A last-minute flight change, dense fog, a diversion to Abilene for refueling, an engine malfunction, a 3.5-hour rental car drive from Abilene to Austin – I arrive at Austin Land and Cattle restaurant 12 hours after having departed Los Angeles, halfway through the technical presentation for Suzuki’s 2015 GSX-S750. Suzuki’s Steve Bortolamedi kindly greets me with a scotch and rocks. Then, the wife calls to inform me someone sideswiped our van. Make that a double, Steve.
Normally there’d be a MO ScoreCard here, but inclement weather restricted us from experiencing the GSX-S750’s full potential. We felt it unfair to attempt scoring the bike until we can conduct a proper test.
Prior to my meal of chicken fried tuna (when in Texas …) Takeshi Hayasaki, president of Suzuki Motor of America, addresses the assembled media. He’s pointed at Yamaha’s FZ-09 being the motivation behind the GSX-S750. His comments are supported by the press material we are given, wherein some similarities (favorable to the GSX-S) are provided.
At $ 7,999 the 2015 GSX-S750 is $ 191 less expensive than the 2015 FZ-09’s $ 8,190 MSRP. Suzuki claims rear-wheel horsepower between the two models is similar (our last FZ delivered 104.8 hp), but the GSX-S’s lesser displacement (749cc vs 847cc) should equate to lower insurance costs (and torque production). A glance at the spec sheets reveal further similarities such as wheelbase (GSX-S: 57.1 in / FZ-09: 56.7 in) and seat height (GSX-S: 32.1 in / FZ-09: 32.7 in). However, the GSX does hold a gallon more fuel (4.6 gal vs 3.7 gal), but, more importantly in regards to performance, the Suzuki’s claimed curb weight of 463 pounds is 49 pounds more than the 414 claimed pounds of the FZ. Subtracting the extra six pounds of fuel weight still leaves the GSX weighing 43 more pounds than the FZ-09.
Discuss this at our Suzuki Forums.
What about the FZ-07? Displacing 689cc, the engine disparity between it and the GSX-S is only 60cc, compared to a 98cc spread between the GSX-S and FZ-09. At 397 pounds, the smaller FZ weighs even less than its sibling, and rides with 1.6 fewer inches between contact patches. More importantly, the FZ-07’s price tag of $ 6,990 is $ 1,009 less expensive than the GSX-S.
This is, of course, the groundwork for the shootout Suzuki is expecting. The potency of these two Yamahas is a known value, but even with these apparent advantages an FZ victory is far from certain. Like the V-Strom 1000 vs. FJ-09 in our recent Land Of The Roosting Sun: Four Far-Flung Adventure Bikes From Japan! shootout, the GSX-S is holding a few cards up its sleeve.
Exactly what those cards are is a little murky, because the same inclement weather that caused me so much grief getting to Austin, stuck around overnight, f’ing up our ride day with rain and low temperatures. I was able to ascertain a few riding impressions, most of which are favorable, but until we pilot the GSX-S750 in more temperate conditions, commenting on the full ability of the GSX-S will just have to wait.
Butter smooth is the inline-Four powering the GSX-S. Left to my own devices in Texas Hill Country, as the others sped off to lunch, I had ample opportunity to bump the rev limiter down the straight stretches of road between corners. I detected no high-frequency buzz at any engine speed in any gear. The same can be said about freeway droning speeds and around town surface street speeds.
Discuss this at our Suzuki GSX-R Forum.
Plucked from the K5 GSX-R750, the retuned 749cc mill features revised cam profiles and timing, as well as reshaped intake and exhaust tracts to give the naked bike more low- and mid-range power than its fully-faired counterpart. At the same time, Suzuki claims the GSX-S delivers 10% better fuel economy.
Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve system exhibited a harshness when twisting the grip from off to on, causing some driveline lash. Otherwise, incremental modulations elsewhere in the twistgrip’s range were met with smooth throttle inputs. The bars themselves seemed somewhat narrow, as I kept noticing my hand placement was at the outermost tip of the bar-end weights. Seating position is sport/standard with seat-to-footpeg distance maybe a little cramped for taller folk.
With cornering speeds reduced due to the wet pavement, using the brakes to scrub off more momentum than normal proved the dual caliper pistons and 310mm discs to be up to the job of hauling the bike down from stupid to safe speeds within respectable distances.
True corner-exit grunt can only be imagined as the GSX-S is not equipped with traction control, and with my analog TC right wrist set to don’t crash rain mode, forward thrust was metered to wimpy until the bike reached near vertical. Equipped with Bridgestone Battlax BT-016s, I’m certain the tires were capable of providing more lean-angle grip than I was willing ask, but rain is no excuse for crashing a bike at a press launch – please refer to Crash Dragon Editor Brasfield’s recent editorial (Evans Off Camber).
With a polar vortex of sub-freezing temperatures bearing down on Austin, the decision was made to forego the ride to, and parade laps around, COTA, and return to the warm confines of our hotel and the liquid spirits of its bar within. Hence, I cannot provide any honest assessment of the GSX-S’s handling mannerisms other than to say it exhibits wonderful straight-line stability.
The standard GSX-S750 is available in dealers now, with the GSX-S750Z coming soon. The bikes we rode in Austin were immediately repacked aboard an 18-wheeler bound for Suzuki headquarters in Brea, California. So, as soon as we round up a couple FZs and possibly some other comparable models, we’ll soon bring you a thorough test of the GSX-S750, and how it fares against its competition.
|2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 Specs|
|MSRP||$ 7999 / $ 8149 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)|