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Right then, before I start, I’ll make it clear that this is not my bike, although I do have a bike licence and I haven’t actually ridden it as my legs are too short! It is however my hubby’s bike and I have picked his brains etc. So combine this with the fact that I can actually ride (legally!) and hopefully my op should be pretty accurate! I will however write as though we both ride the bike etc (to make my life easier!)
We had a Thundercat before this bike and the main reason for selling that was the sheer power and speed of the bike meant either loss of licence was imminent or even worse, loss of life or limb. Also the economics were all wrong with hubby going to college, a cheaper bike was definitely required. So June last year, we sold the beast and looked for a bike that would be easier on the purse strings, insurance-wise and easier for town work, as college is only a few miles from home. We had to find a balance between the size, as we ride two up quite a lot and the economy as students are notoriously short of the green stuff! (Don’t think much money’s green these days though is it?) We tested a few different bikes from our local Gedges motorcycle shop, and accidentally found the Bandit in the workshop as it had just come in second-hand, having been sold from there from brand new and serviced there.
We both fell in love with it there and then, even allowing for the fact that the previous owner had neglected to maintain the tyres and the back one was badly bulging. But we both knew that this would be the bike we bought. We went back a few days later after it had been serviced etc and took it out for a test ride. Sure enough we signed on the dotted line, parted with £2,500 and we were the proud new owners of an R reg, blue Suzuki Bandit GSF600N. (Strangely enough, Suzuki class this blue colour as green?! They must have colour-blind employees!!!) A brand new Bandit will cost around £3500.
So how does this bike perform? It has a decent sized engine although not as fast as the 1200 version but that is pretty obvious and to be expected. It is very handy for town work and is light and nippy enough to weave through traffic comfortably. Saying that however, it is also good on the open road and loves being given the opportunity to do just that, especially if it’s normally used for only town work. I don’t think huge amounts of town work is good for any vehicles, so a ‘good run’ every now and then will do it a world of good. Compared to the Thundercat, a long run is much more pleasurable on the Bandit mainly due to the aching arms syndrome. After an hour riding the Thundercat, or any racing bike I would assume, unless you are very used to it, the riding position can really hurt over a longer distance. The Bandit seems to have a happy medium and long or short journeys can be successfully negotiated without too much trouble.
The acceleration is very good and it picks up speed very quickly although not as fast as the Thundercat. Again this is to be expected, as they are both very different kinds of bike. The Bandit is not that great at higher speeds though. At about 100mph you start to feel a little blown around and any higher than 110mph, a fairing would definitely be advised! (And of course these sorts of speeds would be done at a designated circuit!!!) Another point to note on this bike, good or bad depending on personal opinion, is the large reserve tank capacity.
On the down side, the Bandit is not so comfortable with heavy breaking, mainly due to the forks. Now this can make your arms ache! The forks have been badly designed, you could say as they ‘bottom out’ when you break fairly hard and it seems like they are knocking. After buying the bike, we noticed this and took it back to the shop thinking there was something wrong with it. Apparently this is a common fault with the Bandits but providing you are aware of it, it doesn’t cause too much trouble. The bike is pretty economical, doing roughly 55 miles to the gallon. Obviously this various depending on how much town work you do and how much you thrash it! The cost of insurance was reasonable, costing about £400 for fully comprehensive cover.
I don’t know how many other female riders will identify with this, but I have found it difficult to find a larger engine bike, which I can comfortably reach the floor from. The Bandit is no exception, unfortunately; hence I don’t ride this one except as pillion. From a pillion point of view though, I like the grab-rails on the Bandit as they are on the side at the rear, rather than being solely at the rear. Obviously this is down to personal taste but hey, that’s my preference. Luckily, the age of this Bandit meant that, that’s exactly where they are. I did find out a little later though, that on the next model ie the following year on an S plate, they’ve been moved to the rear! But whatever your preference, you should be able to find a Bandit to accommodate this requirement!
So on the whole, this bike is a good all rounder, comfortable to ride, economic, fun and more to the point, affordable.
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