GSXS 1000 GT

Riding the Suzuki GSX-S 1000 GT 

The Gentleman’s Superbike

Words: Séan Hendley, Stefan van der Riet, René Swart

Pics: Black Rock Studio (Stefan van der Riet, René Swart)

Suzuki GSX-S 1000 GT The Gentleman's Superbike

After the Christmas and New years holidays and all the rain we finally had a few days of beautiful sunshine and blue skies and were hankering for a decent ride. We haven’t ridden Suzuki’s GSX-S 1000 GT on a proper long ride, so we called Suzuki SA and they kindly let us borrow their demo for a week or so. After much deliberation our office Orangutan and the guys from Black Rock Studio decided that a ride through the countryside to the historic Val Hotel was called for. 

From our offices on the East Rand this ride incorporates some suburban and urban traffic through various little country towns, mostly which the roads are peppered with a mixture of potholes and poorly done repairs as well as a lot of commercial traffic from the various mines and farms in the area. In general the roads leading to and from these towns are in fairly good condition with the odd pothole here and there. It’s mostly smooth and flowing with very light traffic during the week. The absolute worst section is the road into Val off the main drag between Balfour and Standerton. With it though, in Val, everything is quite picturesque. 

Suzuki GSX-S 1000 GT The Gentleman's Superbike

The Route:

We left our offices in Bredell at about 10:30 am on a gorgeous and mild Summers morning, jiggled our way through Benoni and out past The Carousel Casino. The roads opened up a bit here and traffic started thinning out. We then turned left towards the country town of Nigel, stopping for a quick photo at the jet plane on a pole before cranking along the very scenic and in very good condition road to Balfour, stopping for pics all along the way. 

Balfour is now a sad little commercial town with all the roads in horrible condition, poverty on hi-def display and sewers overflowing. It’s really not a lekker place, but a small price to pay for the rest of the magnificent ride. We headed out of town on the old road towards Greylingstad which, once you get past the built up area, is exceptionally picturesque. We joined the newly refreshed ‘new’ road before turning left towards Val. The road is really in terrible condition here and 20 km/h is the order of the day until you turn right into Val where we stopped for lunch at the hotel.

Avoiding that horrible section and wanting to do a loop, we turned right out of Val towards Secunda, the road is better but you still got to watch for some serious ANC footprints. Then it was left towards Leandra and Kinross on some of the nicest roads, to the point that I could engage cruise control and sit back taking in the scenery. Just outside Delmas the roads got terrible…. very terrible, in fact we ended up on dirt detours through the bush and farmlands next to the road, (which to be fair is under construction…. For the last 15 years or so!!!)

Once we cleared Delmas the road got much better to Bapsfontein for a quick fuel stop before stopping back at the office at 18:30 with the sun only just starting to settle. A very lekker day out which possibly took us longer than most because we stopped for photos and video along the way, the food, atmosphere and service is always SO good at the Val Hotel we got stuck there for a bit longer than we should have.

The Bike: The Suzuki GSX-S 1000 GT

Starting at R253,950 you get Suzukis legendary K5 4 banger 999cc engine, kicking out 106nM’s of torque and 152Hp. The bike tips the scales at 226 kg’s – that’s a 1.5 power to weight ratio. We topped up the 16 lt fuel tank at the start of our ride and did a total of 310 km before topping up again. That took just 15lt’s to top off the tank again, which gave us a figure of just over 20 kays per litre which included a lot of speed limit riding but also a significant amount of hard and fast riding. (Suzuki SA doesn’t publish any claimed fuel figures, but that is what we got with mixed riding).

Here are some of the bits we like, for more detailed specs go to :

  • A USB charging port on the dashboard.
  • One touch ignition.
  • The super smooth Quickshifter coupled to the six speed box.
  • In traffic, the skinny 825 mm overall width.
  • On our crappy SA roads, the 140 mm ground clearance.
  • The handling and ride comfort delivered via the Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped forks up front and the link type, coil spring, oil damped out back.
  • The overall, less aggressive riding position with good wind protection.

Séan says:

I have ridden various iterations of Gixxers sporting this powerplant and some I like and others I don’t and for various reasons. For instance: The GSX-S1000S and the latest Katana are essentially the same bike with different body kits. I really enjoy the ‘S’ but I am not personally a fan of the Katana. The short version of my opinion on the ‘GT’ is that it is a ‘S’ with significantly better wind protection, which means I like it even more. For the most part, I got back from the ride with a grin from ear to ear.

