Suzuki GSX-S1000F first impressions
If you fancy all the flat barred comfort of a super-naked but you're put off by the lack of wind protection, the new Suzuki GSX-S1000F could be just what you're looking for.
It's identical to Suzuki's recently launched GSX-S1000 naked bike, featuring an engine based on that of Hamamatsu's stonking 2005-2008 series GSX-R1000, with the only difference being a full fairing, screen and a few tweaks to the suspension internals.
And riding it here around the Isle of Man's legendary TT course, I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather be riding. The handling is sportsbike precise; accurate and composed, while the re-worked 145bhp GSX-R1000 engine gives lashings of long-stroke midrange ideal for blasting out of corners.
Yet all the while, the upright riding position, flat bars and full fairing provided me with adventure bike levels of comfort and wind protection. There's even Suzuki's simple-but-effective three-stage traction control silently looking out for me in the background.
Venturing off the TT course and on to some of the Island's seriously bumpy back roads highlighted a niggle with the throttle response; the GSX-SF has a very immediate pick up off a closed throttle which is fine when you're on dry, smooth roads and giving it hard gas. However, on an extremely bumpy road and combined with the GSX-SF's fairly firm suspension, the snappy throttle response makes it seriously hard to be smooth, and you end up with a bit of a bucking bronco see-saw effect.
The bike's brilliant fun and I was seriously impressed by how hard you could ride it without it losing composure, and also by how light, accessible and easy to manoeuvre at low speed it is too.
Starting at £9999, it's a thousand pounds cheaper than Suzuki's flagship GSX-R1000, but on the road you wouldn't miss the superbike's 40 or so extra bhp, and the superbike doesn't have the added safety benefits of the GSX-SF's traction control, either.
See the full report in next week's MCN.