Live With It: Suzuki GSX-S750

John Burns
by John Burns

2018 GSX-S750 Long-Term Review

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.

John Burns
John Burns

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2 of 45 comments
  • John C Cussons John C Cussons on Jan 17, 2018

    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.

  • Appliance5000 Appliance5000 on May 01, 2022

    This is a wonderful bike, and if being a better rider is your goal, it's precision and ability to inspire confidence, will allow you to push further.