To give you some perspective, I am 2 metres tall, weigh 115kg’s, in my early 50’s with about 50 years riding experience and sporting/nursing some old war wounds and most bikes are built for people averaging 175cm’s to 180cm’s. So, generally other than on the track, I don’t really enjoy superbikes or Superbike-esque styled bikes. Nonetheless this is the GT which usually indicates a ‘Grand Tourer’, big, comfortable, bulky, heavy, cumbersome and doesn’t like tight bends. WELL, this isn’t any of those.


The seat is fairly low and you kinda sit in the bike; The pegs are quite high and back behind your hips, so quite a tight rider triangle with the bars lowish and right on top of the triple clamps, so quite superbike-ish in seating position. For my bulk it is comfortable but still fairly aggressive in its stance and riding position. Bumbling around town and through traffic I was okay because I was always on the move manoeuvring the bike through traffic and able to take a break at the red lights. Out on the sweeping bends and twisty stuff, the constant jostling from side to side over the saddle kept the blood flowing and my shoulders loose. Where the issue did come in was on the seemingly never ending continent crossing straight sections, however, I had a solution for that, engage the cruise control, sit back a bit and take in the countryside.

This bike’s party piece is its engine, its handling and its brakes all of which conspire to give you more confidence in your own skill than is sensible. Stefan and René followed along, taking photos from his 800 XC-X Tiger, a capable and reasonably quick mid-weight adventure bike, but couldn’t even consider the overtaking gaps. I could easily accelerate through and get past rows of Inter-Link coal trucks, (we were skirting coal mining country in some sections). The GT accelerates strongly in top gear from about 120 kmh to 160 kmh without the need for kicking down through the box thanks to its 106nM’s of torque.

Dropping down to 4th and banging on the gas had it warping past 200 and plenty kmh almost instantly overtaking convoys of 10 plus lorries in the blink of an eye, cranked over in a long right hand sweep with perfect visibility for kilometres – sadly the camera crew couldn’t keep up to immortalise those moments. And this is where the next party trick of the GT comes into play, the dash is always legible in any light conditions and always uncluttered and easy to read and understand so I could always check that I was in the optimum rev range ensuring I always had power on tap if I needed it.

So here are my two small niggles; 

In Sports mode (the only mode to use), the throttle is hyper responsive and with all that torque on tap she lunges forward at the slightest twitch on the throttle, lekker for track days but a bit unsettling in traffic on our bumpy roads and when you are daydreaming about romantic picnics with your favourite person in the beautiful scenery wafting by and you our inevitably the quality of our roads brings you back to reality lunging the GT forward over a nasty bump. 

My other issue is that – and yes, we know… it’s not responsible and all that – up near the top, she developed a fast weave, somewhere north of 240 kmh . Admittedly, very few people will ever get there but for those speed freaks that will, just be aware of that up to that point the bike is as stable as a freight train.

I felt a bit too uncomfortable with it and backed out of several attempted top end runs on lonely straight stretches. 

Other than that, this is a bike I would quite seriously consider buying, it is comfortable, it is fast, it handles extremely well. Whether you’re looking for a daily commuter, a track day toy or a fun tourer at this price you would go a long way to to find a better all rounder, better specced and a better quality machine.

Stefan and René says: 

The GSXS 1000 GT is exactly what the name suggests. It is all the performance and handling of the GSXS 1000 naked hooligan machine but dressed up in a more sophisticated Grande Tourer styling. The added fairings and windshield give you some much-needed wind protection, as long as you’re not 7m tall like Sean, and make the upright superbike feel much more comfortable when cruising along for hours on the open road. 

It is very much a sports tourer in that it is not as comfortable as a proper tourer, and still has a bit of an aggressive riding position and very firm suspension, however it’s much more comfortable than your average GSXR’s by far. 

The engine makes wonderful power which is fantastic for when you need to pass those long truck queues on the country roads. Most of the time you can just roll on the throttle and have ample power to pass anyone that’s ahead of you and it can easily keep a smile on your face all day long.

There is also more than enough space for you to ride with a pillion on the back. As far as the pillion’s opinion goes, here’s what my Mrs René thinks of the rear seat:

“Suzuki has a knack for making very comfortable seats including the pillion seats. Their rear seats are more comfortable than the average competitor’s. Your legs are a bit cramped because of the footpeg position, so you might bother the pilot for a break to stretch now and then. All in all spacious and relatively comfortable, and the added grab rails or very handy as a pillion on such a powerful bike.”

In conclusion:

The Suzuki GSX-S 1000 GT is a comfortable superbike with the option to go touring in a bit more comfort…. with a pillion if you so wish. It has more than enough power to make the countryside whizz by in a blur, the handling endure you can hold your own at a track day and a riding position that gives you a good advantage in traffic. Get down to your local Suzuki dealer to get yours.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top