2018 Suzuki GSX-S750

Editor Score: 91.75%
Engine 19.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.25/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 9.5/10
Overall Score91.75/100

We reject the accumulated knowledge of our forefathers at our own peril: Case in point, the 750cc inline-Four, the motorcycle that made Japan Japan nearly 50 years ago with the first Honda 750. We liked the GSX-S750 a lot when it was new in 2015, but it still lost out to the Yamaha FZ-09 in this comparison, due to various cost-cutting measures and a certain lack of refinement. Its screaming mimi of a high-revving powerplant was a big hit, though, and the rightness and lightness of the overall compact package was there from the beginning.

More For Less: $8K Four Vs. $8.2K Triple Vs. $8.7K Twin + Video

For 2018, Suzuki has done right by the GSX-S, seriously upgrading something like 75% of its components – enough for them to claim it’s an entirely new motorcycle. Well, that (steel) frame looks the same as before (but there’s a cool new also-steel swingarm). And while we’re still using the same 2005 GSX-R750 engine cases, there’s enough “new” going on for Suzuki to claim eight more horsepower up top – 112.6 at 10,500 rpm. The claim for the previous version was 104.6, which worked out to 96.1 rear-wheel hp at 10,300 rpm on the MotoGP Werks dyno.

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Part of that increased power is due to reduced pumping losses thanks to big new pentagonal holes in the cylinder block, but most of it must be down to all-new ECU programming along with a new, freer-flowing exhaust: This one runs, from idle to redline, much nicer than the previous bike did, and there really wasn’t much to complain about with the old one. Suzuki says the new exhaust boosts low- and mid-range power (it does), while new ten-hole fuel injectors provide better atomization for increased combustion efficiency. Basically, from smooth burbly-quiet idle to screaming redline, this engine runs like a rheostat and never seems to miss a beat.

The big holes in the middle of the cylinder block reduce pumping losses. Suzuki likes the 2005 GSX-R750 cases for the more upright angle of the cylinders and the stacked gearbox shafts, which allows for a shorter, more compact streetbike.

The big holes in the middle of the cylinder block reduce pumping losses. Suzuki likes the 2005 GSX-R750 cases for the more upright angle of the cylinders and the stacked gearbox shafts, which allows for a shorter, more compact streetbike.

There’s also a bigger airbox, tuned to provide enhanced auditory enjoyment of the four-cylinder symphony Suzuki claims as its heritage – the 180-crank version in particular, which needs no stinking balancers or weird crankshafts to add weight and dilute the experience. Finally, final-drive gearing is a bit shorter, to let you get into the upper registers that much quicker.

Lane-splitting home through L.A. traffic after a day in the mountains, it really was nice to note that the little screamer is also perfectly happy to pootle along below 2000 rpm and 30 mph in sixth gear, completely smoothly and quiet enough that you’d think you were riding an electric bike. Rolling it open from there gives strong-enough, jerk-free acceleration, and plenty more of it if you kick it down a gear or two.

In tight mountain-road going, the new bike is an even bigger hoot than before. Increased midrange power means you don’t need to flog it quite as hard to maintain momentum (but you still can if you want to, for maximum velocity), and when the tachometer bar gets to about 7500, there’s a new banshee wail I don’t recall the old bike having: Past about 8,000 rpm, the afterburner is truly lit, and keeping it that way is pure sportbike pleasure, thanks to the lubricious six-speed gearbox and new back torque-limiting clutch.

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I’m personally on record as being a big fan of the GSX-S1000. All the big nakeds, with their excellent low-rpm lunge, are big fun on backroads, but you’re not getting the throttle all the way open so much on them. There’s something more rewarding about using more rpm, having to coordinate and execute more shifts while you deal with all the other slings and chipmunks the road throws at you. There’s a greater sense of mastery when you get it right on the 750, just because its reduced torque requires more rider participation.

Keeping the price down means you’ll learn to do it on your own; there’s no auto-blip downshifter to do it for you. It’s also fun to fan the clutch a little now and then to help things along, which picks up the 750’s front wheel a bit without making you feel like you’re about to loop out. Oh yeah, you’ve also got traction control now (three levels and Off), which it feels like you mostly don’t need on dry pavement but which is great if you live where it rains a lot.

