Move over, Yamaha MT-07. Step aside, Kawasaki Z650. There’s a new parallel-twin Japanese naked in town and it’s ready to throw down.
The 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S is a ground-up new model from the Hamamatsu-based manufacturer. The bike features an equally all-new parallel-twin DOHC engine with a 270-degree crankshaft configuration.
Suzuki’s first blow is a sucker punch in the form of more displacement—776cc exacted from a bore and stroke of 84mm by 70mm. Take that 649cc Z650, and 689cc MT-07! You too, 645cc Suzuki SV650?
Smoothing out the inherently rough repercussions of a parallel-twin with a 270-degree crank is Suzuki’s patented Cross Balancer system, utilizing two counterbalancers positioned 90 degrees from the crankshaft. Suzuki hadn’t issued power figures by the time of writing, but what can be surmised by the engine’s relatively longer stroke, and what’s been hinted at in press materials, is that the GSX-8S will deliver a very user-friendly spread of torque.
“Slim” is a word used repeatedly (six times by my count) throughout Suzuki’s press release to describe the new steel frame and overall width of the GSX-8S, followed often by the phrase “agile handling.” While the rake/trail figures weren’t available, we do know the bike’s wheelbase of 57.7 inches is 2.6 inches more than the Yamaha’s (55.1 inches) and 2.2 inches more than the Kawasaki’s (55.5 inches). “Stability” might be a more realistic description of GSX’s handling manners.
The bike’s agility is again brought into question when you consider how much the Suzuki is punching down a weight class. With a claimed curb weight of 465 pounds, the GSX-8S is 53 pounds heavier than the claimed 412-pound curb weight of the Z650, and 59 pounds heavier than the claimed 406-pound MT-07.
The Suzuki carries a half-gallon more fuel than the Yamaha (4.2 vs. 3.7 gallons), accounting for three of those 59 pounds. It may out-displace the two competing nakeds, but it’ll have to produce prodigiously more horsepower and torque to make up for the weight disadvantage.
Outfitted with technologies including ride modes, ABS, throttle control, and a bi-directional quickshifter, the GSX-8S is better outfitted with electronic modernities than its two competitors. The Suzuki also comes with a class-matching five-inch color TFT LCD multi-function instrument panel.
The front is suspended by a non-adjustable KYB inverted fork while the rear rests upon a KYB monoshock with a mechanical preload adjuster. Front braking duties are handled by dual Nissin radial-mounted four-piston brake calipers, with a single Nissin caliper residing at the rear wheel.
Pricing was TBA at the time of writing, but considering the Suzuki’s newness, its larger capacity engine, and technological edge, expect it to be similar to the MSRPs of its two leading competitors—the 2023 Z650 at $8,249 and 2023 MT-07 at $8,199. According to Suzuki, the GSX-8S will carry “a smart price that’s in line with the demands of a new generation of riders.”
Hopefully “smart price” is code for “very affordable” because considering the aforementioned disadvantages, the GSX-8S is already backpedaling.