Hi. Many thanks for all r/r/c genuinely appreciated. Will always rate back not always immediately but I do get round to it. Also on Dooyoo with name hotrock4 where my reviews may also be found. Simon.
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Suzuki Bandit GSF 1250 - A Great All-Rounder
Great All Round Bike, Cheap To Run And Maintain
Skimped On Front Forks But Nothing Major
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The Suzuki Bandit GSF 1250 was first released in 2007 however it wasn't until around two years ago I had the use of a Suzuki Bandit GSF 1250 by means of a courtesy bike on my insurance. Over the course of the 4 months that I had this bike I covered just over 7000 miles on it mostly in harsh wintery conditions. I was so impressed with this machine that when I finally got my insurance settlement through I opted to take the cash rather than a direct replacement for my extensively damaged written off vehicle and replaced it with one of these 1250 Suzuki Bandits.
This is the most recent addition to the Suzuki Bandit range along with its smaller brother the 650 Bandit, and although the looks took a while to grow on me I now personally think that itís one of Suzukiís better looking motorcycles.
Options and Pricing:-
As mentioned above there are two different Suzuki Bandits to consider when buying new at the moment and these are the 1250 and 650. For the purposes of this review I am concentrating on the 1250 which is the one that I personally own and ride. Once this decision has been made the only other real choice to be made is whether you would like to have the model with or without the fairing. I personally brought the model with the fairing as from experience I know that the added benefit of wind protection whilst on a long ride and that little bit of added protection from the elements through our lovely British winters is worth its weight in gold as far as comfort is involved.
Now boot space isnít something that is usually considered when it comes to owning a motorcycle however as I quite frequently use my machine for weekends away I was quite keen to have some storage. Available as an add on when I brought the bike were panniers and a top box which I managed to get fitted at a heavily discounted rate as I paid cash. These are honestly a great investment if you plan to use a bike over any distance or for weekends away and saves a lot of back ache when it comes to lugging about large rucksacks full of camping equipment. I have found that I can fit everything I need apart from my roll mat and tent into these decent sized storage boxes for a weekend away, and I can strap the bits I canít fit in on top of the top box leaving me plenty of room to still safely carry a pillion.
Depending on what model and extras you decide on the price range for this bike can fall between £5500 and just £8000 which I consider to be a fair enough price to pay for such a piece of kit.
On the whole Suzuki hasnít drastically changed the look of the Bandit when compared to its older cousins in the looks department. You can still look at it and see it comes from the same family line with the stance, tank and fairing looking fairly similar. There are a few tweaks here and there with a slightly different shaped fuel tank, head light and fairing from previous models, all making for a much more rugged and in my opinion better looking bike but nothing too drastic that will put previous fans of this motorcycle off of its middle of the road looks. The frame has been overhauled although does not look overly different from previous models however does give a tighter feel overall to the bike when riding it.
The clocks look quite nice nestled in behind the fairing and are another thing that havenít changed a lot at first glance except for the obviously missing fuel gauge. The clocks are as with all previous bandits are of a circular chrome fashion with the rev counter on the left and the speedo on the right. The main difference from previous models here is that the speedo on the right is digital rather than mechanical. There is a nice bold black LCD display giving the speed in large digits, along with a clock, trip meter and odometer. There is also a fuel gauge displayed underneath the speed which has as mentioned allowed them to get rid of a now unneeded dial and neaten up the rider display. Also displayed on this clock are the warning lights, full beam, oil, temperature and neutral light. Below the clocks are the indicator lights, then below this located in the top of the forks is the ignition barrel.
Overall I think Suzuki have done a good job with the looks, both when looking at the bike before getting on it, and also with making the dash more pleasing on the eye with the added benefit of a clocks being digital with a couple of extra features from previous models in the way of the digital fuel gauge and clock. The only disadvantage here as many may agree is the fact I no longer have an excuse to be late home after a day out riding without my partner when all I want to do is take the long way home.
Engine and Performance:-
The engine supplied with this bike as far as Iím aware is a complete overhaul from previous the Suzuki Bandit models due to having to be meet new European legislation with regards to bike engines. I am no expert on this matter and I believe this is mainly down to emissions, Suzuki has however managed to get round this well and the performance is still better than previous models. The engine used is a water cooled, straight 4, 4 cylinder DOHC, delivering silky smooth acceleration and a top speed of around 170 mph.
The 6 speed gearbox is silky smooth, and not the slightest bit clunky, it does the whole bike and setup justice slipping easily through the gears, with acceleration really kicking in around 3500rpm with the power under this being more manageable for use in and around town. There is a nice balance with the way the bike has been geared. I am able to chug around town changing between 2nd and 3rd gear meaning minimal use of the clutch and no aching wrist once arriving at your destination. However when I do want to wind open the throttle and have a bit of fun it pulls up to speed and beyond as quick as anybody could hope from a mid-range sports/tourer. OK it isnít geared or tuned to keep up with full on sports bike but it really isnít very far off. To give you an idea of engine performance in the way of power here are a few stats:-
Power:- 97BHP Approx standing start quarter mile:- 11 seconds Approx 0 Ė 60:- 3.2 seconds Bike Weight:- Approx 230kg
Now this bike isnít going to feel like its ripping your arms out of their sockets when riding it hard, it is more deceptive because of how smoothly it adds the speed to the clock and has quite often taken me by surprise when Iíve looked down at the speedo and have found that Iíve added more digits to it than I thought I had. Fuel economy wise this isnít too bad at all for a big bike with 40mpg being easily achieved. The fuel tank holds around 20 litres giving at least a 150 mile range on a full tank of fuel, probably a little more.
