Ad closing in seconds....

SUZUKI TL1000R (1998-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Exciting to ride, but for experts/nutters only"

Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding

"Exciting to ride, but for experts/nutters only"

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000 range feature one of the truly great V-twin engines, in some of the most unpredictable handling chassis ever devised. The Suzuki TL1000R has an improved rear shock, which doesn't misbehave so much as the TL1000S model's, but both motorcycles get so light at the front end, so very easily with all that V-twin grunt on tap. The Suzuki TL1000R is exciting to ride, but for experts/nutters only.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000R features a frame based on the Suzuki GSX-R750 of the era, and it perhaps suffers from a short 1405mm wheelbase. Maybe the V-twin motor's poke would upset almost any chassis, but the TL1000R doesn't quite handle with the precision of say a Bimota SB8R, or Duke 916/996. When you push it, the Suzuki TL1000R gets loose at high speeds, and oversteers on slow corners.

Engine 5 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000R has a truly awesome engine, producing a claimed 135bhp and though it revs another 1000rpm higher than the TL1000S, the Suzuki TL1000R still feels like it makes as much poke as a Ducati 916 can manage, by about 6000 revs. Sheer, liquid, adrenaline-pumping lunge and the fuel injection works better on the TL1000R than on the Suzuki TL1000S.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The TL1000R's motor can take all kinds of abuse without any problems and the overall finish is quite high - for a Suzuki. The Suzuki TL1000R will still show some corrosion rapidly if you foolishly rode it through winter, it is basically a summer trackday kinda motorcycle. Electrics on the Suzuki TL1000R's can play up and it needs a strong battery to start that big motor, so invest in an Optimate.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Hardly anyone wants the Suzuki TL1000R nowadays, with the earlier TL1000S model achieving cult status thanks to its lairy reputation. If you like danger, then the TL1000R version is almost as challenging to ride fast and can be had for a couple of grand in mint condition - surely a bargain compared to an unloved 916 for twice as much dosh? Find a Suzuki TL1000R for sale.

Insurance group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Suzuki TL1000R's full fairing is fairly wide, especially at the top half, so it keeps some windblast off the rider. The TL1000R pillion perch is a bit of joke, footpegs are too high and the upswept pipes makes panniers impossible to fit. You get a steering damper as standard on the Suzuki TL1000R though...which is nice.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Used price £1,800 to £3,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost £200
Performance
Max power 135 bhp
Max torque 78 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 120 miles
Specification
Engine size 996cc
Engine type 4 stroke, V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Alloy twin beam
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 197kg
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

1998: Suzuki TL1000R launched.
2000: New colours/graphics.
2003: Suzuki TL1000R model discontinued, Suzuki SV1000 replaces it.
2004: Last Suzuki TL1000R stocks sold at discount.

Other versions

None.

Owners' Reviews

27 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI TL1000R (1998-2004) 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 TL1000R (1998-2004)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.0 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 3.7 out of 5
4 out of 5

The big tiller

03 March 2019 by stephen

The rear shock and rotary unit is crap, but the engine is an animal and will laugh at you all day trying to push it to the limits. Some people slate them, but I don't know why. I suppose it's rough and ready when riding but it's got character and soul not found in newer bikes I've ridden.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
No need to drop gears when overtaking. I've done a few track days on this machine and the engine is faultless with good torque. I've fitted a Power Commander 2 and new pipes, which make a big difference on power.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The fuel pump plays up.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Medium running costs.
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
Buying experience

I bought it from a dealership 10 years ago and still love it. They're becoming very rare now and prices increasing.

5 out of 5

TL1000R review

09 July 2018 by Matt Armstrong

The bike's engine is amazing, it sounds deeper than most V-twins. I've had mine two years and always get bikers come and look at it. They have a growing cult fan base and are getting quite rare.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Lovely to ride, treat with respect as the back will bite and front hates corners under braking (remember slow in fast out). Good for shorter riders too. Rear foot pegs are rubbish! Endless fun and it’s about as much power as you want from a twin with out rider aids.
Engine
5 out of 5
One of the best engines ever fitted to bike. Power and sound are awesome, especially through Yoshimura pipes.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
It eats chains and electronics hate even mild rain. Keep it dry and don't ride it like you stole it every day and much fun will be had without breaking the bank.
Equipment
2 out of 5
Very little equipment as standard and low compared to modern bikes, however, mine has a power commander, 12 volt socket and gear indicator which were easy to fit.
Buying experience

Get one now! Prices are on the rise. There are less than 500 registered as working in the UK. Mine is a first year and there are just 42 of them.

