This is no soggy, soft sports tourer, the GSX-SF flicks through bends like a well dialled-in race bike. It’s precise, planted in corners and uncannily stable at speed. There’s fully adjustable Kayaba suspension up front, running slightly more fork oil and a different shim stack to that of the naked version in order to compensate for the fairing and also give the GSX-SF a sportier ride. At the rear a preload and rebound adjustable monoshock links to a current-model GSX-R1000 swingarm to help you hook up the 145bhp from that stonking GSX-R1000 K5-derived engine.
Suzuki have retuned the legendary, long-stroke inline four from the 2005-2008 series GSX-R1000 with revised camshafts that are more suited to road use, as well as new lightweight pistons, and a four-into-two-into-one exhaust system which ends in a stubby can. The GSX-S barks through that silencer with real R-series rowdiness. Despite giving away 30bhp in peak power, at no point do you find yourself missing the current model GSX-R1000’s extra wallop. The GSX-S has brilliantly strong mid-range which is extremely easy to exploit on the road.
The GSX-SF’s ‘crouching beast’ inspired looks aren’t as dynamic as the range-topping Gixer, but it’s the only area where the GSX-S1000F falls short. The build quality appears to be excellent, chunky and robust. It has a slightly Honda-esque feel to it – chunky and well-made but not particularly inspiring. The K5 engine is a well proven unit, so reliability shouldn’t be an issue.
When you consider that the new GSX-SF is £1000 cheaper than the flagship GSX-R1000 superbike, plus you get the added bonus of traction control too, it makes real sense for riders looking for a seriously useable, comfortable sportsbike.
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With flat bars 136mm higher than the GSX-R’s clip-ons, and footpegs that are 24mm lower and further forward, the SF’s riding position is a lot more upright and roomy than the race-bred GSX-R1000. Full LCD dash runs the full complement of features: full gauge, gear position indicator, trip meters, traction control level plus live and average mpg readings. There’s also Suzuki’s brilliant three-way traction control system, and hard-wired ABS system fitted to all UK GSX-SFs.