September 27, 2022 By John Mendoza Photos by J.R. Villanueva

Best Buy Naked Sportbike

Back in 2017, I was in the market for a new motorcycle to replace my then-aging sportbike. I was at a point in my riding life where I no longer desired a full-on repli-racer for the road. I was already in my late 30s and was no longer a spring chicken. I couldn’t endure saddle time with wrist and back pain that goes along with riding a track weapon on the street no matter how cool it looked.  

That being said, even to date, I still am partial to sport riding and prefer sportbike performance from my motorcycles.

Back then, I was fortunate to have been able to ride the 1st generation BMW S1000R as my training bike in California Superbike School.  As you may know, the S1000R is a stripped-down naked version of the S1000RR superbike. What you probably don’t know is that the 1st generation S1000RR is rumored to have been based on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5.  

I have had a few GSX-Rs in the past, my first one was a ‘97 GSX-R750 SRAD and I’ve always loved them. I’ve always been comfortable and confident when on a “gixxer”. Naturally, I checked out what Suzuki had to offer since an S1000R was out of my price range. 

Compared to its main rival at the time, the Kawasaki Z1000 (the MT10 wasn’t yet available in the PH), the Suzuki GSX-S1000 was a much better platform for the kind of riding that I do so on I went to Wheeltek Suzuki in Makati and got myself a 2018 spec GSX-S1000 in black and red. Compared to the 2016 version, this one is equipped with a slipper clutch and had about a 2 or 3-hp bump over the original. 

My old GSX-S1000

Within a few months of ownership, I decided to replace the rear shock with a 5-way adjustable KYB unit due to the lack of damping and adjustability in the OEM. I then replaced the stock Dunlop D214 tires with better Pirellis as those Dunlops gave little in the way of feedback even though it had adequate traction. I also found that the fueling was harsh and snatchy, feeling more like an on/off switch rather than a precise volume control. Hence, I addressed that by deleting the catalytic converter, replacing the air filter, and having the bike reflashed and dynoed. The reflash gave the added bonus of gifting my “Gixxus” 153 hp at the rear wheel. To add modern convenience, I also installed a Woolich Racing quick-shifter which only works on upshifts since the GSX-S1000 didn’t have ride-by-wire technology back then. Over time, I changed a few more things like a wider Pro-Taper Carmichael Rise Evo handlebar and some cosmetic touches like blacking out most of the red bits and installing bar-end mirrors. 

Last track day with my old “gixxus”.

To say that I was in love with my GSX-S1000 is an understatement. It allowed me to do everything I did on a sportbike better. I was riding more and even nipping at superbike heels at the track if not devouring them entirely. I planned to keep the bike for a very long time and keep improving it by adding more go-fast and handle-better goodies. Sadly, the Pandemic struck and I was hit hard by Covid. With soaring bills and our livelihoods threatened, I had to sacrifice and let go of my beloved GSX-S1000 after only 3 years of ownership. 

Fast forward to today, imagine my delight when Suzuki Philippines delivered this latest version of the GSX-S1000 or as I so endearingly call it, “Gixxus” at my doorstep.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000 in Metallic Triton Blue

Compared to the 1st generation, this one looks more like an ’80s manga robot to me. Like something that came out of Macross or Gundam.  While the styling works better for most people, I do quite miss the smooth-flowing lines of the original GSX-S1000. This angular and edgy styling doesn’t look half bad though. I just prefer smoother, more sensual lines for a naked roadster. I feel like this would look so dated in 5 years’ time but hey, that’s just me. I’m sure this design is a delight to a whole lot more people than I. 

Fully tucked in as I would on a sportbike down a stretch.

Riding the GSX-S1000 starkly reminded me of my love affair with the first-generation model. Right off the bat, it felt just right and I was home. There wasn’t much in the way of trying to get used to riding one again as I was instantly at ease and confident. 

I took it up the mountains and it was magical. It felt as if it were a perfect ball gently and securely rolling from side to side with perfect grace, poise, and stability. Of course, Suzuki did a number of updates to the “Gixxus”. Didn’t think it was all superficial now, did you? 

Corners very well!

The current GSX-S1000 still has its old bones. It’s the same lighter in-weight chassis and swing arm combo than the GSX-R’s it was based on and the mighty GSX-R1000 K5 power plant for its heart but man, did they update its brain! It’s like Suzuki heard all my gripes about the previous generation GSXS and did their own version of what I did to mine save for the aesthetics.

The snatchy throttle which was my main issue with the older version is now virtually gone! Yeah, sure the ride-by-wire system lacks that direct feel to the rear tire I loved about the cabled throttle body actuation but is a heck of a lot easier to ride out of the box without having to spend moolah on a reflash. Suzuki also added about 2 or 3 more horsepower over the older generation bringing the power up to 150hp at the crank. One of the major improvements is the choice of OEM tires. These Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires are a huge step up over the old D214 which was an already discontinued model from Dunlop at the time of the original GSX-S1000’s introduction back in 2015. Unlike the D214, you get a lot more feedback about what the tires are doing mid-corner and are a more suitable companion to the superb mechanical grip of the Gixxus’ chassis. 

