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Thread: Suzuki's sport tourer: GSX1250FA review.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    21st August 2004 - 12:00
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    Suzuki's sport tourer: GSX1250FA review.

    Having owned it for 3 weeks today and riden over 3000 km on it, its time to review the TNAB (Tecnically Not A Bandit). Hitcher coined the term TNAB for the GSX1250FA as it is a bandit in almost every respect except for the full fairing, improvements to the suspension and a changed headlight similar to the GSX-R.

    My first impressions were how smooth the engine was compared to VStrom. It also suprised me that it produced much more torque at lower RPMs. Now, Mr Suzuki, imagine putting an engine this torquey and smooth into an adventure bike frame - that would be a winner.

    The large amount of torque at low revs means that city riding is a breeze. Gear changes are seldom required, and even when they are, the gearbox is smooth with just a hint of the traditional Suzuki "clunk" when changing into first.

    On the open highway the optimistic speedo shows 109 kmh when the GPS is bang on 100. And at that speed the tacho is showing 3700 rpm, perfect for when you want to roll on the throttle to overtake. However, even at 100 -110 kmh in top gear I do keep looking to change up further. I suspect changing the rear sprocket from 43t to 40t will assist with that and will correct the speedo error at the same time.

    Generally the bike handles very well and is precise with a nice stable feel in the bends. I say "generally" because there is one horrible aspect to the handling that will be fixed very soon. The standard Bridgestone Battleaxe tyres are terrible. They wander if there are any surface impections, feel like they are made of jelly until they heat up, and even then the amount of grip is marginal. I have even had them spin up on a wet road when at a steady 100 kmh in a straight line. Suzuki, there are so many better tyres at there at the same price, why stick with such a poor choice.

    When I picked up the bike, Crasherfromwayback advised me to stick with premium fuel, which I did for the first five tanks of fuel for an average consumption of 17.1 l.km. Then I put in some 91 octane and imediately the bike felt like it had more response and went further per tank. I continued with 91 octane for the next 5 tanks and achieved an average fuel consumption of 18.5 km/l. These first 10 tanks of fuel were all on the open road, so now I'm trying the same test for commuting over the next 2 months.

    I had occasion to test the ABS when a car cut me off at a rounabout in Hamilton. There was grit on the road when I hit the picks and I heard the front tyre start to slide. Imediately the brake lever felt like it was giving a slight puls and the tyre maintained traction and I avoided a posiible collision. I believe I would have been OK even without ABS, but it's nice to know that it does work.

    There are a few niggles that I will work on, some of which have already been mentioned by Hitcher on http://www.kiwibiker.co.nz/forums/sh...-first-Suzuki? .

    The rear view mirrors give a great view of one's elbows, but absolutely no view to the rear of the bike. Extenders are on order and should arrive any day.

    The standard screen puts the aiflow too low on the chest at cruising speed, and I shall look at either a larger screen or a laminar lip.

    The headlight is pitifull, or maybe I was just spoiled by the twin searchlights on the VStrom. Dip beam is bright enough show that there is road in front of you, but not what is on the road or where it goes. Full beam is a little bit better and is about what I ould expect dip to be. But I don't like the idea of riding long distances at night with such weak lights. A couple of supplementary lights will be fitted urgently.

    Overall, the TNAB is a bike that does exactly what it is designed to do, i.e. cover large distances with a minimum of fuss. It is much cheaper than the other makes' entries into this market, so spending a few dollars to correct the minor niggles is worth the effort. It's just a pity that the Suzuki designers couldn't get some of these things right first time when they show they can do it on other bikes.
    Last edited by Jantar; 22nd July 2012 at 10:23.
    Still on study leave

  2. #2
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    Glad you're enjoying it Malcolm. Sorry about the delay in getting the warranty book to you. I've dug one up now!

  3. #3
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    Interesting read. I can say the same about the 2001s screen. Im going to make an ad on for it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Katman View Post
    but once again you proved me wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by cassina View Post
    I was hit by one such driver while remaining in the view of their mirror.

  4. #4
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    Have you got a set of Dual purpose tyres fitted yet ... ??? Your driveway might be a bit easier then ...
    Sweat wipes off. Road-rash doesn't.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJRider View Post
    Have you got a set of Dual purpose tyres fitted yet ... ??? Your driveway might be a bit easier then ...
    All tyres are dual purpose, just some are more agressive on gravel than others.
    Still on study leave

  6. #6
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    I had one for a few days when my bike was in for servicing. Absolutely loved it! Engine felt like an electric motor or turbine, so smooth and so much torque! Great brakes and sure handling made me reluctant to give it back.
    You don't get to be an old dog without learning a few tricks.
    Shorai Powersports batteries are very trick!

  7. #7
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    I'm sure I saw a advert last week advertising them for some silly low price. Bit of a bargin in that segment.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanB View Post
    I'm sure I saw a advert last week advertising them for some silly low price. Bit of a bargin in that segment.
    They're an awesome buy.