OK so it goes well but does it stop well? The answer is most definitely yes, this is the first bike I have ever ridden to have ABS as standard. I must say I havenít noticed much advantage to the ABS except when stopping really hard in dry conditions. In icy and wet conditions it will keep releasing the brakes until traction is found so is not to be relied on solely to bring the bike to a halt, and definitely does not make any sort of substitute for rider skill but may get you out of a pickle when it means keeping the bike upright instead of the wheel skidding out from underneath the bike. I must admit I was sceptical about the ABS at first, I have found it doesnít kick in all that often and I have not really noticed the fact that it is there . I understand there were quite a few teething problems when ABS was first being used on motorbikes however there is no sign of that here and certainly doesnít seem to detract from the bike but on the same hand doesnít seem to add much to the bike in my opinion either.
On the more basic brakes setup side of things there are two disc brakes up front both 31 cm in diameter with a 4 piston brake calliper each side. As for the rear there is one 24cm brake disc with a single piston calliper. Between them these discs and callipers provide a decent enough amount of all round stopping power from all speeds and in all weather conditions, whether they wet, dry, hot or cold, all important considerations when only having two wheels in contact with the road.
Although I never really push the brakes to the limit, they have always managed to haul me up in time, long before the car bumper in front or the fast approaching junction at the end of the shorter than expected slip road. The ABS decreases stopping distance by at least a claimed 10% when stopping quickly under hard braking. This may not sound like a lot but when thereís nothing between your flesh and the surrounding metal of the motorbike could make all the difference.
Handling and comfort:-
Overall with the redesigned braking system, frame and overhauled engine this bike has had a lot of work put into it. This most definitely reflects in the handling capabilities of the machine with it being a dream to ride on the back roads achieving everything asked of it with ease even when being pushed a bit closer to the limits than I think most people would want to on the road. On the odd occasion when I have been caught out going to fast round the bike has taken the extra bit of speed in its stride and reacted most controllably. The Bandit despite all of the modification as with its predecessors is still a very forgiving machine giving a wide margin for error being easily readjusted in corners if your line is wrong without feeling so soft its like riding a marshmallow. On motorways it holds a straight line easily in all but the heaviest winds and weather conditions, and also holds speed really well without having to constantly take your eyes from the road and check the speedo.
The only thing I feel that Suzuki could have improved here would have been the front forks of this motorcycle. They are of a standard design meaning they are quite a soft set up for such a big bike. I feel this bike would have benefited from a set of upside down front forks to give the front a more solid feel to match up with the build quality and handling performance given by the rest of the bike.
Comfort wise both front and rear seats are fairly wide and deep offering a decent amount of padding for your bottom. Admittedly itís never going to be as comfortable as driving a car on a 2/3 hour journey and numb-bum does still set in after a while but the seats both front and back put this off for a decent amount of time when compared to similar bikes from different manufacturers and even the previous models of this same bike. The foot pegs are well positioned for both rider and pillion, with the rider pegs giving even myself at 6ft 4 a comfortable seating position with minimal problems with aching legs during a long run. I have never had any complaints from pillions either in fact my girlfriend thinks it is one of the comfiest bikes I have ever owned for being on the back, with the back box being an added advantage when it is fitted as it can be used as a back rest.
For the rider all of the controls on the handlebars are in the right place, with the indicators, high beam, horn, starter button and light switches being in easy reach of a thumb and easily operated. They are laid out similar to every other bike so do not take long to commit to memory making it nice, safe and ergonomic.
Maintenance And Servicing:-
Maintenance wise these bikes are better than there predecessors due to a change in the valve design in the engine. From what I can remember I had to take it for its first service at around 5000 miles and then after this the advised serviced intervals are 15000 miles apart. This is compared to around every 10,000 miles on previous models so every third service is saved money and pretty much free if you look at it in this way.
Price wise a standard service, oil, filter and all the other basics tend to cost around the £200 mark depending on which dealer the bike is taken to. The bigger services obviously cost more depending on what needs doing, chain and sprockets, brake pads, fork seals are all a possibility so the price can vary dramatically. This said however the parts for Suzuki's have never been overly expensive so as with most servicing labour will be the main cost to consider when maintaining the motorcycle.
I have never had to do anything, oir arrange for any work to be done on this bike between service intervals, and it has never let me down, always starting first time of asking and doing everything I ask of it whilst riding it. So overall on the maintenance and servicing side of things the 1250 Bandit once again proves to be cheap and reliable.
I use this bike all year round and it has never ever let me down, failed to start or left me beside the road making use of my RAC cover. This bike in my opinion is truly a steal even when buying brand new and taking into account depreciation in the value when riding it out of the showroom.
If a sports bike is something you may be considering but for some reason need something a little more sensible this may well be the bike for you. I use this bike to commute every day, it is perfect for this very use and handles busy town/city road with ease putting minimum strain on the rider, whereas if you want to go and have a bit of fun at the weekend this bike achieves this just as well. Taking it on a track day would be good fun and I have no doubt it would stand up to the rigours however if this is your only use for a bike then this is probably not for you.
In summary a good all-rounder from Suzuki that seems to have all bases pretty well covered, and I cannot think of any reasons I would hesitate to recommend this motorcycle, to friend, family or stranger. The only thing that lets it down slightly are the front forks but this is not really worth complaining about as this is something that be modified after purchase for a small percentage of what you will paying for the bike new.
A great bike at a great price a definite 5/5 stars from myself.