Suzuki TL1000R

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Year: 2000 (W). Mileage: 7958. Price: £4999

The TL1000R isn’t one of the best-selling bikes in Britain, so getting the example you want might take a little more time and patience. But that scarcity is why people buy it – it’s a non-Italian V-twin that looks different. And like any bike which depends on its image, when people get hold of one, they take care of it.

The Suzuki is full of promise, but fails to deliver on several fronts. For a start, the engine isn’t as sharp as that in the naked S version. It seems someone in Japan gave the wrong motor to the wrong version. There’s plenty of mid-range, but the top end of the power curve is a little lacking given the TL1000R’s weight. The result is a bike that feels a little bit ponderous in slow to medium-speed bends – not ideal for a supposed full-on sports bike.

The fuel injection system is a bit snatchy, too. This seemed worse on the bike we had than on newer versions with a lower mileage, so it could just have been because a service was due.

There’s always a slight lag between the throttle being opened and the engine responding at low revs. At higher speeds the problem isn’t as obvious, thanks to the two big pistons and flywheel keeping the engine moving.

If it’s wheelies you want, the Suzuki won’t disappoint. The motor’s emphasis on the mid-range means the front wheel can be launched into the air off the throttle in first gear and carried for another two if you’re quick with the gear change. Get it wrong and the heavy front end brings the wheel crashing down to the ground, leaving you needing a new set of head bearings in pretty short order.

Quirky is one way to describe the Suzuki’s handling. The rotary valve damper and separate spring controlling the rear end of the bike doesn’t work as well as a conventional set-up, but you can get a conversion done which improves the overall feel and also boosts ground clearance. However, you may want to keep it just because it’s different and because the change is costly. Don’t pay any extra for a bike that has been converted, as one in standard condition is worth more.

The standard steering damper fitted by the factory after horror stories about the S model’s handling doesn’t do anything to help the big twin’s ponderous feel. Some owners take theirs off completely, or you could go for an adjustable, aftermarket version which would let you choose how hard or soft you wanted the set-up.

This particular bike had the single seat fitted and looked all the better for it. However, always ask the current owner if he still has the seat pad in case you want to take someone on the back. The hump is fitted as a separate item, not over the top of the pad.

What the latest model has: There’s nothing different apart from the colours and graphics. With 8000 miles this bike was starting to show its age, so a younger example or one with fewer miles could be worth the slightly higher price.

What to watch out for: If aftermarket cans are fitted – some of which are so noisy they set off car alarms and advertise your presence to every cop in the county – make sure the ignition has been altered. Tuning work like that shouldn’t make any difference to reliability. There are no known problems with the bike so just look out for the obvious crash damage and make sure it has been looked after.

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff