“Sleeping Beast” | 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000 – full review & road test
In 2015 Suzuki made the legendary 2005-2008 GSX-R1000 reborn by simply using the same engine that’s been packed in the “less plastic and more technology” package. While utilizing the same great power plant, Suzuki keeps following the trend of the motorcycle world. At first sight, 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000 looks like a smaller 600cc since you don’t see any “power-screaming parts,” and this specific “Z” trim doesn’t tell you what you have to expect until you’d be dare enough to wake the beast up!
Overall, the bike is extremely straightforward when it comes to usability. You can change your trip computer/mpg/DTE along with four levels of traction control, and you wouldn’t need to have “Master’s Degree in electrical engineering” since this bike does not like complicated things like you could find in some other competitors.
It doesn’t seem this bike was trying to win any design competition of being the most stylish one on the market. In fact, none of the hyper-naked bikes should even participate in any competitions of this category, as they’ve been built with multiple focuses in mind, with the design not being one of them. This new GSX-S1000 is plane, beefy upfront and simple, when it comes to controls. Really good dash. When you’re riding in the dark or have a direct sunlight behind you – you can see your RPM’s or speedo with no issues at all. I would only suggest to add a better “low fuel” indicator since two or three times I did find myself almost running out of fuel.
Your first impression starts when you click the start knob to fire up this engine. I specifically said click, because you don’t have to hold it. Same when you release the clutch, and bike automatically revs just a tiny bit to help you smoothly get it going without stalling the engine. It’s all minor stuff but these are the first two things you will see, and they do bring positive impressions.
Let’s talk about how it rides and if it could be your “daily rider”? The short and simple answer is yes. Why not? I did my own due diligence and spent the whole day by putting over 400 miles on it, going through the highways & canyons. Unlike the 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000, I was worn out. The bike, on the other hand, just demanded more – to go get more gas and repeat it, again. You absolutely can have a blast on mountain roads every weekend, and it won’t bring any pain to your body if you choose to ride it daily. Also, keep in mind that you can always get 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000FZ for only $500 more, where you can hide behind the smaller windscreen and get more plastics, if “Z” trim is too naked for you and you plan to do a lot of highway riding.
“It’s got power and comfort – the best of both worlds, and it’s something you don’t usually see in one motorcycle.”
The GSX-R1000 lineup did not have traction control (TC) back in 2005 but now, when you pair this engine to this electronics you get a better “leash” for this beast. Yes, there is no power controls/modes for some unknown to me reason but you do get four settings of TC that work as your “wheelie control” as well. After taking “baby steps” for the first two weeks I found myself using setting number 1 that still cuts the “fun” when you twist it too hard but it works really smoothly allowing you to minimize rear tire slips on straight lines and limit your front tire lift since you can reach almost 80 miles per hour on the first gear. Smooth and fast.
Power delivery gives you clarity and control. The higher are your RPM’s the more torque you’d get. Relaxed body position gives you ideal foot peg height to keep your knees relaxed on straight lines. When you go through the corners I feel like the tank grip is on the higher side and it might not be perfect for a smaller person. Your back seat is higher and it does feel like sitting “in the bike,” rather than on it.
It’s ideal for those who’re planning to carry a passenger time to time and you can make suspension adjustments on the go with this fully adjustable KYB fork. It does soak up the city bumps and all the pavement imperfections, allowing you to go fast without sacrificing the comfort, unlike the experience you had on the 2005-2008 GSX-R1000 while having the same engine. A big part of comfort and good traction is in those Dunlop tires. We saw the same rubber on Z900 and it’s not Q3+ or Q4 but it does remind you that Dunlop got one of the best tires in business for any price range.
What I would want to see is a less close gear ratio since sometimes it really makes no sense to go all the way up to the sixth gear on a freeway. It’s great to have such a tall first gear but when you go higher and higher you would want to have sixth gear as tall as it gets for better gas mileage and cooler engine during hot summer days.
It was a pleasant surprise to find four-piston dual disk Brembo brakes on the front since it’s more of a “luxury feature” and not something that you would expect on a hyper-naked bike. They do a really… really good job when it comes to slowing the 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000 down. Smooth and progressive initial bite and feel. Very good braking setup.
Attention to detail
The front headlight gives you a good visibility despite the fact that I don’t really like “the looks”. Great exhaust note for stock system and you can tell it’s going to be a “backfire” master if you decide to opt-out for almost any aftermarket brand. I found the Renthal Fatbar handlebar to be a bit too high on the middle setting and you will have to move it too close to you or go too far if you’d like to lower it. After playing with it for a while I’ve realized that we don’t necessarily get along together and this was not my favorite part about this bike.
Power, fun.. comfort? It’s all possible, when you’re talking about the 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000. This topic is very close to me since I used to own K7 model in the past and it did treat me well with everything but… comfort. The other day I had a question in my mind, “What other bike I rode for 400 miles” in a single day? And that’s exactly when you realize that Suzuki is not trying to be flashy or bring you something super-exciting. They want you to enjoy “what’s not broken,” which just got even better. It’s got power and comfort – the best of both worlds, and it’s something you don’t usually see in one motorcycle.