SUZUKI GSF600 BANDIT (1996 - 2005) Review

Highlights

  • A real motorcycling legend
  • Huge community of owners
  • Carb-fed engine needs careful attention

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £140
Power: 78 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.7 in / 805 mm)
Weight: Medium (450 lbs / 204 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £2,100 - £2,200

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Suzuki Bandit 600 was so successful it spawned a whole class: budget middleweight roadsters. The recipe is simple take one aging but acceptable supersport engine, bung it in a basic, straightforward roadster chassis and price it as keenly as possible.

The first Suzuki Bandits proved best sellers, great for novices and as all-rounders. In 2005 the Bandit 600 was replaced by the Suzuki Bandit 650, complete with an all-new engine. All versions, including the half-faired versions, are great value.

There's an extremely healthy community for Suzuki Bandit 600 owners, and prospective buyers may want to consider joining the following after reading this review and our owners' reviews:

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

No glitter or baubles here, but the back-to basics steel-tube cradle chassis does a decent job. Cheap, non-adjustable forks are on the soft-side and the standard rear shock quickly tired out. But overall the Bandit handles well enough for most and its upright stance makes it a comfortable and practical bike.

For the money, you certainly won’t be complaining until it comes to the brakes – the sliding calipers need quality aftermarket pads and braided steel hoses to get the best from them. Later models got a slightly updated chassis with better tyres, but there’s little to choose from early to late models.

Cornering on the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit

Engine

Next up: Reliability
2 out of 5 (2/5)

Taken from the ‘teapot’ oil-cooled Suzuki GSX600F, the former supersport engine lost its top end rush but gained smooth drive everywhere else. It's a tough unit and the bottom end survived even the biggest big-bore conversions owners could buy.

Carburettors were the driving force then and aided the Bandit’s easy-going throttle response – although they are prone for going out of sync and need balancing every 4-5000 miles to ensure smooth running.

If you're servicing and notice black sparkplugs, it’s going to be the fuel tap, float levels or needles. The simplest one is the fuel tap; it comes with three lever positions, "on", "res" and "pri". It is a vacuum tap that relies on the lower inlet air pressure when the engine is running to draw fuel into carbs in the "on" or "res" positions.

The pri position is used to prime the carbs with fuel after servicing work, and should only be used then. If you leave it on pri, thinking that is off, you can flood the fuel system.

The other causes are incorrect float heights or wear in the needle seats, excessively richening up the fuel mixture. You could also check that the air filter isn’t blocked.

Cornering on the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit

Reader question: Why is my Suzuki Bandit 600 making a tapping noise?

Q. When my Suzuki Bandit 600 is cold or just warming up I can hear a knocking noise like a 'tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap'. When the bike warms up it stops. Is this ok or something I should worry about?

I can’t tell from the service history invoices whether the valve clearances/cam chain tensioner etc were checked. The noise disappears when the bike is fully warmed up and it only seems to happen on tickover/low revs.

The bike is fitted with a 33bhp restrictor kit. It is rev-dependant.
Morpheusking, MCN forums

A. That tapping noise could be a lot of things. Without being able to hear it we would say it’s probably just a bit of backlash in the camchain at idle. It could be worth lifting the idle speed very slightly from 1000 to 1200rpm to see if this helps.

But it could also be a tappet, a loose spark plug ticking, or even one of the 33bhp restrictor plates rattling at low revs. To locate the source of the noise use a long screwdriver as a stethoscope, the handle makes a good ear piece. Move the tip around the engine until you hear the noise at its loudest.

Note: 33bhp is no longer a valid power restriction in the UK, however similar components are also available for the current A2 licence/47bhp limit.


Reader question: Trouble selecting neutral on my Suzuki Bandit 600

Q. It's become really difficult to select neutral on my 1999 Bandit 600 lately. It is OK when the engine is cold but after about five minutes, I can tap my left foot from first to second and back again without finding neutral until the traffic lights go green again.

It selects neutral without a problem once the ignition is switched off, or from second gear as I coast to a stop. It's driving me mad! What can I do to protect my sanity? Tony, Liverpool

A. The first thing to do is check that the clutch is adjusted correctly. Once you have eliminated that, make sure the gear lever hasn’t seized on the pivot point.

If the lever is moving freely it looks like a selector fork in the gearbox is bent. The only solution then is to get the engine out and upside down so that you can split the crankcases and get at the gearbox internals.

The selector fork costs around £26 and the job is doable in five hours by a competent mechanic, so you should budget £250-300 all in.

