The Suzuki GSX-8R takes an ironic flip within the evolution of bikes. For many years we’ve extolled the virtues of sporty standard-style bikes over dramatically extra aggressive pure sportbikes, however American riders largely turned up their collective nostril at bare bikes and ignored them in favor of swoopier sportbikes.
The Honda 599 and 919 got here and went seemingly with out discover. Identical for Kawasaki’s Z750, BMW’s F 800 R, Yamaha’s FZ8, and Aprilia’s Shiver. The one actually profitable bare bikes had been the Ducati Monster and Suzuki SV650.
However now the script has been flipped, and gross sales of pure sportbikes are however a blip on the radar, whereas each producer efficiently sells sporty nakeds. A latest instance is Suzuki’s GSX-8S that debuted final 12 months. Powered by a brand new 776cc parallel-Twin additionally discovered within the V-Strom 800, the 8S proved to be each sporty and utilitarian, able to almost any sort of driving.
Associated: Suzuki GSX-8S Assessment | First Journey
And now right here we’re with the brand new GSX-8R, which is a barely sportier model of the 8S, but it surely’s a far cry from one thing like a GSX-R. You’ll discover the brand new fairing, however you won’t discover the brand new Showa suspension, accounting for the $440 value enhance over its stablemate’s $8,999 MSRP.
“We needed,” says Suzuki, “to create a brand new middle-class customary within the sport section that achieves excessive ranges of practicality and rider-friendliness.”
Street and Monitor | Suzuki GSX-8R Assessment
To display the breadth of capabilities supplied by the GSX-8R, Suzuki invited us to Palm Desert in California for a trip on rural and mountain roads, adopted the following day by periods at a racetrack.
First impressions had been favorable, because the 8R shows good match and end particulars that belie its sub-$10K price ticket. Three colorways can be found, and I feel all of them look nice. For my steed, I selected the Metallic Triton Blue model that finest represents Suzuki’s heritage. Scaling in at 452 lb with its 3.7-gal. tank full, it’s simple sufficient to wheel round however not precisely gentle. The seat is positioned at 31.9 inches.
Our avenue trip befell on a cold and damp day, climbing out of city from 440 toes above sea degree on the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway, cresting at almost 5,000 toes. I used to be grateful to be aboard the 8R reasonably than the 8S, as its fairing offered welcome shelter from the weather. The windscreen is low however fairly efficient, and I used to be additionally happy with the airflow deflection supplied by the fairing, which saved my legs shielded from the wind.
On a usually sunny California day, this highway invitations horizon-tilting lean angles, however damp sections and vehicle bottle-ups thwarted sporting maneuvers. It was tough to find out if the Dunlop Roadsmart 2 tires lacked grip or if it was merely the fault of the cool pavement. I switched the bike’s trip mode from A (lively) to B (primary) to assist reasonable throttle response at the side of the traction-control system, which could be set independently if desired.
Antilock brakes present one other degree of safety, though the system doesn’t profit from an IMU, so it doesn’t characteristic a cornering ABS operate. Regardless, the triple-disc brakes are exact, permitting a rider to deftly apply only a trace of utility to clean off 1 or 2 mph whereas angling into corners. The Nissin radially mounted entrance calipers ship a agency lever really feel regardless of not utilizing braided-steel traces.
Probably the most incessantly used rider help on the 8R is the usual quickshifter, which permits clutchless upshifts and auto-blipping downshifts. It really works fairly nicely however not with the seamlessness as skilled with different quickshifters that profit from knowledge gathered by IMUs.
After descending the mountain highway, we had been confronted with a boring straight one which offered the chance to settle in and consider the 8R’s cockpit and ergonomics.
The tubular handlebar from the 8S is traded for a pair of clip-ons which are about 2 inches decrease and a smidge farther away from a rider. They ship a sportier driving place however one which’s a mile away from actually aggressive, related in ergos to the GSX-S1000GT sport-tourer. A reasonably tight seat-to-footpeg distance may cramp riders lengthy of leg, however the seat proved to be snug after hour-long stints within the saddle.
Associated: Suzuki GSX-S1000GT Assessment | Street Check
The 5-inch TFT instrumentation from the 8S can be used on the 8R, offering a brilliant and readable show with a big analog tachometer. It’s a contemporary however primary system that’s simple and intuitive to navigate by way of switches on the left handlebar.
Motor’n | Suzuki GSX-8R Assessment
This was my first probability to pattern Suzuki’s first all-new engine, and the 776cc parallel-Twin proved to be amiable and sweetly tuned. It makes use of the Low‐RPM Help System that routinely will increase engine pace because the clutch lever is launched for easy getaways. The patented Suzuki Cross Balancer mechanism, consisting of two counterbalancers, tames vibration past what’s skilled from most parallel-Twins.
The engine is pleasant and vibe-free, however what it isn’t is thrilling. It makes accessible and usable energy, supplying the mandatory grunt to elicit satisfaction whereas performing most avenue duties, however when pointed down a abandoned highway, it feels a bit strangled at its high finish. Energy hounds will want for extra.
Suspenders Shock | Suzuki GSX-8R Assessment
An improve from the 8S is the Showa suspension that replaces the Kayaba elements. There are two surprises right here. First, there isn’t any suspension adjustability aside from rear preload. Second, it’s exceptional how nicely it really works at offering snug bump absorption in addition to respectable chassis composure.
