Single, Twin, Triple or Four? | 1-2-3-4

Adding up the ultimate 650cc solution

By Alex Hearn, Photography by Kevin Wing

2008 Suzuki GSX-650F
Price: $6999

A step up from the old Can o' tuna 600, the 656cc inline-four inhales through dual-butterfly throttle bodies fed by four-hole injectors. A 17-degree valve angle keeps the head compact, but it's no GSX-R. Conservative cams accentuate midrange power at the expense of some top end.

Load-bearing bits are predictable here: steel-heavy and inexpensive compared to aluminum alloy. Humble ferrous content notwithstanding, the double-cradle frame carries the heavy bits low enough to maintain sporty handling. There's nothing remarkable here.

Though somewhat short of track tack, F-spec braking hardware is commendably workmanlike at both ends. Tokico four-pot front calipers trump the Kawasaki's two-piston bits by a margin, despite the fact that they have to stop an extra 78 lbs.

Think of it as a laid-back, fiscally responsible GSX-R alternative. A stepper-motor drives a 14,000-rpm tach, where the red starts at 12,500. There's an LCD fuel gauge, gear-position indicator and clock, and the only shift light in this bunch.

Second to the Triumph in peak output, Suzuki's new 650 ekes out a 16-horse advantage over the Versys, but at 1250 rpm upstream. With each pony pushing 9.3 lbs. vs. 10.5 for the lighter Versys, the four is faster if you spin it.

Less bar rise enforces a comfortably sporty riding position: more so than our single, twin or triple. With an inch more legroom and better fairing protection than the average track-sharp 600, the F is more comfortable on the street.

Tech Spec
Engine type: l-c inline four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 656cc
Bore x stroke: 65.5 x 48.7mm
Compression: 11.5:1
Fuel system: Keihin/Denso EFI
Clutch: wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Steel-tube double-cradle
Front suspension: 41mm Showa fork,adjustable for spring preload
Rear suspension: Single Showa shock, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Tokico four-piston calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Tokico single-piston caliper, 240mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Bridgestone Battlax BTO20
Rear tire: 160/60-ZR17 Bridgestone Battlax BT020
Rake/trail: 26.0/4.25 in.
Seat height: 30.3 in.
Wheelbase: 57.9 in.
Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty):535/505 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 75.4 bhp @ 9250 rpm
Measured torque: 43.0 lb.-ft. @ 8000 rpm
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg): 42/32/36
Colors: Blue/white, black/silver
Available: Now
Warranty: 12 months, unlimited mi.
Contact: American Suzuki
3251 E. Imperial Hwy.
Brea, CA 92622

By Alex Hearn
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