The other alternative is to get a good, used motor from a breakers as they can be picked up for as little as £300.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Bandit’s 'budget' tag doesn’t necessarily mean cheap tat. The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit is a solid deal made by a reputable manufacturer and uses proven components – so what can go wrong? Not a lot, really.

The original exhaust system will have rotted through by now, and the rear shock would have lost what little damping there was in the first place. Like all bikes of this era, especially high mileage examples, pay particular attention to suspension linkage (running dry and seizing), brake disc wear and obvious signs for a rotting fuel tank. Not forgetting Bandits would have been caned at some point over the decades since it was new, and ridden through winter with minimal maintainance.

For an idea of what the bike's like to live with, check out our Suzuki Bandit owners' reviews. We've got 40 owner opinions on the site, with an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. That's an impressive performance. It scores the same for build quality and reliability. 

For anything that does go wrong, a wide range of official replacement components are available through Suzuki's Vintage Parts scheme - meaning you don't have to trawl the internet and gamble on a used replacement.

Leaning into a corner on the Suzuki Bandit 600

Suzuki Bandit misfire problem

Q. My 2001 Bandit 600 has an intermittent misfire which is driving me mad. Every four to six months the number one cylinder stops firing when starting from cold.

After a few seconds it’s OK, then over the next few days the misfire gets more persistent until below 3500 revs it won’t fire and the exhaust smells of petrol. Above that it’s fine.

The spark seems comparable with the number four cylinder when tested and after a week or so everything goes back to normal. I use my bike everyday for commuting and it’s really worrying me.

Alan Stevens, Newport, Wales

A. As it’s only affecting one cylinder it can’t be a systemic fault in either the fuel system or the electrics. If you can smell fuel it’s not being starved of petrol.

However, the repeated heating up and cooling down experienced on bikes used for typically short commuting journeys, means that there can be a cumulative build up of condensation that ends up in the carb float bowls.

Drain each one individually and check the contents. As for the spark, it’s going to be from the coil forwards, perhaps when it’s wet.

I’d try liberal spraying with Holts Damp Start and maybe a new HT cap and lead.


Spotting an ex-racer

Carbed Suzuki Bandit 600s of all ages are eligible to compete with the Formula Prostocks Racing Club's Suzuki Bandit Challenge, which operates within NG Road Racing weekends.

The rules are simple: all engines must remain standard, with the exception of an aftermarket exhaust. Shocks may be changed, as can the fork springs, with the wiring loom remaining factory. Bodywork must also be changed to suit ACU regulations and clip-on bars cannot be used.

This simplicity makes it a popular series, with big grids at every round. When buying used, check for the usual signs of track use, such as chewed tyres and replacement shocks, as some track machines may have been converted back to the road. Standard bodywork may also be hiding signs of a big off, so be sure to have a thorough look around the motorcycle before parting with any cash.

On the other hand, if you're looking to move into racing and fancy a competitive and relatively affordable series, then the Bandit Challenge should be considered.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit is sheer value for money. It’s always been the cheapest in class and if the Yamaha FZS600 Fazer knocked it off its perch in pure performance terms, the GSF600 Bandit still rules the roost when it comes to squeezing every last pony out of every pound spent. You can buy cheaper, you can buy better, but nothing has ever had absolute value nailed to it quite like a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit.

Other rivals to consider include Suzuki's own SV650 range, the Honda CB600F Hornet and Ducati Monster M600. All offer a similar recipe of manageable power and comfort, and either two or four-cylinder engine platforms.  

The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit has a wide range of rivals


Suzuki Bandit buying guide

You absolutely can’t go wrong with a Suzuki Bandit, assuming the thing hasn’t been owned by a meathead!

The nice thing about Bandits (also known as Bindits because so many people did) is that they’ve been around for about a quarter of a century now and there really is a model for every pocket.

The early 600 and 1200 models (forget the 400) were really just parts-bin specials. Suzuki mixed and match a load of cheap components, and the engines were just adaptations of earlier designs – but somehow it all worked and made for a bike that was so much more than a sum of its parts.

Things like suspension and brakes were fairly basic to help keep the cost down. However, later bikes are better built with improved ingredients. Still, this makes the early ones cheap and project 600s go for as little as £400.

Starting prices for a stock-ish oil-cooled 600 from the late 1990s are around £600-£700, but if you want something sound, you should budget for £800. 

If you’re looking at the upper end of the market and the water-cooled bikes, then budget £3000 for a 1200 or £3750 for a 1250. There’s no other bike that offers such value for money!

And, for once, I’d say you don’t have to go for stockers. Just beware of streetfighters, which have invariably been crashed before the conversion was made and quite possibly afterwards as well. Avoid anything described as a ‘stunt bike’ too, because you’ll be buying into a whole world of pain.