4 out of 5

29 April 2018 by Plaz

Engine has to be the best twin of that era , stonking amounts of torque power , beware of cornering, will over steer on slower corners and feel a bit heavy on the front unless you set it up, love the sound of this bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Straight roads with the throttle wownd open will at the least put a smile on your face . Cornering needs care, ride comfort is OK and I'm 6ft and can ride for 2or 3 hours no problem .the braking is OK
Engine
5 out of 5
Torque at its best in this engine, plenty of power , regular service and oil change should kept this engine purring.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Fairings can take a bit of time to remove if I'm being picky but nothing else. .
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Fit decent tyres , I'm running touring type at the moment but ideally need a sticky set which I will be putting on .
5 out of 5

The V Beast

10 May 2016 by simon Loakes

This is the 3rd one I have owned and love it wish I hadn't got ride of the first one. Always gives you grin factor when I go out on it my second one I did track days on was awesome low down grunt powering out of corners leaving 4 cylinders behind... Did a few with the rotary damper and no issues it loved Mallory park. Shame they dont still make them in the TL form

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
For me riding position isn't to bad but I am only 5ft 7 and can ride for a bit before a break pillion seat is big so you have something to sit on
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Overall bikes I've owned this bike is SWEET. the short corners wants to kick out on me heavy. Other then that it's great

26 June 2015 by KILLA FAME

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
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

03 TL1000R

25 December 2009 by plazmapants

I bought mine 2yrs ago and it was totally standard, so i changed the cans for yoshis put a TRE & Power comander III on it; it tuned up to 120bhp wich doesn't sound alot to the newer bikes but the torque MORE than makes up for it when you throttle on, must say though that nearly all manufacturers over state their figures on bhp. No problems at all with mine but the massive torque does wear the rear tyres out so i picked avon storms (sports tourer)last time but will try the new angels out this spring, it sounds fantastic and is softer on the bum than my 918 fireblade it replaced,no probs with pillions either, thumbs up from me , ...

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

hotrod

30 July 2009 by champion1971

The TL1000RW is an awesome looking bike, with great design and style, however its inner beauty does not match. The back cylinder is right under your seat next to your manhood and when the engines running, it gives a whole new meaning to the word HOTROD! I agree basically with MCN’S review, electrics are dodgy in the wet, but all Suzuki’s are like that, c’mon guys, sort that out, you’re pro’s now. And the suspension is a joke, tank range poor too. However it sounds good and value is great picked my version up for £1200, (1999 T reg, 15K miles). Only for the brave or stupid I’d say. You should always acquire as much info on a bike as possible! Do not listen to gossip, most people have not ridden half of what they say and just hear it from others. Take advice from people who have actually had one or ridden one.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Red TILLER

27 May 2009 by hobes

Have had Ducatis , Yamahas , Kwakas , Honda have a soft spot for suzuki and this seems to be a great all rounder , Especially fast open road stuff (Quick touring) , big torque , big power (relatively now)and reliable and of course that big booming twin sound . The only problem I will ever have is how to replace it if is totalled/stolen.

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

TLS AND TLR

18 March 2009 by sportsboyuk

HAD BOTH TLS MAD FAST BRAKES BIT WEAK, FRONT END HAPPY OK UNITL THE SUB FRAME SNAPPED AT 110MPH HOW I STAYED ON I DONT KNOW. GOT A BRAND NEW TLR BLUE WHITE TOOK THE STEERING DAMPER OFF MUCH BETTER, NEW GRIPPY TYRES. OLHINS FITTED FRONT N BACK POWER COMMANDER AND CANS AND FILTER AND DYNOED MADE THIS BIKE AWSOME THEN IT GOT NICKED SO I GAVE UP AND GOT AN R1 BUT GOOD IN THERE DAY

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

!22bhp at the wheel and 75ftlb of torque!

03 October 2008 by TLR2TONE

What more do you want! Rolling road tells me i get 67ftlb at 3000rpm which peaks at just over 9000, storming machine for the money and frightens the young uns too ;-) Only let down is the possibly fragile gearbox, not as good as the GSXR but a helluva lot more fun!!! Have personally found the suspension ok, but i have it on fast road settings, just gets a bit twitchy on the bumpy bits, no different to my 1990 1100

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

Just too heavy

24 June 2008 by rikward

This is my favourite machine to date and I stupidly sold it about two years ago. The power delivery was sweet and with a few tricks and mods the bhp can be easily increased. My biggest complaint would be the weight, but I helped reduce this with a set of Titanium Remus race cans (which also improved the note and noise to offensive... *grin*)

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

V-twin superbike

20 October 2007 by IMMI01

Awesome power and handling,mines done 32,000 miles and still going strong. Can be hard work if stuck in traffic (clutch grabs), other from that can't fault it....

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Mint

06 July 2006 by richtee

Load a grunt in em. luverly sound wiv rite cans [blue flames} had 3 now, r & s models. dunno why they so good. each too thier own.... Strengths: Comfort, style noise. Weaknesses: Crap tank capacity.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Beached Whale

31 May 2006 by TrevorBush

I owned and raced a '99 TLR, one of the best cruisers around, just remove the "Superbike" sticker. Not any good for the track unless you spend large amounts of cash on it, 600 will trash you. Strengths: Storming motor for a V-Twin. Bullet proof unless you remove the soft rev limiter. Remove the scissor gears, skim and flow the heads, fit a 2-1 Yoshi Titanium Race pipe, if you can get one, BMC/K&N filter, remap and you'll have a sweet sounding tyre shredding power and torque, for a twin. 1100cc big bores around but to expensive and sleaves to thin so a bit of a risk. Weaknesses: Crap suspension, joke of an exhaust, must be for the Americans, to heavy and restrictive. Styling, you either love it or hate it.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

V Twin Superb Bike!

