SUZUKI TL1000R (1998-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Exciting to ride, but for experts/nutters only"

Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding

"Exciting to ride, but for experts/nutters only"

  • At a glance
  • 996cc  -  135 bhp
  • 35 mpg  -  120 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000 range feature one of the truly great V-twin engines, in some of the most unpredictable handling chassis ever devised. The Suzuki TL1000R has an improved rear shock, which doesn't misbehave so much as the TL1000S model's, but both motorcycles get so light at the front end, so very easily with all that V-twin grunt on tap. The Suzuki TL1000R is exciting to ride, but for experts/nutters only.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000R features a frame based on the Suzuki GSX-R750 of the era, and it perhaps suffers from a short 1405mm wheelbase. Maybe the V-twin motor's poke would upset almost any chassis, but the TL1000R doesn't quite handle with the precision of say a Bimota SB8R, or Duke 916/996. When you push it, the Suzuki TL1000R gets loose at high speeds, and oversteers on slow corners.

Engine 5 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000R has a truly awesome engine, producing a claimed 135bhp and though it revs another 1000rpm higher than the TL1000S, the Suzuki TL1000R still feels like it makes as much poke as a Ducati 916 can manage, by about 6000 revs. Sheer, liquid, adrenaline-pumping lunge and the fuel injection works better on the TL1000R than on the Suzuki TL1000S.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The TL1000R's motor can take all kinds of abuse without any problems and the overall finish is quite high - for a Suzuki. The Suzuki TL1000R will still show some corrosion rapidly if you foolishly rode it through winter, it is basically a summer trackday kinda motorcycle. Electrics on the Suzuki TL1000R's can play up and it needs a strong battery to start that big motor, so invest in an Optimate.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

Hardly anyone wants the Suzuki TL1000R nowadays, with the earlier TL1000S model achieving cult status thanks to its lairy reputation. If you like danger, then the TL1000R version is almost as challenging to ride fast and can be had for a couple of grand in mint condition - surely a bargain compared to an unloved 916 for twice as much dosh? Find a Suzuki TL1000R for sale.

Insurance group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000R's full fairing is fairly wide, especially at the top half, so it keeps some windblast off the rider. The TL1000R pillion perch is a bit of joke, footpegs are too high and the upswept pipes makes panniers impossible to fit. You get a steering damper as standard on the Suzuki TL1000R though...which is nice.

Owners' Reviews

22 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI TL1000R (1998-2004) 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 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
4 out of 5

03 TL1000R

25 December 2009 by plazmapants

I bought mine 2yrs ago and it was totally standard, so i changed the cans for yoshis put a TRE & Power comander III on it; it tuned up to 120bhp wich doesn't sound alot to the newer bikes but the torque MORE than makes up for it when you throttle on,... Read more must say though that nearly all manufacturers over state their figures on bhp. No problems at all with mine but the massive torque does wear the rear tyres out so i picked avon storms (sports tourer)last time but will try the new angels out this spring, it sounds fantastic and is softer on the bum than my 918 fireblade it replaced,no probs with pillions either, thumbs up from me , ...

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

hotrod

30 July 2009 by champion1971

The TL1000RW is an awesome looking bike, with great design and style, however its inner beauty does not match. The back cylinder is right under your seat next to your manhood and when the engines running, it gives a whole new meaning to the word... Read more HOTROD! I agree basically with MCN’S review, electrics are dodgy in the wet, but all Suzuki’s are like that, c’mon guys, sort that out, you’re pro’s now. And the suspension is a joke, tank range poor too. However it sounds good and value is great picked my version up for £1200, (1999 T reg, 15K miles). Only for the brave or stupid I’d say. You should always acquire as much info on a bike as possible! Do not listen to gossip, most people have not ridden half of what they say and just hear it from others. Take advice from people who have actually had one or ridden one.

