Somehow I forgot to take this one back to Suzuki after we tested it in late July. Whoops. I bonded with this cute little Suzuki immediately – little being what we’ve come to completely inappropriately think of as a 750cc motorcycle now that we’ve been so spoiled by 1000cc naked bikes.

2018 Suzuki GSX-S750 First Ride Review

This 750 is definitely down on torque to the new bike in its price range that beat it in this comparo last October – the new Kawasaki Z900. But the Suzuki didn’t exactly get thrashed even though it gives up fully 199cc of displacement to the Kawasaki. All the Suzuki asks is that you let its smooth four-cylinder rev out a bit more: Eventually it kicks out almost 100 horsepower (at 10,400 rpm) to the Z900’s 116 at 9800 rpm, but it never seems to struggle to keep up with more powerful bikes.

Like the kids said in that test: “The Suzuki’s power deficit is barely noticed thanks for its flat torque curve and the slickest-shifting tranny of the group… Despite the 750’s lack of displacement,” notes [Ryan] Adams, “while riding these motorcycles back to back, it was clear the Gixxus was not outclassed in the least.”

To overcompensate for the brakes on the prior version, the 2018 gets excellent 310mm discs and four-piston calipers (though opting for ABS drives the price a bit above the Z900’s, which comes with ABS). “Even though it is the only bike without ABS, it has the best brakes of the group, hands down” Jas reports [in the aforementioned comparo]. “They have strong initial bite with predictable and linear braking feel as more pressure is applied. I only ever needed one finger on the lever.”

Well, it’s pretty much a given that the faster, more powerful bike is usually going to win in any kind of sporting comparo, but the GSX-S acquitted itself very well. It soundly beat the Kawasaki in the Ergonomics/Comfort category (though both of them got beat by the Aprilia Shiver that finished third in the comparo). For a lot of people contemplating an affordable Japanese naked, comfort might be the most important thing. Looks is another thing; to me, this Suzuki is far less egregious an offender than many.

For everyday around-town riding and commuting, the little GSX-S is tough to beat. The GSX-S1000’s 145 horsepower comes with a bit of handlebar buzz and more throttle abruptness than a lot of riders like; the 750 completely does away with both of those. Its engine could be electric most of the time, except for its excellent gnarly sound, and that smaller, lighter crank and slipper clutch mean banging it through the gears is effortless and enjoyable. Like I’ve mentioned before, I always liked Ducati’s smaller bikes on the street because you get to hear them more; this Suzuki is like that. Shorter gearing than the 1000 lets you hear more of the bike’s dynamic range even when you’re just out for a quart of milk.

Even though it weighs as much as the GSX-S1000, at 467 pounds wet on our scales (its frame is steel instead of aluminum), the 750 feels nimbler and quicker-responding all the time. Most of that is probably down to its 180-55 rear tire compared to the 1000’s wider/flatter 190-50, but a big part of it is also less spinning mass in the form of the 750’s smaller crankshaft; the GSX-S feels way lighter than the bull-moose 1000, and that just encourages its rider to flog it harder.

The best case for buying a Suzuki, though, especially a 21st century one like this one, is the complete pushbutton reliability of the thing. My son, who has his first real job along with a 20-mile commute five days a week on a clogged SoCal freeway, keeps threatening to buy a new Ducati Supersport. While he contemplates that, he “borrows” the GSX-S750 about four days a week. My old stripped-down R1 he rode in college doesn’t even get a glance.

Two helmet locks are molded into passenger seat base, along with two nylon web straps to bungee things to along with the passenger peg carriers.

The Suzuki had only accumulated 1500 miles when we returned it last week, but most of those were about ten miles at a time, and it fired up instantly every time it was asked in temperatures which dipped into the 40s F! SoCal is rough.

Changing the oil and filter at the 600-mile initial spec was a piece of cake thanks to the ECSTAR kit Suzuki also loaned us. After that, it wants fresh oil every 6000 miles, but a new filter only every third change. None of the fasteners I checked had come loose, none of the control cables had stretched. I could’ve tightened the drive chain a bit, I noticed as I was loading the bike onto my sad old Ranger for the trip back to Suzuki, but I never did, and the chain looks brand new (it hasn’t rained in a while out here).

At a rate of 3000 miles per year, valve clearances would need inspecting in eight years at 24,000 miles. The rear tire had a plug in it from running over a screw when it went back to Suzuki, but the plug was holding fine and the tire had many miles left in it (never above about 80 mph though, and MO’s legal staff say only on the way to a licensed repair facility). Fuel mileage was always between 46 and 48 miles per gallon.

All in all, the phrase “low maintenance” comes to mind. It may act like an appliance, but this one’s just as fun to ride as any 750 Suzuki has ever been (and more than most), and that’s saying something.