Equipment

2 out of 5 (2/5)

Being a budget-priced bike there’s likely to be more gadgets and luxury in a modern public toilet. That said, the painted frame is classy and the twin clocks are stylish enough to be classed as retro chic. Switchgear and mirrors work fine and… that’s about it.

Specs

Engine size 600cc
Engine type 16v transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tube double cradle
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 204kg
Front suspension None (rebound later)
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 2 x 290mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 44 mpg
Annual road tax £67
Annual service cost £140
New price -
Used price £2,100 - £2,200
Insurance group 12 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 78 bhp
Max torque 39 ft-lb
Top speed 129 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12.4 secs
Tank range 190 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1995: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit launched.
1997: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with centrestand and grabrail as standard.
1999: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with forks with adjustable rebound damping.
2000: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit updated model with new frame, longer wheelbase, new bodywork, lower seat height.
2002: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with fuel gauge as standard.
2004: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit now with catalytic converter.
2005: Suzuki GSF600 Bandit discontinued (replaced by 650cc version, see seperate review).

Other versions

Suzuki GSF600N Bandit is unfaired, GSF600S Bandit is faired. For practicality and long-distance comfort the faired motorcycle is the one to go for. For looks and hoonability, go for the naked.

Other Suzuki Bandit reviews on MCN

Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI GSF600 BANDIT (1996 - 2005)

40 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GSF600 BANDIT (1996 - 2005) 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 GSF600 BANDIT (1996 - 2005)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Engine: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 3.4 out of 5 (3.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £140
4 out of 5 Great value for money
18 September 2019 by TomF

Year: 2005

Annual servicing cost: £150

Great bullet proof bike! So cheap to buy and so so smooth

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Such a smooth engine, brakes good but too old for ABS

Engine 5 out of 5

SMOOOOOTTHHH with decent power

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Never failed for me great great bike!

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Can pick one of these up for £1,000 - £2,000 so cheap a lot of bike for the money!!! Will drink fuel like there's no tomorrow however...

Equipment 2 out of 5

As you'd expect for how old the bike is not much comes with it!

Buying experience: PRIVATE SALE

5 out of 5 Value pls
12 October 2018 by The fonz derbyshire

Version: Gsf600v

Year: 1996

A beautiful bike. Kept in top spec. Very efficient and reliable. Been very well looked after. Had various new things added to enhance the beauty of it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 Because Bandit. All-rounder. There are so many reasons
29 August 2018 by Seven

Year: 1996

Annual servicing cost: £160

With over 40,000 miles on my Bandit it's still going strong and none of the components have been replaced apart from the chain and sprockets. Parts are cheap should anything go wrong and they are so versatile that you will never see two Bandits the same. Mine in particular has a full 1200 swingarm and rear wheel with a YSS adjustable shock to transform the handling in corners.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Brakes aren't the best, with a heavier 15w fork oil the front forks are better and a YSS adjustable shock on the rear makes the general ride much better and suitable for 2-up. Brakes are nothing ground breaking and I will be looking to upgrade these. Keep the calipers in good nick too as they are known to seize over time with improper cleaning!

Engine 4 out of 5

It's got a beautifully smooth power delivery right up to about 10,500 then it starts to peter off up to its top speed of 131mph (with your head down)!

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The fairings are starting the show their age. My O/S rear fairing will need replacing due to the plastic clips breaking and the frame is starting to show signs of corrosion, but you take care of it and it will take care of you.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I do 3,000 miles in a decent month, so I get an intermediate service every year. It's quite thirsty on fuel with that addictive sound thanks to a Scorpion system and I ride it hard.

Equipment 2 out of 5

What standard equipment? I recommend a Tony Archer comfort seat, Renthal bars and a top box rack. This makes it much comfier and versitile for longer distances.

Buying experience: I bought privately for £1000 including extras fitted. I bought it with 36,000 on the clock and I immediately serviced it and put new tires on. 4,000 miles later I trust it to go longer distances cross-country this weekend and I'll be putting a new rear tire on since I like fairly soft compounds I go through them quick!

