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Suzuki GSX-8S (2023) – Review

BikeSocial Road Tester. As one half of Front End Chatter, Britain’s longest-running biking podcast, Simon H admits in same way some people have a face for radio, he has a voice for writing.



2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Review Details Price Spec_02
2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Review Details Price Spec_03
2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Review Details Price Spec_04

Technical Review: Ben Purvis – 08/11/2022
Launch Review: Simon Hargreaves – 14/04/2023


Price: £8165 | Power: 82bhp | Weight: 202kg | BikeSocial Rating: 4.5/5


You wait ages for a bus and then two come along at once. Or, in Suzuki’s case, it’s two new models based on the same engine and frame – first there was the 2023 V-Strom 800DE and now we have the GSX-8S streetfighter.

2023 is quite the year for parallel twin streetbikes: Honda have released the Honda Hornet CB750 and KTM have relaunched the 790 Duke – both thrown into the punchy parallel twin melting pot alongside Yamaha’s successful MT07.

But, it’s fair to say, Suzuki have possibly saved the best till last. Simon Hargreaves rides the GSX-8S at its world launch in the South of France.


  • fantastically punchy, muscular motor; very strong bottom end and midrange drive

  • Suzuki have ramped up the finish quality – you can see where your money goes

  • smooth, accurate, stable steering

  • up/down quickshifter as standard with sweet gearchanges

  • comfortable seat and natural riding position – not too sporty, not too sane

  • same great clocks and easy switchgear as V-Strom 800DE

  • £8165 makes the GSX-8S £1156 more expensive than Honda’s Hornet

  • suspension gets choppy over bumps

  • thirsty engine and limited tank range

Is the Suzuki GSX-8S better than Honda's Hornet? | BikeSocial Review (2023)

BikeSocial road tester Simon Hargreaves rides the 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S parallel twin roadster at the official launch in the South of France. How does Suzuki’s new streetfighter compare to Honda’s CB750 Hornet and Yamaha’s MT07? Find out here!


Review – In Detail

Price, Colours & PCP
Engine & Performance
Handling, Weight, Suspension and Brakes
Comfort & Ergonomics
Equipment & Styling


2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Price, Colours and PCP

The GSX-8S costs £8155 (including mandatory on-the-road charges). This compares to its rivals thus:

Suzuki GSX-8S


Honda Hornet CB750

£6,999 (-£1,156)

Yamaha MT-07

£7,510 (-£645)

Triumph Trident 660


KTM 790 Duke


Aprilia Tuono 660

£9,160 (+£1,005)

There are three colour options: Pearl Cosmic Blue, Pearl Tech White and Metallic Matt Black No2/Glass Sparkle Black. All colours are the same price.

PCP example





36 months


Final payment






Miles per year




2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Engine & Performance

If engine power can be described as the rate at which a boxer throws their punches, then torque is the weight of the punches. And Suzuki’s GSX-8S throws proper hay-makers – there’s none of your high-revving, pitter-patter jabs here, it’s all knockout stuff.

This is a tasty little motor. Let’s talk facts: the GSX-8S’ 776cc 270°-crank parallel twin makes an A2-compliant 82bhp at 8500rpm and 58 lb.ft at 6800rpm. It’s the same power unit found in Suzuki’s 2023 V-Strom 800DE, with only fuelling and ECU tweaks to suit the road bike’s different exhaust structure (but, spoiler alert, blimey they make a big difference!).

Suzuki themselves describe the engine as ‘long-stroke’ – dimensions are 84.0mm bore width x 70.0mm stroke, giving a bore/stroke ratio of 1.2. It sets out their intentions for the 8S’ power characteristics from the off – Suzuki have designed and tuned the engine to do its business at comparatively low revs. Spec-leading peak power figures are not what Suzuki are chasing with the 8S – of course they *could* have built a revvier, more powerful engine at the same capacity, but that’s not the engine character they wanted.

Spec-warriors will immediately notice the GSX-8S makes 9bhp less than Honda’s 91bhp Hornet, with its superficially similar, but higher-revving, 775cc parallel twin (the Honda is 87.0mm x 63.5mm – more oversquare than the Suzuki with a bore/stroke ratio of 1.37). It’s also 10bhp up on Yamaha’s MT-07 and Suzuki’s own SV650, 2bhp more than Triumph’s Trident 660, and 13bhp down on Aprilia’s Tuono 660 and KTM’s 790 Duke.

