Riding Suzuki's new £14,499 GSX-S1000GX sports tourer here in Portugal for the first time is a thrill. It's sporty, superbike-fast, simple to ride, comfortable, and every bit a 'tall rounder' in the mold of BMW's fiery S1000XR and Yamaha's wildly popular Tracer 9 GT+.
It provides excellent all-day comfort, speed, and technology, but falls short of being the whole package. Its new electronic suspension provides a comfortable ride and sharpens brilliantly at high speeds, although larger tyres and stronger brakes would improve handling and riding pleasure. The engine is definitely speedy, but it lacks bottom flavor, a larger top gear for cruising, and more balanced riding modes. It's well-finished and equipped, but it misses some of its competitors' extras, such as the requirement for tools to adjust the screen and the lack of a top box option.
The Suzuki GSX-1000GX is based on the GSX-S1000GT and has longer travel suspension, a thicker seat, taller bars, and a riding posture that falls midway between a sports tourer and an adventure bike. It's spacious enough for a six-footer, but not so lofty that smaller riders may have trouble getting their feet on the ground.
The GX is not only a comfortable place to ride, but it is also Suzuki's most sophisticated road bike. It boasts a new Bosch six-axis IMU that handles cornering ABS, traction control, anti-wheelie, and lean-sensitive torque control, just like the now-discontinued GSX-R1000R. It all adds a layer of safety while shooting in and out of corners. To compete with its high opponents, the GX is also outfitted with new semi-active Showa forks and a rear shock.
Suzuki may have been late to the electronic suspension party, but it complements the GX's flexibility well. With the push of a button, you may select a gentle or firm ride, and rear preload can be adjusted in auto (self-leveling) mode or static settings for rider, rider/luggage, and rider/pillion.
It takes some fumbling to get it right, and on its default settings, the 232kg Suzuki (6kg heavier than the GT) understeers, especially at low speeds, but it's simple to modify with a deft touch of a button.
To load the front and maximize traction from the low grip Dunlop Roadsport 2 rubber and slippery Portuguese roads, we settle on a medium damping setup and additional rear preload. Normal-speed handling isn't particularly snappy, but as you accelerate, the fork and shock damping improve and the GX steers crisper, aided by broader new bars. It rails around curves at high speeds and exudes feel. However, it would shine even brighter with stickier tires, and it has ample of stopping power, like its GSX-S1000 brothers, but with a regrettably wooden feel at the lever.