, forget the plastic fantastics, go for a bandit and have something that will get noticed Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 32 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1996
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 12 of 17
Annual road tax £58
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 78 bhp
Max torque 39 ft-lb
Top speed 129 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.4 secs
Average fuel consumption 44 mpg
Tank range 190 miles
Specification
Engine size 600cc
Engine type 16v transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tube double cradle
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 204kg
Front suspension None (rebound later)
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 2 x 290mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

History & Versions

Model history

1995: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit launched.
1997: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with centrestand and grabrail as standard.
1999: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with forks with adjustable rebound damping.
2000: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit updated model with new frame, longer wheelbase, new bodywork, lower seat height.
2002: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with fuel gauge as standard.
2004: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with catalytic converter.
2005: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit discontinued (replaced by 650cc version, see seperate review).

Other versions

Suzuki GSF600N Bandit is unfaired, GSF600S Bandit is faired. For practicality and long-distance comfort the faired motorcycle is the one to go for. For looks and hoonability, go for the naked.

Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki GSF600 Bandit motorcycle review - Front view