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Just purchased a 2004 1200 Bandit S. After being reasonable and following break in procedure, keeping under 5500 on the tach for the first 1000 km, decided I'd like to see what this famous (or is that infamous) torque would actually do when fully engaged. Well as seasoned a rider as I am, riding 20 years on all sorts of bikes in the street - sport genre, I was not prepared for what this bike can actually do. At 9000 RPM in third gear (with two gears and 2000 rpm to go and before redline I was flying (150+km), this bike is misnamed as an all rounder. The power it puts out at the back wheel is something that needs to be experienced.
Okay so it has power to burn. Of that there is no doubt. The more surprising aspect is how smooth and comfortable this bike is on longer trips. Typically two hours of highway travelling is enough to cripple the average human on a crotch rocket. The tedium of two hours at any speed on a cruiser just isn't for me. Four hours of steady highway speed on this Bandit was very comfortable and it has enough jump and swing to keep any ride interesting.
Can't figure out how Suzuki manages to put this bike out at the very resonable price it does. There are no glaring omissions that account for it being in the price range it is in. Sure it has less fairing than some but the 1/2 job it has is quite adequate (mostly to keep riders like myself from being blown off).
If you're someone who likes fast powerful bikes but don't need crippling riding positions to enjoy yourself and if you're still too young to buy big greasy cruisers you would be hard pressed to find a better bike than the 1200 Suzuki Bandit S