2015 Suzuki GSX-S750

Editor Score: 77.5%
Engine 17.25/20
Suspension/Handling 12.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 6.5/10
Instruments/Controls4.25/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 7.75/10
Appearance/Quality 6.75/10
Desirability 6.5/10
Value 7.0/10
Overall Score77.5/100

Back in October, Evans Brasfield penned a preview of Suzuki’s then forthcoming GSX-S750. “The middleweight Naked class just got a lot more interesting,” read his kindly subheading. At the beginning of this month (March) Suzuki hosted a press ride of the GXS-S750 in some very non-optimal weather conditions in Austin, Texas. With the first-ride review a literal washout, we withheld reporting our typical evaluation of, and Scorecard for, the Gixxus until we could perform an honest shakedown. Well, that day has arrived, and we can honestly report that Suzuki’s new naked performs almost flawlessly in the most underwhelming way possible.

There’s some minor driveline lash, the suspension is a compromise between comfort and handling with the fork exhibiting some harshness when compressing rapidly, and the seat-to-footpeg ratio becomes tighter as you inch past 5-foot, 9-inches. Otherwise, the Gixxus goes about the business of being a competent motorcycle with the mechanical astuteness and uninspired confidence often associated with Japanese UJMs.

And therein lies the rub. At $7,999 the GSX-S is a nicely styled, comparably priced 750cc wallflower. In the words of one of our readers from the comments section of the First Ride Review, “Not a bad looking or expensive machine, but it’s just not a great value or even a novelty like the Yamahas.” And by “novelty,” we’re assuming Reid is suggesting the inline-Triple and parallel-Twin with crossplane concept engine architecture of the FZ-09 and FZ-07, respectively.

The re-tuned GSX-R750 mill features revised cam profiles and timing, as well as reshaped intake and exhaust tracts to give the naked bike more low- and mid-range power. In true Suzuki fashion, the transmission shifts smooth as butta.

The re-tuned GSX-R750 mill features revised cam profiles and timing, as well as reshaped intake and exhaust tracts to give the naked bike more low- and mid-range power. In true Suzuki fashion, the transmission shifts smooth as butta.

Suzuki has identified Yamaha’s FZ-09 as a competitor for the GSX-S750, and its engine is clearly more potent and exciting than the Suzuki’s. The FZ’s combination of more power and less weight will be difficult for the Gixxus to overcome. A comparison test is in the works.

The Four-Thirds Shootout

With 96.5 horsepower, 52.5 lb.-ft. of torque, and weighing 465 pounds fully fueled, the Gixxus produces less horsepower (8.1 hp) and torque (6.8 lb.-ft.) than the FZ-09 while weighing 49 pounds more.

With 96.5 horsepower, 52.5 lb.-ft. of torque, and weighing 465 pounds fully fueled, the Gixxus produces less horsepower (8.1 hp) and torque (6.8 lb.-ft.) than the FZ-09 while weighing 49 pounds more.

For its weight, the GSX-S handles urban riding as well as faster-paced canyon carving with equal ability. With 57.1 inches between contact patches, the Gixxus is neither exceptionally long nor short. It doesn’t flit through traffic or a tight set of S-turns with the agility of a hummingbird, but it’s no Dodo bird, either. Leaned over, repeatedly arching through a fast, bumpy sweeper for a photo op, the Gixxus gave no cause for concern as it held a tight line and absorbed the worst of the road imperfections without complaint.

The seating position is comfy with footpeg-to-seat ratio just a little tight for my 5-foot, 11-inch frame – but that keeps cornering clearance acceptable (see image below). The Gixxus seat is wonderfully supportive and comfortable.

The seating position is comfy with footpeg-to-seat ratio just a little tight for my 5-foot, 11-inch frame – but that keeps cornering clearance acceptable (see image below). The Gixxus seat is wonderfully supportive and comfortable.

Comfort levels for commuting and/or touring duties are first noticed in the rider triangle that features a short reach to the handlebars and enough legroom as to not cramp my 5-foot, 11-inch frame. A little less bend in the knee would be nice, but it’s not really a factor for anyone under six foot. Seat foam, however, is dynamite, perfectly blending comfort and support. You’ll notice an occasional high-frequency buzz from the inline-Four but nothing to really complain about.

Power delivery and EFI tuning are electric-motor-like, with no undue abruptness. Clutch pull is on the stiff side, but the transmission shifts so smoothly there’s not much use for the clutch when up-shifting. So far, our test unit has delivered 37.7 MPG.

