First ride on Suzuki’s new GSX1400

Published: 22 April 2001

YOU’D have thought the GSX1400 was a real knuckle-dragger of a bike. But there is surprisingly little of the Neanderthal about this big-bore beast.

Wrapped around its huge, 1400cc, fuel-injected, oil-cooled motor is a steel, double-cradle frame that has just the right amount of flex to ease you in and out of those bends without throwing you any great handling surprises or sending you wallowing across the asphalt.

In other words, the chassis is loose, but it’s not baggy. In other words it’s powerful, but it ain’t brutal.

The riding position when compared to, say, a Bandit 1200, is squarely upright. The saddle is comfortable and all the switchgear and control levers are within easy reach. Holding it stationary, it certainly feels a little heavier than anything else in its class. But once you’re on the move, you’re too busy hanging on to the bars to worry about the physical dimensions.

At any speed, the engine is surprisingly manageable and tractable – but by no means tame.

Twist the throttle slowly, or snap it open, and see for yourself how quickly, how effortlessly, the Suzuki picks up, spinning that needle all the way round to... 112mph. Eh? Surely it’s capable of more than that?

Well it is, but the model is currently only available for the Japanese market, and this is the point where the speed limiter kicks in and prevents you from totally losing touch with reality.

Just bear in mind that at this speed the tacho is showing only 5500rpm – and you’ve got another 3500 to go and massive torque all the way up.

If the bike is imported to Europe – and Suzuki GB is now carrying out research to see if there’s enough demand – you’ll have the chance to find out what happens beyond that point. The factory has already developed a bike for export, which has 104bhp on tap and no speed limiter, so it should be even better.

Let us know if you think it should be imported by following the " Comment on this story " link (right) and posting under Suzuki GSX1400.

This is biking at its most naked, its most stripped down – which, for some, is not simply one way to ride, but the only way to ride.

There is a hell of a lot of torque – 93ftlb to be precise, 20 more than a GSX-R1000. And that’s at 5000rpm!

At the business end of the bike are a pair of 46mm fully-adjustable forks keeping the front firmly on the Tarmac. It has 320mm discs. Suzuki says the Tokico set-up up front is the same as that used on the GSX-R1000.

Rear suspension is a pair of piggy-back, fully-adjustable shocks that are no more, or less, than you’d expect for a motorcycle of this stature. There’s also a 190-section rear tyre, and while that may not suit the retro theme, it provides ample grip and a more menacing rear view. The wheel is held in place by a cast alloy swingarm, rather than the tubular steel design you might expect to find on this type of bike.

If I have to find fault with the GSX1400, I’d point to the mechanical noise of the oil-cooled engine. That’s not likely to bother most hard-core musclebike fans who like to hear the sound of the beast coming at them from all quarters. But I’d expect a little more aural refinement.

If the GSX1400 does come our way, the price is likely to be around £5600, give or take a couple of hundred quid.

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