5 out of 5 Brilliant bike...new rider or a cheap second bike
28 October 2016 by Andrew Brassington

Version: GSF600S

Year: 2000

Annual servicing cost: £100

I bought mine as a first bike after DAS in April 2015. Having had a go of a few supersports and tourers, it is forgiving. Plenty of power but a smooth power delivery. Fuel economy is brilliant...50+ mpg on a run. Around 45mpg when absolutely caned on the roads. Predictable handling and comfortable on ordinary journeys. On a ride up to Scotland, with heated grips and good gear, I was crippled. That was a 3.5 hour ride non stop. The engine is very vibey through the footpegs and handlebars. Bar-end weights and an aftermarket seat make a massive difference. For a new rider or a cheap commuter bike....brilliant. Worst feature, lack of fuel gauge!!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Never carried a pillion. Brakes need regular maintenance especially the rear caliper which is underslung, worth removing it regularly and cleaning all the brake dust and road salt etc off. Have ridden a GSF600 with braided brake lines....these made a massive difference.

Engine 5 out of 5

Smooth power delivery, literally seems to pull from any gear and is very responsive. The power delivery seems sensitive to the exhaust system, I have used two different air filters but a good aftermarket set of downpipes and an end can, has made a massive difference. In my case a Delkevic set of downpipes and a Beowulf end can.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Paint finish, metal and wheels overall are good. For a 17 year-old bike. Slight surface corrosion on front of frame behind oil cooler, and on swingarms. Given my bike was kept outdoors for a good few years, this is par for the course. The finish just isn't as good as more expensive bikes.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Assuming 6,000-7,000 per year (like me) DIY oil, filter and other filter changes come to about £100.00 pounds buying parts yourself (that is two services plus brake pads and other bits) . A major service including valve clearance adjustment and shim replacement cost me £250.00. Should not need valve clearances doing for a while. I had to replace the downpipes and end can (downpipes were 16 years old and a weld let go, end can was 14 years old and aftermarket). That cost me about £300.00. An aftermarket can and downpipe has made a massive improvement..people hear me with the Beowulf can. And power delivery is smoother all the way through the rev range.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Heated grips...vital on any motorbike. Lack of fuel gauge is a big factor, something to careful of on a run. I have used Michelin Pilot Road 3's. I haven't tried others but they are confidence inspiring....they grip and grip and are solid in the wet also.

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer, Norman & Birch in Stoke-on-Trent, spot on service. £1500 for a 2000 GSF600S with 31k miles in Apr 2015. At that time it was possibly £200 over private prices...but worth it for a bike with history.

5 out of 5 mr
14 April 2016 by les waydick

Version: mk1 600s

Year: 1998

Annual servicing cost: £100

worst? that bloody fuel tap. the best, well it's just the smile on your face when riding the bike. it has such good manors

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

at the moment only 4/5 but come the rebuild and who knows

Engine 5 out of 5

cant fault it

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

the only reason its not five is because of that fuel tap

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

so simple to work on

Equipment 3 out of 5

yer right ! ..... what equipment

Buying experience: Found at the back of a warehouse covered in crap and with 63.000 miles on the clock and it had been there of a number of years. after a bit of work got it going and used it for 10 months. It's now in my garage totally stripped down with a new powder coated swing arm and rear wheel and tyres and bearings all round callipers stripped and new seals fitted. new chain and sprockets complete service and engine wash inside and out, front end has new fork seals and forks powder coated along with disks and callipers being serviced completely and will soon be back on the road to be ridden for one day and polished for six. This shows how easy it is to work on this bike I have never touch a bike before finding this bike. Seeing this bike at the back of a warehouse neglected reminded me of "ME" after I was T boned off of my last bike. And it deserved to be given another chance to be as good as it could be, or as good as I could get it

4 out of 5 Lord Janus
12 February 2016 by Hubert Janus

Year: 1999

Annual servicing cost: £100

sweet

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5

lacks puff

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

nae probs

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

basic

Buying experience: got it for a song

4 out of 5
01 June 2015 by Dwight Mitchell

Year: 1996

Annual servicing cost: £200

It is easy to do maintance on this Bike and even for its age the mechanics of the Bike are still very good ... it has a few electrical problems but due to the age of the bike this can be expected .... Taking the bike to 90 mph requires very strong neck muscles .....

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

The bike is best warmed up ... it takes about 5 or 10 min for it to get to operating temprature but once it is there it ticks over very nicely ... The suspention is adjustable for a hard or soft ride ... I have adjusted if for a more comftable ride and to be honest you could ride for about an hour and a half before needing a break...

Engine 5 out of 5

It is very responsive and even at its age now it is quick of the mark..

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The Overall quality of the motor and the frame is very good

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Because this is such an easy bike to service and repair the costs can be kept very low.. I have only paid for the spares and done the repairs and serving myself ... including changing the chian and sprokets...

