SUZUKI GSX600F (1996-2000) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"As a cheap alternative to sporty 600s it sold well"

Suzuki GSX600F motorcycle review - Riding

"As a cheap alternative to sporty 600s it sold well"

  • At a glance
  • 599cc  -  73 bhp
  • 51 mpg  -  220 miles range
  • Insurance group: 11 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (785mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Consistently slaughtered for not being the fastest / lightest / latest but the Suzuki GSX600F is a superb all-rounder. It doesn’t cost the earth and is fast enough to be exciting too. As a cheap alternative to sporty 600s it sold well but when the budget 600 class came of age with bikes like the Fazer and SV650 the Suzuki GSX600F bowed out gracefully.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Suzuki GSX600F is great as an all-round motorcycle. It’s neutral with stable steering and shouldn’t catch out the unwary. It’s not light though so low speed manoeuvring needs a little care. The Suzuki GSX600F is no track machine, where its weight and relatively soft and cheap suspension will limit fun after that first fun track day.

Engine 3 out of 5

The Suzuki GSX600F has a well proven air/oil cooled four cylinder engine. It’s been in use in various guises since 1985 and is almost identical to Suzuki’s 600 Bandit so parts are plentiful and cheap. In the Suzuki GSX600F it's easy to use and has enough poke to dice with sports cars if revved hard. It’s not a hugely exciting or charismatic engine so experienced riders might find the Suzuki GSX600F a little bland.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

That should be a four for reliability and a two for build quality. Problems that’ll stop the Suzuki GSX600F running are rare. But corrosion’s quick to form, headlights and rectifiers can fail, brake callipers seize if not regularly greased and the choke cable can seize or even break making starting difficult. You'll need to look after your Suzuki GSX600F - if it's not too late already...

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

A few years ago the Suzuki GSX600F represented stunning value on the used market. Now Yamaha’s Fazer 600, Suzuki’s SV650 and Honda’s Hornet 600 are stiff competition with low prices. Track down a tidy Suzuki GSX600F at a reasonable price and you’ll still get a bargain due to its unfair unfashionable reputation. Find a Suzuki GSX600F for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

No bells, whistles or LCD trickery. But the Suzuki GSX600F has a decent fairing, a seat that’s all-day comfy for one and not bad with a passenger either. The riding position’s roomy and the Suzuki GSX600F has a centre stand too. Mirrors and lights are mediocre but it’s not impossible to upgrade either if that’s a problem.

Owners' Reviews

20 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GSX600F (1996-2000) 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 GSX600F (1996-2000)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
5 out of 5

Dependable friend

13 August 2017 by PFB

Always Dependable. This review is on the series before the reworked GSX600F In 96, l Owned the bike for 22yrs from new. Although there are faster prettier and more trendier bikes out there I can say that I loved every minute of ownership and riding.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes always stopped great, but compared to more serious sports bikes and some of the things I have ridden recently it's fair to say that they could be better. Also brake pipe fittings and hoses really needed changing but I never got to have this done. The bike is a really great comfy ride with less sports and more tourer position was able to be ridden all day solo with luggage, adding a pillion made it wallow a bit but still fine for a couple of hours. Tank range around 175 to reserve. When used for touring ridden all solo but with 3 box hard luggage it performance very good and could just about keep up with some bigger machines in the group
Engine
4 out of 5
The engine runs well and in every day traffic is great giving good pulling power for overtaking and making progress, happy to sit at higher speeds all day with no vibration, makes a great howl higher up the rev range. Only minor niggle that developed was that occasionally whist just after setting off and engine still cold it would stall whilst running up to a stop
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
You can tell that this is a bike built for value and that some components were beginning to show sings of age with paint flaking from the head stock and front forks, also the rear shock was awkward to adjust and felt a bit cheep. Only major component replaced was the original mild steel exhaust system which lasted for around 10 years before being replaced with a stainless 4 into 2 to retain the original look. Bike was always reliable with no failures or let downs whilst with me
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Annual service done by a great local mechanic along with MOT each year Great value over all insurance cheep and little other expenditure required
Equipment
4 out of 5
Not a lot of additional equipment, huge fuel gauge though. Had a Kappa luggage rack fitted which was excellent
Buying experience