But engine performance is a lot more than just a headline figure, and Suzuki are hoping we’re grown-up enough to look past peak power to see a bigger picture. Or maybe they’re hoping we’re still young enough to enjoy thumping about behaving like torque-addled teenagers. Or both.



As the wee blue Suzuki hammers out of another hairpin in the hills above Antibes in the South of France, the sea level warmth of the Côte d'Azur is a fading memory. Altitude rises, temperature drops, frost still lurks in the shade. But it doesn’t matter which gear the 8S is in – keep it in the first three and the Suzuki’s back-end chips away, breaking traction like a 50p piece on cold tarmac as the engine’s prolific bottom-end harasses its own traction control. The new Hamamatsu parallel twin engine has eye-opening heft behind the throttle and is plenty capable of muscling and hustling with a streetwise, traffic-killing strut. Watching the uniquely Gallic overtaking manoeuvres of Guy, our French Suzuki lead rider who’s slaughtering helpless Provençal drivers like a trained assassin, the GSX-8S reminds me most of a softer version of Husqvarna’s Nuda – a tuned, bored and stroked BMW F800 motor that hassled traffic in a permanently bad mood. The Suzuki is a whole lot more playful and civilised (and reliable!) than that bike – but there’s definitely a very naughty side to it, and it’s not a huge leap of imagination to think of fitting a straight-through pipe, sticky tyres and spending a few hundred quid on uprating the suspension in your head – and then show Yamaha’s MT-07 what the ‘Dark Side’ *really* means.

This is the first all-new Suzuki engine in a long time, and the company has a lot riding on it. When the motor was debuted in the V-Strom 800DE a few months ago, our reaction was slightly muted. In the adventure bike, the engine definitely has prodigious bottom end and can drop down to not far above walking pace in the upper gears and still pull cleanly, which is great for dicking-about off road. Batting open the throttle at 4000rpm in top produces a strong surge of acceleration – but the top end tails off significantly and, while it’s well-suited to the dual purpose 800DE, it’s not exactly what you’d call an exciting power delivery.

The GSX-8S, somehow, is an entirely different proposition. From the moment the (fairly heavy) clutch is popped in first gear, the 8S cracks away with proper, ‘oooo, didn’t expect that!’ gusto. It has the same character as the V-Strom motor, but amplified into a much more entertaining prospect – which, given Suzuki say the 8S engine actually makes marginally *less* peak power (a whole bhp) and fractionally more peak torque (a not-quite-whole half a lb.ft), is a bit of a surprise. Where does this extra fun come from? Possibly from having to lug around 28kg less weight than the adventure bike – more, in the international language of heft, than a sack of potatoes. It’s not gearing – the GSX-8S’ final drive has fewer teeth on the rear sprocket then the V-Strom, to compensate for a different rear wheel rolling radius, but ends up at the same gearing: 80mph in top gear is 5500rpm on both bikes.

But either way the 8S is lively and vaults away from low speeds with a purposeful gait. It’s happiest being short-shifted between third and fifth gear up to around 80mph – it’s where the engine is designed to be most effective (if not efficient – see later). Compared to Honda’s Hornet, the 8S gives more, sooner, then delivers less later on. But by then I’d be willing to bet the Suzuki will already be well ahead at the traffic light GP.



Another difference between the 8S and V-Strom 800DE engines – or at least the one I used on the V-Strom launch a few months ago in Sardinia – is in vibration feel. The 800DE has a distinct, pattering vibration through the pegs and bars that increases from around 4500rpm. I’m not usually over-sensitive to vibes – everyone is different – and it’s not something to put me off buying a V-Strom... but it’s something to be aware of if you do suffer from tingling hands or feet.

However the same engine in the GSX-8S is absolutely, 100 per cent clean. Yes, you can feel the power pulses of a 270°-crank firing interval, mimicking a 90° V-twin, once the primary balance shaft has tamed them – and that’s how it should be. And you can feel what’s left of the transverse rocking couple, once the extra balance shaft has tamed it – but the vibes are not intrusive at all. It basically feels like a smooth-running engine.

Again, I’m at a loss to pin down exactly why there’s a difference in feel between two almost identical engines – and it’s not something we easily translatable between my mangled English and the Suzuki engineers’ flawless Japanese. Given the frames the engine is mounted in are also the same between the V-Strom and the GSX-8S, maybe it’s the extra width or mounting of the handlebars, or the different footpeg hanger design, or location. Or maybe it’s something to do with the extra frame-rails of the V-Strom, cradling the motor and providing somewhere to hang a bash plate and accessories – possibly the extra contact points and rigidity is also transferring more vibration too. That’s what my money’s on... but different footpeg mounting points are a close second.

But this is conjecture (although the first thing I do when I get another go on a V-Strom 800DE will be to unbolt the frame rails to see how it feels!). What I *do* know is the GSX-8S has no vibration issues. None. Zero. Nil.

And what is does have a most excellent up and down quick shifter, fitted as standard, thank you very much. Re-watching a GoPro video of my own use of the Suzuki’s gearbox, I’ve noticed on downshifts I unconsciously use a hint of clutch to smooth the gear change (actually, it’s not completely unconscious – I know I do it; it’s just a thing). Despite this, the GSX-8S’ quickshifter never hesitates or gets confused – it’s always a clean snap from gear to gear.

Nice engine and exhaust noise too. It’s not as raucous as the Hornet – that thing really barks – but it’s louder than the V-Strom, because the exhaust is a) shorter and b) closer to the rider’s ears. Like the 800DE, the 8S’ airbox is located behind the engine block, not under the tank – I guess when the engine designers aren’t required to meet ever-increasing peak power targets but are asked to target fat bottom-end and midrange instead, eking out optimal gas-flow velocity at high revs is no longer a priority – which means inlet tracts don’t need to hungrily gulp fresh down-draught air. Which in turn frees-up space under the fuel tank for – well, a bigger fuel tank would be nice. Which is what the 800DE gets; a whole 20 litres of it. It’s understandable the GSX-8S doesn’t really need that much – but 14 litres is a bit on the stingy side, especially when the bike is returning an average of 38mpg on the 100-mile-or-so test ride. It’s pretty hectic, but launch rides usually are (you think it’s easy hanging onto the wheel-tracks of a local expert?) and the Hornet managed 48mpg. The 800DE did 45mpg, but that was a more leisurely ride than the 8S.



2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Handling, weight, suspension and brakes

The GSX-8S shares the same steel frame as the V-Strom, mated to a bespoke tubular subframe for a shorter, more upturned, narrower tail unit on the streetfighter. Painted the same powder blue as the bike, it’s a handsome design touch that isn’t shared by any of the GSX-8S’ rivals. Suzuki engineers point out the bolts used to mount the subframe are specially selected for their aesthetics – this is welcome quality and, with all due respect, slightly unexpected because Suzuki are often better known for, er, a pragmatic approach to finish detailing.

An aluminium swingarm completes the structural stuff – as noted, the GSX-8S doesn’t have the V-Strom 800DE’s twin cradle rails running down the front of the engine because it doesn’t need anywhere to hang a belly pan or fog lights – and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced they’re the cause of the V-Strom 800DE’s extra vibration.

At the evening technical presentation, it's noticeable Suzuki don’t even mention the GSX-8S’ suspension. For the record, it’s a pair of unadjustable 43mm KYB USD forks at the front and a KYB shock at the rear with preload adjustment only. Maybe Suzuki don’t mention suspension because it is, literally, unremarkable – ride quality is average and you can tell this isn’t the fully adjustable posh Showa stuff fitted to the V-Strom 800DE as soon as it takes up your weight. But the springs hold the chassis steady under braking and acceleration – and no other bikes in the 8S’s class have adjustable suspension. The Suzuki feels stiffer out of the crate than, say, Honda’s Hornet.

Brakes don’t get much of a mention at the technical presentation either – they’re a pair of serious-looking four-pot Nissin radial calipers on 310mm discs with standard-issue, non-cornering ABS. And they work, stopping the 8S with the efficiency you’d expect. ABS chipped in a few times – I still feel most manufacturers play it too far on the safe side with stock ABS; Suzuki offer different strength ABS settings on the V-Strom, so that would be a nice touch on the 8S. Or all bikes. But it isn’t.

