2015 Suzuki GSX-S1000F Review, Fast but Friendly !

First thoughts of the Suzuki GSX-S1000F are dominated more by what it doesn’t have than what it actually does. Maybe it’s something that’s highlighted by the presence of the other bikes, but as eyes dart back and forth between them the mental checklist grows longer. The GSX-SF doesn’t have an adjustable screen. No fittings for hard luggage. No pillion grabrails, no mainstand, nor anything to make setting the suspension quick and easy.

"Of course not," explain Suzuki, though I may be paraphrasing. "The GSX-S1000F is a sportsbike, for sportsbike riders, so we didn’t bother with any of that sensible stuff." I’m not convinced – just leaving stuff out doesn’t automatically make what’s left over any better. Not putting baked beans on a Full English doesn’t make the sausages any sausagier.

Yet after riding BMW R1200RS and also Kawasaki Z1000SX, I’ll have to eat my preconceptions. The GSX-S1000F really is the sportiest bike here. It’s the lightest (by a healthy margin) and the most powerful (by a whisker). Pegs are highest, steering feels fastest. Enjoying an ice cream and the splendour of Bamburgh Castle, I ask fellow tester Simon which of the bikes he thinks would be quickest around Cadwell Park. After a moment of chin-stroking (his own, not mine), his mouth reaches the same conclusion as my brain: "The Suzuki."

The Suzuki GSX-S1000F achieves this not through any specific elements of unique genius, but a general nose-to-tail refinement. But then maybe it should. The motor is, after all, based on the GSX-R from a decade ago. The swingarm and switchgear are both borrowed from other bikes already in Suzuki’s range. And when a band starts putting together a compilation album, you’d hope they’ll pick their most successful material.

Carving south-west across Northumberland on the B6341 from Alnwick to Otterburn, this brand-new machine feels utterly, intuitively recognisable. The familiar four pulls with a superbike’s long-legged drive. Gearing is quite tall, and the 999cc capacity hasn’t been plumped up with any extra bottom-end shove. Instead of devouring and disposing of gears, the Suzuki GSX-S1000F holds each one and treasures it. Revs build deliberately, bringing big speed: first gear pulls to 85mph; second puts the digital speedo into triple figures.

While the power delivery is typical sportsbike, the riding position is anything but. The Suzuki GSX-S1000F's Renthal Fatbar one-piece handlebar is exactly the same as that on the GSX-S1000 roadster, providing an identical upright riding position. It’s unconventional for a fully faired bike but actually quite welcome on backroads, letting you throw the bike around with ease.

Suspension has been tweaked a little from the naked GSX-S, with ever-so-slightly more damping. Forks are fully adjustable and the rear shock offers preload and rebound, but I’ve no desire to touch those dials. It’s remarkably good as it comes: composed yet compassionate. It doesn’t wallow or buck about, does a fine job of disguising lumps and bumps, and offers enough support to let you hammer the four-piston front brakes or wind on plenty of power.

And if you want any extra encouragement to do so, like the naked GSX-S1000 this GSX-S1000F has a traction control system. You can choose from three heights of safety net or turn it off altogether – and, if you do, it stays turned off the next time you start the bike. Unlike the naked, ABS is standard fitment rather than an option in Suzuki GSX-S1000F.

Where you’d hope the Suzuki GSX-S1000F offers some tangible benefit over its unfaired sibling, however, things are less impressive. It might have a fairing – far from attractive, though it’s definitely there – but the protection it offers feels negligible. The screen is tiny and far too low, and while it doesn’t cause any buffeting you do quickly start to resent it being there if it’s not actually doing anything. It’s likely a compromise of the riding position – the screen can’t be too prominent, else you couldn’t turn the handlebars to full lock.

Maybe GSX-S owners won’t care about the screen size. Nor the pillion seat, nor the fuel tank, which are the smallest here. Because if none of that matters and you just want to distil the discussion down to pure riding terms, the Suzuki GSX-S1000F is a worthy winner: more dynamic than the BMW R1200RS, and more composed than the Z1000SX.

2015 Suzuki GSX-S1000F Specs

Engine : Four stroke, Inline Four, DOHC 16-Valve, Liquid-Cooled
Capacity : 999 cc
Bore x Stroke : 73,4 x 59 mm
Compression Ratio : 12,2 : 1
Induction : Fuel Injection
Max Power : 143 HP @ 10.000 RPM
Max Torque : 105 N.m @ 9.500 RPM
Transmission / Drive : 6-Speed / Chain

Frame : Alumunium Twinspar
Front Suspension : 43mm Upside Down Forks, Fully Adjustable
Rear Suspension : Monoshock, Adjustable Preload and Rebound
Front Brakes : 2 x 310 mm Disc, 4-Pot Calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes : Single 250 mm Disc, 1-Pot Caliper, ABS
Front Tyre : 120/70 - ZR17
Rear Tyre : 190/50 - ZR17

Wheelbase : 1.460 mm
Seat Height : 810 mm
Weight : 215 Kg
Fuel Capacity : 17 Litres

Price : £10,135

Typical Finance (base model bikes) : Suzuki Finance PCP: £2329 Deposit, 34 Months £132.39, Final cost £4802 – total £11,764.65