27 January 2006 by v666ern

My god its good...the engine is a stonker it just wants to pull wheelies everywhere...sounds nice with standard pipes. Strengths: Flexibility of the engine, you can stick it in any gear and it pulls...and coming from a sports 600 its good to still have a screming top end as well! Weaknesses: Low speeds stuck behind town traffic.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

The TL1000R is thunderously good fun. 122BHP at the back wheel, pulls from nowhere to everywhere.

09 May 2005 by snowblind

Always owned GSX-Rs but just bought a TL1000R. Some of the tech is showing it's age. 1998 fuel injection doesn't compare to my 750-K4's silky delivery. Changed the front brake pads to EBC HHs and this transformed the stopping power. Overall though this machine is lunatic fun. Strengths: Sets off car alarms. Sounds like it's ticking over at 150mph. Grin factor is actually about 110. Weaknesses: Needs twin injector fueling.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

The best bike I've owned. Looks and sounds great and fast enough to keep up with just about anything

20 June 2004 by matempest

I've had it for nearly 3 years, it's taken a load of abuse and still looks and goes great. Will be looking for something new after this summer and it's going to take something special to replace it. Strengths: Engine. Power delivery. Weaknesses: Eats tyres (2000 miles rear), chain & sprockets every year (4000).

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

My Review

18 June 2002 by sibbo

After riding 4 cylinder bikes it took a bit of getting use to, but now I wish I had bought one when they first came out as I have always liked the look of the TL R. That engine when coming out of a sweeping bend at 6000 rpm + is a good reason as any for continuing to live. The bikes rep (re the rear damper)did slow me down but I have yet to find any problems, & every ride I push that little bit harder. I think the rear damper problem is only an issue if you are on a track. As a real world usable road bike it's excellent.

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

My Review

07 February 2002 by bluevulture

Fabulous top end power but almost 4 cylinder-like in its power delivery. Turns heads. Suspension is way too harsh, spring rates too high and it is overdamped. Needs a diet.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 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
-
3 out of 5

My Review

15 January 2002 by MARKTLR

Stonking engine, shame about the handling & reliability, I have had to make 4 warranty claims in 18 months; mainly electrical problems. I use the bike all year, I guess they are not supposed to be used when it rains.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 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
-
5 out of 5

My Review

12 January 2002 by FEDUP

REMAP GIVES BRILL MIDRANGE AND TOP END, 180 REAR GIVES FASTER TURN IN, MICORNS SOUND SWEET. D\B SCREEN 100%. THIS IS A GREAT BIKE AND WITH THE REMAP GOES MANIC AT 7500RPM. EATS MOST BIKES IT COMES ACROSS AND ALWAYS PUTS A BIG, BIG GRIN ON MY BOATRACE. LOVE IT.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

My Review

04 October 2001 by CPDTL1R

I love the enormous torque and handling is well within my riding capabilities. Too bad Suzuki dropped the race program and further development of this awsome machine.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 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
-
5 out of 5

My Review

24 September 2001 by Tempest

Love the sound, acceleration is blistering (chews up and spits out majority of bikes) and with faultless handling. Clutch hard work around town. Took rear fairing off and put seat on because it was a bit ugly. Bit of a nasty to get a decent insurance quote.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

My Review

23 July 2001 by bandaidman

Lovely bike, fast, fairly comfy, reasonable economy all round, suprb V twin noise, If she could cook, I'd marry her, for excellent info, try www.tl100.com, the owners site, mostly U.S. members, but even the yanks seem to have the bike well sorted. NEEDS A CLOCK THOUGH PLEASE MR. SUZUKI!!!

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

My Review

25 June 2001 by MTCPL

REAL GOOD FUN, NOT SURE ABOUT THE FRONT END YET!! GOT A FUNNY TICKING NOISE COMING FROM THE ENGINE, BLOW'S AWAY VFR 800'S EASY!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 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

My Review

22 May 2001 by steve.sowden

Removed steering damper - feels much sharper and easier to get turned without it. Engine lumpy and awkward in traffic.

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

My Review

24 April 2001 by topo

First V-Twin owned love it.

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

Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki TL1000R motorcycle review - Front view
All related reviews
Bauer Media

Bauer Media Group consists of: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, Company number: 01176085, Bauer Radio Ltd, Company Number: 1394141
Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing,
Company Number: LP003328 Registered Office: Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London, NW1 7DT.
All registered in England and Wales. VAT no 918 5617 01
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd are authorised and regulated by the FCA(Ref No. 710067)