Insider trading: ‘This year we’ll be happy to sell 30 GSX-Rs’

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It’s no secret that new bike sales for Suzuki have been hard of late. The last five years have been particularly tough and this is mainly down to a line-up that is lacking in new and exciting models. If you exclude the new V-Strom 1000, Suzuki dealers haven’t had much to shout about, especially when compared to our European rivals and more recently revived Yamaha and Honda ranges. The problem is that Suzuki doesn’t currently have any models that define a segment - such as a leading sportsbike or naked bike - and that has impacted on sales. If we are being honest, Suzuki has a slightly aging range of motorcycles and that is the crux of the whole problem. Human nature means we all want the latest and greatest product and Suzuki struggles to deliver that as they don’t have all the latest bells and whistles on all their bikes  - no segment reflects this more than sportsbikes.

The decline of the sportsbike market has really hit Suzuki hard. In the UK, sales of GSX-R models used to account for around 40% of all Suzuki models, nowadays it is a fraction of that. At Crescent we used to sell 120 brand new GSX-Rs a year, this year we’ll be happy to sell 30. However, the irony is that while Suzuki’s GSX-R models may be missing traction control and ABS, they are absolutely brilliant all-rounders and amazingly well priced. MCN voted the GSX-R600 the best road supersport bike last year and the GSX-R750 and GSX-R1000 are also fantastic bikes that can be taken on track one day and then touring to the Alps the next. Buyers are overlooking functionality in favour of fashion and that has hurt Suzuki’s GSX-R range and as a result the prices for new bikes are at rock bottom.

Suzuki UK has very hard sales targets to achieve and this is passed on down to dealers, which is why we are currently seeing some huge discounting of models. If you are in the market for a Suzuki there is almost no point in buying a used model, go straight for a discounted new one instead! At Crescent we are currently selling brand new, not pre-registered, GSX-R1000’s for £9499, which is £1500 off list price! If you are lucky you will get a tidy used 2007 GSX-R1000 for £7500. As well as competitive subsidised finance, when you look at the costs of things such as tyres, chain and sprockets, servicing, deprecation etc, there honestly is almost no logical reason for buying a used bike over a new one, especially when you consider the warranty aspect and that the new models are just so good to ride!

The motorcycle market at the moment is not really price led. When the V-Strom 1000 was released we thought it would be a huge success as it is a lovely bike to ride and functionality-wise has everything you could possibly need, including a low price tag. But riders are still going for premium models such as the KTM Adventure or BMW’s R1200GS, which is hard to understand. The V-Strom 1000 is currently the biggest bargain in our shop. The RRP is £10,000 but at Crescent we can supply brand new V-Stroms for £8899 or the fully-loaded Adventure model for £9999, saving £1500 on RRP. That’s crazy value for a bloody great bike, but despite this buyers still want the perceived premium status of a European bike, and seem prepared to pay more for it. I recommend people to come and ride a demo before deciding!

Oddly, considering all these promotions, used prices for Suzuki models have remained strong, mainly due to the fact we have seen it all before. Most years Suzuki have tactical promotions, which means the used bikes remain fairly constant as they don’t suffer the ups and downs of short-term new bike campaigns. But there are a few particularly popular used models that if anything are increasing in value.

Frustratingly, as soon as a bike drops from the model range, riders start searching them out! Machines such as the GSX1400, B-King, original V-Strom and SV1000 were all not massive sellers when they were being produced, but have turned their fortunes around in the used market and are now sought-after. A tidy GSX will sell very quickly and the same is true for the SV1000. Suzuki do a few limited edition ‘Z models’, which are also good sellers in the used market. Race reps are always a question of taste and can go up and down in value depending on trends, but bikes such as the Anniversary GSX-R750 or Final Edition GSX1400 are always worth a small premium over stock models.

People always question Suzuki’s build quality, but while the exterior finish may not be quite up to the standard of Honda, design-wise and mechanically speaking Suzukis are excellent. Their engineers are very good at working out simple solutions to complex engineering problems and items such as engines, gearboxes, etc are incredibly robust. Also, due to their ‘old-school’ nature, there are far fewer electrical gremlins to watch out for. As long as you clean a Suzuki regularly, the finish is actually very robust. Abused bikes are easy to spot and are best avoided.

A few years ago, Suzuki decided to concentrate on volume small bike sales to Asia rather than develop larger capacity European models, which is why the current range has become a little stale. But this is all changing. Suzuki has refocused its sights on Europe, with bikes like the 2015 GSX-S100 MCN revealed recently, and similar to how Yamaha have turned around its fortunes, in a few years’ time Suzuki will have done the same. However until that point, now is the time to snap up some fabulous brand new Suzuki motorcycles at incredibly low prices – and remember how well they ride!

To see what used GSX-Rs are for sale right now at just click here!

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Jon Urry

By Jon Urry

MCN contributor, original 916 & R1-owner, human labrador