Suzuki GSX1250FA | Short Shift

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By Ari Henning, Photography by Joe Neric

Beneath the glossy black body panels of the “new” GSX1250FA are the underpinnings of the 2009 Bandit 1250, originally introduced in ’07. That machine, in turn, was the third iteration of the original 1995 Bandit 1200. Now, El Bandito is back for more with a new look intended to appeal to the sport-touring set.

The GSX’s 1255cc four-cylinder engine now resides behind a full-fairing designed to provide better rider protection on extended trips. Numerous styling elements, such as the instrumentation and the stacked headlights, have been carried over from the GSX-R. But beyond the fresh black and blue metalflake paint, the bike is all Bandit.

Long and low, the GSX is a comfortable cruising machine. An elevated handlebar, soft seat and rubber-clad footpegs are situated so the rider sits in an upright position with a gentle bend in his arms and legs. Wide-spaced mirrors yield a panoramic view of your flanks while the short windscreen does a decent job of keeping the wind off your chest, although not your head. Suzuki offers an accessory tall windscreen as well as side and top cases for those who want to outfit the bike for long-distance adventures.

Long, leisurely rides are something at which this machine excels. The GSX’s engine is a gentle brute that dispenses gobs of smooth torque right off idle. Cruising at highway speeds in sixth gear finds the engine turning at little more than a high idle, with ample power on tap to pass a line of cars at a moment’s notice. A secondary balance shaft keeps the worst vibrations at bay, although some high-frequency buzzing creeps in above 7000 rpm.

The GSX leans more toward the touring end of the spectrum than the sporting end. The bike weighs a claimed 567 lbs. ready to ride, and that mass is annoyingly evident as you guide it down a twisty road. ABS was an option on the Bandit and comes standard on the GSX. Brake feel is good, but the fork collapses as soon as you touch the front brake lever.

With little more than an aesthetic update for 2011, the GSX is essentially the same bike it was in ’07. Even so, it doesn’t lag too far behind other bikes in this category, such as Triumph’s Sprint GT and Yamaha’s FJR1300, and it costs quite a bit less. It may be getting long-in-the-tooth, but this rebodied Bandit is still the most affordable platform on which to build the ultimate long-range cruise missile.

Tech Spec

Price $11,599
Engine type l-c inline-four
Valve train DOHC, 16v
Displacement 1255cc
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower 98 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Claimed torque 79 lb.-ft. 3700 rpm
Frame Tubular-steel perimeter with aluminum swingarm
Front suspension Showa 43mm fork with adjustable spring preload
Rear suspension Showa shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake Dual Tokico four-piston calipers, 310mm discs with ABS
Rear brake Tokico one-piston caliper, 240mm disc with ABS
Front tire 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone BT021
Rear tire 180/55ZR-17 Bridgestone BT021
Seat height 31.7/32.5 in.
Wheelbase 58.5 in.
Fuel capacity 4.9 gal.
Claimed curb weight 567 lbs.
Contact www.suzukicycles.com
Verdict 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Still going strong after all these years.

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jwise1
I was waiting for an update on the "old" Bandit..  I know Ari says its best suited for "long leisurely rides" and "leans toward the touring end of the spectrum." On the other hand..  it seems to embody many of the virtues Cat and others value in the modern motorcycle; true versatility, affordability, and almost unlimited potential.  I picked up a "new" '08 1250 with ABS for 7K this summer, and I think its gorgeous. In my case, I'm 6'4" and weigh over 3 bills.  This bike is my shot at a large man's sporty bike that I can actually ride anywhere, anytime, with or without company, and look good and go as fast or as slow as I choose.  Like an old chevy V-8, the performance parts abound.  What really triggered me to comment was Ari's teaser last line...  "still the most affordable platform on which to build the ULTIMATE long range cruise missle."  When is THAT article coming to your pages??
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