Time Travel

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS

Suzuki is best known for two motorcycles: the Hyabusa, long known as the fastest production motorcycle in the world, and the GSX-R750, a bike that provides nearly suberbike performance at the weight of a 650cc supersport. But, alongside those two motorcycles is a third model that holds a special place in many people’s hearts: the V-Strom.

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2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS

2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650

Suzuki has released the details–some of them  anyway–about the new V-Strom 650 ABS.

First of all, the ABS system is new, and is supposedly better and lighter than the old system. In addition, Suzuki has made lots of other styling changes and other tweaks.  The seat is a bit higher, although with optional lower and higher seats, you’ll have a wider range of choice and ergonomics now. The slightly smaller gas tank is also narrower between the knees.  The muffler is excitingly modern, as is the new composite resin luggage rack. The windshield is 3-position manually adjustable, too. New headlights and instrument cluster round out the redesign.

The powerplant is where some big changes come in. The displacement is still the same, but midrange power and torque has been increased with new cam profiles, and the use of single, instead of double, valve springs. Air cooling has been replaced by liquid cooling for the oil cooler. A new crankshaft and primary gear are said to smooth the engine out a bit. Fuel economy is better, too, with a claimed 10% improvement on gas mileage.

The US Market will receive the orange model shown here, as well as an all-black version.

The V-Strom has always been a highly regarded bike, and the new changes seem like an improvement to an already well-loved bike.

 

Quick Hits

Motorcycle Daily joins the list of motojournalists who’ve tested the BMW K1600GT/GTL. They like it.

The Icon waterproof Patrol jacket seems very nice, if a bit pricey.

The Hyosung GT650 seems like a decent naked standard, considering its price.

Another decent photoshop rendering of the upcoming MV Agusta Brutale B3 675 triple.

Talk about electric vehicles all you want, but they aren’t ready for prime time, if the sales figures are any clue.

Wes Siler thinks the 200-ish horsepower BMW S1000RR would be a great first bike.  For beginners. Who just started riding.

For 2011, Suzuki gave the Gixxer 600–one of the most popular sportbikes ever produced– a complete overhaul. How good an overhaul is it? Motorcycle.Com’s Pete Brissette took it out on the track to see.

Suzuki News

After taking a leave of absence from American shores last year due the economic downturn, Suzuki is back in a big way for 2011.  In addition to the redesigned Gixxers I covered last week, Suzuki is bringing a new, fully-faired model of the Bandit to the US for 2011.

2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA
2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA

Introduced last year in Europe as the GSX-1250FA, Suzuki has done much the same thing with the Bandit that Kawasaki did with the Z1000, which is to transform it from a naked bike to a sporty, fully faired one–without the more tortuous ergonomics of the GSX-Rs, albeit with a little extra weight thrown in, too. But the main idea is to build a sportbike that can tour, like the Ninja 1000.

Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC Inline Four
Bore x Stroke: 79.0 x 64.0mm
Displacement: 1255cc
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Fueling: EFI
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: Chain
Front Suspension: 43mm fork, 5.1 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Single shock, adjustable for preload, 5.4 inches travel
Front Brakes: Dual 310mm disc, four-piston calipers Rear Brakes: Single 240mm disc, single-piston calipers
Fuel Tank: 5.0 gallons
Wheelbase: 58.5 inches
Seat Height: 31.7 inches / 32.5 inches
Curb Weight: 567 pounds
MSRP: $11,599

In addition, Suzuki has unveiled the 2011 Cruiser line-up, of which, two new things stand out for me.  The big-bore M109, with it’s unique, attractive, and modern styling cues now has a much more modern cockpit, with the instrumentation being tucked inside the cowling, rather than handlebar mounted.

M109R Instrumentation
M109R Instrumentation

The M109 is one of my favorite cruisers, in terms of styling, mainly because it looks like a cruiser that actually designed in this century, rather than back when Elvis was in the Army. The big 1800cc mill that poweres the thing isn’t bad, either.

Another standout item is that the new version of their smaller, 800cc cruiser, dubbed the C50T, comes fully set up for touring, with bags, windshield,and even a passenger backrest.

2011 Suzuki C50T
2011 Suzuki C50T

I suspect, however, that a small bike like this might get a little cramped with two-up riding over long distances.  It’s a nice option for the single rider who wants to tour, without breaking the bank, though.

2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and GSX-R750

Suzuki might have sat the last model year out in the US, but they unveiled new Gixxers at the German INTERMOT Bike Show to announce their triumphant return with slimmed-down models of what is probably the most popular sportbike in the world.

2011 Suzuki GSX-R600
2011 Suzuki GSX-R600

Visually, there’s no difference, other than paint schemes, between the 600cc and 750cc model Gixxers.  Indeed, they look similar to previous model years, too. Underneath the plastic, of course, it’s a bit of a different story. Suzuki has given the GSX-R series a new chassis, different ergos, and updated motors. A Showa Big-Piston Fork (BPF) replaces the conventional cartridge fork of previous years, while the wheels come with new hubs, axles, and bearings–which are incompatible with previous models, by the way. The brakes are now full-bull Brembo monoblocs. But the big difference shows up on the scales, with the new GSX-Rs shedding 18 pounds.

