There’s a transformation unfolding in motorcycling. It’s driven by those who have enjoyed a history with sport bikes, but are now expanding their focus—riders accustomed to the high performance achieved in the past few decades seeking a more versatile package. This new niche is reflected in Suzuki’s GSX-S1000GT+. Suzuki has effectively transformed the GSX-R1000, their race-proven superbike, into a sleek and sophisticated touring machine. The result is a highly enjoyable and enthralling motorcycle that sacrifices nothing to mediocrity.
A Performance Tourer
I had the opportunity to test the new GT+ model in a generous variety of riding situations—from long, tedious lane-splitting through Los Angeles’ famously arduous traffic to urban streets, winding mountain passes, and long stints on the interstate. The predicted rain at the end of day one was not necessarily enjoyable, but it let me see what the GSX-S1000GT+ was like when things get wet.
The Soul of A Superbike
At the heart of the new GT (standing for Grand Touring), concealed beneath attractive, wedged bodywork, is Suzuki’s legendary in-line four-cylinder, liquid-cooled DOHC 999cc engine. The implementation of a longer stroke design (73.4mm bore and 59mm stroke) tames the irascible engine characteristics to smooth predictability. The powerband and torque curve are impressively linear, eliminating any peaks or valleys. The low- to mid-range attributes cater to the demands of daily riding, while the mid- to high-range performance makes traversing long distances a breeze, as well as satiating the most demanding indulgences of the brave. The end result is a highly versatile engine that will suit virtually any way you wish to ride, from mellow loitering to loitering with intent.
The bike’s electronics package—the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S)—further refines engine performance. It offers three ride modes—A, B, and C—with A being the most aggressive, B representing an excellent middle point, and C serving as a more mellow setting, perfect for wet riding conditions. The electronics include five-way adjustable traction control, cruise control, and seamless clutch-less quick-shifting.
The six-speed transmission is evenly spaced. Assisted by the electronics, the first gear starts automatically raising rpm slightly to avoid embarrassing stalls. The beefed up slipper clutch does an amazing job—especially when riding hard—to match engine speed with rear wheel rotation, rendering surprisingly smooth downshifts and eliminating any rear wheel hop.
Chassis & Suspension
Wrapped around the GT’s superbike heart is an aluminum twin spar chassis and a race-inspired swingarm, which is braced to eliminate flex. This rigidity gifts the bike a highly maneuverable and agile demeanor. The precise handling—when combined with a wet weight of 521 pounds—feels as nimble as that of a 600cc, without giving up stability at freeway speeds.
Suzuki engineers have paid special attention to the passenger, creating a stepped seat that is 2.3 inches taller than the rider’s to ensure an unobstructed view. For both the rider and passenger, the footpegs, handlebar, and grab rails are rubber-covered against vibration. The trellis subframe is more than merely an attractive element, as it offers integral strength to accommodate the weight of a passenger and fully loaded bags.
The link-style rear suspension features a single shock with seven-way adjustable spring preload with rebound-damping adjustment. The stylishly inverted KYB fork has a hefty 43mm diameter and is fully adjustable (compression and rebound damping with spring preload).
Brakes & Wheels
As another holdover from their superbike, Suzuki graces the GSX-S1000GT+ with dual, fully floating 310mm discs and superb Brembo Monobloc four-piston calipers to handle braking chores. Their engineers have finetuned the brakes, significantly reducing the grabbiness in the first portion of throw. For a sport-touring machine, where unfamiliar terrain, slippery road surfaces, and the likelihood of cars pulling out in front of you (especially in low-speed situations), this is a welcome attribute. It also serves well in bringing the bike down from speed, providing a predictable braking force that is spread over the entire pull of the lever. I noticed virtually no brake fade over a long stretch through a mountain pass, with tight turns requiring brakes at every bend.
The rear brake is a single 240mm disc mated to a Nissin single-piston caliper. The front and back systems work together seamlessly for smooth, controlled braking. The entire system is augmented by ABS which, when seriously stood on, modulates between front and rear units without any noticeable fade or oscillation in the lever or pedal.
The TRP wheels on the GT+ have a lightweight, cast aluminum six-spoke design, which not only complements the bike’s sleek appearance, but helps reduce unsprung weight, aiding handling. Mounted to these rims are Dunlop Roadsport 2 radial tires, custom-engineered specifically for the GSX-S1000GT+. They deliver superb grip in dry or wet conditions, with faster warm-up to get the tires working properly, while offering long tread life.
Styling & Ergonomics
The new GSX-S1000GT+ has a pleasing aesthetic in the form of modern, wedged bodywork that carries the feel of velocity throughout the entire bike. Low-set mono-focus headlights are incorporated in the fairing. The GT+ model comes standard with integrated side cases that mesh perfectly with the design cues. This is augmented by the two available paint schemes, Metallic Reflective Blue or Glass Sparkle Black. The cases are easy to use and fully secure, with a clever system for latching and locking. Removing them from the bike is equally simple. The bike utilizes a single key for ignition and locks.
The cockpit layout offers a surprisingly comfortable riding position, with upright seating that lets your upper bodyweight rest on your hips as opposed to your wrists. I felt no wrist or arm fatigue even on long freeway jaunts. At the same time, this seating position provides an aggressive stance when you want to put the GT+ through its paces. It’s a fully adaptive position that walks the line between a sportbike and tourer. The seat-to-peg reach requires just a modest knee bend and at 5 feet, 11 inches, I never felt crunched. The handlebar provides excellent low-speed maneuverability while maintaining a compact feel.
The GSX-S1000GT+ is equipped with the Suzuki mySPIN connectivity application integrated into the full-color 6.5-inch TFT screen for accessing maps, music, and your phone. The screen is intelligently laid out, with all the essential information easily found at a glance. It’s highly readable in daylight, with a dynamic night face.
The GSX-S1000GT+ is a seductive combination of adrenaline married to practicality. It’s a motorcycle that will have you looking for far off destinations you can only reach via winding roads. The new throttle bodies add to this by delivering a completely unfettered fuel flow that gives the GT+ a throaty exhaust note. A sophisticated touring machine with the heart of a superbike—what more could you ask for?
2022 SUZUKI GSX-S1000GT+
+ Superb performance, beautiful styling, delivers on all fronts.
– Hard seat, rain mode with automatic traction control would be nice.
Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Power: 149.92hp @11,000rpm; 78.18lb-ft @9,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh
Rake/Trail: 25˚/3.94 in
Wet Weight: 521lbs
Seat Height: 31.9in
Fuel Capacity: 5gal
Colors: Metallic Reflective Blue, Glass Sparkle Black