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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 ||– Sighs |
|2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 Specs|
|MSRP||$7,999 / $8,149 for the GSX-S750Z|
|Engine Type||4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||72.0 x 46.0 mm|
|Transmission||Close ratio, 6-speed|
|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|
|Seat Height||32.1 in|
|Curb Weight||463 lbs|
|Fuel Capacity||4.6 gal.|
|Colors||Metallic Matte Black/Metallic Triton Blue/Pearl Glacier White (Z model only)|