Suzuki GSX-8-S

Suzuki launch the new GSX-8-S

Suzuki South Africa has launched, not 1, not 2 not 3 but 4 brand new bikes for 2024.

The new DL1050DE was launched earlier this year and you can read about that here.

This time around, we were invited to meet the latest 3 at the Red Star track and it was simply put, a great day for sure! It’s awesome to see how much effort Suzuki is putting into getting the brand out there. The team are motorcyclists who understand the importance of bums  in saddles.

To sweeten the pot, they brought along their entire model lineup to ride, from the mighty Hayabusa, down to their smallest scooter.

How cool is that?

Suzuki South Africa
Team Suzuki brought all the toys along...

The Bikes

3 new Suzuki’s  were presented on the day. 

The MCN nominated Bike Of The Year, the GSXS-8s

The Adventure version of the same, the DL800-De

And the baby V- Strom 250SX.


Suzuki DL800
Suzuki DL800
Suzuki GSX-8-S
The Suzuki GSX-8-S
Suzuki DL 250SX
The Suzuki DL 250SX

We hear you say: 

But the bikes are already in stores – and internationally, the bikes have been available for some time. And you’d be correct. In fact, in the SA Market, the 250 is one of the best selling bikes in town. The fact is that there was such demand for the bike, that only now, they have one available as a demo model.

Good things come to those who wait. The other two models needed to be homologated (Approved by government) before Suzuki is allowed to bring them to market. This is true to all new models brought into SA.

The Ride: 

It was   all pretty informal, just the way we like it, with a presentation of each model and a chat about bikes in general. Notes were taken, with a test at the end. Ok not really, the guys wanted to get going…

From the presentation, we were pointed in the direction of the track – Road riders kitted up and took the GSX-8S for lots of laps around the RedStar course. Adventure riders were pointed into the surrounding farmlands for a very well thought out lap or six on Suzuki’s 3 adventure models. Yes he latest DL 1050 was along too.

You can read more about the ADV bikes here.

Fact, the DL’s are perfect for the road, and a yardstick for this is the amount of adventure riders who never take their ADV machines off-road. But, naturally, the focus for RideFast is that Suzuki GSX-8s.

Suzuki GSX-8-S
We do like the futuristic styling...

Here are a few thoughts from our lot on the naked newcomer:

It really is in some fine company. Bikes in this class that come to mind are Yamaha’s MT07, KTM’s Duke, Honda’s new Hornet and perhaps even Triumphs 600 Trident.

You have to appreciate the styling. Suzuki really has become pretty edgy in this department and the design cues flow through all of their new models. We personally really like the futuristic transformer type headlamps, lines and cowls. If you don’t, It’ll grow on you. At a glance the bike looks combat ready, lithe, compact and small. A proper little pocket rocket. It’s well specced with plenty of attention to detail.

Suzuki GSX-8-S
Neat TFT Screen.
Suzuki GSX-8-S
Simple mode selection
Suzuki GSX-8-S
Beefy brakes with ABS.

Chassis info:

This Suzuki shares the chassis and engine with the DL800 ADV bike, complete with a removable subframe. Handy if you happen to have a big prang, it cuts down on those repair bills a bit. The wheelbase is a bit longer than most of the bikes in this class.

Naturally, wheels and suspension are tuned more towards road application. 

A quickshifter is standard fit, as are upside-down forks, a TFT instrument panel and radial calipers, complete with ABS.


The GSX-8s uses a 5-inch colour TFT display. The tachometer doubles up as a programmable rpm indicator light that blinks when the engine reaches a pre-set speed, and adds a function that lets you display large pop-up alerts and reminders. Manual or automatic switching settings for the day (white) and night (black) displays are pretty cool!

Map switches:

The bike has a choice of three torque maps, A for lotsa fun, B for general riding and C for slippery, wet conditions. 

Guess which mode we used?


Suspension comprises non adjustable cartridge forks and a basic monoshock with preload adjustment. They are set pretty firm. These are mated to 17 inch wheels shod in Dunlops RoadSmart 2 tyres.

Suzuki GSX-8-S
The Parallel twin engine is a brand new design from Suzuki.


The six – speed 776 cc engine is new. It’s a DOHC, parallel twin with four valves per cylinder that features a long-stroke configuration.The engine features a 270° crankshaft design, designed, they say, to deliver a smooth ride with lots of torque.For tech geeks: 

Suzuki has developed a twin balance shaft layout for this engine, with one for each cylinder running at 90° to each other in front and below the crankshaft. Most other parallel twins have a single shaft with the counterweights for both piston assemblies on it. The inclusion of an up and down quickshifter is a great addition.The 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S is said to produce 82 horsepower at 8,500 rpm, with 57.5 pound-feet of torque topping out at 6,800 rpm. Redline cuts in at 9,250 rpm.