Bought as new from dealer that no longer exists

5 out of 5

'89 and '95 owner

20 January 2016 by sjweikart

I actually own two Katana 600s, an '89 and '95. Obviously they aren't '96s but I figured I had to put my 2 cents in somewhere. This is a great bike to start out on. Usually, they are cheap. A little heavy but hey, they're more than 20 years old. Both have high miles and still run like champs. Recommend for a newbie or anyone that wants to mix up their bike collection. Also, my '89 gets lots of compliments on paint quality and both '89 and '95 get compliments on sound.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 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
-
4 out of 5

01 November 2015 by Pete

Overall quite good, not perfect but you feel like you get value for money.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes are OK. They won't make your eyes pop out but you never feel like you need more stopping power. Brake lever is adjustable. Seat is very comfy, you could go all day in it.
Engine
4 out of 5
Powerband is a bit short, sometimes you have to change up on an overtake, but this isn't a sportsbike. Nice smooth power delivery.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Hard to say as my bike was 16 years old when bought and it must have had a hard life, plenty of weathering. No rust on original exhaust though.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Super cheap to run. Parts are cheap and plentiful and it's easy to work on yourself. I always get 200+ miles to a brimmed tank even when ridden fast. Only £69 a year to insure with new full licence.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Has a fuel gauge and reserve, nice touches. Underseat storage. Currently have BT021's on it which are OK.
Buying experience

Private sale. £600 no MOT. Passed MOT with no advisories.

5 out of 5

banditman

08 January 2011 by banditman2010

i am a tourer rider and my best bike is a bandit. but i now own a 600 katana it was cheap and chearfull but its a gracefull bike carnt fault her in enyway. i had to spend some money on her but money still well spent. when i do get a bandit i am going to keep her for fun rides out best £800 i ever spent

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
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

best bike i have ever road

08 April 2009 by suzukigsx600fkatana

i have a suzuki gsx600f katana 1997 model and its fast smooth relible and cheep to run it has never let me down it will keep up with almost anything if you ride it right and sticks like glue in the corners my mate had a suzuki gsxr750 and i could keep up and somtimes beet him and he is a very good rider witch just lets u know how good this bike is for a older and more upright bike i have done a few trips to scotland and london and never felt tyred or uncomftable and i live in newcstle again lets u know how good it is i paid £2200 for myne and it is in great condition and only had 7000miles on the clock when bourt in november 2008 so its not an expensive bike for what u get also i have been clocked at 163mph on myne totaly stock so i disagree with the 130mph coments thanks for reeding any questions i will do ma best to answer cheers

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
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Good for the money

11 February 2009 by winton50

I owned an older teapot and bought my 54 plate because it was going for a song. I needed something to commute and use as a daily hack and it hasn't disapponted. Good on fuel and tyres and very dependable. 130 mph if you want to and very comfy and not too buzzy. I put luggage and braided hoses on with better tyres and it does me a treat. Worst things are the weight, the corrosion and poor quality of the paintwork but frankly it's not that much of a problem considering the abuse she gets! buy yourself a low mileage bargain from a BAB and you won't be disappointed.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

A cracking 'little' bike.

18 November 2007 by Katana Paul

(I should have posted here rather than 'Comments' below...) My mate's CBR6 never left me behind, I always caught him before the next corner and I'd plenty left in the tank when he was pulling onto the forecourt to fill up and scratch his numb ass back to life! I too have managed to squeeze a ton30+ out of her before running out of room. It's all-day comfy, there's plenty of room for sliding across the seat before that tight corner and I've had some silly lean-angles since I upgraded the rubber to BT010's (horrid Macadams got binned)! I really couldn't have picked a better bike post DAS (insurance after a year's riding is £89) and the weight 'disadvantage' means I probably won't notice the increase when I move up to a litre bike. She could do with a little more power (the 750 probably has that) and I find the brakes a bit woolly when pulling up from speed, although there's plenty for stoppies from lower velocities. It's difficult to imagine riding something without a propper fuel guage too. I have a few furry fastners after riding through last winter and the rear caliper needed new seals at this years major service. I can live with that on a 52-plate 16,000+ miler. I can't wait to see the new GSX650F. Long live The Kat.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 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