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

Red TILLER

27 May 2009 by hobes

Have had Ducatis , Yamahas , Kwakas , Honda have a soft spot for suzuki and this seems to be a great all rounder , Especially fast open road stuff (Quick touring) , big torque , big power (relatively now)and reliable and of course that big booming... Read more twin sound . The only problem I will ever have is how to replace it if is totalled/stolen.

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
4 out of 5

TLS AND TLR

18 March 2009 by sportsboyuk

HAD BOTH TLS MAD FAST BRAKES BIT WEAK, FRONT END HAPPY OK UNITL THE SUB FRAME SNAPPED AT 110MPH HOW I STAYED ON I DONT KNOW. GOT A BRAND NEW TLR BLUE WHITE TOOK THE STEERING DAMPER OFF MUCH BETTER, NEW GRIPPY TYRES. OLHINS FITTED FRONT N BACK POWER... Read more COMMANDER AND CANS AND FILTER AND DYNOED MADE THIS BIKE AWSOME THEN IT GOT NICKED SO I GAVE UP AND GOT AN R1 BUT GOOD IN THERE DAY

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

!22bhp at the wheel and 75ftlb of torque!

03 October 2008 by TLR2TONE

What more do you want! Rolling road tells me i get 67ftlb at 3000rpm which peaks at just over 9000, storming machine for the money and frightens the young uns too ;-) Only let down is the possibly fragile gearbox, not as good as the GSXR but a... Read more helluva lot more fun!!! Have personally found the suspension ok, but i have it on fast road settings, just gets a bit twitchy on the bumpy bits, no different to my 1990 1100

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

Just too heavy

24 June 2008 by rikward

This is my favourite machine to date and I stupidly sold it about two years ago. The power delivery was sweet and with a few tricks and mods the bhp can be easily increased. My biggest complaint would be the weight, but I helped reduce this with a... Read more set of Titanium Remus race cans (which also improved the note and noise to offensive... *grin*)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 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

V-twin superbike

20 October 2007 by IMMI01

Awesome power and handling,mines done 32,000 miles and still going strong. Can be hard work if stuck in traffic (clutch grabs), other from that can't fault it.... Read more

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Mint

06 July 2006 by richtee

Load a grunt in em. luverly sound wiv rite cans [blue flames} had 3 now, r & s models. dunno why they so good. each too thier own.... Strengths: Comfort, style noise. Weaknesses: Crap tank capacity. 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 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Beached Whale

31 May 2006 by TrevorBush

I owned and raced a '99 TLR, one of the best cruisers around, just remove the "Superbike" sticker. Not any good for the track unless you spend large amounts of cash on it, 600 will trash you. Strengths: Storming motor for a V-Twin. Bullet proof... Read more unless you remove the soft rev limiter. Remove the scissor gears, skim and flow the heads, fit a 2-1 Yoshi Titanium Race pipe, if you can get one, BMC/K&N filter, remap and you'll have a sweet sounding tyre shredding power and torque, for a twin. 1100cc big bores around but to expensive and sleaves to thin so a bit of a risk. Weaknesses: Crap suspension, joke of an exhaust, must be for the Americans, to heavy and restrictive. Styling, you either love it or hate 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

V Twin Superb Bike!

27 January 2006 by v666ern

My god its good...the engine is a stonker it just wants to pull wheelies everywhere...sounds nice with standard pipes. Strengths: Flexibility of the engine, you can stick it in any gear and it pulls...and coming from a sports 600 its good to still... Read more have a screming top end as well! Weaknesses: Low speeds stuck behind town traffic.

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
Read all 22 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 135 bhp
Max torque 78 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 120 miles
Specification
Engine size 996cc
Engine type 4 stroke, V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Alloy twin beam
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 197kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm disc
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1998: Suzuki TL1000R launched.
2000: New colours/graphics.
2003: Suzuki TL1000R model discontinued, Suzuki SV1000 replaces it.
2004: Last Suzuki TL1000R stocks sold at discount.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Front view