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Topic: 2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA Test Ride  (Read 22769 times)

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Jetpilot5
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« on: May 23, 2011, 11:46:06 am »

Curiosity finally got the best of me last Friday so I went and took a test ride on a 2011 GSX1250FA.  Iím fortunate to have a good relationship with a local dealer and he knows I wonít ask for a ride unless Iím seriously interested.  Iím not there joy riding his new bikes.  After signing some paper work they gave me the keys and told me to go buzz around for a while.

I started on two lane highway headed away from the dealership to get out of town.  Bike fired instantly and settled into a smooth idle.  Iím used to the aftermarket can on my K1200S and while itís not overly loud, the Suzuki was silent in comparison.  The engine pulls great from just off idle and is one of my favorite features.  The throttle had more slop in it than I was used to but no big deal and would be easy to dial out with a cable adjustment.  Eased out the clutch and Iím off.

Much more upright riding position than Iím used to and very comfortable, just enough leg room.  It would be interesting to put the seat in the high position and see how it feels.  Not quite as much wind protection as my K1200S but not bad.  Wind was hitting me just above mid-chest and was more a function of sitting upright than having less fairing.  Parked side by side the fairing coverage between my BMW and the Suzuki looked pretty close.

Got out of town for a few highway miles.  Nice smooth engine, decent clutch and a good highway ride.  The roads took a beating over the winter so there are some pretty rough areas.  I was surprised at how nice the suspension felt.  Itís not high spec with just preload adjustment for the conventional forks and rebound damping and preload adjustment on the shock, but it dealt with the bumps well.  The fact that my BMW has almost 50,000 miles on itís stock suspension may be influencing my opinion somewhat too.  It's likely to be more tired than I thought.  All settings were left in the stock factory positions.  

I was under whelmed by the brakes for the first couple of miles but they rapidly improved after a few uses.  The bike had 0 miles on it when I left the dealer so I was bedding in the brakes on my test ride.  By the time I returned to the dealer they were working well.  Not as powerful as the servo assist brakes on my BMW but just good brakes.  Didnít test the ABS and didnít want to.

Turned off the highway after a few miles onto some county blacktop.  These are the types of roads that I spend a lot of time on locally and it was nice to not have to worry about traffic or police.  With a brand new engine I didnít want to wind it up too far but really, you donít need to.  There so much torque down low the bike just squirts forward at any RPM.  According to the tests I've read the two bikes have the same 0 to 60 times but the Suzuki is giving up about 60hp on top.  The big torque is helping it's performance figures.  I did run it up through the gears to 90mph briefly just to see what higher speeds would feel like.  Effortless.  A few miles farther there are a couple of 35mph corners that I know very well and the bike turns in nice and tracks well even thought itís not the smoothest pavement.  Lower effort at the bars compared to my K1200S.  Iím not sure if thatís due to me having better leverage at the bars sitting more upright or the fact that the Suzuki is about 3 inches shorter than the BMW.  Both bikes weigh within a few pounds of each other.

Looped back into town to head back to the dealer.  No issues at city speeds.  Clutch and transmission work nice and with lighter handling than Iím used to the GSX was a piece of cake in traffic.  I did notice the heat coming off the engine at low speeds.  Nothing I couldnít live with (I was wearing jeans) but noticeable.  BMW has the heat management thing down.  In five years Iíve never noticed heat coming off the K1200S.

The BMW feels less top heavy at a stand still.  I think the forward lean of the engine in the K bike helps keep the center of gravity lower on that bike versus the Suzuki.  Only noticeable stopped or pushing the bikes around but it did take me by surprise when I pushed the Suzuki.  If itís full of gas make sure you have a good grip on it when you move it.

The throttle tube rattles on the bar of the Suzuki.  Seems odd and you could feel it when hitting bumps while riding.  Build quality is better on the BMW, no surprise there.  Black looks great on the Suzuki but is a PITA to take care of.  The Suzuki is a much simpler machine and would be easier for the home mechanic to take care of.  Whether you like the styling on the Suzuki is up to you.  Itís not cutting edge but it still looks sporty.  I like it.  

After 22 miles Iím back at the dealer with a smile on my face.  Itís not spectacular, but itís a fun bike.  If youíve never had the chance to ride the 1250 engine you should.  It really makes the bike.  A great power plant.

They made me a hell of an offer to tradeÖÖÖÖÖÖ
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 11:26:28 pm by Jetpilot5 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2011, 12:03:10 pm »

Ive got 32k miles on my 1250 and of all the bikes Ive owned (lots) I really think the Bandits motor is my favorite, it can be ridden under 5k rpm all day like a v-twin because of it low end torque or revved up and really move if needed.
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2011, 04:15:04 pm »

Quote
it can be ridden under 5k rpm all day like a v-twin because of it low end torque or revved up and really move if needed.


Thus the reason I passed on the FZ1 and got the Bandit 1250S, even though the FZ1 was less money.

I do like my engine showing, though.  Bigsmile
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 08:08:35 pm »

Nice write up!

I picked up my 2010 GSX 1250 SEA in December, and immediately knew it was a good replacement for its predecessor, the VStrom. The motor is so smooth, and the torque kicks in so low on the tach. Accelration is not a problem with this bike.