Excellent first big bike

01 November 2006 by JimCoghlan

Been off the bike for about 15 years. Despite all the negative press from the so called experts all the owner reviews are very positive. This has (in my opinion) artifically brought the price of the bike down (so thanks to all the experts).What can I say fab performance on a shoe-string budget, where else could you get this much fun for £1500 and next to nothing to insure. By the way my wife is a stunner so I'm not bothered by the teapot remarks, I actually think its a great looking bike. Very easy to take on the twisties, was back to scratching my knee in no time. Good on the motorways also, 130mph no problems. Will be happy to ride this for at least another few years. Strengths: Price, performance, a real Goldielocks bike! Weaknesses: None really, if you twisted my arm there are a few rusted bolt heads but once you offset this against the cost to buy the bike in the fist place, it's not a consideration. Go on grab yourself a bargain.

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
-
4 out of 5

Bought as a cheap way back into biking and worth every penny.

01 July 2006 by n0ct0

After 15 years off a bike I wanted something that would keep me entertained for a while but wouldn't run away with me. This fits the bill perfectly and has been easy to live with, cheap to buy and cheap to run. Longest trip 330 miles in one go other than fuel stops. I needs to be muscled into corners, but at least you find out how to ride a big heavy bike that way. Enough power to get you into trouble, but you need to work the gearbox, so it won't creep up on you. Brakes are spongy, but do actually stop you rather than locking the wheels unexpectedly. Exactly what you need when you've been off a bike for a while. Decent fairing keeps the wind and rain off you, even my 6'6" frame. Strengths: Cheap to buy and run. Comfy enough for long runs. Easy to live with. Fast enough to wake you up when the mood takes you. Weaknesses: Heavy vibes through the bars and pegs at legal motorway cruising speeds.

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
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

I have had many bikes of diferent types and I came across this bike after selling my Triumph Sprint.

21 January 2006 by Leck

Why do some people Knock this bike? I have found it a realy nice bike. Its comfortable, as quick as you need a bike to be and handles very well indeed. I brought it as a short term bike but Im quite happy to keep it, as it dose it all and its cheep on maintenance for every day biking. Strengths: Its comfortable, good weather protection, easy to ride and cheap to run. Weaknesses: A bit heavy.

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

Fast, cheap and pretty goodlooking!

22 July 2005 by colinux

I've had my black gsx for over a year now. Having passed my test 20 years ago, I stopped riding about 5 years back. The gsx is a cracking bike. It's fairly light, handles as well as most race models, and can hold it's own against most 600's for speed. Strengths: Nice riding position. Fast & responsive. Decent handling Pops serious wheelies! Weaknesses: Has a bad rep because of the Teapot nickname.

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

My first bike after passing test

27 June 2005 by cat1b1

I'm not claiming to be an expert cos I'm not but I am finding it great as a first bike, it's a little on the heavy side, but I think thats down to it being 17yrs old, and the fuel tank doesn't hold a lot but so far it's been pretty forgiving of my "still learning" mistakes, handles well and the restrictor doesn't seem to have had a negative effect on it. I'd reccomend it to someone for a first bike though if you're a vertically challenged female like myself you may want to have it lowered slightly. Strengths: Price, handling. Weaknesses: Fuel tank.

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

The look of the bike may not be for everyone, but for me to go to and from work everyday its perfect

02 August 2004 by Gavo1984

The handling is Great and the Fairing really is affective. The Brakes are great, But the fuel tank is just to small. Strengths: Riding postion, Brakes, Engine, Handling, (Very odd looking) Fairing and the Price Second Hand. Weaknesses: Only the fuel tank size.

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

It does exactly as it says on the box

01 June 2004 by fossil

This bike is classed as a sports / tourer and it does a great job of both, a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde. It eats up winding roads for breakfast and provides all footrest scraping fun you would expect from a spostr bike. Take it on a long trip and you find a different personality in the bike, comfortable and reliable, everthing you would expect from a tourer. If I must ctitisise anything it is the capacity of the fuel tank for long runs means finding a fuel stop every 150 miles or so. All this combined with 140mph performance, excellecnt brakes and handling make it a good all rounder. Strengths: The powerplant is excellent, riding position is comfortable, it handles, it's fast and it stops, what more do you need! Excellent value for money. Weaknesses: Outdated looks, restrictive fuel tank capacity for touring.