Equipment 5 out of 5

Avoid a top box, I have always found that in high winds the bike can wobble a bit on the Motorway

4 out of 5 Just get one and smile.
29 May 2015 by Rick

Version: 600n

Year: 1998

This was my 1st bike after passing my test about 12 years ago. Since then I've had a ZX600R, a Mk1 Fireblade and a VFR750. And now I'm looking at getting another Mk1 Bandit. What can I say? Love em to bits.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5
4 out of 5 First Big Bike
08 January 2013 by chazmeercat

My '98 Bandit has been my first big bike since passing my test and moving from a CBR 125. Initially the size and weight was daunting, but once it's moving it just feels light and stable and with enough road presence to stop car driving taking liberties. The lack of a fuel gauge or light has caused problems once or twice, but after a couple near misses I’ve worked out tank range. I've only ridden this restricted to 33bhp, but it still seems to accelerate well (for a newbie) and gets to motorway speeds and above with ease. A screen may help with some of the wind pressure at speed as I can really feel it on my chest and head, but it's not a big problem. I've had no reliability issues, although it can take a while to start when left unused for a few days, but once running and warmed up is fine. I love this bike, but am switching to a Yamaha R6 to fully fulfil my midlife biking crisis :)

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5 GSF600N
18 June 2012 by catsick

Owned the bike for 12 years now, first gen Bandit 600. Only mods include prog fork springs, jack up kit and predator exhaust (full SS system as original rotted). Couple of issues to iron out but otherwise a perfect machine :)

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Bandit 600S
27 October 2011 by Furious607

I have owned this bike for 3 months now and have loved every minute for it. Due to my restricted licence, it has been restricted to 33bhp but still has enough power to get you into trouble. I commute 30 miles a day and am getting about 50-55 MPG. All-round it’s a good first big bike or just a normal every day bike and always leaves you with a smile on your face. Highly recommend it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Just get one
03 June 2011 by mogulthrash

What an honest bike. Great value used. It'll rust and the exhaust collector will rust out. However you'll grin every day on it. Ive just put a Stebel horn on it - well worth doing cos the std horn is useless. 50 mpg sensible riding. Genuine 120 mph +. Starts, rattles and runs for ever.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5 Value and reliability
27 November 2010 by stevieboyni

What more can be said about the Bandit? It's a great bike! I owned a 1996 600 'S' a couple of years ago and it was great fun. Perfect for a weekend blast or even touring! I loaded mine up with luggage and took a 1300 mile trip around Ireland in 5 days and the bike did not miss a beat, even though driving on on some terrible roads at times and exposed to awful weather it kept going! The brakes aren't the best for sure and the front forks can be a bit bouncy but the engine makes up for it. Although lacking in a bit of torque it's a gem and responds well to a decent can and dyno. Had mine tested at 86bhp! Very novice friendly but not the lightest bike so watch it if turning sharply at low speed. Spares are plentiful and bike is easy to work at. I eventually replaced my Bandit with a VFR but still have very fond memories of it. Well recommended!! :)

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5 Good Bike
21 April 2010 by djpert1

I bought my 1999 Bandit 600N a couple of weeks ago. It is restricted due to my licence but has plenty of power up to 9k then it just goes flat, but i've been told that that is where the rest of the power normally kicks in. The bike only had 11,500 miles on it which i hav already aded another 1000 miles to. So far so good. The handling's good, the riding position is all day comfortable, and I've been averaging 50mpg (I dont like to hang around!!!). When i first got on, it felt very heavy but as soon as it starts to move it is as light as air. Very stable and confidence inspiring. However, the bike is not perfect. The front forks are a little soft and it is pain to do any engine work as you need to take the tank off (which takes time if you dont want to chip the mint paintwork). The brakes seem fine - after I rebuilt the front calipars. I would recomend a fly screen as motorways are hard work otherwise. Also, a tail tidy looks soooo much cooler than that grotesque thing it had before. All in all, a great bike that can do pretty much anything. I love every minute I ride her and deffinatlely have chosen the right bike for me. Also, at £1200 I cant complain!!!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 First Big Bike...
17 April 2010 by lmcgregor

I picked up my Bandit 600 (1998) on Thursday and have done roughly 200 miles. In that time all I can say is that I love this bike. I had been riding a CBR 125 for the last 2 years so I was quite intimidated when the keys to my Bandit were first handed to me as I new I had to get home on it. After riding for about an hour all the worries I had were gone. I found it very comfortable and easy to adapt to. I’m on a restricted licence so it’s been limited to 33 bhp but I think it has more then enough power for a big bike newbie and the restrictor kit hasn’t taken any of the fun out of riding. Now as I said above the bike is 98 and for a bike of its age I think it looks great. I won’t be able to comment on some things until I had it a while but my overall verdict is that I would defiantly recommend this bike.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 Great Bike
28 December 2009 by donut1965

