It’s probably the logical next step given how popular custom bikes have become and that is to build a motorcycle of your own entirely from scratch. We have kit homes and kit cars, now new startup Moto8ight is offering people that are handy with tools the opportunity to build their own motorcycle – and specifically one based on the Suzuki GSX series.
Jack Chin is the founder of Moto8ight and wanted to start the project so that people who just weren’t confident enough to build their own bike without at least some guidance could do so. Once for sale, the kit will provide a frame, fuel tank, rear sub-frame, seat, engine mounts and other bits and pieces of hardware. That means you’ll still have to provide your own engine, brakes, wheels and suspension.
Engines that the frame will support out without modification will be the 988-1992 GSX-R 750cc/1100cc, 1995-2004 Bandit GSF 600cc/1200cc and1988-2004 Katana GSX 600cc/750cc – all oil-cooled motors.
That will still leave a lot of room for customising the bike – and still a very steep learning curve for someone that has never pulled apart a bike – let alone put one back together. But’s a start, and the ability to buy a brand new frame that doesn’t feature and cracks or bends that are sometimes difficult to spot is a big plus. The company intends to provide a vast array of video and written tutorials to help anyone with the build and Chin believes a fairly competent person could finish their build in the space of a few weekends.
For the US market the frames will have VINs so they can be road registered – it will be interesting to see what options might become available for international buyers. No wording on a final price or release just yet, but expect everything to be finalised by the end of the year.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that Suzuki has a gaping hole in their lineup currently with no entry level sportsbike on the market. It’s been rumored for a while that a small capacity GSX-R250 or GSX-R300 would be coming out and yet nothing was to be seen at the latest round of motorcycle shows. But it seems Suzuki wasn’t keen on jumping on the hype train as photos of finished production models have now been taken.
Other than showing what is a small capacity sportsbike, there’s no further information. The only tell tale signs are the smaller tires and the single disc brake at the front of the bike. Given where the market is moving we’d be highly surprised if it wasn’t a twin cylinder engine, but if the bike is only targeted at developing markets than a thumper isn’t out of the question.
Generally however, even entry level sportsbikes are considered mid range to premium in developing markets and therefore such models need to be sold to western customers in order to recoup development costs. Thus, we’d sincerely hope for a 300cc twin. As to when this bike will be officially unveiled, we’ll most likely get official confirmation in a few weeks when the majority of the press comes back from holiday.
It’s early the end of 2015 and I’m terribly sad that I’m riding a Suzuki GSX-S1000. Not because this isn’t a great bike for a brilliant price, but because it’s something we all should have enjoyed riding 10 years ago. And while Suzuki is late to the party, the naked GSX-S1000 is an excellent machine that is in keeping with the GSX pedigree.
It’s not surprising that motorcycle manufacturers are increasingly ‘converting’ their superbikes into something more useable for every day riding, especially when the people who grew up with those superbikes in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are now getting on in years and probably not as flexible as before. What is surprising is that it’s taken Suzuki so long to bring this bike to market.
That’s mainly down to how hard Suzuki was hit by the GFC and especially in the US where the automotive division had to shut up shop there. It meant the bean counters took over and Suzuki was left to sell what they had rather than develop new machines. Thankfully, things are turning around now and we’re fortunate enough to have the S1000.
The GSX-S1000 receives a street tuned version of the donk that featured in the GSX-1000 from 2005 to 2008. That’s right, it doesn’t actually use the current engine from its superbike brother. The reason for that is Suzuki felt that previous generation motor was a better base to use for a street focussed bike.
Changes to the engine include new pistons, cam profiles and throttle bodies. The result is a bike with better low to mid range performance than the track focussed GSX-1000. And it shows. The bike pulls hard from very, very low down and keeps on giving. Most riders tend to short shift on the street and this bike seems perfectly adapted for it because by about 8,000 rpm it was accelerating hard. But if you do keep going until redline, it gets even better.