Keep the little LCD bar graph between 7 and 11 and you’ll never grow old. In everyday use, 42-44 mpg is more like it.

Keep the little LCD bar graph between 7 and 11 and you’ll never grow old. In everyday use, 42-44 mpg is more like it.

Meanwhile, the 750’s reduced weight and gyro forces mean it feels way smaller and quicker-turning than any of the 1000s. Our scales said 464.7 pounds for the 2015 bike; Suzuki’s claim for the new one is 465. Wait, what’s that? Suzuki says the GSX-S1000 in fact weighs a few pounds less than the 750 (aluminum frame) and even has 0.2-inch less trail. For a graphic demo of how much gyroscopic force a crankshaft has, ride the two bikes back to back. The bike with the 46mm stroke turns much quicker than the one with the 59mm one. (The 1000 also wears a 190mm rear tire instead of the 750’s 180/55 ZR-17.)

The smaller bike’s four-banger also runs smoother all the time as it zings up toward 10,000 rpm and beyond, with less vibration than the 1000. And while a little of the 1000’s on-throttle abruptness occasionally happens, it’s never as big an issue, just because of the smaller bike’s reduced spinning mass.

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The fact that the 750 is just as large as the 1000 means it’s every bit as comfortable pressed into commuter or sport-tourer service, with, again, reduced engine vibes coming through its tapered aluminum handlebar. The S21 Bridgestone tires are specifically made for the 750, with a slightly lighter, more compliant carcass which aids the 4.7 and 5.4 inches of front/rear wheel travel in serving up a smooth, compliant ride. “Affordable” suspension keeps getting better. It only hurts over big sharp bumps. My rear end has no issues with the bike’s well-padded seat, and its ergonomics are perfectly natural for 5-foot-8 me, and neutral at 80 mph cruising speed.

New four-piston calipers and 310mm petal rotors are really braking overkill on this bike. ABS is only available on the $8,899 GSX-S750 Z, which is all black. New, ten-spoke wheels look good too.

New four-piston calipers and 310mm petal rotors are really braking overkill on this bike. ABS is only available on the $8,899 GSX-S750 Z, which is all black. New, ten-spoke wheels look good too.

Speaking of aluminum handlebar, not only is the GSX-S reskinned, Suzuki outfitted it with quite a few tasteful bits they’re more often known for leaving out. The levers and pedals are stylishly black anodized, the gold fork tubes have black preload adjuster knobs on top, the new swingarm and its new chain adjusters add visual interest… and the new radial-mount front brake gives the bike a serious performance-forward look.

The ladies will be more interested if you go for the blacked out “Z” version, since its standard ABS conveys you’re the tall, dark, responsible type. Wait, the ladies can just buy their own motorcycle now, who needs you?

The ladies will be more interested if you go for the blacked out “Z” version, since its standard ABS conveys you’re the tall, dark, responsible type. Wait, the ladies can just buy their own motorcycle now, who needs you?

Suzuki is lately all about affordable new models to “address evolving tastes while retaining championship DNA.” We’re talking the new SV650, new V-Stroms in 650 and 1000 sizes… the Stroms aren’t exactly standards, but they’re close, and Suzuki says sales of its standards are up 72% since last June. Maybe the biggest improvement to the 750 is that it’s now for sale in California, which should by itself boost its sales significantly.

The red is nice, too. There’s a bigger catalyst just downstream of the collector, which means Yoshimura already sees you coming.

The red is nice, too. There’s a bigger catalyst just downstream of the collector, which means Yoshimura already sees you coming.

Cheapskate by necessity that I am, the GSX-S1000 appealed to me largely due to its tremendous 145-hp bang-for-buck value (we’ll have more on the 2018 GSX-S1000s soon), but I have to say I think I’m liking the new and greatly improved 750 even better – and I’m trying to think where you’re going to get a genuine 100-hp bike as well turned-out and put-together as this one, for $8,299? There’s the $8,399 Kawasaki Z900 which I have not ridden. Hmmm, here’s the new Honda CB650F… the Yamaha FZ-09’s a bit pricier and still weird looking. Ducati’s new Monster 797 is more money and less powerful.

