QUIKSPIN: Suzuki GSX650F - Jack of all Trades

14 August 2012

Suzuki’s GSX650F should be labeled the true all-rounder. It’s got touring type comfort and practicality while at the same time it’s got sportsbike like handling and engine performance. It’s a machine you can ride as a daily commuter, on weekend fangs, trips to the GP or even ride-days if you really wanted to.

Essentially, the GSX650F is an evolved and faired baby Bandit. So it should come as no surprise that hiding beneath the full length fairing is an inline four-cylinder 654cc mill. The engine’s power has been tuned for the low-rpm range, with modest but not arm-tearing force from idle through to midrange. Above 5500rpm you’ve got much better response, and it’s at this speed in top gear you are sitting on 110km/h making for safe overtaking. There’s enough engine performance for the road, and you’d have to be Cam Donald to want anymore than this from a 650.

The fueling for the engine is via Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve System and, as is so often the case with all Suzukis' running this system, it is flawless. The gearbox works just as well, but is quite sensitive to set-up have the lever set slightly too low or high and you’ll have a ’box full of neutrals.

The chassis, while basic in its architecture, works well. The front suspension has preload adjustment, with rebound and preload adjustment available at the rear. On standard settings, I’d have to ride a lot harder than I’d be prepared to on the road to find its limits. It is well controlled on bumpy roads, doesn’t wallow at high-speed and is firm enough to work the Bridgestone rubber when you are riding hard. It’s a great all-round setting and one that will only ever need adjustment for carrying heavy loads or at the racetrack.

The brakes don’t look at all different to GSX-Rs of a few years ago and are strong enough, with good feel. And it’s not only the brakes that look GSX-R, with the switchgear, dash, wheels (size aside, of course) and brakes all looking like they’d come off recent Suzi models.

The ride triangle is neutral – there’s no great reach to the ’bar and the ’pegs aren’t set all high in comparison to the plush seat. And in getting that comfortable feel, there has been no compromise to ground clearance. The handlebar and footpegs are rubber mounted and totally cut-off the vibes from the engine, even with its low gearing at high-speeds. Pillion ergonomics are as relaxed as the rider’s seat, with a chunky rear grab rail doubling as a luggage tie-down point along with a bunch of other hooks.

Under the seat, there is next to no space not taken up by the comprehensive toolkit. You’ll be lucky to fit a pair of light summer gloves under there.

As you’d expect from Suzuki, there is a high level of fit and finish on the bike. The gloss black finish on the frame and engine covers is of comparable level of top-price European sportsbikes.

The GSX650F is as versatile as you want, and to make it even more so, there is also a LAMs-approved version available for learner riders, which makes sense. It’s a sensible choice of motorcycle if you want a bike that can do it all.

Configuration Inline four-cylinder
Cylinder head DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Capacity 656cc
Bore/stroke 65.5 x 48.7mm
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Cooling liquid
Fueling EFI, 4 x Keihin throttle bodies
with SDTV (Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve)
Power Not given
Torque Not given
Type Six-speed
Clutch Wet
Final drive Chain
Frame material Tubular steel
Frame layout Cradle type
Rake 26?
Trail 108mm
Front: 41mm, telescopic fork, 130mm travel
Rear: Showa monoshock, rebound and preload
adjustment, 128mm travel
Wheels Three-spoke, aluminium alloy
Front: 3.5 x 17
Rear: 5.0 x 17
Tyres Bridgestone Battlax BT011F/ BT020R
Front: 120/70ZR17 (58W)
Rear: 160/60/ZR17 (69W)
Front: Twin 310mm discs, four-piston calipers
Rear: 240mm disc, single-piston caliper
Control: NA
Weight 241kg (Wet, claimed)
Seat height 790mm
Max width 760mm
Max height 1235mm
Wheelbase 1470mm
Fuel capacity 19L
Fuel consumption 5.4L/100km
Top speed 230km/h (est)
Quality of finish
Matt-finish swingarm
Colour range
No centrestand

Protect your Suzuki. Call Shannons Insurance on 13 46 46 to get a quote today.