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2018 Suzuki GSX-S750: MD Ride Review (Bike Reports) (News)

After the press launch, we put a lot of mileage on the 2018 Suzuki GSX-S750. As a reminder, this is the significantly revised model first introduced by Suzuki to the U.S. market in 2015.

For 2018, Suzuki took this mid-displacement naked and made the following changes. The 749 cc inline-four has increased performance this year from new crankcase ventilation holes (reducing pumping losses), larger air box, redesigned exhaust system, and new fuel injection mapping. Adjustable traction control settings can be selected by the rider from a handlebar switch.

A big upgrade is the braking system, which now includes Nissin four-piston, radial mount calipers squeezing 310 mm dual discs in front. These are among the best brakes you will find at this price point.

The steel frame mounts revised suspension this year, including a 41 mm KYB fork with damping in a single leg that is adjustable for spring preload. The preload adjustable rear shock mounts a new swingarm this year with a much nicer design than the old, boxed unit. The wheels are new, attractive 10-spoke designs, which carry excellent Bridgestone S21 tires (OEM spec for this Suzuki).

Found on many Suzuki models now, the Easy-start feature allows the rider to tap the start button and then wait for the engine to fire (rather than holding it down). The low-rpm assist feature helps prevent stalling when pulling away from a stop, and we found it more transparent on this bike than previous Suzukis we have tested.

Other styling and detail changes are described in our first ride report, but we should note, once again, the new instrument panel which we found quite legible. It includes, among the typical data points, gear position, fuel economy range and mileage figures.

The more we rode the new GSX-S750, the more we liked it. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Suzuki knows how to dial in a 749 cc inline-four cylinder engine, but the power delivery and refinement from this motor stands out. Despite excellent top end power and higher peak horsepower (expect in the neighborhood of 105 horsepower at the rear wheel this year), the GSX-S750 delivers strong and smooth acceleration at street rpm levels.

Pulling nicely from as low as 3,500 rpm, there is good low-end and mid-range power for mellow, but swift street commuting. Power builds almost linearly to a shrieking pull all the way through 11,000 rpm. This bike is fast, very usable on the street, and features some of the smoothest throttle responses we have seen from a fuel injected motorcycle. It also sounds fantastic when on the boil!

Vibration levels are very low for an inline-four powered motorcycle. We never felt fatigued, or even bothered, by engine vibration in any riding circumstance. Frankly, this is one of the smoothest, sport tuned inline-fours we can recall riding.

The chassis responds well to rider inputs. Whether traveling at high rates of speed in a straight line, or pushing the bike hard through tight, twisty roads, the GSX-S750 displayed poise and balance. The engine flexibility makes ripping up canyon roads a pleasurable, and low effort affair.

The suspension is also hard to fault. It offers a comfortable ride when commuting, but, at the same time, reasonably stiff damping characteristics for sport riding. Again, like the motor, the suspension evidences excellent testing and set-up by Suzuki at the factory before this new model was introduced.

The fork, in particular, responds with very low stiction, and smooth damping reminiscent of more expensive, fully-adjustable units. It can be a little soft for larger (over 200 pounds) aggressive riders, but it never seemed to slow down our test rider — a fast, aggressive, 200 pounder.

The six-speed transmission, typical for Suzuki, shifts positively, and with a light touch. Gear spacing is close enough given the broad spread of power on offer, but sixth gear is tall enough to keep rpm levels reasonable at highway speeds.

The brakes are excellent. The front pads offer a progressive response, but there is huge power available. Feel is good, but it seems Suzuki may have coupled the outstanding Nissin monobloc calipers with a more budget front-brake master cylinder (we would really like to try a top-drawer Brembo master cylinder with these calipers). The only glaring omission is ABS, which many riders will insist on. The special GSX-S750Z model is available, at a $600 premium, with ABS brakes.

We found seat comfort on longer rides good, although there isn’t a lot of room to move fore and aft on the rider’s seat.  We did not test the pillion seat. For a naked bike, there is reasonable wind protection at the chest level, presumably from the design of the headlight area. Comfort on the highway was good, again, for a naked machine.

The 2018 Suzuki GSX-S750 surprised us. It is a sleeper, perhaps. The 749 cc mill is superb … combining similar top-end rip of a 600 cc supersport with the bigger mid-range feel of a full superbike. The bike is easy to ride, handles well, is comfortable, and quite fast. The stock Bridgestone S21s are excellent in terms of both grip and feedback. The suspension and brakes outperform many bikes in its class.

Priced at $8,299, the standard GSX-S750 must compete with the non-ABS version of the Kawasaki Z900 ($8,399) and the Yamaha FZ-09 ($8,999 with standard ABS). The GSX-S750 competes surprisingly well with both models, and shouldn’t be overlooked if you are shopping for a mid-displacement naked bike.

The standard GSX-S750 is available for $8,299 at U.S. dealers in either Metallic Triton Blue/Glass Sparkle Black (pictured) or Pearl Mira Red. The Metallic Matte Black GSX-S750Z, with ABS brakes standard, is priced at $8,899.  Take a look at Suzuki’s web site for additional details and specifications.


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