In terms of dimensions, the 8S is on the heavier side compared its rivals – its 202kg is 12kg heavier than Honda’s Hornet, 18kg more than Yamaha’s MT-07 and the about the same as KTM’s 790 Duke. It’s 2kg heavier than an SV650. It’s also a comparatively big bike – it’s the same overall length as a GSX-S1000 and has a 5mm longer wheelbase.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking the Suzuki is heavy or hard to manage, because the bike is slim, compact and low – seat height is 810mm, with a centre of gravity nestled between your knees. Flicking the 8S around on a combination of tight hairpins and long, open sweepers at a decent pace, ahem, the Suzuki is the perfect balance of size, weight and stability – it steers and tracks a line with reliable, predictable precision. As the front wheel turns into the corner, it’s utterly planted in a way the super-agile, almost nervous, Honda Hornet can’t quite match. There’s no sense of the front feeling light or wayward. It’s got what you could call signature Suzuki handling characteristics – the bike sits almost flat in terms of front/rear weight bias, it’s unflappably stable (yes yes, TL1000S excepted), and it turns with the cold-eyed neutrality of a marksman. It’s intuitive; handling you can trust.

The 8S also carries a sense of purposeful solidity – assembled in Hamamatsu, in Japan, it’s a proper, grown-up motorcycle and not a flimsy lightweight toy, as many of its rivals sometimes feel. Like most other bikes in its class, the 8S wears a 120/70 and 180/55 tyre combination. The tyres on the launch bikes are Dunlop Roadsport 2s and are okay, but not overly blessed with feedback. Nice powder blue wheels, too.



2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Comfort & Ergonomics

The GSX-8S fits the human form – unlike the Hornet, with its high pegs and sportier, canted-forward, compact, possibly cramped riding position, the Suzuki is spread out and generously spaced. Its seat is wide, supportive and made from the right density of foam to balance buttocks without complaint after a day’s hooning – there’s plenty of leg room, and the bars are the right angle and distance from the rider’s torso to make an aggressive, but not aggravating, stance.

Even the lack of screen isn’t a huge problem – the test ride isn’t particularly windy (although it is pretty cold!), but up to 80mph wind pressure is nicely balanced against the body. Even so, and as usual, my thoughts after a few hours are how great the 8S would be (and would look) with a nice little retro-style half-fairing added. In fact if Suzuki want to make something like Triumph’s Tiger Sport 660 out of the 8S platform (with a slightly larger tank and cruise control), they might as well take my money right now.

As mentioned, the motor is bad-vibe-free, leaving only pleasing 270°-crank pulsations to tickle the rider’s fancy.



2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Equipment & Styling

Suzuki’s current TFT screens are fab things – as fitted to the 800DE, 1050DE and GSX-S range, the 5in rectangle is bright, glare-free, colourful and has almost the right amount of information. Unlike the V-Strom 800DE, the 8S doesn’t get an ambient air temperature (maybe because there’s nowhere obvious to put the sensor?) – but it has the same basic functionality. There are three traction control modes (plus off – unusually, the TC stays off if you turn off the ignition then turn it back on again) and three throttle response curves (called SDMS – Suzuki Drive Mode Selector – all delivering full performance but getting there at different rates).

The SDMS settings differ markedly – more than I’ve noticed on other Suzukis. A mode is sharp (not snatchy) and shows off the motor’s instant stomp. B mode is softer, and C mode is for when it rains. Speaking of which, it would still be nice to have a dedicated Rain mode button to change TC and throttle mode settings at the same time.

The 8S also comes, as mentioned, with an excellent up/down quickshifter. It doesn’t come with a centrestand, nor is there an option for one in the accessory line-up. So, factor a paddock stand into your future – although to be honest, who hasn’t already got one somewhere in the garage?

Stacked headlights are direct LED – didn’t ride the bike at night – but indicators are still old-fashioned bulbs (LEDs are an accessory option). The headlights are tiny and gripped by a KTM-esque pair of incisors, giving the 8S a Kiska-designed look (paint it orange and squint, and it could come from Mattighofen). Styling is subjective – there’s no doubt the GSX-8S has a family resemblance to the GSX-S1000, but I think it looks better – the tank has a really nice profile from behind, the plain blue colour scheme has an unfussy depth of quality to it, and overall build quality looks much higher than we’ve come to expect. 

