SUZUKI TL1000S (1997-2001) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Fast if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension"

Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding

"Fast if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension"

  • At a glance
  • 996cc  -  125 bhp
  • 32 mpg  -  100 miles range
  • Medium seat height (835mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000S is a motorcycle which has become the Freddie Kreuger of biking. But it's not that evil really, it just suffers from a poor rear shock design that overheats far too easily. You can go fast on the TL1000S if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension, but the Suzuki TL1000S will always retain the ability to scare the pants off you occasionally.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

This is where it all goes Pete Tong for the Suzuki TL1000S. The rear shock's damping action is controlled by a teaspoon of oil being forced through valves - it doesn't work. The rear end starts moving, plus the front end of the TL1000S is liable to flap about as the sheer grunt lifts the front wheel. Result; one scared rider, and possible excursions into the scenery. The Suzuki TL1000S also chews chains and rear tyres easily.

Engine 5 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000S barnstorming motor, even today, with 125bhp ready to kick your arse within two seconds of opening the throttle fully. Gearbox and clutch are OK, but repeated wheelies can knacker clutches quickly. Early Suzuki TL1000S models had on/off fuel injection, some stalling problems, but most will have been sorted out long ago by now.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

The build quality is patchy. Some Suzuki TL1000S machines were rusting when new. Paint rubs away, alloy discolours, electrics and the fuel injection can play up. Luckily, owners are quite fanatical about the Suzuki TL1000S and it's common to see beautiful used examples with a host of mods up for sale in the £2000-£3000 bracket.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

As a used buy the original gangster Suzuki TL1000S is likely to hold its value better than the slightly saner TL1000R in the long run. If you can find a truly original, unmodified Suzuki TL1000S, especially in red, then buy it because you won't lose money on it. The Suzuki TL1000S is now becoming a cult bike. Find a Suzuki TL1000S for sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The TL1000S has some decent brakes, forks and a half fairing, but it never looked as well equipped as some rivals from the late 90s. Details on the Suzuki TL1000S like the rubbish front mudguard, the crude fairing struts, sticky-out subframe and the lack of rear grabrail all hint at a bit of a rushed development. 

Owners' Reviews

19 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI TL1000S (1997-2001) 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 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

Why Not Have One

08 February 2014 by Gusty

been the Owner from New in 97,yes have to replace tyres each year, but the chain had lasted 15 years. plastic work always breaks when removing it, but Iput that down to age now. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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

Great engine

26 February 2013 by neilcowey

I had one of the first in the country,being on the waiting list at my local dealer,looked good in green. First year was a bit up and down with recalls and the press getting their knickers in a bunch over how dangerous it was. Yes it shook its head a... Read more bit but usually I was riding like a tit anyway. The steering damper recall spoiled the steering feel imho,and it would weave gently in fast bends but I loved it,brilliant engine torquey with top end and the handling you got used to, not a bad riding position either. Had it for 4 years only got rid because i fancied a change and I've regretted it ever since. Have had a Falco and a SV1000s they're just not as good/exciting.......

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

Love/Hate

21 May 2010 by IronblockV8

owned it for 12 years,nearly new when I got it,when it runs right its fantastic,when it plays up it's a piece of junk.Ignore all the crap about Japanese reliability,it's a myth unless it's a Honda,I've had more problems with this bike than there is... Read more room to list,bad expensive things as well and as soon as I can afford it it'll be gone,needless to say the next bike will have a Honda badge on it.I think alot of the problems stem from the cheap shit build quality,you get what you pay for and after the CBR i had before this the TL feels like some Chinese thrown together budget bike.A great bike when it's not playing up,a bleeding nightmare when it is.

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

I love it!

11 May 2010 by tbaria

My favorite Crotch Rocket. I have had a 95'CBR600f3, 98'ZX9R , 01'SV650S , I like the TL1000S the best. Makes riding in the triple digets easy. I don't know if it could beat the ZX9R I had but pretty close. I have not had a problem with rotary... Read more damper. I probably don't ride hard enough. Lots of power and torque. More than enough for most people. If you need more your crazy! It will kill you! This bike will do what you want it to do. The "bad" your rear tire will wear out fast ha ha!