I still had to adjust the rear shock rebound damping to about half a turn from fully closed to make it work well enough for me but unlike the previous model’s unit, this feels much improved though I would still opt to replace it with a fully adjustable shock. A plethora of electronic wizardry transformed the Gixxus from having just the most basic 3-level traction control system to having a more modern electronics package that’s composed of the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System or S.I.R.S with its 3 power modes (Active, Basic, and Comfort), a 5 level advanced traction control suite and as found on the previous generation, easy start (one-touch start) and low RPM assist (enhances the revs to go higher when needed in stop and go situations) systems. A bi-directional (autoblipper) quick shifter now comes as standard which works perfectly well and in usual Suzuki fashion shifts with buttery smoothness at speed.

ABS now comes standard on both ends with the 4-piston Brembo calipers paired to 310mm rotors up front and a single piston Nissin caliper coupled with a 240mm disc at the rear carried over from the previous gen. As with the original model, the brakes will benefit from aftermarket sintered pads. Though it stops very well, it lacks the strong initial bite the purebred supernakeds have.

Brembo front calipers,

The new LCD instrument panel now displays more information at a glance though it may be harder to read in bright sunlight compared to the older unit. All the electronics are easily accessible via the left-hand switchgear and can be adjusted on the fly while riding. It’s a neat and very intuitive layout that won’t leave you perplexed as to how to set the bike up to your preference while on the go. Full LED lighting now illuminates your surroundings with an all-new stacked dual headlight design that could replace any droid’s face in a Star Wars movie.

New LCD Instrument Cluster

 

Even the bars were widened by 23mm or almost an inch from the old unit just like what I did to my old one. 

It seems that Suzuki really knew what was needed to make a great bike even better with minimal cost by concentrating on the things that really matter. Sure, Suzuki could have splashed a bit more on new wheels, a TFT dash, a fully adjustable rear shock, cornering ABS, radially mounted brake master and a 6 axis IMU but then the GSX-S1000 wouldn’t be priced at 745,000 pesos which is an absolute steal considering the performance you get out of the box. 

The Suzuki GSX-S1000 stands right at the border gates of Super Naked territory if it doesn’t have its foot in the door already. In the right hands, it can be a weapon that is able to give super-nakeds and superbikes a run for their money. 

Fast, light, and agile.

Riding the GSX-S1000 can be as comfortable as on any standard motorcycle. It can be as docile and serene as any touring bike. My 5ft, 6inch frame has no trouble reaching the ground and can easily stand flat on one foot at a time. It feels light and nimble inspiring great confidence even in slow-speed stop-and-go traffic. Poke the GSX-S1000 with a stick and it has the capability to melt your face off with sheer brute force. That old K5 motor is a gem that pulls with gusto and confidence all across the rev range. It has so much grunt that I keep forgetting I’m in 6th gear in traffic at times because it just pulls. The spread of power is unusually linear for an inline four and is a pure joy to ride. 

With the new GSX-S1000, I’m home. It does everything I ask of it so very familiarly well. I push to lay it on its ear, it says “yes please,” I squeeze for more power, and it’ll effortlessly melt rubber. On board the Gixxus with my knee on the deck, ahhhh pure riding bliss with not a care in the world. The Suzuki GSX-S1000 is available in 2 color variants, Metallic Matte Mechanical Gray and Metallic Triton Blue.

So easy to drop it on its ear.

If I were to put my money down right here, right now (considering my finances), It’ll be on the thinking man’s best buy naked sportbike, that’s what the Suzuki GSX-S1000 is. 

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

Engine
999cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder, DOHC
Bore x Stroke
73.4 mm x 59.0 mm (2.890 in. x 2.323 in.)
Compression Ratio
12.2:1

Fuel System
Fuel injection with Ride-by-Wire electronic throttle bodies

Starter
Electric

Lubrication
Wet sump

Clutch
Wet, multi-plate SCAS type

Transmission
6-speed constant mesh
Final Drive
Chain, RK525GSH, 525 x 116 links

Suspension Front
Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped

Suspension Rear
Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped

Brakes Front
Brembo, 4-piston, twin disc, ABS-equipped

Brakes Rear
Nissin, 1-piston, single disc, ABS-equipped

Tires Front
120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless

Tires Rear
190/50ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless

Fuel Tank Capacity
19.0 L (5.0 US gal.)

Color
Metallic Triton Blue or Metallic Matte Mechanical Gray

Ignition
Electronic ignition (transistorized)

Spark Plug
NGK CR9EIA-9 or DENSO IU27D Iridium-style

Headlight
Stacked LED

Tail Light
LED

Overall Length
2115 mm (83.3 in.)

Overall Width
810 mm (31.9 in.)

Overall Height
1080 mm (42.5 in.)

Wheelbase
1460 mm (57.5 in.)

Ground Clearance
140 mm (5.5 in.)

Seat Height
810 mm (31.9 in.)

Curb Weight
214 kg (472 lb.)

Riding Gear:

Helmet – Arai RX7X 

Suit – Alpinestars Atem 

Gloves – Alpinestars SP2 V3

Boots – Alpinestars Supertech R

Comms – Sena 20S Evo

 

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