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
-
4 out of 5

My Review

06 July 2003 by devnull

This is my first bike and as such it's perfect. There's enough power, but not too much. The insurance is cheap (the high figure above is because I live in manchester - every other 600 I tried to get insured was over 1000 quid TPF&T) and because most magazines slag them off it was cheap to buy too. I've also found it a great bike to build up confidence on. It's never scared me by being too powerful but has enough to go everywhere at "instant ban" speeds if you want to. On top of that it's nice and solid in corners and doesn't feel like it's going to throw me off. About the only real problems are the brakes (work fine and are good enough for me, but need a firm tug to get it to slow down quickly) and the finish (I haven't ridden it in winter much but it's still got spots of rust). I expect I'll have outgrown it in a year of so, but until then it suits me fine.

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

My Review

27 December 2002 by sywarren

ITS MY FIRST BIG BIKE I THINK ITS A GOOD BIKE I ALSO LIKE THE SIZE AS ITS QUITE BULKY ITS GREAT ON A SUNNY DAY ON THE LANES YOU CAN CHUCK IT ABOUT A BIT IT IS ALSO GREAT ON THE MOTORWAY. I DONT LIKE THE GREY WHEELS OR BELLY PAN SO BOTH ARE BEING SORTED IN THE WINTER I WILL ALSO FIT A SCOTTOILER AND UPGRADE THE DATATOOL IMMOBILIZER TO INCLUDE AN ALARM. FOR A FIRST BIKE I WOULD DEFINETLY RECOMMEND THE GSXF.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

My Review

30 June 2002 by pantman

Passed my test last year so didnt want a sports bike. Very happy with my choice, it does everything I want-comfortable, reliable, fast enough, nice to look at. What more can I say?

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
3 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 Review

10 January 2002 by ANichol

Easy to clean, but headlight can become covered in grime very quickly and reduce visibility. Finish has been good so far despite infrequent cleaning and winter salt.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
3 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 Review

17 December 2001 by brigdep

This is my first bike for 25 years. When I was a teenager (in England) I rode small bikes up to 250cc but had never ridden a powerful 'sports' bike. I decided that it was time to treat myself; I wanted to pay cash, and was scared stiff about riding a powerful crotch rocket, or paying extra money for the latest technology. The GSX600F (Katana in Canada and US) seemed to fit the bill and I am pleased to confirm that it is an excellent choice for someone wanting comfort and speed. It is still sold new here but I believe has been discontinued in Europe. The bike will suit those on a budget and/or those hoping to trade up when their confidence level is higher. After taking a motorcycle course I had no problem getting onto the bike and driving away from the dealers. After 2500 miles of mixed highway and town use I have had a great deal of fun. The bike comes alive after 6000rpm, cruises easily at 90mph, and is very comfortable at 120mph which is as fast as I have been to date and frankly quite fast enough for me (until next summer). I am 51, a boring old fart, and having the time of my life. In a year or so I will trade up to a Ducati ST2 or Honda Interceptor - I will pay a lot more for quality and image, but you can't knock the Suzuki. Here in Canada it is a real deal and I recommend it to anyone who wants sports and comfort at a good price. If you are planning on keeping the same bike for many years then buy the 750. If money is tight or you plan to trade up later, then the 600 will not disappoint.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
3 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

My Review

28 June 2001 by jimacca

I love it. The bike's particular forte is comfort and although it is perhaps at the less powered end of the 600 market, I still find the bike exciting. The looks are slightly odd, but that didn't bother me and I think I got a bargain. Don't knock the bike till you tried it - it's got a clock and fuel gauge, where's my slippers....

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

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1996
Year discontinued 2000
Original price -
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £62
Annual service cost £80
Performance
Max power 73 bhp
Max torque 39 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.3 secs
Average fuel consumption 51 mpg
Tank range 220 miles
Specification
Engine size 599cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Steel perimeter
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 200kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 290mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1988: Original Suzuki GSX600F launched with a smaller fairing, twin exhausts and single headlight.
1998: Suzuki GSX600F got major update with more low and midrange power, stainless steel exhaust, new bodywork, twin headlights and more modifications.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

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