Posted: 25 Mar 2013
If big is butch then Suzuki’s GSX1400 is really butch. It’s not so much a retro clone of bikes gone by but is actually a remnant of times when naked bikes were all the rage – or rather all that was available. Not just because of its big tank, big seat, upright seating and wide handlebar silhouette but also from the way it handles.
The twin rear shock and soft forks hark back to wibbly-wobbly 1980’s handling and is all the better for it. Riding a GSX, hard or in a regular sort of way, is seriously satisfying in getting from A to B because it is what it is: a heavy, wide-barred muscle bike with a seriously grunty engine. An enormous sense of pride and well being washes over you in the knowledge the GSX14 is one of the biggest capacity air/oil-cooled bikes on the street – and you’re on one and own it.
As for the handling, a pair of Metzeler belted tyres, Ohlins rear shocks and revalved forks help no end, to the point you can up corner speed and lean angle quite safely. This is good because the footpegs get butchered by tarmac on the standard suspension settings. At least you can enjoy yourself doing so without overly taxing the brain and right wrist.
There’s a massive hit of torque hidden in that engine but it makes a welcome and strong appearance with throttle use anywhere below 6000rpm. For instant overtakes there isn’t much that can touch a GSX14. No need to boot down a gear or two, simply open the throttle. The gearbox is typical Suzuki in the way it clonks from first to second but then the rest drop into place without so much of a scuff on your upper left boot.
Life with a GSX14 is good. It’s a good drawing board to tailor the bike to suit by way of bellypan, different handlebars and other non-tacky touches. There’s a ruck of accessories still available, and Suzuki themselves carried decent parts like crashbars. Suzuki junked the 4-2 exhausts system after a year or two in favour of a 4-1 exhaust. This doesn’t reduce the impact of the Suzuki’s size. The GSX14 also begs for a little bit of light tuning by way of 4-1 aftermarket sports exhaust and a Power Commander or Yoshbox retune of the fuel injection and ignition timing. This pays dividend with an even more responsive throttle.
Spongy seat and low pegs with wide bars provide a decent seating position. As with all naked bikes the lack of a fairing makes life interesting over 85mph… and tiring. Wind blast is a killer but this goes with the territory of GSX14 ownership. As does the insult of Suzuki’s flaky finish in certain areas, such as discs and engine cases, and the wheels if not cleaned and protected on a regular basis.
+ points – impressive torque output. Comfy and a riot to ride
- points – plating or covering paint
Power: 104.8bhp, 92.3ft lbs
Dry weight: 228kg
Seat height: 790mm
Colours: Blue/white, blue