Ride Review: Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT
December 13, 2022 Off

Ride Review: Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT

By MRWadmin

Adventure bikes have been the “in” thing for a while now, worldwide but more so here in South Africa. You don’t tend to see any other types of bikes out on the road nowadays, other than the odd superbike and naked bike and delivery bikes of course. It seemed like the days of Grand Tourers were coming to an end (apart from the odd sighting of a BMW every so often) until Kawasaki recently launched their much anticipated Z1000SX into the South African GT market. I am happy to report that they are not alone, however, as their rival Japanese company, Suzuki, has now followed suit with their new and much anticipated GSX-S1000GT.


With the rise of adventure bikes over the past decade, sport-tourers got shoved aside, relegated to the dark corners of showroom floors, and generally forgotten about by anyone looking for a new bike. I am happy to announce however that more and more companies are jumping back on the sport tourer bandwagon, reviving what seemed like a dying segment because at the end of the day not everyone wants a superbike or adventure bike. Some just want to sit back and enjoy the open road and nothing more and that’s where sports tourers come into the fray.

One such new bike that those people should consider is Suzuki’s new GSX-S1000GT. The GT is built on the same platform as the GSX-S1000 we tested here at MRW a couple of months back. But unlike the GSX-S1000F that was in Suzuki’s lineup until 2020, which was little more than a GSX-S1000 with a fairing bolted on, the GT claims to be a true grand tourer. With side-on styling cues resembling its Japanese cousin the Kawasaki Z1000SX, rear-end resembling that of the Kawasaki ER6, and headlights resembling that of the Yamaha MT10 apart from the daytime running lights the GT seems to be a mismatch of Japanese bikes. However, Suzuki has put their own spin on styling the GT and I am sure you will agree with me that it is absolutely stunning. Well maybe not love at first sight but you can see where I am going with this.

Build quality and attention to detail is good, a rarity from Japan these days in most cases but Suzuki has hit the nail on the head with the GT. One small gripe I had was that of the writing on the top side of the exhaust which sticks out like a sore thumb and seems totally unnecessary. The bodywork is sleek and angular while sprayed in Suzuki’s Metallic Reflective Blue really stands out. It has a unique V-shaped LED daytime running light up front while just under them are two MT10-looking front headlights (Set on low beam, only the right lamp is illuminated). The model we have on test here has Suzuki’s genuine touring screen fitted which is taller and wider than standard aiding in protecting you from the elements even more. It is non-adjustable another little gripe for me as bikes like this should have some form of adjustability to their screens, to say the least. The fairing pretty much covers the whole bike and not much of the engine is visible which not only looks nice and neat but aids in heat reduction emanating from the engine to the rider. The fuel tank is rather small for a sports tourer at only 16 liters and a few more liters definitely wouldn’t have gone unnoticed and unappreciated. Luckily the GT sips fuel rather than gulping it at touring speeds although when in a hurry it can put any competitive drinker to shame. You should see around 6L/100km on average though.

The riding position is comfy and upright but has a sense of sportiness to it at the same time. Compared to the GSX-S1000F, the GSX-S1000GT’s handlebar is 0.9 inches wider and 0.6 inches closer to the rider. Comfort was also of paramount importance to Suzuki who rubber-mounted all the rider and passenger touchpoints – the handlebar, footpegs, and rear grab handles to minimize vibration. The passenger seat is thick while the footrests have been placed thoughtfully and with comfort in mind. The rear passenger grab handle is thick and easy to grip all aiding in your friend or significant other being happy and content while on the back of the GT. 

I am also happy to report that Suzuki has finally released a bike with a decent dash. The GT is the first Suzuki to be offered with a TFT display. The default screen has an analogue-style tach, digital speedo, and other info. All new operating switch gear has been added to the handlebar as well as a handy cruise control which is easy to use. There are no heated grips fitted as standard although Suzuki can fit them as an accessory. Why Suzuki why? A GT bike that doesn’t have heated grips as standard is much like Mcdonald’s giving you a burger with no box. it should be part and parcel of the package. The TFT dash has Bluetooth connectivity which paired with the Suzuki App means you can use Maps without the need for a headset which I quite like. The TFT has a large analogue-style tachometer, a digital speedometer, and a fuel gauge on the left side, as well as an array of bike and trip info on the right. It also has a sensor that automatically switches the background from white in bright light to black in low light. A USB port on the dash provides on-the-go charging for devices.

You have your normal A, B, and C riding modes (Active, Basic, and Comfort) plus 5 levels of traction control which can be turned off if you are like me and enjoy the occasional wheelie.  In addition to this, the GT’s throttle-by-wire also enables the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System including cruise control, Suzuki’s Easy Start, Low RPM Assist, and Bi-Directional Quick Shift systems. The quick shifter is smooth and direct at any rpm in every gear and the clutch is light and predictable to the touch. The GT does have ABS which cannot be switched off but with no IMU isn’t lean angle sensitive and the same goes for the traction control.

Brembo 4-piston radial-mount monoblock front callipers get the stopping down without fade allowing you to bring the 226kg (curb mass) GT to a stop safely and quickly. The GT’s frame is twin-spar cast-aluminium which surrounds the engine and attaches to a cast-aluminium swingarm. This gives the GT its rigidity for sportiness while not sacrificing any comfort out on the road. I found the GT’s handling to be direct and pinpoint thanks mainly to the KYB suspension – a fully adjustable 43mm upside-down fork and a link-type rear shock that’s adjustable for preload and rebound. You can tell that Suzuki has spent a lot of time ensuring the GT handles like a superbike but is congenial as a tourer should be. 

The best part for me is the GTs 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC motor producing 150hp and 108Nm of torque. Still heavily based on the older GSXR1000 K5 motor, although slightly adapted there is nothing wrong with the power of the GT. It packs a punch all the way down from low, to mid all the way to its 12 000rpm red line. If the oh-so-sweet sound which emanates from the stubby exhaust isn’t enough for you then the brutal acceleration will be. It accelerates as if there is no end and I chickened out at just over 240kph.  An absolute gem in my eyes, right from the moment when you crack open the throttle, just above idle to twisting the grip to the limiter, power comes on cleanly and predictably with a bang. 

Priced at R249 900.00 the GT is great value for money and paired with Suzuki’s reliability will offer you years and years of gut-wrenching fun. Don’t believe me? Visit your nearest Suzuki dealer today. You might just surprise yourself! The sports touring segment is alive and kicking after all who would have guessed?