In 2007 the Bandit’s carburetted 1157cc engine was updated with fuel-injection, liquid-coo
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.
They say: “Affordable performance, exceptional comfort.”
We say: “A luggage set away from
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.
||98 bhp @ 7500 rpm
||79 lb.-ft. 3700 rpm
||Tubular-steel perimeter with aluminum swingarm
||Showa 43mm fork with adjustable spring preload
||Showa shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
||Dual Tokico four-piston calipers, 310mm discs with ABS
||Tokico one-piston caliper, 240mm disc with ABS
||120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone BT021
||180/55ZR-17 Bridgestone BT021
|Claimed curb weight
||3.5 out of 5 stars.
Still going strong after all these years.