Suzuki GSX-S1000GT (2021) - Review

 

2022 is shaping up to be the year of the sports tourer. Kawasaki’s long-established, best-selling Ninja 1000SX is already facing renewed competition from Yamaha’s excellent, nimble and well-spec’d Tracer 9 GT, and next year Honda will join the sports touring party with the Africa Twin-powered NT1100.

But before that, Suzuki is making a pitch for the sport touring spotlight with their new GSX-S1000 GT – and Bennetts BikeSocial is riding it on the slightly moist launch in Scotlandshire.

 

New Suzuki GSX-S1000GT (2022) Review | 2 days in Scotland

We spend two days in Scotland with BikeSocial’s King of the Sports Tourers, Simon Hargreaves, as he explores the good, bad and ugly of the brand new for 2022 Suzuki GSXS1000GT sports tourer motorcycle. 

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT 2021 Review Details Price Spec_04

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT price and availability

The GT will be on sale a few weeks after you read this, at the start of November 2021. It comes in three colours: Metallic Triton Blue (mid-blue), Metallic Reflective Blue (navy blue) or Glass Sparkle Black (er, black). It costs £11,750 on the road.

That’s £600 more expensive than the 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX base model (£11,150, equipped to roughly the same spec level as the Suzuki) – or £452 cheaper than Yamaha’s Tracer 9 GT (£12,202, but which comes with much higher spec as standard: semi-active suspension, heated grips and panniers).

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT PCP details*

*assuming a deposit of £3000, such as trade-in on existing bike

Cash price

Deposit

36 monthly

Total payable

Final payment

APR

Max mileage

£11,750

£3000

£137.77

£12,976.72

£5017.00

5.9%

8000

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT 2021 Review Details Price Spec_05a

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT power and torque (all figures claimed) v rivals & predecessor

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT

Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX

Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

Suzuki GSX-S1000F (2017)

150bhp @ 11,000rpm

140bhp @ 10,000rpm

117bhp @ 10,000rpm

148bhp @ 10,000rpm

78 lb/ft @ 7000rpm

82 lb/ft @ 8000rpm

69 lb/ft @ 7000rpm

80 lb/ft @ 9500rpm

 

Taken at face value, Suzuki’s dyno graph for the GT (in red) against the previous model GSX-S1000F (black) agrees with their quoted figures and is identical to the motor in the current GSX-S1000 naked bike. The graph shows the new GT makes marginally more peak horsepower at higher revs than the GSX-S1000F – 150bhp at 11,000rpm v 148bhp at 10,000rpm – and slightly less peak torque at lower rpm, down from 80 lb.ft to 78 lb.ft. 

Against its rivals, new GT is 10bhp up on Kawasaki’s 140bhp peak figure for the Ninja SX (but at higher revs), and 28% fitter than the lower capacity Yamaha Tracer 9 GT.

The GT (and current GSX-S) motor is modified over the previous GSX-S engine to meet Euro 5 regs – which, as per the 2021 Hayabusa, includes narrowed throttle bodies, reshaped airbox, less valve overlap, combustion chamber reprofiling, and adding a cat in the exhaust.

This makes Suzuki’s claimed increase in peak power slightly odd because reducing valve overlap for Euro 5 usually lowers an engine’s ability to make torque at high revs, and therefore lowers top end power. But, as with Suzuki’s 2021 Hayabusa, the overall effect of Euro 5 mods has been to improve the engine’s midrange performance – you can see the way the dips in the old engine’s torque curves are filled in. So if you were offered an engine with one of these two power and torque curves, you’d take the new GSX-S1000 GT, thank you.