Ahhhh, it looks like what we need is a good old-fashioned Middleweight Standard Bike Shootout, but if you haven’t go time to hang around waiting for that to happen, I can tell you that you cannot, and will not, go far wrong with this sweet little Suzuki GSX-S750.

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  • JMDGT

    This bike is gorgeous. It has a lot going for it. Not as good as the Street Triple RS but at this price it is an option.

    • Born to Ride

      I like the way this bike looks, but the STRS would walk on it all day every day. 60 lbs lighter and better suspension and brakes. BUT, it is 50% more expensive. That’s a big number too.

      • JMDGT

        You get what you pay for at this price point.

        • Born to Ride

          This is true, if this bike had a cutting edge lightweight chassis and top tier suspension and brakes, it would probably have the same sticker as the good ol Streetie. That being said, Suzuki would without a doubt have earned my dollars at that point.

          • JMDGT

            The Street Triple is the best bike I have ever owned. It was worth the extra money to get the RS.

    • Stuki Moi

      The leg room is about “twice” that of the Street. More like the Speed than the Street. The Street is genuinely 600 supersport sized, for better (weight/handling) and for worse (comfort for old, stiff kneed 6+ footers…)

      • JMDGT

        I own a Street Triple RS. I am 6 ft. tall with a 32 in. inseam. It is fine for me.

        • Stuki Moi

          If you’re young (or at least young at kneejoints..) have at it. I’ve done two extensive test rides, expecting it to replace my 636, but ended up more crippled than on the Kawi both times. Speed triple is fine, though. But I really don’t want a liter bike.

  • Gabriel Owens

    I like it. Love that color blue.

  • Born to Ride

    I could ride one of these, I really could. Maybe I’ll pick one up on the cheap when they inevitably have a hard time selling. Sad that they can’t do better on the weight. If the SV can wear a steel frame and weigh in at 420lbs, what’s wrong with this thing?

    • DickRuble

      Two extra cylinders and about 37 hp are the reason this bike is heavier. BTW, the new SV650 weighs 430lbs. I do agree that this bike won’t sell well and you’ll be able to purchase it at half price with very low mileage three years down the road. A cursory search found a couple new 2015, 2016 leftovers for $5200. Very few used ones by owner, which may mean they didn’t sell well.

      • Born to Ride

        It has one cylinder head though. The SV has an extra full set of cams, chains, and a second casting for the head. I think I read somewhere when I had my SV that the engine weighs roughly the same as a 600. And the 750 engine is a 600 engine. I guess the argument would be that it needs a beefier frame and swing arm to handle the extra power, but cmon, 30-40 lbs heavier. I don’t buy it.

  • Old MOron

    Great perspective, JB. Hooray for the middleweight standards!
    And hooray for the forthcoming shootout, ahem.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      This is from a few years ago.

      • Old MOron

        Sayyed, try reading for a change. See, the shootout that JB mentions takes place in the future: “Ahhhh, it looks like what we need is a good old-fashioned Middleweight Standard Bike Shootout, but if you haven’t go time to hang around waiting for that to happen, I can tell you…”

  • Sentinel

    The bike is still too heavy, and too top-heavy feeling along with that. The seating position puts you leaned over too far forward to really be comfortable. At least a new handle bar may be able to cure the ergonomic issue, provided there’s enough slack in the switch-gear wires and such, but it’s going to be up to Suzuki to get the weight down anywhere near the competition. I’ll have to say pass on this one. Also, only giving a rider that wants ABS the option of that hideous matte black paint job is another huge fail.

    • DickRuble

      It’s another failure for Suzuki. They should stop wasting resources on the GSX-S line (1000 and 750) and focus on what matters: win the entry level category (SV650 vs FZ07, etc) and the high tech battles (GSXR1000, GSXR750). For naked, do what Aprilia did: modify the ergos of the GSXR and remove the fairing. The middle ground ($9-10K bikes that speak to nobody) is a waste of time, especially when you bring 15 yo engines that you try to dress up.

      • john burns

        funny, because they said sales of their standards were up 72% from June to June?

        • DickRuble

          From thirty bikes to fifty two due to deep discounting. You can find a 2016 gsx-s for $5200 if you look. The rise in sales of naked may also have something to do with the arrival of the new SV650.