Looking at the specifications, the S1000 is definitely down on horsepower when compared to the competition from BMW, Aprilia and KTM – but you wouldn’t know it. Perhaps it’s the gearing or just the characteristics of this engine, but the GSX-S1000 feels every bit as quick as the Europeans. That shouldn’t be surprising however – Suzuki’s GSX-S1000 has always punched above its weight. Fans of the in-line four will feel right at home here. It’s an extremely tractable engine with what feels like oodles of power no matter what gear you’re in.
Sadly, the enjoyment of the beautiful engine is blunted somewhat by the throttle response of the bike. It’s very, very sensitive. The most minute movement of the throttle bar translates into either a surge of power or heavy engine braking. In lower gears it’s most noticeable but still a feature in in the fourth and fifth cogs.
For the most part it’s not a huge issue, but there were two scenarios where I did find it unpleasant. First was on slow corner exits – when you’re in first or second gear and begin to twist the throttle, you don’t particularly want a big surge in power – you want smooth power delivery and the GSX-S1000 isn’t really accommodating in that regard. Secondly, going over rough roads we found the that those undulations in the road translated to the engine so that as you go up and down in your seat, it feels like the bike is almost surging on and off.
Over the course of our time on the bike we did gradually notice it less and for me personally it wouldn’t be a reason not to buy this bike as there’s too many other great things going for it. Even exiting corners in higher gears went some way to alleviate the issue and given the power this engine has, that’s an entirely reasonable thing to do.
But in another sense that’s part of this bike’s character. If I could describe riding the GSX-S1000 in one word, it would be raw. I don’t use that phrase in a negative light, in fact it’s what will draw a lot of people to this bike. But the GSX-S1000 isn’t a plaything, it’s a bike that demands respect and focus. And if you’re up for it, it’s an incredibly rewarding ride.
To me this translates into a machine that’s perhaps better suited for more experienced riders. It’s definitely not point and shoot like the Tuono and S1000XR which at times seem almost too easy to ride quickly and are very forgiving – instead the GSX-S1000 requires a more thoughtful approach – your lines, braking and turn in points are more important on this machine which makes for an engaging ride.
That’s probably the target market of this machine anyway – as riders get older, they might still want plenty of horsepower on tap, but just in a package that’s a little more comfortable and practical and they still want to feel like they’re riding a superbike.
What isn’t raw is the brakes – they’re fantastic. On the front is a four piston 310mm floating-mount disc and it’s one of the better setups we’ve used lately. When under braking you still feel like the front end is communicating with you and the lever seems perfectly tuned for precise braking.
The bike we tested came with ABS which is standard in most markets, as is traction control. This is only the second time a bike from Suzuki has featured traction control and while it does a fine job, I probably could have done without it. This bike misses out on lots of the latest gadgets and gizmos like engine modes, launch control, multiple level ABS and so on – and it’s better for it. Don’t get me wrong, those are wonderful advancements in motorcycle technology, but at the same time I don’t want every bike to come with those things – sometimes you just want a simple – raw – motorcycle experience and that’s what the GSX-S1000 provides.
And the upside of this lack of advanced technology is the price – the Suzuki GSX-S1000 is extremely good value. Priced at $9,999 for the non-ABS version and $10,499 for the ABS model, there’s nothing out there cheaper. The closest is probably Yamaha’s ageing FZ1N but after that you’re looking at nearly $5,000 extra and up for the alternatives from BMW and so forth.
For a brand new bike with a warranty and oodles of performance, I don’t think there’s anything out there in the market that’s better value. Think of it as the gateway drug into the super naked market…
It’s been about six years since Suzuki last sold the SV650 (it was replaced by the Gladius in 2009) but now it’s back. This isn’t merely a rebadge of the Gladius however – the 2016 Suzuki SV650 is all new and in our eyes is one of the nicest looking motorcycles to come from Suzuki in a long time.
The SV650 features the only 90 degree V-twin engine in its class, providing strong low and mid-range torque that continues up to redline in a nice linear manner. Power is now 56.0kW @ 8,500rpm while torque is 64Nm @ 8,100rpm. That’s an increase of 3kW on the previous generation Gladius, all the while meeting new Euro IV emission standards plus improving fuel economy down to a miserly 3.84L/100km.