No apparent reason for the brakes being as weak as they are. Fork is of the inverted variety, and it keeps the front end in order even when the pace gets hot.

No apparent reason for the brakes being as weak as they are. Fork is of the inverted variety, and it keeps the front end in order even when the pace gets hot.

The front brakes on the Gixxus are notably underpowered for a bike with this much sporting potential. It takes a strong pull on the front brake lever to produce quick deceleration. This can probably be easily and affordably rectified with the purchase of some up-spec aftermarket brake pads, but as is, Ducati’s Scrambler Icon with the single front disc exhibited more impressive stopping performance in our Scrambler Slam shootout than do the dual front brakes on this Suzuki.

The Gixxus handles well enough to invite peg scraping, and has enough cornering clearance to keep things exciting.

The Gixxus handles well enough to invite peg scraping, and has enough cornering clearance to keep things exciting.

The true test for the Gixxus is the upcoming shootout with its FZ-09 nemesis and a couple others. We know the Suzuki suffers a performance disadvantage to the Yamaha, but the FZ has issues with too-soft suspension and unrefined ride modes that kept it from being our pick for 2014 Bike of the Year. So, it’s no sure-thing the Yamaha’s going to win, because we know the Suzuki is better suspended and doesn’t suffer the fueling issues of last year’s FZ; updated ECU tuning for 2015 has significantly improved the smoothness of its throttle response. But if you enjoy supporting the underdog, start waving your Suzuki banners.

+ Highs

  • Comfy, comfy seat
  • Perfectly average performance
  • Affordably priced
– Sighs

  • Underpowered front brakes
  • Should be lighter
  • Nothing here to get really excited about
2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 Specs
MSRP $7,999 / $8,149 for the GSX-S750Z
Engine Capacity 749cc
Engine Type 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-cylinder
Bore x Stroke 72.0 x 46.0 mm
Compression 12.3: 1
Fuel System EFI
Transmission Close ratio, 6-speed
Final Drive Chain
Frame Steel, twin-spar
Front Suspension Inverted, KYB telescopic fork, preload adjustable
Rear Suspension KYB monoshock, preload adjustable
Front Brakes Twin 310mm discs with dual piston calipers
Rear Brakes Single 240mm disc with single piston caliper
Front Tire 120/70-17
Rear Tire 180/55-17
Seat Height 32.1 in
Wheelbase 57.1 in
Rake/Trail 25°/104 mm
Curb Weight 463 lbs
Fuel Capacity 4.6 gal.
Colors Metallic Matte Black/Metallic Triton Blue/Pearl Glacier White (Z model only)

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Suzuki Communities

  • Y.A.

    That’s too bad.

  • Daniel Benjamin

    Yeah, Yamaha already made this years ago. Called it the FZ8.

    • Adam Wisniewski

      That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw this bike. “Hey, I have that already… oh wait… that’s a Suzuki.”

      • Daniel Benjamin

        Seriously. I have a 2013 fz8, which addressed the suspension issue. Suzuki is late to the party, and isn’t wearing the required suspenders.

        • nando

          Suzuki made this bike in 2010-2011 so Yamaha is actually late to the party…. they just came with better beer

          • ‘Mike Smith

            Huh?

          • Daniel Benjamin

            Yamaha had the FZ8 with non-adjustable suspension in the 2010-2011 year, so actually actually they’ve both arrived and just watched everyone else on the dance floor like a couple of derps.

    • Reid

      If I’m being honest, and why shouldn’t I be, if the FZ8 was a Kawasaki I’d have already had to buy one. Same deal with the old beauty that is the 919.

      • ‘Mike Smith

        What does being made by Kawasaki have to do with it? I’m not knocking Kawasaki, I just don’t get your comment.

  • Gary

    Good quality helmet … check. Leather jacket … check. Gloves … check. Deck shoes … WTF?

    When did it come to pass that deck shoes are acceptable footwear for motorcycling? I see it more and more.

    It’s a free country, of course, but please be aware that one of the most common injuries a motorcyclist suffers in an accident is to get his ankle pinched between his/her bike and a car bumper. If you are wearing tennis shoes or deck shoes, it is fairly common for that foot to be pinched off the end of your leg, amputating at the ankle. A good pair of boots might help you walk again.

