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Morepower
5th September 2004, 01:08
The 1997 Suzuki TL 1000S

Launched to rave reviews this was almost a radical bike for 1997. Think of it as a 1997 GSXR750 but with a V twin Heart and you are close.
Upside down forks, Alloy frame, almost race track steering geometry and 1000 ccís of fuel injected mayhem made for an exciting motorcycle. Then only months later itís the Widowmaker, dangerous, etc etc.

What went wrong and what is Suzukiís Bad boy really like to live with ?

Instability and tankslappers , 123hp and a torque curve that ramps up like a two stroke and poor old Hondasí excellent VTR was an also ran over night.

Fast forward to 2004, there are plenty of faster lighter bikes so why this mystique that surrounds the 97 TLS?
Every year subsequent to 97 the TL engine was detuned to provide a softer torque curve , even the more powerful TLR had a more even torque curve and due to its weight was in real terms no faster than the lighter TLS although more controllable. The 97 was the big effort by Suzuki to have the fastest 1 litre twin and they achieved it out of the box. But it was flawed and they softened it from then on.

The TLS has a lack of refinement that gives it a whole lot of character . It spits and farts at low RPM , has an on off throttle response, runs hard up to 6000 rpm and then takes off like some ones stuck a rocket up its bum till you hit the rev limiter. It wheelies when you donít want it too, eats rear tyres and with the stock rear shock will tankslap when you least expect it.

The rear shock! what were they thinking! its utter rubbish . It has far too much friction and too little rebound damping. Makes the rear spring seem hard when its not and quite frankly is an abysmal design. If you have a TL do yourself a favour and get rid of it.
Anything would be better but something like an Ohlins shock will transform the bike.

Whats it really like to ride ? I am biased buts itís an easy bike to go quick on with lots of torque you can be lazy with gear changes and lope along. With good tyres you can corner hard and not worry as long as you are under 6000 rpm. After that Mr Hyde comes out to play, lofting the front wheel mid corner over bumps and generally misbehaving but its more fun than you will believe if you relax and let it go. And that is the key to the TL , it does shake its head and move around on the corners when going hard but if you have confidence and donít try to fight it you are in for a great ride that will have you grinning for days.

You can tour on it , it will plod along at 120kmh- 160kmh all day effortlessly and if you relax and settle into it even the riding position is acceptable. It is a reasonably capable track day weapon as well.
If you are interested in fuel economy :whocares: and other stuff like that then this is not the bike for you so I wont even comment other than to say there are cheaper bikes to run.

With aftermarket pipes they will rattle your neighbours house , send children running crying , set off alarms at idle , the cam gear whine is music to a petrol head as well.

In conclusion the TL is a great bike with a big heart , look after it and it will look after you. This is not a universal Japanese motorcycle. It is one of those bikes that is not perfect , a little unrefined but full of character that will win you over. However it will bite if you let your guard down.


Dave

scroter
5th September 2004, 10:35
all that sounds pretty accurate. i only sold my one cause the k's were getting up there and it was showing signs of it. i ran it with the factory damper in it. agree it was shite especially at track days but on the road it was okay. most of all it is serious fun. just dont get on one in the wrong frame of mind, as in scared its gonna bite ya, if you tell it whose boss itll go sweet. very addictive motorcycle with big nuts.

saul
5th September 2004, 11:55
Have we meet dave?

I agree, the TL is a standout bike which is so much fun and there is lots you can do to it to make it your own :msn-wink:

The stock steering damper is easily modified to give decent feedback at the front.

This is my second 97 and though she can be a bit bitchy at times :eek:,
if you take the time to get to know her and treat her with respect she will fulfill all your holigan needs and more :niceone:

I love the fact that I can wheelie off the throttle so simply and clutching it up when going a bit faster is just as easy. Yumm

Take care

magnum
11th September 2004, 15:52
all that sounds pretty accurate. i only sold my one cause the k's were getting up there and it was showing signs of it. i ran it with the factory damper in it. agree it was shite especially at track days but on the road it was okay. most of all it is serious fun. just dont get on one in the wrong frame of mind, as in scared its gonna bite ya, if you tell it whose boss itll go sweet. very addictive motorcycle with big nuts.
bullshit,fess up!!you know 600s are where its at!!! :moon: :msn-wink: :whistle: :kick: