2001 Suzuki Bandit 1200S

Just Another UJM?

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The Bandit 1200S gets softer spring rates than the standard Bandit 1200, while the latter has a single halogen headlamp in place of the dual projector beams of the S model. Suzuki's reasoning is that the "naked" version is more likely to be used for activities which border on "hooligan" while the S, with its fairing, is more likely to be used for sport touring where stiff springs are more of a detriment than an enhancement. The brakes on both models got upgraded to six-piston Tokico calipers squeezing 310 mm dual discs in the front with a single two-piston caliper clamping down on a 240 mm disc mounted in the rear. The front brakes are wonderful, providing good feel and stopping power while the rear binder could use some more power as well as some more feel unless somebody re-soled our Alpinestars with some quarter inch plywood when we weren't looking.

The wind protection on the new Bandit's front end is a marked improvement from that of the previous version. The fairing is taller and, presumably because of the opening at the front, it distributes airflow evenly enough that the buffeting is significantly reduced. The handlebars are slightly lower than on the old bandit which helps put a bit more weight on the front wheel, but there's not a significantly increased amount of pressure on your wrists. The ergonomic package Suzuki has put together should be acceptable to both the commuting clan as well as those who desire something a little more aggressive out of their chosen mode of transportation.

 Other niceties on the new Bandit include a new grab bar and bungee hooks as well as a larger storage compartment and a center stand which requires less effort when lifting the bike off the ground. All of which add up to a machine that has the potential to be the sleeper bike of the year. With still-subdued looks mated to performance enhancements and handling characteristics that will give many a crotch-rocket fits on a Sunday morning back road.

Think of it as a Japanese BMW R1100S, but without bags; or as an inline-four VFR. Maybe even a Kawasaki ZRX1100 with wind protection, or a Honda Blackbird Light?

Any way you look at it, the new Bandit 1200S is ready to do business, and for only $150 US Dollars more than last year's model it's an absolute steal. We'd say the motorcycling public has just been introduced to a new high-mileage, high-fun mount that is almost without equal; at least until Yamaha's S1 arrives on the scene - if it ever comes along.


Opinions:

Brent Avis, Managing Editor:

Yeah, baaaby. This bike is all about me. I am this bike on so many levels it's scary.

I'm subtle and subdued to the point that some people say I lack personality. Ditto for the Bandito as it's no VFR800 or even BMW R1100S and, upon first glance, puts some to sleep. Well, OK. Maybe my lack of certain features is a bit boring, but ... Hello?

But then you get a chance to know me, and we start to warm up to one another. I just showered. Like my new clothes, too?

We have things in common. I might not be as narrowly focused or as astute as you at some things, but at least I can hold my own to the point where you need to keep interrogating me just to find out what else I'm capable of. You're constantly probing to find out when I'll break and show you what you have suspected to be my true colors all along. But I'll keep you guessing - and smiling - all the way to the end of the ride.

These are my true colors, and the Bandit really is this capable. Now leave me alone will you? Always picking on the underdog ... Sheesh!

Calvin Kim, Associate Editor:

"I found the Bandit 1200 to be fast. Really fast."I found the Bandit 1200 to be fast. Really fast. Someone once told me that Standard type motorcycles were slower than sport bikes. Excuse me? My route home takes me through notoriously tight and twisty curves where the Bandits improved suspension gets noticed. Separating these curves are short lengths of road where the torque really shines. Not once did I think, "Hmmm, I could be going much faster on a race-rep sport bike." Although, I found the brakes to be initially mushy, after a quick bleed, they were more than adequate.My only complaints? The vibration and mileage. If you could go 180 till reserve, and toned down the vibes a bit, the B12 would rank as my number one do-it-all motorcycle. Till then, it'll just have to settle being my... oh wait, all the positives far out-weigh the negatives. The strong motor, super comfortable ergonomics (6'00" with a 33" inseam), and great wind protection all combine to make a spectacular package. Call me biased, I liked the 600 version alot and this 1200 version addressed my main qualm with the lil' 6. Power.

Specifications
Manufacturer : Suzuki
Model : Bandit 1200S GSF1200S (Faired)
MSRP : $7,399 (1200S), $6,999 (1200)
Engine : 1157cc, DOHC, 16 valve, air/oil cooled,
         four-stroke, inline-4
Bore/Stroke : 79.0 mm x 59.0 mm
Compression Ratio : 9.5:1
Carburetor : 4x Mikuni BSR36
Ignition : Digital/Transistorized
Transmission : 5-speed
Overall Length : 2070 mm (81.5 in.)
Overall Width : 765 mm (30.1 in.)
Overall Height : 1220 mm (48.1 in.)
Seat Height : 790 mm (31.1 in.)
Ground Clearance : 130 mm (5.1 in.)
Wheelbase : 1430 mm (56.3 in.)
Dry Weight : 220 kg (485 lbs.)
Suspension, Front : 43 mm, telescopic, oil damped,
                    preload adjustable
Suspension, Rear : Link-type, 4-way adjustable
                   rebound damping,
                   7-way adjustable preload
Brakes, Front : Dual, 6-piston,
                310 mm hydraulic discs
Brakes, Rear : Single 240 mm hydraulic disc
Tires, Front : 120/70-ZR17
Tires, Rear : 180/55-ZR17
Fuel Tank Capacity: 20.0 liter (5.3 gal.)
Color: Burgundy, Silver

110.5 HP @ 8800 RPM
75.8 ft/Lbs @ 6300 RPM


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