Since I have had it I have done mainly commuting on surface roads. I have only done a couple of out of town rides with it. One was last qweekend down to Olympia and back. I superslabbed it the whole way. Average speed was 125kmh at 4000rom. The ole 650 VStrom would be at almost 6000tpm at that same speed. Rolling on to accelerate to clear myself from heavy traffic was awesome. Immediate and powerful response with the bike surging forward.

Handling wise, the bike as good. I took the Lee Parks course that weekend down in Olympia, and I had no problems leaning the bike in on any of the advanced exercises. The bike flops into the turns nice and quick and stays there.

I am loving this bike. You seemed to have got a taste for it too, and I think if you do wind up wuying one you are going to love it.
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Jetpilot5
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 11:50:59 pm »


Nice write up!

I picked up my 2010 GSX 1250 SEA in December, and immediately knew it was a good replacement for its predecessor, the VStrom. The motor is so smooth, and the torque kicks in so low on the tach. Accelration is not a problem with this bike.

Since I have had it I have done mainly commuting on surface roads. I have only done a couple of out of town rides with it. One was last qweekend down to Olympia and back. I superslabbed it the whole way. Average speed was 125kmh at 4000rom. The ole 650 VStrom would be at almost 6000tpm at that same speed. Rolling on to accelerate to clear myself from heavy traffic was awesome. Immediate and powerful response with the bike surging forward.

Handling wise, the bike as good. I took the Lee Parks course that weekend down in Olympia, and I had no problems leaning the bike in on any of the advanced exercises. The bike flops into the turns nice and quick and stays there.

I am loving this bike. You seemed to have got a taste for it too, and I think if you do wind up wuying one you are going to love it.


Thanks for the compliment.  I agree, the spec sheet doesn't tell the story on the engine.  Pulls with the grunt of a big twin without the thump thump thump that I don't care for.

It really was a hell of a trade offer.....................  Wink

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 12:29:52 am »

I have the 08 GSF 1250 SAE, early version of GSX with lower fairing, hard bags and ABS. It replaced a 04 VStrom 1000.

I like it a lot and have no regrets. I upgraded the seat, windshield, installed heated grips, put on VStrom handguards for extra wind protection, and it's been great for 37,000 km. I do think I like the V-twin engine better, but I'm not really complaining. The Bandit has been pretty much faultless except for some paint peeling on the front fender for no reason that Suzuki refused to fix because the bike was off warranty. It was clearly a factory defect for it to peel like that, and I could have likely got it done if I'd taken them to small claims court, but it seemed like too much hassle.

Michelin Pilot Road 2's seem perfect on the Bandit. Handle great and get really good mileage out of them.

The torque is one of the things I like the best. Up to a point it pulls just like a FJR, but it doesn't give you that FJR rush as rpms build. I don't really ever need to go that fast anymore though. For street riding, spending much time above 100 mph just doesn't make a lot of sense.
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 10:00:57 am »

Congrats on the new ride Roger, hope to ride with you soon.  As a matter of fact how about breakfast at Starved Rock on Sunday?
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 12:49:56 pm »

You also posted those photos in Region 4 without actually admitting you bought it.

Looks nice.
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 04:19:29 pm »

Thanks for the compliment.  I agree, the spec sheet doesn't tell the story on the engine.  Pulls with the grunt of a big twin without the thump thump thump that I don't care for. It really was a hell of a trade offer.....................  Wink
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I went to a multi-brand dealer the other day to look @ the new Ninja1 000 & came away duly unimpressed by its appearance. A few bikes away sat a black Bandit identical to yours. I did not expect to like the looks of the Bandit- previous pics turned me off- but in person, I found it quite the good looking bike...except for that bazooka canister of an exhaust. I have never seen a  bigger exhaust ever on a bike. Outside of that, I could see myself living happily w/that bike.

Ride her well!
Lee

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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2011, 08:02:39 pm »

I agree, it doesn't seem to photograph well, but in the flesh, I think it looks good.  The can is huge but typical for a single exhaust on a big inline four.  Ever seen the stock exhaust on a BMW K1200S?  I have plans to replace it down the road.

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Put the first tank of gas in it yesterday after 190 miles.  It took 4.1 gallons which works out to 46.3mpg.  I'm not running it hard during break in but considering it's a new engine, that's surprising decent
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2011, 11:29:23 am »

I think the 2011 GSX1250FA is pretty sharp looking, except I'm not a fan of black sport bikes.  I haven't seen one in person.  It has some features that seem nice, including ABS, and has luggage available.  If it has low end power for an inline-four engine, than it seems like it is good on paper....and you said it's good in application (actually riding it).
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2011, 03:03:19 pm »

Black isn't my first choice either, tough to take care of, but it looks good.  Now that I own it I'm sure silver or blue will be offered next year.
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2011, 06:31:31 pm »

That is a right purty biek there JetPilot5. Very. I got the 2010 model up here, and it was available in black, or royal navy blue with metal flake. I took the blue. I am not sure if blue is an option down your guys way this year, but it does not appear to be here acccording to the Suz Canada page. But, here is what the blue looks like:

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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2012, 11:31:04 am »

Both of these motorcycles in either blue or black are appealing. I have been looking at this bike for some time and can find nothing negative that can't be readily addressed with a little effort. The engine makes this machine. Rode Suzuki 750 GT in the early 70's and thoroughly enjoyed that motorcycle. Great memories.  
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 02:55:40 am »

I bought a leftover 11 last week, got the deal on the bags and am waiting for them to arrive,  I couldnt ride it till this week, Ive put 350 miles on mine in the last 2 days, here are my impressions:
the good
 very smooth, makes me wonder how they did it without dual balance shafts, whatever they did the rest need to copy it.
torque right off the bottom, just twist n go in any gear above 1500rpm, if in town just put it 3rd and leave it no need to shift
suspension is pretty much right on for my 205 lbs, internet reviews bash it for suspension quality, not in my book,some fork dive on braking but nothing excessive,  wind protection is pretty good hits mid chest with stock screen may look into a zg touring screen  to try and keep rain off.
and yes the loose throttle is annoying as hades for the first few miles till u get used to it after that its a non issue.
seat is ok for the first 100 miles and goes down quickly after that may be great for a 130 pounder but not my oversize self, fixing this is a must for serious distance work
 right side heat issue, some heat but nothing bad I can ride in sneakers and it never gets uncomfortable, coming from a 01 concours ill live with what heat is there and smile all the way to wherever.

the bad:
the fuel gauge is off badly, starts telling me im out at 130-140, knowing theres easily  another 40-50 miles left in the tank this is annoying.
the seat, suzuki seats are known ass killers, I dont know anyone who rides lots of miles on a stock suzuki  seat, its pretty bad after an hour or so.
the gearbox is balky about downshifting coming to a stop, hoping this clears up after a few more miles. and dont even think about shifting using a lot of clutch, just bump the lever, pull all the way in and you will think its a dump truck transmission. light on the clutch and light on the gear lever and its smooth as glass.
underseat storage is minimal, disklock and gloves are all that will fit but thats pretty much par for all bikes these days.
the preload adjustable front suspension works for me but would it have killed someone to add drain ports to the forks, no drains turns what should be a 20 minute fork oil swap into a 2 hour fork removal just to change oil.
and who thought the oil filter never needed changing thats the most difficult filter swap Ive ever preformed is has to go in the left side and get pushed by the rad hose, after you pull the fairing lower.
brakes, good enough, took a few high speed stops to bed them but they work, not like a sportbike with a set of ss lines but close enough for now.
itll prolly be spiegler to the rescue later tho. that and some speedbleeders which are a must for the home mechanic.

all in all not a bad sport touring mount, more sport than touring but thats ok, its what I bought it for, A big comfortable sporting bike that cruises effortlessly at 100+  with a decently plush ride, add a better seat(hello corbin, my ass is on fire) and a little more windshield itll be good to go, already got my battery tender harness and heated gear lead installed just need a to get my gps and detector leads installed and ram mounts for both to go on the bars and itll be good. really wish my bags would hurry up and arrive I havent ran without hardbags for 10 years and miss them already.
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 10:10:30 pm »

This bike has made it to the top of my list by attrition (cost, function, cost of it's to be stable mate), good to see the end user experience is in line with the press reviews I have read. Will be stealing one later this week for a few hours. Will add my $.02 and quite possibly pictures from my garage.
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2012, 02:08:45 am »

Rode, loved, bought w/ 3 pc. luggage kit. I liked the Ninja 1 K too, but the GSX has great real world power delivery, and the pillion lair is better for my needs. I also got an extraordinary OTD price from a dealer I have strong professional ties to, and 0% financing on top of that. What's not to like?

Zumo half installed; MRA Vario Touring screen, heated grips are on the way... need to change the oil too. Pics in a few days when it's done. So far the seat is surprisingly good, good enough to give it a shot for the week tour at the end of the month and see what I need to do from there.
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2012, 04:39:04 pm »


Rode, loved, bought w/ 3 pc. luggage kit. I liked the Ninja 1 K too, but the GSX has great real world power delivery, and the pillion lair is better for my needs. I also got an extraordinary OTD price from a dealer I have strong professional ties to, and 0% financing on top of that. What's not to like?

Zumo half installed; MRA Vario Touring screen, heated grips are on the way... need to change the oil too. Pics in a few days when it's done. So far the seat is surprisingly good, good enough to give it a shot for the week tour at the end of the month and see what I need to do from there.


Pics perhaps? Just sayin'.

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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2012, 09:53:02 am »


the bad:

the seat, suzuki seats are known ass killers, I dont know anyone who rides lots of miles on a stock suzuki  seat, its pretty bad after an hour or so.


really? guess my butt is made for em. i've owned 3 of em and have never had a problem. even the newest....  put 350 miles on it  a few weeks ago in about 7 hours (including an hour lunch and few stops for pics/gas), and didn't have the slightest butt pain, but my right wrist starting to burn. i expect that tho since it is an SS.

congrats on your new ride. Lookin goood!!
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