 

 

Engine feel and performance

Given the GT’s inline four is the same 999cc unit as the 2021 GSX-S1000, even down to gearing, it’s no surprise it feels exactly the same to use. And that’s a very good thing. Suzuki have put in a lot of development work on fuelling, throttle control and general civility since the old GSX-R1000 K5 motor was debuted in the GSX-S in 2016 – that first iteration was harsh, lean-running, snatchy beast. But now the GT engine is blissfully, creamily, drip-melted-butter-on-my-nipples smooth; it feels refined, sophisticated, and utterly buzz-free. It’s a doddle to access its performance and finesse its fulsome power delivery, even in torrential launch conditions; the throttle in your hand trims the butterfly valves exactly the way you want them to, and the GT’s engine responds with an instinctive, human nuance.

The GT’s 150bhp peak power is around the same as a GSX-R1000 K5 back in the day, so the sports tourer is anything but slow – and the motor feels quicker and more responsive, more eager to rev, than Kawasaki’s Z1000SX. But it’s not quite enough to overwhelm or astound – which, given the bike’s sport touring role (and the way it drinks petrol; see later) that’s probably a good thing.

And there’s not much more to say about the GT’s motor, really – not because it’s dull or characterless, but because it really is simple to describe. There are no rough edges to trip you up, no vibes or charismatic thumping or rumbling, and not even much exhaust or induction noise. And so there’s nothing to get a sexy adjective or clever metaphor going (nipples aside). Power is always abundant when you want it for overtakes (as well as just going really fast for the hell of it), there’s ample friction-free grunt to shimmer you silently along through 30s and 40s in top gear like an apparition on two wheels, and it’s flexible enough to not have to change down when the road opens up. Just open the taps and it runs you a bath. Cruising at 85mph-ish sees revs at around 5750rpm and there isn’t even the faintest hint of a tingle through the bars even then – wide mirrors on fat stems remain crystal clear. The GT’s motor is really, really good at being a civilized, fuss-free, big bike, bike engine.

Back in 2005 I watched an experienced engine tuner strip down a GSX-R1000 K5 lump and then stand back to admire it. “This engine…” he said, stroking his chin, “…this is the best engine Suzuki will ever build.” So far he’s not wrong. And now it’s in a sports tourer. I’ll take that.

 

 

Gearbox and exhaust

The GSX-S GT comes with an up and down quickshifter as standard. It’s not as directly accurate as Yamaha’s Tracer 9 GT – I’ve had cramp in my left shin buzzing that thing up and down the box for fun – and, twice, the Suzuki’s quickshifter couldn’t work out what I was trying to do when I was crawling up to traffic lights and left downward pressure on the lever – it cut in an out like traction control. But it only happened on two occasions and was probably just me being lazy; the rest of the time the box was neat and tidy with no missed gears – and a world more decisive than Kawasaki’s squidgy SX quickshifter.

The Suzuki’s exhaust makes almost no noise. Not that you can hear while you’re riding with earplugs in. The loudest sound is a faint transmission whine.

 

Fuel economy

The GT’s tank is 19 litres wide and Suzuki claim an average mpg of 46.3mpg, giving a theoretical range of 194 naughtycal miles. On the launch ride (mostly sopping wet, but pushing on a bit) I got an average of 35.4mpg on day one and 44.4mpg on day two – giving a much shorter range of 148 miles, to empty, at worst; you’d be refilling at 130-ish. That’s not great. It’s backed up by a real-world refill, from a full tank, after around 120 miles of riding with some 30 miles left on the predicted tank range. So tank range isn’t special and if Suzuki hope to attract a few customers who’ve had enough of managing the bulk of a big adventure bike, they might need to think again about how willing those riders are prepared to compromise on refuelling stops (even if half the reason for the bulk is a massive fuel tank – a kind of adventure bike Catch 22).

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT 2021 Review Details Price Spec_09

 

Handling: frame, suspension and weight

Like the GT’s motor, its chassis is familiar to anyone with a passing acquaintance with the GSX-S1000 – same ally twin spar, same ally swingarm, same fully adjustable KYB forks and preload and rebound shock. Suzuki say the suspension has different ‘settings’, but Japan haven’t yet told GB if that means different internal settings (like different valving or springs) or simply the adjusters are in a different position.