    • denchung

      Deck shoes? I believe those are Speed and Strength Black 9 riding shoes

      http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/speed-and-strength-black-9-moto-shoes

      • Jason Evariste Cormier

        Those look like the footwear equivalent of those “riding” jeans that wouldn’t survive a spill at anything more than a walking pace, nevermind offering any impact protection. Kinda like the useless Puma riding shoes I have in my closet that split apart at their seams from normal wear-and-tear. I dread to think what would happen if someone actually crashed wearing them.

        • Communist Fascist Nazi

          denchung’s point was that those are *riding shoes* and not deck shoes. Nowhere in that post did denchung claim that they were _boots_ or offer any opinion on how much protection they provide. (denchung is correct, by the way.)

  • KHoward

    Re: the weak front brakes — couldn’t we consider needing a strong pull with non-ABS brakes kind of a safety feature? My Bonneville requires a strong, 4-finger pull but is still able to stop quickly, when desired, and I have no doubt I could (accidentally) lock the front wheel. Given a choice, I’d opt for more sensitive, powerful brakes, but with ABS as a backup.

  • Jason Evariste Cormier

    “Give us a raw, undiluted naked sportbike! A GSXR with no fairings and nothing done to neuter it!”

    Enter the GSX-S. Cue a collective disappointed sigh.

    We’ve heard that desire over and over and over again. And some of us do mean it, genuinely. Unfortunately we are a small but vocal minority. While a few of us like sharp-edged tools with no compromises (Tuono owner here!), most buyers will be driven away by the tricky dynamics, monster motor, and impossible-to-ride-slow character you get when you slap motocross bars on a sportbike. For everyone else, you detune (oh, sorry, “REtune” with softer cams and reworked heads) to make it easier to ride, slap cheap ass suspension and brakes a vanilla rider won’t know from Ohlins and Brembo to save money, and tada, you end up with whitebread stuff like the GSX-S.

    And it makes perfect sense. Cheap and easy to ride is what sells. Joe and Jane Vanilla, average folks with average skills and average desires, are the majority of buyers. Vicious face-removing implements of law-flaunting savagery are bought by a select few.

    Sometimes very few – ask Ducati how their listening to the enthusiasts and releasing the Streetfighter went. They kept on selling Monsters as usual and everyone complained about how uncompromised and expensive the SF was. So they axed it, and a cult classic with a rabid fanbase and ridiculous resale value was born. I’d be really surprised if they make the same mistake with a naked Panigale that the forumites seem to think is imminent.

    On the plus side electronics are starting to bridge the gap and you are starting to see bikes that can satisfy everyone – the Superduke is both mild and ridiculous depending on the settings and how happy your throttle hand is. It’s docile unless you don’t want it to be. I’m hoping it sets a template for future machines, because if everyone built a Superduke knockoff we’ll have a whole mess of awesome bikes to choose from.

    • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

      Or maybe that rider does know the difference between Nissin, Nissan, Tokico, Toyota, Ohlins, Oldsmobile, KYB and KY jelly – but wants something that is smooth enough to ride to grocery, frugal enough to not break the bank, tight enough to enjoy the ride, and docile enough to hand to a buddy.

      This bike, regardless how it is being marketed (and it helps to start learning how to translate market-speak) is something I’ve wanted to see from the S for a while: something standard-ish in the 600-800cc range that isn’t a supersport with handlebars. I could live with it being a bit more standard. I could really live with it being a bit more touring-sport (not expecting the model to exist long enough for that to happen), but it’s an option and that’sgoid enough for me to try it.

      • Jason Evariste Cormier

        You should check out the FJ-09. I think Yamaha nailed it with that one. Ignore the BS about it being an “adventure” bike (it’s not), that’s a true heir to the long-dead lightweight sport touring segment and it blows the VFR into the weeds for way less money.

        • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

          Already checked out. After sitting on both, I was ready to write the 750 off until I started reading reports of MPG as high as 63-64 for it (yes, it matters to me). If one could get one of these reviewers would stop doing wheelies on the FJ long enough to see what kind of mileage B mode can return, I might stop caring. Until then I’m giving the S another shot. There are dealers in the area already advertising it for $6999. The difference between that and an FJ-09 leaves a lot of room for adding bags, a screen, 12/volt power adapter and some new pads/braided lines.

      • Nick

        Should check out the Honda 919…it came out in 2002 and they stopped making it in 2007. Can get a used one for like $4,000

    • Craig Hoffman

      Exactly right on!

