Words: Jeff Ware Pictures: JPMedia
The GSX1400 was designed to be a beefier, torquer and more tourable high-tech version of the legendary Suzuki Bandit. It was initially built to only be sold in Japan and some parts of Europe, however, Suzuki Australia were able to secure the model for us Down Under. Amazingly, despite being seemingly perfect for the market, the 1400 never went to the USA or Canada!
Weighing 228kg, and being tall, long and wide, the GSX1400 is a monster. Still, it is lighter than the XJR Yamaha and more powerful. It also has a cracking top speed of 240km/h.
The GSX is styled on the GS1000 (see our feature here) and has a massive liquid-cooled 1402cc DOHC fuel injected engine. It is an engine that was heavily restricted up top to make way for extra grunt down low but unfortunately it was not able to stay in production due to the onset of Euro3 laws back at the start of 2009.
The GSX had a dedicated but niche fan base. With a 22L tank, the biggest seat of any motorcycle I’ve ever seen (like a comfy lounge chair), wide handlebars, huge rubber damped footpegs and wishy-washy soft suspension, the GSX14 was the ultimate two-up tourer for the nakedbike fan.
For those with more of a performance thirst, a lot could be done to the GSX as it could happily be turbocharged, have NOS fitted or be liberated via porting work and cams. There was a lot to be gained from the cylinder-head alone…
THE RIDE – by Deeno
Plush is the best description for the big naked Suzi. The seat is ridiculously soft, riding position is very conservative mainly thanks to handlebars that would probably more at home on your sister’s dragster pushbike and very soft suspension that gets vague at best when the pace is upped on our more than average roads.
On the upside, the suspension is equipped with spring preload that is simple as turning a very accessible knob at the rear, compression and rebound adjustment at both ends coupled with Tokicos proven six pot calipers gripping dual 320mm rotors offering plenty of feel and power that require only two fingers to pull things up with confidence.
The donk is so user friendly it’s not funny. There is so much low down and mid-range grunt the 1400 pulls cleanly from as low down 40km/h in top gear without a hint of transmission snatch. The trade-off being, it really struggles to make the 9000rpm redline. On the drag strip it was still only 8/10nths slower than my best time on the latest thousand cc sports bikes.
The GSX certainly is not the barge I expected it to be. Even though the bike carries its weight quite high compared more modern equipment, the GSX tackles the twisties effortlessly with the footpegs touching down long before the limits of the bikes capabilities and the standard Bridgstone Battle Axes cry enough.
MY GSX PROJECT
With Suzuki Australia and my magazine at the time, Rapid, I built a weapon GSX1400 we called Mr Muscle, in 2006. It had 60 per cent more power and torque than standard, a 1620cc big bore kit, Yoshimura camshafts and exhaust system, PTR ported and flowed cylinder-head, pod airfilters, a Power Commander, PTR airbox, upped compression and lots more. It would power wheelie in the first three gears!
The chassis was equally upgraded with PTR tuned suspension at both ends, Metzeler tyres, a steering damper, braking upgrades and it had lots of bling on it!
The bike was a beast, even on track days it could be thrown around pretty-well, and it still lives on in Melbourne I’m told.
The GSX1400 is hard to get hold of in the used market, simply because it was popular and only sold for 7 years. Price when new was $14,390 and 20-years later they are still pulling $7,500 to $9,500 for a minter.
GSX1400 Rapid Bikes MODS
PTR 1620cc big bore kit
JE custom 87mm forged pistons
Yoshimura cams $1495
Yoshimura four-into-one $1849
PTR ported and flowed head
Raised compression ratio
Custom PTR airbox
LLS engine bolt kit $35
Ermax undertail $345 with indicators
Ermax rear hugger $320
LLS Oil filler cap $60
Oberon billet triple-clamp and ‘bars $499, $249
Oberon ‘pegs $89 per pair
Oberon billet reservoir caps $49
AuSFR headlight assy $199
Mini Arrow front indicators $39 pair
Performance Friction brake pads
Metzeler Sportec M3 120/70 – 17 $205
Metzeler Sportec M3 190/50 – 17 $299
PTR fork internals
Sprint steering damper $508.36
Oberon mirrors $299
Oberon fuel cap $199
Price New: $14,390
Used Price: $7,500 to $9,500
Claimed Power: 106hp std (our project 140hp at wheel)
Claimed Torque: 93ft-lbs std (our project 120ft-lbs at wheel)
Dry weight: 228kg
Fuel Capacity: 22L
Engine type: 1402cc DOHC liquid-cooled inline four
Bore x stroke: 81mm x 68mm
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Final drive: Chain
Frame type: Steel double cradle
Front suspension: 46mm telescopic fork, fully adjustable
Rear suspension: Twin fully adjustable shocks, alloy swingarm
Front brakes: Dual 320mm discs, six-piston calipers
Rear brakes: Single 26omm disc twin-piston caliper
Wheel/Tyres 120/70 – 17, 190/50 – 17 Bridgestone
Seat Height: 790mm
Instruments: Analogue taco/speedo, clock, fuel gauge, trip meter, warning lights.