2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250 ABS

Solid as a rock


The name Bandit will forever be associated with Suzuki. For a moment we thought that Suzuki would sacrifice the popular name for the GSR, but that was before Suzuki re-launched the whole Bandit range with upgrades and new engines.

In the competition of being the most practical motorcycle in the world the Bandit 1250 ABS would score very high. In its hooligan past this was not so much the case, but with a fairing, center-stand, upright seating position, ABS brakes, dirt-cheap price tag and a rock solid, ever lasting, power house of an engine.

Nothing about the 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250 sells it to me as much as that fantastic torque response from very low rpms. So that’s where I’ll start, with the big 1255cc liquid-cooled in-line four. The old 1200 was a simple air-cooled engine, also known for its torque. But the all new 1255cc liquid cooled Bandit engine overshadows the old one by miles. Nothing is the same and Suzuki couldn’t have done a better job with the engine itself.

'So to hell with it, I just give it all where the four massive cylinders greedily suck in air and fuel to produce a very satisfying torque curve and drive.'

The power delivery, however, could have been supplied with higher quality fuel injection because there are hiccups from small throttle openings. I do get the old familiar bungee feel from the throttle on/offs. Not pleasant at all for nurturing the throttle at low speeds. So to hell with it, I just give it all where the four massive cylinders greedily suck in air and fuel to produce a very satisfying torque curve and drive.

This is where this gem of an engine really works well, on full throttle from as low as 3,000rpm. So rather than first and second gear stuff in town, the new Bandit 1250 is perfectly suited for cruising in high gears on the motorway where the torque is instantly ready to do a massive push past the heavies and other traffic without gearing down. The muscular aspects of the 1250 are quite deceptive too as there is no big blurb sound from the engine as with a big twin, just a massive, smooth, car-like push forward. The gearing has been made low for strong acceleration too so it’s all happy times using the engine.

With a ridiculously low compression ratio of 10.5:1 the engine is very much unstressed and can probably be upgraded for another 10 years before it is replaced. I expect this Suzuki engine to be talked about as one of the most reliable motorcycle engines built in the future. As this is the beginning of a new development cycle for the Bandit I expect the Suzuki engineers to smoothen out the low rpm throttle response soon too.

The Bandit 1250 ABS is really a good motorcycle for pillion passengers, had it not been for the jerky nature of the fuel injection in low rpm, low gear on-off situations. The pillion also notices the torque surge when gearing up, sometimes with dread. So as a rider some adjustments to the riding style is needed to keep a pillion passenger happy. The seat itself is good, pillion pegs are good. Exhaust is on the side and away from the pillion’s bum and the grab rails are big and solid. Our in-house photographer, Martin, actually liked the Bandit 1250’s rear end a little bit too much. So after performing his photographic duties, we just left him at the roadside.

The suspension has been refined a lot on the new Bandit 1250 and it is fun to try it a little bit extra on the twistier sections of road we ride. At 505 pounds (ABS version) it is still a bit heavy to chuck from side to side but not unwilling.

BMW seems to have been able to eliminate the pulsing in the brake lever and brake pedal, but the Suzuki 1250 is still physically challenging in this area. The ABS brakes work exactly as they should, but they don’t feel like the latest of the latest in ABS technology. For an extra test, I invited this rather heavy person that I know to sit on the back whilst braking heavy on gravel. Despite the fact that I thought the master brake cylinder might explode, the Bandit came to a halt as quick as you want even in an emergency situation. If you have to brake a lot your right hand and foot might get tired quickly, but the safety is taken care of which is the most important thing at only $8,799.

The seat height is 2-way adjustable between 30.9 inches and 31.7 inches to suit any rider. The five-gallon fuel tank could have been bigger. I can’t see that it would have made a huge impact neither for the weight nor aesthetics to add a 6.5-gallon fuel tank that would have added to the practical nature of the rest of the motorcycle.

Conclusion

When I first saw the new 1250 ABS it didn’t give me anything, rather dull I thought. However, after living with one for a while I fell in love with the engine. The Bandit 1250 ABS will never really compete with anyone in the looks department, but for the practical aspect it’s a winner. I like the value you get for money and the 1250 ABS is a whole lot of motorcycle. I wish the fuel injection had behaved better, particularly when carrying a pillion. Other than that I think I’d get a naked red one to make it stand out a bit.

 Highs:     Sighs:
  • Rock solid in-line four with an emphasis on torque
  • Practical as few other new motorcycles
  • The Bandit 1250 is so affordable
  • Easy to resell
  • Fuel injection at low rpms when nurturing the throttle
  • Low spec tech and a bit bland

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