      • Born to Ride

        Idk man, this thing competes directly with the FZ09, which as far as I can tell from what I see on the road, is the best selling Japanese bike this decade. Suzuki has brought a bike that is more refined and infinitely more attractive to the segment. It’s just an aluminum frame away from being the gold standard in middleweight category for price-to-performance-to-aesthetics. I’m thinking Suzuki hopes that this will be the bike their SV riders upgrade to after a year or two of riding experience.

        • DickRuble

          But neither you nor thoae who upvoted your comment will buy one.. And it’s been around for two years.. You’ll have a hard time finding a single one on the streets.. $5200 for a 2016.. $5000 for a 2015.. What’s wrong with this picture? PS: I do agree that it is much better than ANY Moto Guzzi.

          • Born to Ride

            When did I say I thought this bike was better than a Guzzi? Comparing a Japanese I4 standard bike to a Moto Guzzi is ridiculous, they’d never even attract remotely the same customer for the same purpose. Also I just may buy one of these. I won’t pay full price by a long shot, but that’s mostly because I view nearly all Japanese bikes(especially modern I4s) to be throwaway bikes. They depreciate monstrously and appeal to the pragmatism first and foremost.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            If modern Japanese I4s don’t hold their value it’s not because of their inherent mechanical qualities. My 2001 ZRX1200R is still a solid, great riding bike after 16 years, and I pick up its keys as much or maybe more than I do my two British triples, or even the two Ducatis I previously owned over the last 10 years.

            That ZRX may have a rock bottom NADA value, but it’s no throwaway.

          • Born to Ride

            What I meant by throwaway is that I don’t see myself buying one brand new and keeping it 10 years. There were no implications of flaw, simply that these are bikes to be bought, sold, replaced, and traded. Something more special production like a Thruxton R, a Monster 1200R, or even a CB1100 has more sticking power to me. For example I have a red and white S2R1000 with the white wheels and carbon accents, I don’t ever see myself parting with that bike. Perhaps that’s your ZRX for you, but when I think of Japanese sport bikes I think either a ride it hard put away wet types or perfectly sweet transportation (things my beloved Monster is not).

          • Craig Hoffman

            I can relate – I have an ’06 FZ1 that is worth pizza and beer money, but the bike does not care about that, as it rips down the road in bulletproof comfort.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I would buy a GSX-R1000, but would either get too many speeding tickets or die of frustration. The Suzuki Bandit 1250S suits me fine.

          • DickRuble

            The discussion was about GSX-S. on GSX-R..

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I know, but I agree with your contention to keep the GSX-R1000 in the lineup since it is such a desirable bike.

  • John B.

    Please hold off on the shootout until the KTM 790 Duke comes to market. This looks like a great motorcycle, especially for those of us who do not need the extra power the 1000 class provides.

    • Born to Ride

      It’s unlikely that the Duke 790 will compete with this price bracket of middleweights. The bike that it needs to hold up against is the Street Triple lineup.

      • John B.

        I’m sure you’re right, but why not include the Speed Triple and 790 Duke in the comparison just to see whether they are worth the extra money?

        • Born to Ride

          Personally I’ve never really liked it when publications include high dollar excitement machines in a shootout with more standard standards. MO, as always, is one of the more fair and level headed groups when matchups like that happen. But inevitably the bike that is perfectly competent and often more practical for general purpose riding gets overlooked or damned with faint praise. For example, in the last big street fighter shootout, the Tuono handily destroyed all the competition despite ergonomic issues, horrendous fuel consumption, high relative engine heat, and atrocious dealer network and factory support. It is a two wheeled lust machine to be sure, but 90% of riders would have a better ownership experience with a GSXS 1000. I’d like the idea of assessing the bargain bikes, picking the best of them and tossing that bike into the high dollar shootout to see if they think it’s worth the extra bucks, but without a good comparison of these bikes among their peers, we are just gonna hear how boringly conpetent the GSXS 750 is.

          • John B.

            Again, I agree with many of the points you made. Shootouts, which last only a few days have limitations. Specifically, they do not take into account issues such as dealer network, insurance costs, long term maintenance, and resale value, among others. Nevertheless, MOs shootouts almost always give me a clear idea as to which bike would be best for me. As such, I trust the pros at MO to choose the appropriate motorcycles to include in this shootout, and I’ll read whatever they write.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I agree with Born to Ride. The high dollar excite bikes overshadow the more practical bikes. That’s why MO didn’t include the KTM 690 Duke and the Ducati Monster 797 in the recent Middleweight Naked Bike Shootout.