The bikes come equipped with the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) system, which Suzuki says…

…allows the rider to use a button mounted on the left handlebar switch module to select one of two engine control maps, regulating the fuel injection, secondary throttle valve and ignition systems. The two maps are designated A and B, with Map A delivering full power and acceleration and Map B producing more moderate acceleration. The S-DMS system allows the rider to select a map to suit various riding conditions and personal preference on the road, for example choosing one map for highway cruising and the other map for tight country roads. Switching from one map to the other is instantaneous.

Sadly, a full spec sheet on the new Gixxers isn’t available yet, so we don’t know exactly what engine power increase goes along with the lower weight.

I have to say, the looks of the new Gixxers are an improvement on what was not an unattractive motorcycle to begin with.

Suzuki Comes Back to the US for 2011

The bad economy and poor sales forecasts for 2010 led Suzuki to suspend sending any new 2010-model bikes to the US, in lieu of reducing the inventories of 2009 models.  But, this afternoon, Suzuki announced that, for 2011, they’ll be back on our shores, and they previewed the first wave of  what they’ll be bringing with them next year.

First up, new versions of the Boulevard M109R and M109 Limited power cruisers–in my opinion, some of the most beautifully-designed, modern-looking cruisers in existence. Next, the Hyabusa is back, although with what appears to be mainly mild cosmetic changes. The V-Strom is also back with a new 2011 model, as well.

Welcome back, Suzuki!

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No 2010 Suzukis in the US

Hell for Leather is reporting that Suzuki will not be importing any of their 2010 model motorcycles to the USA.  Due to the slowness of US motorcycle sales, Suzuki has seen their sales decline to 434k motorcycles for the first three quarters of this year, compared to 772k last year.

So, until the current inventory has been absorbed by buyers, no new bikes will hitting the US from Suzuki.

New 2010 Suzukis

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We’ve gotten the first look at two new Suzuki’s for 2010, both of which are new entry-level bikes that take their styling cues from the big boys.

2010 Suzuki GSX-R125
2010 Suzuki GSX-R125

First up is an entry-level Gixxer, the 15-horsepower GSX-R125. The chassis is steel, rather than aluminum, but it does have the LCD instruments of the big Gixxers.

2010 Suzuki GSR-250
2010 Suzuki GSR-250

Next is the baby B-King, the Suzuki GSR-250.  This 30-horsepower naked sports a water-cooled, DOHC-injected, parallel-twin engine.  Like the big B-King, it also has the big LCD gauges, and under-seat storage.

Expect Suzuki to show these bikes off at the motor shows this fall, with sales starting at the first part of 2010.

Motorcycle.Com’s Best of 2009

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The annual march of media bike choices continues, with Motorcycle.com weighing in with thir top picks of the year.  Their choices are interesting, and a bit different than I would have expected.

Triumph Street Triple R: Motorcycle.Com's Bike of the year for 2009.
Triumph Street Triple R: Motorcycle.Com's Bike of the year for 2009.

For the overall bike of the year, they picked the Triumph Street Triple R.

Best Sportbike honors go to the Kawasaki ZX-6R, with the runner-up being the Honda CBR1000RR.

The Ducati Monster 1100 gets the nod for best standard motorcycle, with second place going to the Harley-Davidson XR1200.

The best cruiser pick is the all new Triumph Thunderbird 1600, with the Suzuki Boulevard M90 taking an honorable mention.

The award for best touring bike goes to the BMW R1200RT, closely followed by the Honda Gold Wing.

BMW also take both first and second place spots for sport-touring, with the K1300GT winning, and the F800ST getting the honorable mention.

BMW stays in the winner’s circle for best off-road bike, with the top honors going to the F800GS, and the second spot going to the Aprilia SXV/RXV 5.5.

They also have picks for best eccentrics, scooters, technology, and more, so why not go there and read them?

‘Busa Killer?

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The September issue of Sport Rider has a head to head comparison of the BMW K1300S and the Suzuki Hayabusa.  You can read it when the mag hits the newsstands, or you can read it in PDF Format here: BMW K1300s vs. Suzuki Hayabusa.

You might expect that the venerable ‘Busa would be the hands-down winner in a head to head comparo with a BMW.  You’d be wrong.  They rated the K13S higher in every category except transmission, where both bikes tied.  They especially liked the more comfortable ergonomics, the anti-spin control, and the on-the-fly adjustable suspension.

2010 Suzuki GSX-R1000RR

Suzuki’s Gixxer is arguably the top sportbike line available today.  And, as of today, it got just a little bit better.

Yoshimura Race Shop USA and Suzuki announced that a new limited-edition racer version of the Gixxer literbike will be available to the public.  And unlike the Buell 1125RR, this one will be available to the general public, and be totally street legal.

Dubbed the GSX-R1000RR, the new bike will have al sorts of Yoshimura racing goodies on it, including Type R Cams, Quick Shifter, and suspension.  And Galfer stainless steel brake lines and brake pads.

Suzuki GSX-R1000RR
Suzuki GSX-R1000RR

Suzuki didn’t however, mention what the price might be, or when you might be able to pick one up.   I can’t give you any help with the delivery date, but as far as the price goes, I can tell you that it will be…um…slightly north of a stock Gixxer.