Suzuki GSX-S1000 GX

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GX – First Ride

By: Stefan vd Riet and Donovan Fourie

Pics: Black Rock Studio

So while we were banging the new Suzuki 8-R around the mountain passes of Mpumalanga, Suzuki also revealed the all new GSX-1000 GX and let us thrash it through riding nirvana. I was wearing two hats this weekend as both the official photographer for Suzuki SA and representing Ridefast magazine, so my time was limited on this bike but it was more than enough to get a good initial feel for it, (and the reason there are no pics of me riding the 1000GX). We will be getting it at the Ridefast offices in a few days to give it a really good going over and we will tell you more about it then. Here are my initial impressions so long, just to whet your appetite.

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GX
Suzuki GSX-S1000 GX

Firstly let me tell you a bit about this bike, it is loaded with a lot of very delectable tech. Suzuki Intelligent Ride System or S.I.R.S, this is the riding modes. Motion Track Brake System, really fancy adaptable ABS that works particularly well in corners, Slope Dependent Control System, more clever trickery on the brakes, especially for riding downhill. Suzuki Drive Mode Selector – alpha or S.D.M.S-a which are the 3 different power modes, S.D.M.S-a: Smart TLR or Traction, Lift and Roll Torque which works in conjunction with the STCS or Suzuki Traction Control System giving the rider much better control of the bike through a range of riding conditions. S.D.M.S-a Active Damping offering four electronically controlled damping modes – so basically the riding modes all have sub-menus making the GX almost infinitely customisable in that area. Yeah, on that last point you might be asking yourself – Electronic Suspension?? And you would be correct and it also incorporates Suzuki Road Adaptive Stabilization which activates automatically when the road surface gets dodgy, (it’s going to be working overtime here in SA), triggering a stronger input from the S.F.R.C or Suzuki Floating Ride Control to help smooth out the ride and adjusting the Electronic Throttle Valve settings to deliver a softer smoother, more controllable throttle response. Another cool addition is the Smart Cruise Control, which supports the bi-directional Quick-shift systems clutch free shifting without having to reset the cruise control after quick change up or down to get past another vehicle. Then there is the  Ride-By-Wire Electronic Throttle System, Suzuki Easy Start System, as mentioned the Bi-directional Quick Shifter and Low RPM Assist which gets you off the line without stalling at super low speeds when your brain is in ‘Screensaver’ mode. The GX is possibly Suzuki’s most gadget laden model yet, these are just some of the hi-lights, we would need at least another 10 or so pages to tell you about all the tech and elaborate on each point, and why do that when Suzuki has done all the work right here?

What is it like to ride?

As mentioned, I only got a short ride on the GX, however, I can tell you this: The new GSXR-1000 GX is really comfortable, smooth and fast. On this you’ll find a 1000cc superbike engine which moves your soul, and electronically adjustable suspension that moves your body. Set it to low, medium or high (rider, luggage and pillion) or leave it on auto and go on with your day. The panniers fitted to the back are an optional extra from the factory and look stunning with the colour matched paint (very useful for everyone’s loose bits, it ended up being the pack mule for the weekend). A much more comfortable package then the more aggressive GT from suzuki’s lineup, and arguably more aesthetically pleasing too. The dark matt green paint job looked well at home in the mountain forests and the headlight design grabs attention at the front. You have a very upright riding position with a wonderful screen to ease the wild winds, however the foot pegs felt a little too high and set back for optimum road trip comfort. Something I’ve never personally seen on motorbikes I have ridden before is rubber mounted handlebars. No the bars aren’t just loose, they are slightly bendable due to rubber mountings for decreasing vibrations and they call them “floating handlebars”. As mentioned, the GX is also fitted with a plethora of new electronic bits and systems for safety, comfort and performance that I didn’t really have time to work through and test, so Suzuki, please send us one! (Ed – We have already arranged one for a proper test in the next week or two, and just reading through Stefan’s review, we really can’t wait to give it a whirl).

Donovan Fourie says:

You might accuse Suzuki of being lazy – this is a 1000cc (or 999cc if you’re painfully pedantic) four-cylinder that essentially saw the light of day in 2005. We are approaching 20 years later and we are seemingly seeing it now more than we ever have. Surely Suzuki’s team of engineering bofs can take the time and effort to put something new together? To get innovative? To lead the world in technology and progression? These points would all be utterly valid were that 1000cc (999cc) motor not so damn good.

In fairness, Suzuki hasn’t exactly left it untouched since it made its debut in the lauded GSXR1000 superbike in 2005. It has been updated with new bits and bobs, new chunks of electrickery and the odd new chassis. The Bike Show raced a GSX-1000F  with this motor in the Red Star endurance series for years. We didn’t win anything but we had more fun than everyone else bucking on their superbikes. Changing gear was something you did only if you really had the energy and the chassis handled commendably while we sat in more comfort than anyone in competitive motorcycling ever has. 

That was ten years ago. Suzuki has had a lot of practice building this motor since then. Again we found ourselves winding our way through the meanders of Mpumalanga – today, we were on the road between White River and Sabie. Unlike many in the area, this road has avoided the rush of tourists and lumber trucks, and therefore is joyfully bereft of the now customary potholes. The corners are fast, fourth-gear behemoths winding dutifully through the pine tree speckled hills and this is about as much fun as life gets.

The GX, with its panniers, tall screen and nasturtium face, might be excused for being a labelled a touring bike and would therefore be given an automatic note from its mom to sit out on all handling aspects, but lest we forget that this is a 1000cc (999cc) four-cylinder motor derived from one of world’s most formidable superbikes and lobbed into a 2024 chassis created by, we presume, the world’s greatest chassis minds.

It approaches corners with the tenacity of an old-timer who has seen and done it all and is not going to let some young whipper snapper tell it differently. The confidence of the bike immediately inspires the same confidence in the rider, and soon both are finding themselves lunging into corners with perhaps more enthusiasm than they might have otherwise planned. It’s intoxicating.

The motor has been refined to be more user-friendly than its cutthroat origins and it’s ever so easy and ever so smooth. The corners on this road are taken in fourth gear with speeds ranging from 140 to 200, and wherever the revs are the rider needs simply open the throttle and let a wave of Tropica-smooth torque waft the motor onto the next straight. It’s a hugely gratifying feeling that makes you want to make a U-turn and do it again. Not bad for a tourer, hey?

There is some new electronical-ness on this machine that works fabulously. Especially when you first start playing with all the settings, feeling the ride-height lift and lower depending on whether you set it for a passenger with luggage or a solo rider, and the suspension makes a noticeable difference when you interchange between soft, medium and sport settings. This is all fun and good, but eventually you just leave the ride-height on automatic and the suspension on soft. Still, it is nice to know that when you do hit some corners, a small flick of the switches lets you change from sublime comfort to attack mode.

Perhaps Suzuki is being a touch lazy using the same motor over and over for twenty years, but others would call it efficient. We suspect that if Suzuki had developed a new motor, we would see a price significantly higher than the current R299,000 asking. Also, we are unsure how much better that motor would in fact be because this current one feels about as good as it gets.

There really is just something very special about a strong inline four cylinder sports bike engine that really takes you to another dimension, and usually quite quickly, the 1000GX is no exception. This bike is the epitome of sports touring performance and a bike you really need to go ride at your nearest Suzuki Dealer or support our supporters are Suzuki East in Boksburg and Suzuki Vereeniging.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top