The 41mm Separate Operate Fork-Huge Piston inverted fork properly holds up its finish of the cut price with 5.1 inches of journey. The SFF-BP design makes use of an oil-bathed spring in a single fork leg, whereas the opposite leg makes use of a big-piston damping circuit, which saves a little bit of weight whereas delivering extra exact damping traits. The link-type rear suspension incorporates a Showa shock that has a single-rate spring reasonably than the progressive coil on the 8S. It makes use of a cam-style spring-preload adjuster for simpler changes than the extra primary locking-ring design.
As arrange, I observed the rear finish lacked a little bit of rebound damping and consulted with Suzuki engineers. They advised me the 8R is sprung for a 165-lb rider, so to accommodate for weightier American physiques, they added a step of preload on all of the check bikes. My geared-up 155-lb mass doesn’t require as a lot spring, so I backed off the preload one place and loved higher rebound-damping stability.
The ultimate portion of our avenue trip was accompanied by sunny skies and dry roads that culminated in a enjoyable descent on Montezuma Grade into Borrego Springs. Lastly, we might push the 8R like a sportbike, leaning into corners briskly sufficient to skim the pavement with footpegs. Good front-end suggestions had me salivating for exploring the bike’s limits on the twisty Chuckwalla Valley Raceway.
Chucky Cheese | Suzuki GSX-8R Assessment
After we arrived at Chuckwalla, I smiled as I noticed a row of GSX-8Rs prepared for flogging and fitted with Dunlop Sportmax Q5+ tires. With heat pavement and grippier rubber, I donned my leathers and shortly started dragging knees.
Sportbike snobs have disdain for bikes with out aluminum frames, however similar to the Kawasaki ZX-4RR I examined final 12 months, bikes with metal frames don’t have anything to be ashamed of except for some additional poundage. The 8R demonstrates its GSX-R heritage and gives a succesful and safe platform to discover sporting limits.
I didn’t anticipate a 452-lb sportbike with sport-touring ergos to comport itself so nicely on the racetrack, but it surely wasn’t the primary time I’ve been mistaken, because the missus typically jogs my memory. A agency set of reliable brakes combines with impartial steering responses for reliable composure when leaned over all the way in which to – and typically past – the footpegs decking out and grinding on the tarmac.
It’s solely on the straightaways the place the 8R comes up a bit quick. The 776cc Twin that works so nicely within the V-Strom 800 and in most avenue situations with the 8S and 8R feels a bit breathless when exploring the higher reaches of the tachometer. Its redline is simply shy of 10,000 rpm, but it surely’s claimed to provide peak energy at 8,500 revs, so there’s no benefit to screaming it out. After we dyno’d the identically tuned GSX-8S, it spat out 76 hp to its rear wheel at 8,300 rpm. I found the 8R gathers pace higher when leaving some revs on the desk and shifting at 9,000 rpm.
Regardless, I can attest that should you took a GSX-8R to a trackday, you’d be impressed by its composure and sure-footedness whereas scratching pegs. Chuckwalla has a reasonably easy floor, so the rudimentary suspension wasn’t vastly taxed and held up each ends with out criticism.
Sum Up | Suzuki GSX-8R Assessment
The GSX-8R’s finest attribute is that it straddles a large line on the planet of motorcycling – an all-in-one machine. It’s docile and pleasant for commuting duties, but it surely’s additionally enjoyable and fascinating when ridden like a sportbike. Strap on some baggage, and it may be a fairly cozy and succesful sport-touring rig. Suzuki’s accent line presents facet instances, tankbags, a taller windscreen, and heated grips to assist transport you to the following horizon in type and luxury.
Complaints concerning the 8R are few. I’d’ve preferred to have seen a mildly hot-rodded motor to up the ante from the 8S, and an aluminum body would’ve trimmed a number of kilos from a reasonably portly curb weight. An IMU and fuller suspension adjustability can be welcome additions.
However all these issues would add to Suzuki’s construct prices, leading to a motorcycle that may seemingly push previous $12K. On this period of ever-increasing costs, the GSX-8R’s MSRP of $9,439 hits a candy spot of worth and capabilities that set it other than related choices in the marketplace. To ease the way in which into 8R possession, Suzuki is providing 1.98% introductory financing for it.
Previous to testing the bike, the jaded and skilled journalists on the launch didn’t appear terribly enthusiastic about driving what appeared to be a comparatively tame motorbike. After two days experiencing the GSX-8R on highway and monitor, our preconceptions had been banished. It proved to be a type of uncommon machines that really feel better than the sum of its elements.
2024 Suzuki GSX-8R Specs
- Base Worth: $9,439
- Web site: SuzukiCycles.com
- Guarantee: 1 yr., unltd. miles
- Engine Kind: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
- Displacement: 776cc
- Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 70.0mm
- Horsepower: 82.0 @ 8,500 rpm (manufacturing facility declare)
- Torque: 57.5 lb-ft @ 6,800 rpm (manufacturing facility declare)
- Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/help moist clutch
- Remaining Drive: Chain
- Wheelbase: 57.7 in.
- Rake/Path: 25.0 levels/4.1 in.
- Seat Top: 31.9 in.
- Moist Weight: 452 lb (manufacturing facility declare)
- Gas Capability: 3.7 gal