          • Old MOron

            Actually, I think you might be selling the GSXS 750 short. Look at the score JB gave it: 91.75%

            I noted about a year ago, that our MOronic editors are impressively consistent in their scoring: http://disq.us/p/1comi1c

            When this Suzuki goes up against the Duke 790 or the Street3, it’s not suddenly going to score only 85%. It should give the European bikes a run for their money.

            Bring on the shootout, MOrons!

  • “Lubricious,” Eh? Nice.

    Any suspension adjustability besides rear spring preload?

    • c w

      nope. just pre-load front and rear.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    This bike appeals for its affordable approach to weekend sport riding fun. It’s not the highest spec anything, but it seems more than enough, especially at the price point. That said I see a tough sales future. It’s heavier than its 1000cc stablemate, and I’ve seen 2016 GSX-S1000’s discounted to 6999. How does the 750 compete with that?

    • Stuki Moi

      It’s best sales prospects, may be to people who are bummed that the 600 class has been virtually eliminated in favor of over torque’y, over geared (the 1000 does 80 or so in 1st, even with it’s reduced red line compared to the donor gixxer…) liter bikes. Both amongst sport bikes, and “supernakeds.” Even the new Kawi 900 that “competes” with this bike, is a sleeved down liter bike, with a liter bike’s torque, stroke and crank throw. Like Burns points out, the reduced gyro effect from the short stroke and crank throws, contributes more to the feeling of lightness, than a few added pounds right at the roll center on account of a heavier steel frame.

      And this GSX-R motor is a short stroked 750. Same stroke as the “bestest street bike evvvvva” (per me) for those with the physique to ride it more for more than in 20 minute stints, the 636….

      So, at least on paper, this thing looks to have close to 600 top end power, but with a more streetable low and mid. With more of a 600ish feel to the engine. At least to me, as well as some other aging 600 holdouts, that sounds very promising. And now it’s even available in CA!

  • novemberjulius

    They might be dated, but I like needle type tach’s. I know, I know TFT is the latest and greatest, and LCD tachometers are good too, but there is something about a bouncing needle that makes riding easier for me.

    • Jordan Andrew

      I like certain things that bounce too, but not tach needles… LOL!

  • Craig Hoffman

    8.3K is a great deal for this bike. You get what you pay for, but it sounds like Suzuki did a great job of not letting the budget bits impact the actual riding experience too badly. Good on Suzuki for tweaking and improving this bike. It sounds quite worthy of consideration now.

    The Suzuki 750 has been a great motor for a long time – kind of a “Goldilocks” displacement level. Smooth, revvy nimble and fun like a 600, but with a lot more satisfying power than a 600. Right between 600 and 1000 is a great place to be.

  • Tanner

    How much different is this bike than the SV650?

    • Born to Ride

      Probably 30-35 (50%) more horsepower, better suspension, better brakes, but weighs 35 lbs more and doesn’t have that sweet 90 degree vee exhaust note.

      • Stuki Moi

        And about twice as much effective room. Physical size is similar, but the SV has a seat that moves you down and forward, and a bar that comes more back. While this has a seat and bar reach more amendable to taller people. And dude, it’s not as if the Gixxer 750 ever lacked in the aural stimulation department…. Heck, both Suzuki’s 650 V-twin and 750 I4, are pretty much the gold standard for street engines of their respective layouts.

        • Born to Ride

          Never been a huge fan of the screaming I4 sound. Maybe I’m just traumatized by all the straight pipe gixxers and R6s around me. However I have now owned 90 degree V-twins from three manufacturers. You can call me biased, I’ll allow it. Haha

  • great middleweight. reliable and with some important upgrades. Suzuki is stepping up

  • c w

    How’s the headlight?

    Does the saddle feel any different from the ’15/’16?

  • halfkidding

    Why oh why did the 750 class die. It’s the perfect displacement. It is a very odd thing.

  • Y.A.

    They have to give this thing a Kawasaki style weight reduction. If they could get this down under 400 ready to ride it would be something to talk about.