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The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT is an understated sports-tourer that's capable of punching well above its weight.

Anyone who tells you Japanese bikes lack individuality hasn’t ridden a Suzuki GSX-S1000GT. Between their tell-tale induction howl and well-sorted chassis, it’s rare to think they feel like anything else. Which isn’t to say they’re not often built to a price, but it’s because of that, the GSX-S1000GT is one of the highest scorers against the value for money yardstick in this year’s AMCN Motorcycle of the Year (MOTY) presented by Shannons Insurance shootout. 

For less than $20K, you’re riding away on a ridiculously capable sports-tourer – so capable, in fact, it won our annual sports-touring comparo (AMCN Vol 72 No 05) this year. And while it doesn’t score particularly highly in the innovation department, its powerplant, which is based on the long-stroke K5 GSX-R1000 mill, is really well suited to the application with plenty of useable torque available through the lower end of the rpm spectrum, before it comes alive up the pointy end thanks to its inline-four characteristics. 

There’s enough tech to satisfy any sensible sports-tourer, with three switchable ride modes as well as ABS and traction control, both of which are adjustable. They’re not lean-angle sensitive, however, but they’re there and they work well, which is more than can be said for a couple of other bikes in this cohort. 

As a straight-out sports-tourer it meets its design brief pretty well. The ergonomics are a perfect mix of sport and touring – a one-piece handlebar mounted above the top clamp offers all-day respite from aching wrists, but the rider triangle is still sporty enough to assume the racer crouch when the twisties beckon. Optional panniers, a non-adjustable screen and no heated grips lose out slightly, especially with a bike carrying a GT moniker, but what it lacks in meeting its design brief, it makes up for in its resulting price.  

The build quality is top notch, as we’ve come to expect from Suzuki, and we know it’ll age well if looked after correctly, too, plus the service intervals are nice and wide thanks to that tried and true powerplant.  

The boys were unanimous on their love for the Suzuki-blue paint job; I could take it or leave it personally, but I couldn’t argue that it wasn’t a premium deep metallic finish. 

The GSX-S1000GT scored well among the testers in the Fun Factor department, too, not least because of that trademark induction roar and intuitive chassis mentioned earlier. Right from the early throttle openings, the sound of the induction starts egging you on and, as the pace quickens, there’s never any doubt where that front wheel is – between the usable grunt, the feedback through the ’bar and its willingness to change direction, finding that flow comes quicker on this bike than others twice its price.  

There’s a handful of oversights which prevented the Suzuki from scoring a few extra points against the MOTY criteria, but there’s also plenty to love. 

Test: Kel Buckley

Over the next couple of days we will reveal more about the eight MOTY finalists on the AMCN website and eventually announce the winner. If you can’t wait that long to find out which motorcycle has been awarded AMCN’s 2022 Motorcycle of the Year presented by Shannons Insurance, grab a copy of the AMCN Yearbook, which is on sale now at newsagents and select supermarkets.