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Suzuki hits the crossover market with its new GSX-S1000GX at EICMA

Suzuki is a master of creating multiple models from an existing kit of parts and that’s precisely what the firm has done to create the GSX-S1000GX – a high-spec sports-tourer with a high-rise riding position that the company calls a ‘crossover’ bike.

The idea of combining off-road ride height with on-road wheels and tyres, strapped to a reasonably powerful, street-oriented engine, has been around for ages. The original Ducati Multistrada fulfilled a similar role 20 years ago and the Yamaha TDM850 was doing the same in the early 1990s. Today the Multistrada still does the same, and BMW’s S1000XR and F900XR follow a similar theme, but Suzuki is openly embracing the term ‘crossover’ for its new GSX-S1000GX, and it’s a good description of the machine’s position.

On four wheels, crossovers have been around for years, combining the look of an SUV with better on-road manners and little or no off-road ability. That’s precisely the niche of the GSX-S1000GX, which makes no claim to any dirt road ability but caters to riders who enjoy the vision and control that an adventure bike’s tall riding position offers.

The mechanical parts, including the 999cc four-cylinder engine and the aluminium frame, are off-the-shelf components that will be familiar from a host of bikes including the GSX-S1000, the Katana and the GSX-S1000GT. The GT also lends its rear section and tail bodywork, emphasising the touring ability of the GX, but the new model’s fairing, riding position and suspension are completely new.

The suspension in particular is impressive. It’s Showa electronic kit, with multiple modes and speed-sensitive adjustment as well as a ‘skyhook’ style setup that monitors the bike’s position in relation to an imaginary point in the air above it and attempts to smooth out bumps by adjusting the damping 1000 times per second in response to readings from the bike’s IMU and suspension stroke sensors that are accurate to within 1/1000th of a millimetre. It also incorporates Suzuki Deceleration Damping Control to reduce dive during braking and ties in with the bike’s riding modes so the suspension settings match the throttle response and traction control level.

To keep things simple for the rider, there are three main modes – ‘A’ for Active, which gives maximum throttle response and power, relatively restrained traction control and firm damping, ‘B’ for Basic, with mid-level settings for power and TC plus a medium suspension softness, and ‘C’ for Comfort, which softens the damping and the throttle response while setting the traction control on high alert.

The engine is the familiar four that can trace its heritage back to the 2005 GSX-R1000, and it’s an all-time great. In the GSX-S1000GX it puts out 112kW at 11,000rpm and 106Nm at 9,250rpm, the relatively low revs a result of a bore/stroke ratio and compression ratio that seem tame in comparison to today’s highly-strung superbike engines. The max power might be down compared to the Multistrada V4 or S1000XR, but the engine’s meaty mid-range might make that deficit felt less clearly than the numbers suggest.

For its size, the GSX-S1000GX is reasonably light, too, coming in at 232kg including fuel. Despite its nature as a mix-and-match of existing parts, it might be a tempting offering in 2024, particularly given its $25,890 ride away price that will seriously undercut bikes like the Multistrada V4 and BMW S1000XR.

The MY24 Suzuki GSX-S1000GX will be available in Metallic Triton Blue and is expected to arrive in Australian showrooms in April 2024

Customers that pre-order online pre-order will, for a limited time, receive a bonus “SIDE CASE SET” valued at over $1800. ​​

Ben Purvis