MCN Fleet: Easy-to-use smartphone connectivity on the Suzuki GSX-S1000GT
Smartphone connectivity, it seems every household device offers this function these days. But whilst I’ve managed to resist downloading the partner apps for my ‘connected’ washing machine and toaster (honestly, why?), I installed the Suzuki MySpin application straight after the first ride on the new Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT.
The GT is the first Suzuki motorcycle to offer smartphone connectivity, and the feature opens up an expanded range of functions from the bike’s impressive 6.5in full-colour display – allowing you to make and receive calls (in-helmet headset needed), access your music, check your diary and view maps.
And it’s the latter function that I was most excited about… Thing is, as a recovering sportsbike addict, I’ve often found myself on bikes that have next to no space to mount a satnav or smartphone meaning that for many years, my ‘onboard navigation’ has been in the form of handwritten directions sellotaped to a piece of paper on the fuel tank. Yes, old school.
Those days are gone. After downloading MySpin to my phone from the Google store to my Android-powered Samsung A51 (also compatible with Apple OS), I opened the app on my phone, switched on the GT’s ignition then set the phone to ‘vehicle mode’. The phone then creates its own Local Area Network which the bike then pairs to and bingo – I was connected. As simple as that.
Although MySpin has its own built-in mapping feature, I noticed that the system is also preinstalled with an additional third-party navigation app called Sygic, so it’s this that I chose when I went on my first long-range mission down to an address in Poole.
The basic free version of Sygic then shows me my pre-programmed route, along with ETA, and gives turn-by-turn audio information into my headset. Powered by TomTom mapping, Sygic also offers live traffic and speed camera location data, but you’ll need to subscribe for about 2 euros per month to access these functions.
But I found free mode is more than enough for my needs and works smoothly, being quick to reroute if I take a wrong turn.
In terms of niggles, there is one problem but I’m yet to fathom whether this is down to the bike or my phone; the connection between the bike and phone sporadically drops out meaning that you lose the nav display on the dash.
The connection does reinstate after a few minutes, however – presumably for safety reasons – you can only access the MySpin menu screen when the bike’s at a standstill, meaning that you have to pull over and stop if you want to get your mapping back. But still, even with that foible, it’s so much more useful than a connected toaster…
Update One: Panniers are the new big thing on the Suzuki GSX-S1000GT
Published: 11 May 2022
Last year, I celebrated turning 40 by buying a really focused sportsbike, then spent the intervening 12 months giving it a lot of admiring looks in the garage but doing very little in the way of riding.
This year, I saddled up on the day of my 41st birthday on a bike with panniers and a comfy riding position, with my smartphone happily paired to a large-print TFT dash, the built-in satnav pointed in the direction of cake…
What a difference a year makes, eh? But I’ve not swapped my sliders for a sewing kit just yet, because these touring bike trappings are all stuck to a bike with the heart and soul of one of Suzuki’s most-loved litre bikes. This is the K5-powered Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT – a bike that promises to be a proper practical sportsbike.
A toy and transport
Time to fess up, this is the first time I’ve spent any significant length of time with a bike that has panniers. The Suzuki’s colour-matched 36l hard cases and mounting kit adds an extra £909.60 to the price of the GT, which is a significant amount of dosh, but for me they were a big must-have – and I have to say that their very presence on the side of the GT has transformed my relationship with motorcycles, almost overnight. Those pair of plastic pockets at the rear have put bikes back in the realms of transport – rather than just a toy – for the first time in about 10 years!
The Suzuki’s boxes are basic, but extremely easy to use. And what’s better is that they fit to the rear of the bike really easily. However, I’ve noticed that one of the rubber damping boots covering the metal locator on the right-hand mounting bracket has already fallen off, although it doesn’t seem to be affecting the pannier’s stability.
Doing the miles
With my renewed ‘I’ll take the bike’ philosophy, I’ve already racked up a fair number of miles in the short time we’ve spent together. My biggest journey to date has been a jaunt down to Poole and back, a round trip of 400 miles. First off, I gave the rear suspension a tweak just to give the shock a sniff more control (preload set two steps from maximum and rebound set one click from max) and was a bit surprised to find there was no remote adjuster… Then I stuffed the panniers, downloaded the Suzuki MySpin app and painlessly paired the dash to my smartphone (more on that another time), plugged one end of my charge lead into the 12V USB socket in the cockpit and the other end into my phone inside my tankbag, then set sail southwards – feeling like a proper grown-up!
Two hours in, gliding along the A34 in the spring sunshine, I also suddenly realised that I was actually, truly comfortable, too. Although it looks very much like a sportsbike, the GT has a fairly upright riding position with surprisingly wide, flat bars, which not only give brilliant, flickable control on twisties, but also put you in a relaxed-yet-commanding position on less exciting roads. As the miles clicked by, it made me realise just how much I’d been kidding myself by trying to live with sportsbikes; ‘I’m comfortable, honest I am’ uttered countless times through gritted teeth…
The GSX-S1000 GT has already got me thinking of ways that I can broaden my horizons this summer, so I have a few hefty days in the saddle lined up. However, the sportsbike lover in me hasn’t vanished just yet and I’m itching to do a trackday to really put the Suzuki’s sporting K5 credentials to the test.
After years of owning out-and-out sportsbikes, I’ve finally stopped lying to myself and reached the conclusion that they’re no good in the real world (slow learner, eh?). But as I’m still not completely comfortable with the idea of giving up on performance just yet, so I’m hoping Suzuki’s new K5-powered sports-tourer will be the ideal blend of comfort and composure. I want to ride more, further, but also still enjoy the odd trackday. Knockhill via the Highlands, anyone?