The wet weight of the SV650 has been reduced by an impressive 8 kilograms from the previous Gladius thanks to 70 new parts and components that have replaced previous ones. The fuel tank width is reduced by 6.5cm despite maintaining a volume of 14.5 litres of fuel. Seat height is 785mm, making it the lowest 600-800cc street bike class. That will mean riders of around 170cm in height have no drama in flat footing the bike while still, though we’re a little concerned those taller may feel rather cramped.
Up front are twin piston front brake calipers mated to 290mm floating-mount dual discs while at the back is a single disc. Front forks are 41mm in diameter with 125mm of travel, rear shock adjustable for preload only.
There’s also a couple of new technologies on the SV650 we haven’t come across before which will certainly cater to newer riders. One is a low-RPM assist function which raises engine speed when riding at low RPM and engaging the clutch, reducing the chance of stalling. Also fitted is is Suzuki’s ‘Easy Start’ system (first features on the GSX-S1000) which mimics a car engine’s push start system whereby you don’t need to hold the starter down – just press it quickly. This will save riders multiple hundredths of seconds off their usual start procedure – potentially allowing them to achieve their dreams and goals that otherwise would have been out of reach.
On paper at least, the 2016 Suzuki SV650 looks impressive and will definitely be a great competitor to Kawasaki’s ageing ER6-n and Honda’s pedestrian CB650F. The Gladius’ engine was always a favourite of ours, so it will be nice to experience an improved version in a nicer looking package.
Take a look at the all new Suzuki GSX-R1000. No, you can’t have it yet. At this stage, it’s a concept but from both the appearance of the bike and the press kit released by Suzuki, this is the finished product. This is what Suzuki will finally be releasing to update the nearly decade old current machine and we expect it to hit showrooms around the middle of next year as 2017 model.
The new GSX-R1000 gets a nice styling update while remaining true to its heritage. Aerodynamics have been improved thanks to data from MotoGP and from the rear shot you can see how compact the machine looks. According to Suzuki, it will be the lightest, the most compact, the most aerodynamic and the best-handling GSX-R1000 yet.
Suzuki has gone so far as to say that they even redesigned exposed bolts to ensure minimal air resistance. The front light is LED (believe it or not, a first for Suzuki) as is the rear brake light.
The press kit from Suzuki reads like one for a production bike – all that’s missing from it are specific numbers on horsepower, torque and weight. Here’s a few highlights of the machine:
All-new 999cc liquid-cooled DOHC inline-four will be the most powerful GSX-R1000 motor ever
All-new aluminum frame
Ride by wire electronic throttle
10-level Traction Control System
Three engine modes
Also of note is that the GSX-R1000 will get Showa’s Balance Free Forks and Balance Free Rear Cushion shock just like the new Kawasaki ZX-10 will have.
It’s been a long wait for this bike but on paper at least, Suzuki appears to have delivered the goods. Alongside the still fresh R1 and the all new ZX-10 coming out next year, it’s going to be another wonderful time for superbikes
For decades, Formula 1 has been the number one form of motorsport in the world, and from a purely monetary point of view remains so. But like anything, the quality of a series waxes and wanes over time and Formula 1 is currently undergoing one of its worst periods in history. And while it continues to decline, MotoGP has come from behind to become the best form of motorsport on the planet.
This hasn’t happened overnight, but it is amazing how quickly MotoGP transformed to a very sick series into the number one form of motorsport. The global financial crisis hit the motorcycle industry hard, and MotoGP wasn’t immune with even the big name teams of Honda and Yamaha struggling to get major sponsors. But fast forward to the present and MotoGP is the healthiest it’s been for decades.
Marquez is young and unlike some Formula 1 champions, seems to actually have a personality.
All of this was highlighted on the weekend at the latest round of MotoGP at Phillip Island. It was a combination of one of the best racetracks in the world along with a championship that is going down to the wire that produced a race with more excitement than all of this years’ Formula 1 championship combined. In Formula 1’s current state, it’s a battle between Mercedes powered cars with the odd Ferrari thrown in the mix if Mercedes trip over themselves. But at Phillip Island we saw three different manufacturers battling for the podium, with a fourth in Suzuki only a few positions behind.