Second opinion anyone? Oh, here’s Brent Jaswinski:

Overall, I had a really fun time riding the Lil Gixxus 7-fiddy. Despite being a smaller-displacement bike – if you consider 750cc to be small, that is – it’s a fun motorcycle that rewards the rider the harder it’s pushed. Confidence inspiring, really. I can’t remember what the redline on it is (11,500), but from what I recall it just kept on revving and the exhaust note was quite impressive for a stock pipe, which was nice. And the brakes? Oh man, that’s how brakes are supposed to feel! With a few modifications, namely an intake, pipe and tune, this bike could be a really great do-it-all naked sportbike that should keep up nicely with anything.

Or you could just leave it alone and ride it – though it would be even cooler with the aluminum Fat Bar from the 1000 instead of the steel cheapie the 750 comes with. That’s all I’d change. This one’s for riding, not obsessing over. I only agreed to return it when Suzuki said we could have a new GSX-S1000Z. Two thumbs up.

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  • MotorbikeMike

    Reminds me a lot of my 13 year-old z750s. Always works (even with minimal maintenance) and never fails to put a smile on my face. Love this class of bike.

  • Born to Ride

    Had this bike come with an aluminum frame or a lightweight steel tube frame to shave 30 lbs off that wet weight, I would have given it harder consideration before opting to buy the top shelf bike in this class. I like Suzuki products and this bike surely would have provided the stone axe reliability and nearly maintenance free nature I loved about my SV650. But as a more experienced rider now, I wanted the performance out of the box, without needing to piece all the upgrades together myself like I did years ago. But I have to say, this bike is my second favorite in this class despite the fact that the Kawi appears to be objectively better for about the same price. Brand loyalty maybe?

    • DickRuble

      Just take a GSX-R 750 then and remove the fairing..

      • Born to Ride

        That’s a pain in the ass and the “street fighter” sport bikes typically look awful.

    • David K

      I would like to see a new version of the old Suzuki TL1000. A used one would be an interesting ride or project.

    • spiff

      Duke 790.

      • Born to Ride

        Meh, you missed the part about stone axe reliability.

        • spiff

          Meh? How about Ginsu precision? My experience is KTMs are pretty decent.

          • Born to Ride

            Pretty decent and unbreakable are two very different distinctions. And my special, hypothetical, only available in my mind Gixxus would have precision covered with its higher end components and chassis. Your reality cannot hope to defeat my imagination!

          • spiff

            Ah, you fail to realize I too am a dreamer. Apparently I’m not the only one. Lol.

  • Gabriel Owens

    So many bikes, so little time.

    • Johnny Blue

      And $$ at least in my case… I can’t afford to buy one of each… :))

      • Jackie

        Goog-l-e is pa-y-ing $97 per hour,with weekly payo-u-ts.Y-o-u can also a-v-ail this.On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four we-e-ks..w-i-th-out any doubt it’s t-h-e most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sou-n-ds unbelievable but you wont forgive you-r-self if you don’t check it!oe862d:↭↭↭ http://GoogleWageDesignsWorkFromHome/find/jobs ♥♥♥b♥♥q♥a♥♥♥y♥u♥c♥j♥♥♥l♥♥♥y♥l♥♥m♥♥♥f♥g♥♥♥m♥♥m♥♥♥t♥♥♥a♥♥♥l♥♥♥v♥l♥♥s♥d♥♥k♥♥♥s♥r:::::!kw82l:lwe

    • Carolyn

      Goo-g-le is paying $97 p-e-r hour,wi-t-h weekly payo-u-ts.You can also a-v-ail this.On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range R-o-ver from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comf-o-rtable job I have ever done .. It so-u-nds unbel-i-evable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it!rx473f:➬➬➬ http://GoogleDailyConsumerBlueWorkFromHome/more/cash ♥♥v♥♥e♥m♥♥n♥♥p♥♥♥z♥♥♥i♥y♥♥q♥♥v♥♥♥h♥g♥♥n♥♥♥s♥♥y♥♥s♥♥k♥m♥o♥♥♥n♥♥♥e♥♥e♥♥♥l♥♥♥s♥♥v:::::!cw632u:lhuhu

  • Mad4TheCrest

    I really liked the all-black version of this bike when I saw it in a showroom. If I’d have been aware of this bike before I bought my Street Triple it would have been a tough decision which to buy.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      How about 52,000 miles without a glitch? That’s what I have on my GSF-1250S Bandit.

      • Born to Ride

        You didn’t buy it new, so you can hardly make the claim that the bike has been glitch free it’s whole life. However, it’s a bandit so it probably has been…

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I ride every other weekend with the guy I bought it from. He lives only a few miles from me. He bought it new in 2007 and kept it well maintained. He is a engineer. He kept a written record of all the maintenance and upgrades.he did. He put less than 48K on it. I put over 4K since last March. The bike runs and looks like new. He only sold it because he bought a 2017 Bonneville last January. What else can I say?

    • Born to Ride

      I thought that myself, but considering how well GSXR 750s hold up to the abuse their riders heap on them, I’d imagine this thing goes 100k before needing any mechanical repairs.

