Suzuki’s biggest brute yet

Published: 28 January 2001

THIS is the first picture of the biggest-capacity four-cylinder bike Suzuki has ever made – the new 2001 GSX1400.

The photo appears to have been leaked from Suzuki’s own press material, which is due to be released in a few weeks. It shows the final look of the retro roadster, which MCN first revealed two weeks ago.

The GSX will compete directly with bikes such as Yamaha’s XJR1300SP and Kawasaki’s 2001 ZRX1200. However, the Suzuki’s extra cubes seem sure to give it a big performance advantage.

While Suzuki’s other big-capacity naked bikes – the Bandit 1200 and the Japan-only Inazuma – use versions of the same old oil-cooled four-cylinder motor which started life in the mid-1980s GSX-R1100, the GSX1400 has a new motor.

Sources suggest it shares some parts with the 175bph Hayabusa’s four-cylinder, 1300cc motor, but it’s hard to see a link between the two. The GSX1400 has new, finned cylinders to give it the look of an air-cooled engine, and the engine cases are also different from anything else in Suzuki’s range.

The motor features four valves per cylinder operated by double overhead cams and is thought to be fuel-injected. The radiator reveals that the motor is oil-cooled.

So far, there are no officially claimed power figures, but the leaked documentation gives a torque figure of 92ftlb. That’s just 5ftlb less than a Hayabusa and nearly 20ftlb more than the XJR1300SP.

The high torque figure suggests the engine could have an impressive power output – possibly more than 150bhp – though it is impossible to say whether it has been tuned to maximise horsepower or if torque was the only objective.

To cope with the engine’s output, the bike has a wide, 190-section rear tyre – the type of rubber you would associate with machines like Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 rather than any retro-styled streetfighter. It’s fitted to a sports bike-style 17in rim. The front wheel is also the right size for fitting sticky superbike rubber, accepting 120-section 17in tyres.

While the engine, wheels and tyres might have sports bike roots, the rest of the chassis is stuck in the 1970s and 1980s. The frame is a simple, steel double-cradle design, fitted to a thick alloy rear swingarm supported by a pair of piggyback shocks offering a full range of adjustments. The front forks are also fairly basic, though they, too, are fully adjustable.

It may not have bodywork, but don’t expect the bike to be a lightweight. It’s said to tip the scales at 230kg (506lb) – around the same as the XJR1300SP or ZRX1200.

Initially, the GSX1400 is only expected to go on sale in Japan, where it will cost just £5840. However, with bikes like the XJR1300SP selling well in the UK and Europe, the Suzuki could well become available over here in 2002.

Suzuki may have tried to keep the GSX1400 under wraps, but it has published the full specs of the new 2001 GS1200SS – which was also revealed in MCN last year.

The bike, which has gained an extra " S " since MCN’s spy shots were taken, harks back to 1980s machines like the GSX-R1100 with its boxy styling and twin round lights.

The details confirm that the 1200 uses the Bandit 1200’s oil-cooled motor – itself derived directly from the old GSX-R1100 powerplant – and hasn’t received any extra tuning work.

According to the Suzuki figures, the Japan-only bike weighs in at 210kg (462lb) and makes 98bhp at 8000rpm. Those figures are almost identical to the Bandit 1200 – so you can expect the performance to be similar. In Japan, the bike costs just £5270 – only £300 more than a Bandit 1200S over there. If it ever makes it to the UK, though, expect the price to be significantly higher.

At the moment, Suzuki has no plans to bring it to Britain, though parallel and grey importers are likely to ship examples if there is a demand.