I bought a 2001 mk2 600 bandit soon after passing my test in Sept last year.I have loved every minute of riding this bike though I did find it quite heavy early but soon got used to it. Servicing it fairly straight forward although I did have problems fitting new rear brake pads due to poor design. It has got plenty of power and I have no problems keeping up with my friends FZ6, FZ6 Fazer and Honda Hornet.Fuel range is very good though I don't have a fuel gauge so have got into a habit of fueling up every 100 miles which costs about £8.00/£9.00. It has a nice smooth gearbox which is much smoother than the FZ6. The Bandit 6 is a great bike that will serve you well.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 Wolf in sheep's clothing
12 June 2009 by MrDarcyZX6R

Had a 2000 model Bandit from new and it was my 1st 'big bike'. Plenty of power for a newcomer, comfortable ride and excellent handling (i could take turns faster on this than many race-reps i've ridden). Build quality was slightly iffy in places when compared to more expensive bikes, but then you get what you pay for. Ultra reliable though, the only problem i had in 4 years was the brake calipers seizing (design fault). The bike is also very heavy for a 600 which may catch some smaller riders out. Overall, a great 1st bike.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5 First bike, best bike
26 January 2009 by phillholmes

My first big bike, and it looks and sounds great, thanks to my brother keeping it very maintained, forget the plastic fantastics, go for a bandit and have something that will get noticed

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 Kickass!
19 July 2008 by PingSpike

What else can I say, it rocks :)

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 El Bandito!
13 November 2007 by tamlin23

This, as for so many others, was my first bike. Fot this reason I could never hate it. It had a scorpion exhaust, that assisted those pops and crackes to be heard when slowing in gear, which for me is one of the best engine sounds! I shall be honest though. The forks dive badly, the brakes are decoration I think, because they don't seem to affect the speed of the bike much and the bike does not instil confidence in corners due to feeling rather top heavy. Don't trust the fuel guage, it lies! Reading this you might think I had bought a well used hack, not so. It had done 2500 miles and was only a couple of years old. Very clean, and was like new. So why is it so bad? In my opinion its because its so cheap. So there is nothing more negative to say really. You get what you pay for! For a cheap bike to pin to the stop at every opportunity (provided you wont need to stop in a hurry) it's great fun. If you decide to buy one, change the exhaust for something that lets your hear it, and you will forgive it for anything....well....almost.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 Bandit Good depending who you are
11 October 2007 by bikeboardsurf

My 1999 Bandit 600 was my first big bike. When I first had it I loved it, it gave me everything I wanted: affordability, good handling, lots of character, bit of oompf, reliability and smooth yet fast in the country roads. However by the time I was 22 (and was riding the bike derestricted for a few years) I found I was needing more, the engine became OK, the suspension seemed a bit soft and things seemed a bit bland, even with modifications, I wanted a new bike. In summation the bike is amazing for a first time bigger bike and if you want a good all rounder that is comfortable and gets you from A to B quickly then the Bandit is for you. But if you've been riding for a few years or maybe want an extra shot in your chaser you may find you'll eventually be want a bit more than a Bandit 600

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5 Great value, real bike
18 July 2007 by Lightning Boy

I had one of the original Bandit 600s, bought it before the reviews came out and was really impressed it. I've had countless bikes before from tourers to customs, trailies to race reps, many of them Suzukis and I look back on the Bandit with some fondness. Considering it's "budget" status, it never let me down, handled, stopped and look spot on. I gather they dont take crashes very well, but no modern bike does. Innitially I fell for the "back to basics" aspect and found that seemed to be just right for me at the time. Overall, for a budget middlewieght, the Bandit really hits the spot.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5 Great value, real bike
18 July 2007 by Lightning Boy

I had one of the original Bandit 600s, bought it before the reviews came out and was really impressed it. I've had countless bikes before from tourers to customs, trailies to race reps, many of them Suzukis and I look back on the Bandit with some fondness. Considering it's "budget" status, it never let me down, handled, stopped and look spot on. I gather they dont take crashes very well, but no modern bike does. Innitially I fell for the "back to basics" aspect and found that seemed to be just right for me at the time. Overall, for a budget middlewieght, the Bandit really hits the spot.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 Basic
25 April 2007 by lfcfan

It was ok... covered 48000 miles before it got really worn out. Not made to ride in all weathers, or proper distances. Didn't break down much but the electrics rotted in the end. You can buy them cheap though.