But either way, Suzuki spec their base suspension setting very, very well – the GT has great ride quality, delivering an un-jarring ride even over some gnarly Scots potholes – and, equally, the springs also control the dynamic attitude of the bike nicely, with a bit of initial nose dive but otherwise keeping it civil in the corners. No wobbles, no weaves, no silliness. The wheels were in line the whole time, m’lud. Admittedly it’s hard, after a predominantly wet ride, to be definitive – but the fact we could tramp on so significantly in such miserable conditions speaks volumes (of water) about the GT’s poise and control. This thing rocks. We can, however confidently state the rear preload has no remote adjuster, marking the unwelcome return of the C-spanner and bruised knuckles.

All-in, Suzuki says the GT weighs 226kg, which is 9kg less than Kawasaki claim for the Ninja SX, and it feels about right – the GT isn’t a small, light thing, but it’s not unmanageable and certainly not at the lardy dad-bod end of the scale. Pushing it around in gravel is easy enough, and the bike feels balanced at low speed.

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT 2021 Review Details Price Spec_10

 

Wheels, tyres and brakes

The GT comes on Dunlop Roadsmart 2s, and wet or dry they felt predictable, stable and confident – but with a nagging feeling there’s better rubber out there at dealing with either condition.

But why oh why do manufacturers put their bikes on 190/50 tyres, when a 190/55 often suits them much better? Suzuki’s own Hayabusa comes on a 190/50; with a 190/55 it steers like someone took a steering damper off – with no downsides I can detect. The GT similarly feels like it’d be much, much easier to steer with a taller rear tyre on. It’s not as bad as the leaden front end of Kawasaki’s Ninja SX, but there’s definitely a sliver of resistance to steering the GT, especially at low speed, as if there’s not enough air in the front. It’s easy to overlook the sensation and become inured to it after 100 miles, but in the wet on long, drawn-out sweeping corners where you’re constantly focussing on holding a line balanced with grip conditions, lean angle and velocity, the last thing you need is weighty feedback from the front resisting your handlebar pressure. It’s not cripplingly bad and I wouldn’t punch the bike on its considerably long nose for doing it, but I would try and fix it if it was mine. After it’s worn out, obviously.

The GT’s brakes are the same monoblock Brembos as fitted to the GSX-S, and they pull the GSX up sharply and with good feeling at the lever if you squeeze hard – the rate of bite isn’t sportbike instant, which is probably a good thing for most riders.

 

 

Equipment, styling, ergonomics and comfort

These are areas the GT finally differs sharply, literally, from the 2021 GSX-S – they’re the things that make it a sports tourer, not a naked bike. Like, a fairing – the GT’s long, pointy nose isn’t beautiful and bears no family resemblance to anything in Suzuki’s line-up or history – but neither did the RF series in the 1990s and look how successful… oh. The GT’s not a bad-looking creature, and it’s certainly distinctive. Its new, tubular rear subframe looks good too – extended and reinforced for extra pillion and luggage requirements.

On the spec features front, the GT gets about halfway there. The screen is unadjustable, and short – it’s actually the right height to not cause any buffeting I could detect, and it’s the right height to let wind balance the rider’s body for high-speed comfort. But it would be nice to have the option to flip it higher, either to suit the preferences of different riders, or simply to offer a bit more protection from wind noise or rain. Suzuki make and aftermarket touring screen option, but that’s not quite as convenient.

Not having a centrestand is also inconvenient, and not having the option to fit one is worse. Kawasaki’s Ninja SX is the same – maybe Suzuki saw Kawasaki’s exhaust design and decided because the SX didn’t have one, it was okay for the GT not to have one either. Maybe customer research shows Suzuki owners never lube their chains. Only they know why.

The GT hasn’t got heated grips as standard either, only as an accessory. This is less surprising, but Yamaha’s Tracer 9 GT has them and they come in very handy.