  • DickRuble

    It would be a fine bike if it were 50lbs lighter.

    • Scott Silvers

      so you would be too…………

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    sounds good! they sure have changed since my brother’s friend Mark first rolled over our way on a GS 750…

  • Bmwclay

    Great bike but even better review! It really got down to the nuances that I look for when buying a bike. For instance, less noise and vibes than its bigger brother, steel frame vs aluminium (more comfort). Less throttle abruptness. Great brakes, almost no need for expensive ABS.
    Looks like a winner.
    Thanks Mr. John Burns!

  • Don Silvernail

    “the little (750cc) GSX-S is tough to beat” Wow, times have changed! What adjective do you use when reviewing a 300cc. machine?

  • R. Casimir

    “Looks is another thing; to me, this Suzuki is far less egregious an offender than many.”

    How true! How sad that that’s about the best you can say about almost all of the current generation of sport-nakeds.

    Kawasaki have done something interesting in taking their sport-naked and repackaging it in retro sheep’s clothing.

    I used to think it was only because I am sliding into the “old” demographic that I preferred “normally” styled motorcycles. But I notice the hip young 20-somethings at the various motorcycle spots and the shows I attend are ga-ga for retros. When you go to really hip custom motorcycle show here, like Moto One, you see lots of retro-styled customs.

    Nobody is trying to create bikes that look like these Japanese ones. Maybe we didn’t read enough Japanese maga comics to “get” the styling they use these days.

    $8,300 for the “less egregeous” 750cc Suzuki or
    $8,400 for the “more egregeous” 900cc Kawasaki or
    $11,000 for the actually nice looking 900cc Kawasaki variation (which is supposedly the same bike as the ugly one except for styling. $2700 premium? WTH?)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/51c583ad4ae98318e93142e7c063f6c83a2e3585c1460d752e793953c710bda5.png

    • R. Casimir
    • Douglas

      Yep, Suzi could ditch the blue plastics (which serve no purpose other than graphics to inform onlookers exactly what engine it has) and gain a better price point. But that seat/fender combo….they should tack up some pix of Bonnevilles, CB1100’s, or the above Kawa on their design studio bulletin boards. Ironing board seats are way more practical & comfy (you can move around a little) and likely less costly. And as Cussans said above, install a centerstand (every bike should come with one regardless…if you don’t like it, remove it).

      The adage from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that “less is more” holds true.

      • Born to Ride

        A center stand and requisite frame reinforcement would add weight to an already overweight package. Bobbins and rear stand is fine by me. However I would not mind one bit if they came out with a 750 engined retro standard.

        • spiff

          They’d detune it and piss you off. 🙂

          • Born to Ride

            Buh, buh, but it’s already detuned! 😥😢

          • Alaskan18724

            Has anyone, anywhere, ever upthumbed any thing detuned?

    • Scott

      The RS gets radial brakes, fully adjustable suspension, and traction controls.
      I think that’s worth $2700, but it is still a bit steep…

      • Born to Ride

        Those items are worth an extra grand at most. Last gen street triple went from non adjustable suspension and sliding calipers to fully adjustable units and monoblocs for 600$. TC is just wheel speed sensors, throttle position sensor, servos on the throttle bodies, and some extra coding in the ECU. NOT worth 2 grand by itself…

  • Sentinel

    If Suzuki decides to make one with a real and usable rear section, including a seat for 2
    of course. And if they offer an ABS equipped version in a color other than flat/satin horrible looking black, I’ll be interested. Oh, and bring the bars up and back a bit.

  • TronSheridan

    When are we getting a legit H2 SX review?

    • spiff

      Better question is when are they brining the naked version? Then the Eddie Lawson sprinkled retro version of that?

  • John C Cussons

    Would not touch any of the current naked bikes with a barge pole. These bikes are targeted as fun only without any consideration for the daily commuter who would use these bikes to work and back, and for fun over the weekends. The only time one finds a bike with a main stand these days is in a museum. No wonder the motorcycle industry sees dark days ahead as they have clearly lost the plot. On all new naked bikes, tank capacity is too small, the pillion seat is a joke and no main stand. So until I see a change, I will continue to ride my 2005 model 1000 Fazer which HAS a main stand, a decent saddle and a 21 liter tank.

  • John C Cussons

    Would not touch any of the current naked bikes with a barge
    pole. These bikes are targeted as fun only without any consideration for the
    daily commuter who would use these bikes to work and back, and for fun over the
    weekends. The only time one finds a bike with a main stand these days is
    in a museum. No wonder the motorcycle industry sees dark days ahead as they
    have clearly lost the plot. On all new naked bikes, tank capacity is too small,
    the pillion seat is a joke and no main stand. So until I see a change, I will
    continue to ride my 2005 model 1000 Fazer which HAS a main stand, a decent
    saddle and a 21 liter tank.