Ride quality & brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5 Superb. Excellent reintroduction to biking.
08 August 2006 by deanbaker101

Had my Bandit for a couple of months now after returning to biking after 10 years. Had a CBR600 last time. The bandit knocks the spots off it. Fitted a 14 tooth front sprocket last weekend. The difference is astounding. Pulls from 20mph in top gear. Lost some of the top end but I dont often go over 90mph anyway so would rather have the better acceleration. Reccomended upgrade. Strengths: Excellent MPG 50+ if you dont abuse the throttle. Easy to maintain. Easy to ride. Just a totally outstanding machine.  Weaknesses: Front forks too soft especially when braking. Brakes need a bit more than normal effort to stop quickly but you get used to them . Gonna try some sintered pads next time.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Great bike for the money
07 July 2006 by goose66

Well I bought my bandit new for £3500 and have now coverd over 12000 miles on it. So far it has done everything I've asked of it. for saying it has been used every day for the last 2 years come snow rain and shine the paint work has stood up quite well. I have given it a good clean on a weekly basis, and fitted a scott oiler, along with a top box and fly screen. the only down sides to the bike are poor front stoppers and way too soft front suspension, but I have fix the latter with different fork springs. also there is vibration between 55 and 60 mph. All in all it makes for a good cheep run about. Strengths: Value for money and it makes a great commuter. Weaknesses: Poor brakes and soft front forks.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Just returned to biking after 20 years- mid life crisis! Saw Bandit in local dealer. Fell in love!
08 May 2006 by startup

Wolf in sheeps clothing. Mind you after 20 years a moped would seem fast. Great acceleration, great fun, reasonable economy and stable up to motorway speed limits. Low insurance costs.This is the ideal first 'big' bike, or resurrected biker like me. Strengths: Power, low centre of gravity, (I'm 5 feet 8 inches, with short legs, and can put both feet on the ground) Handling is also very sure, especially for the born again biker. Weaknesses: Paint finish. Generally pretty good, but look for corrosion underneath. Bikini fairing not much use at speed, 'uncomfortable' buffeting at high speed. Also a 'pig' when cold until it warms up, takes a couple of miles!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 So much for so little....Highly recommended if you're on a budget
29 April 2006 by ianalaidler

I bought this bike because I got an excellent deal on it and for no other reason. At first I was worried what it'd be like since it was so cheap...but damn this is a great bike for your money. Not the most exciting bike or the fastest but it`ll never let you down. Good tank range, good comfort and fun when you want it to be. The best feature of this bike - it is idiot proof! Countless times hamfisted riding and late breaking have been saved by this bike. It is uncrashable and I this would make it an awsome bike if you're new to big bikes and I'm convinced that because of the confidence it gives my riding has improved 10 times over. Strengths: Cheap bike/parts/insurance, easy to ride, reliable, add panniers and it`ll tour, loads of aftermarket parts. Buy one they`re a bargain. Weaknesses: Overtaking needs the right gear and a little planning and the finish aint great, that`s about it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Bought Bandit from new as everyday transport, fun at weekends and light touring.
26 November 2005 by biker01

Fantastic, reliable, economical with no faults apart from replacing exhaust due to rust in 28000 miles. This bike will have a go at anything and is great fun so long as you don`t try racing. All you need in the real world and all for £3995. Has been through 4 winters and still looks good with a little care. Not a problem if you are in love! Strengths: Reliability, economy, cheap to run and easy to home service. Weaknesses: Paintwork on frame in some places. Not bad for price though.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 Bandit Dark Blue, all standard bar rear hugger
17 August 2005 by rashton

The bandit has seen me through the daily commute and the sunday blast up to breacon. I have stored the bike outside under an oxford cover, through winter and it wasnt the coldest winter ever the bandit started first time everytime. Through summer the bandit moved forward into a agile machine that allows you to take your riding to a new learning experience where grip is king and allows you to corner faster and harder than you ever could in winter. Also if there aint one already buy a hugger it will help keep the rear shock in good condition. Strengths: Overall the bandit is a comfortable, brisk, fun all round naked 600. Weaknesses: Unless you keep on top of the cleaning it will rust badly through winter (once a week thorough clean and a quick rinse to get salt off in the evenings depending on the weather). Its heavy and at 200kg it takes a short while to get used to pushing about.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 After my first review I thought an update was in order after six months of ownership.
02 May 2005 by Evogt