The GT has got a very natural, spacious riding position – with what feels like lower pegs than the naked GSX-S1000, slightly higher bars and an accessible 810mm seat height, the GT is immediately comfortable – a ‘just right’ riding position that simple doesn’t occur to you to think about until, presumably at some point, it gets uncomfortable. But that didn’t happen to me over a couple of hundred miles in two days.

On the electronics front, the GT hasn’t got a 6-axis IMU (in fact Suzuki say it hasn’t got an IMU with any number of axes). So there’s no cornering ABS, no sophisticated TC and anti-slide, no smart wheelie or launch control – and hammering about in the sopping wet, none of the above were missed. The GT does have multiple TC levels, three throttle response mappings and cruise control – and a truly magnificent 6.5in TFT dash that manages to look sharp, crisp and attractive, and present all the relevant information without being cluttered, at the same time. It’s a fab bit of design – almost, to be honest, unexpectedly good. It can even hook up with your phone (charged via the USB port) and show sat nav maps, as well as manage phone calls if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT: VERDICT

For a bike so simple to explain – a recycled 2021 GSX-S1000 with a fairing, a roomier riding position, a beefed-up subframe and a sweet dash – the GT is frustratingly hard to describe without sounding like it’s being damned with faint praise. It’s a hugely competent, civilised, powerful, easy-to-use sports tourer, with no significant vices and much to commend it. It’ll fit most people most of the time, deliver them to their intended destination with minimal fuss and optimal convenience – and even considerable excitement, should they wish – and at a reasonable price. As a base to add your own accessories and convert into your personal perfect spec, I’d say it’s ideal. Suzuki’s 36 litre panniers are huge (they stick out a bit too) and cost around the same as Kawasaki’s boxes for the Ninja SX (about a grand for boxes, subframe mounts and key coding). You can also spec heated grips, a taller screen – Suzuki’s list of extras goes on (apart from a top box, for some reason), and of course others from third parties will be available in due course. I can see GTs racking up massive mileages in years to come.

And it even looks nice. The GT will be hit, and deservedly so. You’re waiting for a “…but…”, but there isn’t one. Apart from that one.

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT 2021 Review Details Price Spec_18
For and against
  • engine – smooth, refined, powerful; possibly the nicest inline four out there
  • dash – one of the best; easy to read, concise, unfussy, attractive – and with maps, too
  • riding position – you’d have to ride a long way to have a complaint
  • absurd speed – who doesn’t love the potential for misbehaviour?
  • tank range – could be an issue; with a giddy right wrist it could be empty in 140 miles
  • lack of centrestand – is it too much to ask not have to use a paddock stand?
  • remote preload adjuster – is it too much to ask not to have to use a spanner?

 

2021 Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT - Spec

Capacity

999cc

Bore x Stroke

73.4mm x 59.0mm

Engine layout

inline four

Engine details

16v dohc, l/c

Power

150bhp at 11,000rpm

Torque

78 lb.ft at 9250rpm

Top speed

150mph (est, ish)

Average fuel consumption

39.9mpg

Tank size

19 litres

Max range to empty

166 miles

Rider aids

throttle modes, traction control, ABS, up/down quickshifter, cruise control

Frame

aluminium twin spar

Front suspension

43mm KYB usd forks

Front suspension adjustment

full

Rear suspension

KYB monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

preload and rebound

Front brake

2 x 310mm disc, four-pot Brembo calipers

Rear brake

disc, two-pot Brembo caliper

Front tyre

120/70-17

Rear tyre

190/50-17

Rake/Trail

25°/100mm

Wheelbase

1460mm

Seat height

810mm

Kerb weight

226g

Warranty

unlimited miles/2 years

Website

bikes.suzuki.co.uk/bikes

 

Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance

 

BikeSocial

Customer Quote

Bennetts direct insurance customers get membership for FREE, or you can become a member for just £6 / month and start getting rewarded today.

  • Discounted track days and rider training at some of the top UK circuits
  • Exclusive savings and discounts on everything you need from the world of motorcycling
  • Unique experiences and VIP access at the very best motorcycling events
  • Exclusive competitions and prizes all year round