    • Stuki

      My experience is pretty much diametrically opposed to yours. Once you move beyond bikes that are genuinely cheap and easy to ride (cb500), what sells these days is overdone Eurobling a-la, ahem, Tuono. Noting wrong with the Tuono per se, and for some, you obviously, it’s just the ticket. But for too many, once the initial euphoria of holy-moly, followed by rounds of bragging and the high of being the target of real or perceived envy, wears off; “uncompromising” often become little more than an excuse to take the car instead. Just like it did for those who bypassed boring old production cruisers, for “uncompromising” (rigid mount, unbalanced monster motored hardtail) Jesse James choppers a decade ago.

      However, just like back then, “uncompromising” is what gets jaded journalists, who have been riding 10 new bikes every week for the past 5 decades, excited. Hence they are the bikes that get all the raves, and win all the shootouts. And subsequently have waiting lists and dealer markups. Rather than sell at deep discounts, which is what is now generally required to move those poor “compromised” bikes with only 190hp and Big Piston forks, instead of 200hp and Ohlins.

      • Jason Evariste Cormier

        I don’t ride because I need a reliable, dull commuter, an alternative to my car. I ride because I love it, and nothing gets my adrenaline going more than a machine without compromises. I like them because they are FUN.

        It’s a pain in traffic and at the end of a long ride when your concentration begins to lapse, but that’s what I’m willing to put up with for a focussed experience and great dynamics that reward you unlike anything else. I daily rode a Ducati 916 for 9 years and used it for touring as well, did a few trips of several thousand miles on it. My profile picture is when I rode it to New Orleans from Montreal, a 4000 mile round trip. The Tuono is the comfy, more relaxed alternative to the 916 in my stable (relatively relaxed that is, it’s still a vicious bike).

        Compromises dilute the experience. They make it easier, yes. Myself, I don’t want easy. I’ve forgotten every dull bike I’ve ever ridden. I still vividly remember every moment from the first time I rode my 916. I can recall most of the rides I’ve done on it. Meanwhile I can barely remember what I did aboard the SV650 I owned for two years.

        But, you miss the point of my comment. I want uncompromised, but I recognize not everyone wants that and it’s a hard sell when you want to use your bike to go to Starbucks every day. I wouldn’t want everyone aboard a Tuono or a Streetfighter or a litrebike or anything else that would probably spit an average rider off the first moment their confidence exceeds their riding ability. That wouldn’t be good for repeat business. Or for my insurance premiums.

        The GSX-S might not be the bike we want, but it’s the bike we deserve.

        However a new generation of machines are on the horizon, heralded by the Superduke – bikes that are easy to ride and easy to live with WITHOUT the compromises. Bikes that can keep both camps happy.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Suzuki should sell an “S” model alongside this bike with the real 750 engine in it. Then they would finally find out what the public wants.

    Since the 1000 has good suspension and brakes on it, I predict the engine will be kick ass. I suppose anything is possible, but Suzuki would have to work really hard to wreck the mighty K6 GSXR 1000 engine. The good supporting hardware suggest they didn’t.

    Semi naked Japanese bikes can be cool, but it takes work. I have an ’06 FZ1 with an Ivan’s Performance unlocked/reprogrammed ECU, Akra full exhaust and a PC3. The bike revs to 12,500 rpm, makes 150 hp at the wheel and is no fooling around :) The new GSX1000 should be an even better platform for such a project.

    • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

      …or dealers could just point the person interested in “the real engine” to the S1K.

  • Michael White

    What if one thinks of this bike as more of a Euro/retro naked bike. What if its real competition is less the performance-driven FZ models and more the CB1100? Sort of like a ZRX 750. Does it start to become more attractive then?

    • Reid

      Nobody would care about how boring it was if the bike’s styling was more retro-classy (in a bombastic 70s-early 80s musclebike way, of course) than contemporary. A ZRX is a good example. If bikes like that but with more up to date engines and lighter weight were available I’d have no problem picking up one.

  • Jack Meoph

    I always thought that the GSX-R750 engine/drive train in a standard bike set-up would kill a lot people. Instead, it just kills a lot of boners.