Well not much more to add really. The bike has been very reliable over the winter and I have covered 2000 miles. The biggest problem I have is corrosion on the heal plates and the chain adjusters. I have washed the bike after every ride and yet things still corrode. I now use the scott anti corrosion spray which has seemed to help. The braking is still good and have not encountered any fading and the handling is still good, apart from a speed wobble at 120 MPH (maybe a steering damper will help with this) Above all still very happy with the bike. Strengths: Ease of use, low maitenance costs, relability. Weaknesses: Build quality, speed wobble. Not the fastest bike in the world but its enough for a newer rider. Experianced riders will find that it wont excite to much.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 The GSF600.....OH MY LORRRDDD! Wot a bike!
29 April 2005 by snetwomble

I have to say I agree with all the other reviews on this page, I have a GSF600 in burnt orange, it is my first big bike (tried ridin lots of others) and I havent stopped grinning since I bought it! It can be burbled around town and copes extremely well in traffic, but you can also open it up if you feel the need to and it still has the power to scare you silly! This is an all rounder bike so the handling does not compare with some of the race bikes you see on the road, but cant really be faulted (upright bike not a leaner) The bike is my daily rider so needs to be practical, which it is, but it also keeps me grinnin like an eejit (daily) with a little blip of the right hand. Strengths: Good handling, price wise...unbeatable, good daily rider, power when and wherever you want it, EASILY upgraded..power and looks. Weaknesses: None found so far.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 In black It has done 6k miles in 5 months with no problems!
29 March 2005 by soft_spread

I have used this bike every day to commute on and it is a great bike. I have had no problems with it.(You read about people with their bikes going through chains and sprockets within 5k and bikes rotting and bearings going). But as of yet I have had no problems which I am very proud of the only things I have had to replace is a set of rear brake pads and that is it. The only changes I have made to the bike are a Scottoiler fly screen and heated grips. I must say there are much better bikes out there and performance wise the are much better handling and faster bikes but considering the cost of the bike and insurance plus what it will cost to run, this is a very good bike for the real world. Strengths: This is a very easy bike to ride and someone with very little experience on larger bikes this is a bike to have. But one warning it is heavy 200kgs! This isn?t really a strength of the bike but I will mention it is insurance £540 TPFT I am 18 with 1yrs no claims that is very good. Weaknesses: The biggest problem with this bike was the build quality you can't just leave it over the winter if you use it every day. I found that I needed to wash it every Sunday.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 I have just bought a bandit 600s 2001, I have had a bandit before which was great
15 February 2005 by chascab

The bandit I have just bought is very nice but I am dissapointed with the headlights, the road spread is not very good. Strengths: Nice upright riding postion. Weaknesses: Headlights.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Excellent all rounder
12 February 2005 by stephencornes

Great bike that does everything you could want well at a bargain price. User friendly for new riders but has a power surge at 9k that makes it great fun. The performance is underrated, its not just as fast as the Fazer or Hornet, but a decent rider can make all the difference. Strengths: All round capability. Weaknesses: Keep an eye on the finish when used in poor weather especially if there has been salt on the road. Fairing not much use as its too narrow and low.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Great First Bike....Broke the mould when released, still great value........
18 October 2004 by beany25

My first bike, and although having nothing to rate it against, I love it, every ride has me grinning like a fool. brilliant to learn your craft on. plenty of 'add ons' out there. easy to work on, easy to ride. Strengths: Good brakes, superb engine (over 8000 revs) it howls. Weaknesses: Suspension is fairly soft, and the non adjustable front end is a shame. needs TLC to keep it in best condition.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 My Review
17 September 2002 by jonn

Don't like the bad vibes thro handlebars around 55/65mph. Otherwise a lot of bike for the money.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 My Review
08 July 2002 by lancsjohn

First 'big' bike, extremely pleased so far, bought in the new silver colour so I get quite a few glances 'cos its unusual. Quiet sound to the engine which&nbsp;I like, its even been mistaken for a bandit 1200 the engine looks so big. Acceleration is excellent, and i'm still running it in (not execeeding that 6000rpm for the first 500!!). A few fellow 'bikers' have commented that the 600 is gutless, ha!!, theyve never even tried one! All i can say is I'm well pleased with it....10 out of 10.<br>

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 My Review
01 November 2001 by busalover

First bike was 600 Diversion. Great first bike, but Bandit outclasses in every way. Bandit looked excellent in black and would have suited the gold race can that was delivered the day I rode it into a dry stone wall. My fault, bike lost traction for an instant, enough to have me sit up mid corner and hit wall. RIP Bandit. See www.thegreigs.co.uk BIKES for more. I would recommend the 600 Bandit to anyone. It's a bargain. It may be out-classed by the Fazer, Hornet and SV, but it's right there as a do everything road bike and I'd have another (when the plaster comes off).<br>

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 My Review
20 April 2001 by wolverine

I love the retro style and the responesive engine and brakes, the wing mirrors could be better.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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