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

The Dogs B*******

25 January 2010 by Roadrunner007

Have owned mine for nearly two years and I have to say what a machine. This was my first Litre Bike and took some getting used to, however it is very rewarding, sounds awesome and the engine never fails. When you go to a bike meet, many people look... Read more as the TL1000S is fairly rare these days and with unbaffled cans sounds like thunder. You need to muscle this bike a bit to get it to do what you want and be careful of the engine breaking as its pretty hard. All in all a lot of bike and fun for the money and rare to boot.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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
5 out of 5

get one before they disappear

23 February 2009 by GJB1

I've owned mine for 10 years and still can't think of what to replace it with. It is a fantastic bike, huge power everywhere (I had a ZZR 1100 previously)handling better than me and enormous fun. I run a full Yoshi system, and the noise is... Read more incredible...not so bad at tickover, but amazing when opened up. Best mods apart from the exhaust, fully adjustable Sprint steering damper (run at its weakest setting) and braided brake hoses. If you haven't tried one, make the effort, it's an adrenaline fuelled rush every ride!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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
5 out of 5

IF YOU WANT ONE GET IT

21 February 2009 by mick750

The most fun you can have without busting the bank and fun it can be. The noise can loud with aftermarket cans ( art cans on mine )but they`ll hear you coming and you`ll be differant. Have fun but itis an animal when it wants to be so be warned Read more

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

KEEP IT A SECRET

05 February 2009 by GIZMOSMITH

All i can say is ignore what the mags say about the TL remember they ride the bikes to the limit, how many of us can say we do i ride hard and fast and the TL is supurb yes get a new shock for the rear and yes get a new damper for the front get the... Read more suspension set up for you and more than anything remember to respect it. when the the TL was new it was one of the first big v twins to come out and have so much power and the said full throttle out of a corner it was a bit wild ! what did the expect try and do the same on a new GSXR 1000 that would get a bit wild as well!!!! I love the TL with race cans the sound it just adictive you find yourself cracking open the throttle just to hear that thundering sound it can keep up with most of my mates and we all have 1000cc sports bikes. I go to allot of bike meets and get the same looks and muttrings ( you dont see many of those around ) and thats the good thing its not another GSXR. Great bike loads of power great noise good handling when sorted somthing different oh and it makes you smile everytime you go for a ride isnt that what its all about.

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

My Pet Monster

26 February 2008 by widowmakerv2

I have owned my TLs for 7 years now and and love it. keep it on an optimate charger and look after its cailpers. Keep an eye on the 2 side bolts the lossen themselves off. also if you have a small water leak coming from R/H casing hole just to the... Read more front. That is your mechanical seal has gone it costs about £30.00 from your suzuki dealer. Its not a big job and not the end of the world. Leave lots off slack in your chain as it goes boe string tight when you pinch up nut on rear wheel. so find tigtest part of chain then ajust there . there is lots more but if anyone is looking to buy one and have a Qestion Email me on kennymcq@googlemail.com

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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
4 out of 5

Animal

21 February 2008 by sm837

Hi I had the TL1000r and had to sell it due to personel reasons, Regretted it ever since, Just got the TL1000s and what a machine experieced rider's only, and give it respect loads of power handles well if you take it by the scruff of the neck, pulls... Read more pulls pulls although my TL1000r was a better machine.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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 19 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2001
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 125 bhp
Max torque 76 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.9 secs
Average fuel consumption 32 mpg
Tank range 100 miles
Specification
Engine size 996cc
Engine type 4 stroke, V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Alloy oval section trellis
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 191kg
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

1997: Suzuki TL1000S launched.
1998: Steering damper retro fitted to Suzuki TL1000S by Suzuki GB, fuel injection tweaks.
2000: New colours/graphics 2001 Suzuki TL1000S Model discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki TL1000S motorcycle review - Riding