  • novemberjulius

    My comment is long, and a little disjointed, but bear with me. Hopefully, you can extrapolate the pertinence of my melancholy anecdote.
    My first bike was a 92 Katana 750! I got it for 600 bucks which turned out to be a rip off. It needed everything fixed on it. Everything. The grips were different from each other, the levers were different, the tach and speedo worked, the throttle got stuck on wide open, it needed new chain and sprocket, needed suspension rebuild, the radiator was dry, it gulped gas like a sailor drinks, the bodywork was bubbling with rust, it had twin headlights like a true street fighter, no blinkers, custom seat felt like a couch cushion wrapped in vinyl, I could smell gasoline at stop lights, dark brake fluid, et al. Anyway I was enamored for the first week, but then realized it wasn’t a good bike for my lack of mechanical know how. So, I sold it at a loss.
    My bike now is pretty sweet. 2014 model but it had a transmission problem. The warranty covered that, but it still make me nervous. I won’t say the brand but it’s got 471 cc. So, I’ve been thinking about upgrading, but I’m a new rider. I’ve thought about the new GSX S750, the DL650 V Strom, or some other proven mid size brand and model. I mainly commute, but might travel in the US west, and possible go to Mexico.
    So, first is it better to keep a first bike for a long time, and use it to learn/make mistakes, or upgrade since I love riding? Second, is the “Gixxus” bad for a new rider? I know the article says it’s very ordinary, but would the lack of braking ability put me endanger more than my lack of skill? I’m hoping to find a versatile bike that will last me years. I don’t need a high performance machine that tears itself apart, but something zippy and spry would be nice.
    At the time of this writing I’ve been a bit sleep deprived, so excuse my lack of coherency.

    • Hoof Harted

      Of course, you would want to try it for yourself before you decided on it. I read their statement about the brakes to mean that Suzuki selected the piston sizes in the master cylinder and calipers so that the brakes would not be as sensitive as the ones on sportbikes, which can be a problem for the ham-fisted. If the brakes were dangerous or inadequate, the reviewer would have said so.

      You have been through a couple of bikes. If you are ready to pick a keeper, this and the V-Strom are good candidates. Try several!

      • novemberjulius

        Thanks for the input!

    • Albert Monterrosa

      You will love this bike. After years of thinking which street bike to get.. Suzuki came out with this and it’s just what I needed. You won’t regret it. The braking is more than adequate.. The issue is that these guys have squeezed the brake levers of bikes with steel-braided lines, thousand(s)-dollar braking systems, etc, of supersport bikes.. meant for people that are going to put these things on the track or etc. Those bikes have a much more sensitive brake.. enough to send the average rider flying the first time he grips them. The beauty of it is, if a serious rider (racer or etc) wants this bike to have more sensitive and stronger braking, for backing it in, tricks, 1 finger late-braking, etc.. it’s very easy to upgrade the brakes on this bike.. given that it shares characteristics with others.. and for little money. Therefore, at the end of the day, it’s still an excellent bike. I’ve put 2k miles in 3 weeks already 😀

  • Casey Piland

    I am Joe Vannila. Im 36 years old and my wife and I Just got bikes. I bought the GSX-S and wife is getting the new (to the US) KTM 390 duke. I’ve had the Bike for two weeks and its great for me. In a couple years I may out grow it and want something more spine tingleing, but for right now its perfect. More power than I can use yet but enough that I think I can grow into and out of. I think thats what Suzuki is going for with this bike.
    The review seems accurate but the seat is not that great. Afrter about 2 hours in the seat your backside starts to get numb.

    • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

      up-vote for actual experience with the bike.

      re; saddle – try a gel cover.

      may i inquire as to how tall you are? how do you find the ergos?

      • Casey Piland

        6′ tall. Ergos are good for me. Took my wife on the back today she hated it. So not good for a passenger, but like I said she has a 390 duke so I don’t have to worry about that.

    • Casey Piland

      Also with a passenger the brakes barely work at all!

  • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

    You know, much of the commentary I’ve seen about this bike is reminding me of that about another bike…

    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/suzuki/gsx750f/1998/

    …decal placement on the two bike is also strikingly…reminiscent.

    • denchung

      That’s because it is the same bike, just with a different name to go with it finally arriving in the North American market.

      • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

        The GSX-S750 is the same as the GSR750 – different from the full-faired bike linked above.

  • mugwump

    A missed chance.

  • grb

    in theory it sounds just like the bike I want to buy, the gsxr 750 engine specially, but why do they have to dull it down SO much… damn

  • grb

    the 750 is heavier then the 1000, defeats all purpose… damn