The 8S accessory list is as follows; no prices are available as yet

  • Fly screen

  • Belly pan

  • Soft side cases (20 litres each)

  • Heated grips

  • Mirror extenders

  • Crash bungs

  • Billet brake & clutch levers

  • Brake & clutch lever guards

  • LED indicators

  • Two tone seat

  • Pillion seat cover

  • USB socket

  • Anodised bar ends


Which is the best - Honda Hornet vs Suzuki GSX-8S vs KTM 790 DUKE vs Yamaha MT-07?

Which is the best middleweight naked class for 2023? This category has had a long-time King in the shape of the Yamaha MT-07 but for 2023 three others are snapping at its heels - do they have what it takes to steal the limelight?


2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Rivals

The Suzuki GSX-8S jumps straight into one of the most competitive markets in motorcycling and faces some fierce competition.


Honda CB750 Hornet | Price: £6999

More power, higher-revving, less low-down and midrange performance, and a lighter, less substantial feel than the Suzuki. Looks a bit cheaper too. Softer suspension, but sharper steering and more ‘active’ front end. More compact and sportier riding position, possibly cramped for bigger riders.

Power/Torque: 91bhp/55 lb-ft | Weight: 190kg


Yamaha MT-07 | Price: £7510

Smaller, revvier engine, but packed with funkiness. Suspension has a more basic feel, bike has a smaller, less chunky vibe than the Suzuki. No traction control or throttle mode gizmos.

Power/Torque: 72.4bhp/49.4lb-ft | Weight: 184kg


KTM 790 Duke | Price: £8155

Same price as Suzuki. Chinese-assembled KTM has more power and torque at lower revs than the 8S, and has a wealth of electronics (but you have to pay more to unlock them, don’t shoot the messenger).

Power/Torque: 95bhp/64 lb-ft | Weight: 169kg (dry)



2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Verdict

The 8S is an absolute belter from Suzuki – made all the more outstanding because it so comfortably exceeds expectations. The engine is more lively and more entertaining than I thought it would be after riding the V-Strom 800DE – it’s not got the top end of the Honda Hornet, but feels fulsome and aggressive at lower revs, which is where it counts. I like it, a lot – and I can’t wait to try it again.

The handling is good too – classic Suzuki, with a solid, stable feel at speed and when holding a line mid-corner. It’s not the sharpest-steering tool and ride quality is only mediocre, but I would argue at this level, confidence on turn-in is more important than ultra-light steering, and mid-corner stability and feedback is paramount.

I really like the Suzuki’s touches of design quality too. Don’t misunderstand, it’ll still corrode at the first sign of road salt – we’re not talking about build quality, but the effort that’s been put into making it look and feel like a nice thing to use – the painted subframe, bolt-specs, the colour scheme and general finish in the cockpit, the clocks – it all adds up to make the GSX-8S a more pleasant place to spend your riding time.
So thumbs up to Suzuki – in my opinion, they saved the best parallel twin till last in 2023.



2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Technical Specification

New price




Bore x Stroke

84mm x 70mm

Engine layout

Parallel twin

Engine details

4-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 270° crankshaft


81.8bhp (61KW) @ 8500rpm


57.5lb-ft (78Nm) @ 6800rpm


6 speed, chain final drive, up/down quickshifter, assist and slipper clutch

Average fuel consumption

67.23mpg claimed / 38mpg as tested (per display)

Tank size

14 litres

Max range to empty

207miles claimed (120+ in reality)

Rider aids

3-mode traction control (plus off), 3 throttle maps, up/down quickshifter, ABS


Steel, tubular

Front suspension

KYB upside-down forks, 130mm travel

Rear suspension

KYB monoshock

Front brake

Dual 310mm discs, four-piston Nissin radial-mount calipers

Rear brake

240mm disc, single-piston caliper

Front wheel / tyre

Cast aluminium / 120/70ZR17 Dunlop SPORTMAX RoadSport2

Rear wheel / tyre

Cast aluminium / 180/55ZR17 Dunlop SPORTMAX RoadSport2

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2115mm x 775mm x 1105mm



Seat height



202kg (kerb)





MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated



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