2004 Suzuki Bandit 1200S
Great all around motorcycle for the experienced riderBy (I am an Owner) on Nov 07, 2008
The Bandit is a good motorcycle in stock form. A few simple improvements make the bandit a great motorcycle! The Stock tires are substandard. Any aftermarket replacement for this category bike is an improvement. The stock rising rate (progressive style) fork springs are very soft. Any aftermarket ... fork spring in the proper size is huge improvement (I prefer the straight rate). The rear brake pad should be replaced with a better quality pad. The bike runs lean and should be jetted for riding location.
Power amount, smoothness and response is vastly improved with the addition of an aftermarket pipe fitted and the airbox intake inlet doubled in size, as the airbox was designed for the 600cc model (plus the correct jetting). The weight (470lbs dry) can be decreased by approx 30lbs by simply replacing the stock exhaust pipe, removing the centerstand, and choosing the unfared (s) model.
Fully adjustable rear shock from the Hayabusa will fit the Bandit, but raises the rear 1.2 inches. The motor is bomb proof, and valve adjustments are simple. This is the big block chevy of motorcycles. The 5 speed transmission is very strong, I average 43 mpg but can get up to 52 mpg when I show restraint. The mileage has a direct relationship to right wrist movement. Mileage has dropped as low as 33 mpg during high-speed hooligan rides with sport bikes.
I am 40 years old and the bike is a perfect match for my daily and weekend duties.
Not really a 1200, but the Y2K GSF600SY was unavailable to me.By (I am an Enthusiast) on Sep 17, 2008
When the truck I had been driving to work disappeared from the street in front of the house, in September, 2000, my wife asked me what kind of motorcycle I could buy for $2,000-3,000. That innocent question led to a brief search that included test rides on a BMW F650 Funduro and a Suzuki SV650. I ... thought the BMW pulled well from low speeds and I liked the quickess and agility of the Suzuki.
I had seen a new 600 Bandit at Lemon Grove Motorcycles, but it hadn't been serviced, no oil in the sump and no acid in the battery, and I left without riding it.
On Friday, October 6th, I was ready to ask my wife to take me to Brattin Motors, so that I could pick up the Beemer, but I got a call from Lemon Grove. The salesman said he had serviced the Bandit, and so I felt obligated to go and look.
I rode the bike around the neighborhood, but not on the freeway, because the salesman asked me to keep the speeds down.
I had been wanting an in-line four and I was sold. The salesman threw in a Shoei helmet and a pair of leather gloves and I rode home on my first motorcycle since I had been compelled to sell my 1985 BMW K100, in July, 1993.
I was in the number two lane of the westbound 94 when the engine went silent. I fumbled around for the petcock and managed to two lanes of fast-moving traffic before coasting to a stop on the shoulder. Given the opportunity to look down, I found the PRIME position and re-established fuel flow.
I rode to work in Moreno Valley on Monday morning, and discovered that I was the only one there on Columbus Day (observed).
The next morning, I pointed the bike north and left Chula Vista for March Air Reserve Base. It was the ride from Purgatory. The helmet pinched my forehead, the seat numbed my sitter and I was appalled by the engine speed at 60 mph.
When I arrived at March, I was ready to cancel out on the Suzuki and ask Polly Gillette to save the Funduro for me.
I had acted in ignorance, my judgment clouded by hibernation sickness and I was profoundly sorry for my mistaken choice.
Since I had no power to undo the damage, I settled in and put 40,550 miles on the Bandit's clock, before saying goodbye in May, 2006.
My wife and I had moved, with three of our sons, to Texas, and I had left the Suzuki behind, thinking that:
1. We might buy a house in Temecula, where we had looked after we sold our house in Escondido
2. I might sell the Bandit and use the money to restore myself to my rightful place in the BMW family.
We settled for exile in Texas.
My apple cart tipped over when someone close to us saboutaged our plan to buy a house with a three-car garage, and we moved into a place with two enclosed parking places. I was more than ready for a three-day adventure, but I had no place to keep my Bandit, and so I put it on e-bay.
As I was saying, I got over the trauma of that disastrous second ride, although I spent the next five years scheming to put the blue and white rondels on the sides of my fuel tank.
I developed a love-dislike relationship with the Puzuki (one of my sons had trouble with the letter "S") and found a modus vivendi.
The bothers were: the leaned forward posture, the confined cockpit and the sometimes excessive engine speed. The bike felt tippy at walking speeds and in parking maneuvers.
I never managed to save enough for the Genmar risers that I thought would straighten my back on the road, or for the Givi bags that I wanted to secure my worldly goods during the two-week trips to Riverside that were the raison d'etre of the motorcycle.
On the other hand, I could strap a tower of luggage onto the passenger seat and the half fairing gave me a pocket of still air that allowed me to sit loose at up to 100 mph indicated.
The engine growled a little at some RPM and that just added to the sensory impression that there was a powerplant at work down there.
I spent a little time on a temp job, near home, and I thought it was a gas to spin the engine to about 10 grand in first gear from one stop sign to the next and then chop the throttle. The little bike would almost stand on its head as compression worked to slow it down.
I settled down in my old age and recorded 50-55 miles on a gallon of premium unleaded, with a personal best of 513 miles on a tankful of dead ferns. I found that I could stuff almost five and a half gallons into the tank, half a gallon past the posted limit.
I loved the looks of the red frame, tank, fenders, and fairing, but I spent a lot of time lying on my back with a solvent-soaked rag, cleaning blackened chain lube off the undercarriage. There's something to be said for a black frame.
The air-and-oil-cooled four was strong enough to flatten the hills at the Temecula and San Luis Rey Rivers on the southbound I-15. Hills that had slowed my KZ200, RD350 and CB400 to a relative crawl. I could sail up those long and steep inclines at eighty plus and never come close to the throttle stop.
The saddle was almost good for two hours before a change of posture became necessary. Again, I never put away enough coin to buy a gel saddle, or an aftermarket unit, so I cannot comment on their effectiveness.
I had the oil replaced at 2,500 mile intervals and every third time, I had a full service. There were never any oil leaks or other problems.
I replaced the OEM battery and three sets of tires during 40,000 miles, but sold the bike with the original brake pads. I was happy with the front discs, but thought the rear brake was only a little better than dragging my feet on the pavement.
I dropped the bike on the driveway at home, when I thought the side stand was locked, and it wasn't.
The fall broke the left side front turn signal and clutch lever. How disappointing to find that the dealers couldn't pull those items off their parts shelves. I was sure that Brattin Motors could have taken care of that on the spot if I had bought the F650.
I once told the service manager at Lemon Grove that I would like him to rotate the engine 90 degrees on two axes, install a water jacket and fuel injectors, replace the chain with a drive shaft and put BMW badges on the tank. He said he'd order the parts.
Aside from the fact that I bought the wrong brand, I'd say that the Suzuki served me well and would have continued to do so for as long as I owned it.
Would I buy another one?
I don't have any money and I don't have any place to park.
My ride now is a pale gold 21-speed Gary Fisher Wahoo that I bought, used, for $85.00, and which will probably need new wheelsets and a seat post before too long.
But, if things were different, I would take back my Bandit in a New York heartbeat. It was mostly comfortable, quick, useful, economical, reliable and even thrilling and I loved it.