The riding position is pretty relaxed. Perfect for that long ride.


Are pretty relaxed for riders of all shapes and sizes. It’s designed to be a comfortable ride. So, reading through all of this, who is Suzuki aiming this bike at?

The everyday rider – that’s who.

The longer wheelbase generally means a more stable package. Same goes for the weight – if it’s carried low down.

The conservative power figures means it should be easy to ride. 

Sean took the bike out for… well lots of laps and here’s what he had to say:

Suzuki GSX-8-S
Sean is 2 metres tall and fits properly.

Lets just have a quick chat about the looks…. WOW, aggressive, modern and those colours, I do like the colours a lot, a nice break from the mundane we have seen to date, just so ….. Oh FFS! For the lack of a better word and at the risk of sounding like an old fart trying to be cool…. Just so Funky. I love it.

After climbing off the 800DE with somewhat bigger eyes than what I started with, this bike was a complete revelation and an absolute joy to ride on the track. Planted and stable coming off the top of the speedo, clamping hard on the hooks and tilting into the corners.

That quick shifter, what a pleasure, just hang on the loud wire and tap it up through the box without the bike missing a beat. It is so smooth, particularly at the top end of the rev range. Under load it feels almost electronic – if that makes sense? 

YES, Yes I know the shifter is electronic, but it made the box feel like you were flipping a switch rather than kicking on a shifter. 

And the torque from that parallel twin, pulling off the apex, just wow…. A little bike can do that? No way!… Well, actually, yes way, and everybody enjoyed it. 

So much so in fact that these were the only demo’s on the day that needed refuelling and the only ones we had to fight for a seat on. What I really love about this class of bike is the fact that they are still fast enough to have a good ol’ go on without being terrifyingly aggressive. Yes, big, super fast 1000cc bikes are huge fun to ride if you are at that skill level, but I would hazard that the general bike buyer would barely be able to push this bike beyond its limits. But many ego’s would never allow that admittance. 

And if everybody could just get over that, this class of bike would be the top seller in this country. They make so much sense.

Even with my 2m, 115 kg chassis folded neatly and comfortably onto the 8S and the very many laps I did, even almost missing lunch because I was having so much fun, the brakes did not fade, the suspension never once gave me a wobble or a butt tightening moment. It was just so polite, forgiving and easy to ride that I only stopped when the bike started missing a beat warning me that the fuel was almost finished and I was about to have a long walk back to the pits if I didn’t pull in right away. 

Suzuki GSX-8-S
Lots of fun on the track.

We asked Donovan Fourie from The Bike Show for an opinion. This is what he had to say:

The 8S has a strange knack for doing absolutely everything rather flippin’ well. Let’s keep in mind what its goals are – to be fun, sporty, easy and all at a price that won’t infuriate the bank manager. And that, summed up in two sentences, is the Suzuki GSX-8S.

For normal people, the 8S is superb. Much of that superbness comes down to how easy it is to ride.

Around Red Star, the suspension is simple. Honestly, keep it off the racetrack entirely and enjoy its pleasures on the public road.

The ergonomics are what you would expect from a naked – high, wide bars, a seat that’s firm but not marble and foot pegs that will scrape on the ground for Brad Binder, but will be roomy and spacious for everyone else.

The real highlight of the motor is the two counter-balance shafts, something that would never happen in a world of MotoGP where horsepower and performance out-trumps all. In a world where people want a bike that performs well in a much wider rev range, the more counter-balancers the better.

The 8S goes as low as 2000rpm with no snatching, clunking or complaining. Just smooth Tropica up until 4,000 rpm when the horses get warmed up and pull like hell to the redline.

The 8S is not the lightest motorcycle on the planet but it doesn’t exactly give off a weighty aura. It turns in easily enough and that extra weight helps keep it planted to the road surface, especially in heavy lean and hard acceleration.

The standard two-way quick-shifter works well, the TFT dash is simple to read and pleasant on the eye, and the rest of the electronics didn’t really feature, which is a good thing because they generally happen when stuff goes wrong. This rarely happens with a bike that is so compliant.

Brad Binder might find the 8S lacking around Red Star, but your casual track day rider or track newbie is going to love it. That smoothness and compliance give a feeling of security that will make the beginner feel invincible. It’s exactly the same on the public road where everyone essentially rides like newbies.

And at R165,950, a big chunk of riders can afford it.

See? Everything is done rather flippin’ well.

It was a really lekker, Suzuki kind of day…

All in, it was a massively cool day, not only about the new Suzuki GSX8-S, but an immersive Suzuki experience with the roar of twins, singles and four cylinder screamers permeating the local farm lands.

It was magnificent! We’ve got one for a couple of days and are busy racking up the mileage. We’ll let you know just how good it really is to live with.

In the interim, bikes are at your Suzuki dealer. Go and have a looksee! 

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