  9. #9
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    Hi Malcolm,

    Great review and looking forward to more as you add all the improvements. Your comment on the lights interested me as it's a thing which most major manufacturers seem to skimp on for the sake of a few bucks. When I had the Blackbird, I stuck 100W bulbs in because there was sufficient headlight volume to do so without overheating worries. On the Triple where the headlight volume was considerably less, I first upgraded to standard wattage Osram Nightbreakers and got a good gain, then quite recently to Ring Automotive Xenon bulbs of the same wattage and got even more improvement. You can see some photos here: http://geoffjames.blogspot.co.nz/201...and-there.html.

    Why oh why don't bike manufacturers fit decent bubs in the first place???

    P.S So sorry to have missed you when you were up this way. Maybe next time in warmer conditions!

  10. #10
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    Hi Malcom

    How do you find the seat hieght & comfort compared to the Vstrom?, I'm considering the same change

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeOut View Post
    Hi Malcom

    How do you find the seat hieght & comfort compared to the Vstrom?, I'm considering the same change
    The seat is a lot lower, but so are the foot pegs. The seat is also adjustable, and I shall move it up to the higher setting giving around 20mm more height. the longest single day's ride I've done so far is Hamilton to Wellington or around 6 hours on the seat. It wasn't too bad, and I think that with it being slightly higher, and a sheepskin seat cover, full day riding should be OK.

    I know others have had their seats modified, but I'll wait till after I pre-ride the 1000 miler before making that call.
    Still on study leave

  12. #12
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    I have ridden the 1250 Bandit, and found the engine to be VERY good. Feels like there are no reciprocating parts in it! The fuelling was seamless.
    Regarding the headlight on your model... it's the same unit as the K5/K6 GSX-R1000. Have to agree they are fairly average.
    I look forward to hearing more about your bike as time goes by!
    Member, sem fiddy appreciation society


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    I find it ironic that the incredibly rude personal comments about Les were made by someone bearing an astonishing resemblance to a Monica Lewinsky dress accessory.

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    All was good until I realised that having 105kg of man sliding into my rear was a tad uncomfortable after a while

  13. #13
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    Fuck me. It's deja vu all over again. Nice review Malcolm. Even the speedo error is identical!

    My TNAB ticked over 36,000km today, so it will be off yet again for another service this week.

    I've finally got around to progressing a suspension upgrade. That should bring to an end my major modifications.

    I'd love to have a solution to the piss poor low beam. Let me know if and how you solve that one, Malcolm. Different bulbs make little difference.

    I'm pleased that somebody else agrees that Bridgestone know nothing about making an acceptable sports touring tyre.

    And stick with 91 octane. The TNAB loves that stuff and, in case you hadn't noticed, it's appreciably cheaper than 95 or higher.

    Modifications I recommend:

    • Leo Vince SBK muffler
    • Scottoiler
    • Oxford heated grips
    • Rear mirror spacers
    • Powerbronze screen replacement
    • Radguard radiator protector
    • Rider seat (McDonald Motor Trimmers, Tauranga)
    • Garmin zumo 550 GPS

    I'll not a sitrep update once the reboundiness is enhanced.

    These things are disturbingly good value for money, particularly when they were previously a dealer demo!
    "Standing on your mother's corpse you told me that you'd wait forever." [Bryan Adams: Summer of 69]

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitcher View Post
    Fuck me. It's deja vu all over again. Nice review Malcolm. Even the speedo error is identical!...
    Modifications I recommend:

    • Leo Vince SBK muffler
    • Scottoiler
    • Oxford heated grips
    • Rear mirror spacers
    • Powerbronze screen replacement
    • Radguard radiator protector
    • Rider seat (McDonald Motor Trimmers, Tauranga)
    • Garmin zumo 550 GPS

    ...
    Thanks for the ideas, most are already in the plans.

    So far I'm happy with the standard muffler.
    I have a scottoiler here ready to fit, but so far haven't worked out the best place for it. I'd appreciate seeing some photos of your setup.
    Mirror extenders are ordered from USA and should arrive shortly.
    The screen needs improvement so I'll certainly look at the Powerbronze one.
    Garmin GPS is already fitted, but Legend rather than Zumo.

    The seat can wait a while yet, and I'll make my own radiator guard.
    Still on study leave

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jantar View Post
    So far I'm happy with the standard muffler.
    I have a scottoiler here ready to fit, but so far haven't worked out the best place for it. I'd appreciate seeing some photos of your setup.
    I got my mirror extenders from Just Bandits in the UK. They have a myriad of kit for customising these beasties.

    The standard muffler is bigger than the bike and is just way too quiet. And it doesn't have a lovely horny off-throttle burble and pop.

    My Scottoiler sits in the side of the toolkit pocket, no bracket, no tie downs. Using the adjuster knob is a bit of a trick however.

    And the shift light comes on at about 140kmh in second gear.
    "Standing on your mother's corpse you told me that you'd wait forever." [Bryan Adams: Summer of 69]

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