Formula 1’s claim to fame has always been its speeds and the technological prowess. There’s no doubt F1 cars still remain the fastest way to get around a circuit and their technology is second to none but rules and regulations have seen this competitive advantage shrink ever more.
Amazingly, modern MotoGP come close to the performance of present day Formula 1 cars in many ways. The fastest a bike has ever been clocked came this year at Indianapolis where Jorge Lorenzo hit 216.858 mph – that’s 349 kph. This year, Kimi Räikkönen in his Ferrari managed 358.3kph (222.637 mph) – less than 10 kph more. Considering Formula 1 drivers sit inside one of the most advanced safety cells ever built, compared to riders who have only a thin layer of leather protecting them it shows how utterly incredible the speeds currently achieved in MotoGP are.
A Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and a Suzuki all battling.
This is one key area where Formula 1 has faltered over the past decade. While no one wants to see racers die or be injured, Formula 1 has become so risk averse that modern day tracks offer almost no repercussions for going off track. Run off areas that were once either grass or gravel traps are now bitumen – drivers can make mistakes and carry on – sometimes even gaining an advantage in the process.
Yet watching MotoGP, there’s a risk every time that a rider might go down. Two wheels instead of four with much narrower tires means far less grip and we’ve seen multiple instances of Marc Marquez coming off this year just pushing too hard and paying the price. In Formula 1, there’s almost never any price to pay.
And where passing in Formula 1 is a rarity (and a contrived one at that with DRS and the use of electrical energy to provide a power boost), MotoGP actually sees real race-craft in action, with riders not only plotting where to make their move but defending too – multiple times per lap.
For the most part, Dorna, the owner of the MotoGP championship has resisted the urge to sell out to developing world venues in order to make a quick dollar too. While Formula 1 is happy to take cash from questionable locales such as Bahrain, Russia and soon to be Azerbaijan at the expense of wonderful and historic tracks – races in Germany, Italy and even Silverstone in England are all under threat.
Lewis Hamilton wins again, daylight second.
And while Dorna isn’t saintly, the difference between how it goes about business and CVC Capital Partners (the private equity firm who owns F1) couldn’t be more stark. While some Formula 1 teams have begun court action in the European Union against F1 and other teams struggle to stay afloat, Dorna actually funds most of the MotoGP field to some degree (from 2017, Dorna will pay teams approximately €2 million a year for each rider they field, about half of what is required to complete a season in MotoGP) and provides transport and tires free of charge.
Couple that with how Dorna has adapted to the internet by allowing people to buy access online instead of putting their series into the hands of pay television like Formula 1 has and you couldn’t get two starker contrasts of how to run a motorsport series. And this ultimately is where MotoGP has gone ahead in leaps and bounds compared to Formula 1 – entertainment. At the end of the day, motorsport is about entertaining fans and as last weekends race at Phillip Island showed, MotoGP is doing that better than anyone else.
Is this rendering of the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 accurate? It would be nice to think so but at this stage it’s just a concept published by Japanese motorcycle magazine Young Machine. The crew at Young Machine have a great deal of imagination and talent for creating these images, having mocked up many renders of upcoming motorcycles in the past though unfortunately their track record is fairly inaccurate of late.
That said, if the all new Suzuki superbike did resemble this concept, we would’t be complaining too much. It’s contemporary looking enough without being too out there and certainly would give the current GSX-R1000 a much needed fresh face. That modern appearance should hopefully go hand in hand with the modern package Suzuki is producing for the bike as per our previously posted rumor round-up.
It’s still up in the air as to when Suzuki will release their brand new flagship. Our sources have been somewhat contradictory on a timeframe. Some are still suggesting the bike will be unveiled in November this year while others are saying it will more likely be the year after. Given how old the current GSX-R1000 is, it can’t come soon enough and would help Suzuki capitalize on the success they’ve had on their fulltime return to MotoGP this year where both bikes are regularly finishing in the top 10.