Review: Suzuki GSX1250FA Touring

Suzuki’s GSX models all have four-cylinder engines, with the GSX1250FA having the largest lung capacity: 1255 cc. On some markets (Australia and Belgium for example), it’s available in a tourer trim, challenging other big tour bikes like the Triumph Trophy, BMW R 1200 RT and Yamaha FJR1300.

The Touring suffix doesn’t mean the GSX1250FA obtained lots of extra equipment: a vario windshield, a topcase and side panniers, that’s it. Fortunately, the model already had a nicely streamlined fairing so that suffix is justified.

Tough competition

The first question that raises is whether this Suzuki is up to the rather tough competition. If you compare the price tags, the GSX stands out: it’s a lot cheaper than its three competing colleagues. But while these offer technology like cruise control, heated grips, an electrically adjustable windshield, traction control and different riding modes, the Suz does without. Back to basics. And if you think the option list might have something to offer, well, you’ll only find a tank pad or wheel striping.

Still, the GSX1250FA Touring has ABS, a height-adjustable seat and a centerstand. The latter comes in handy because the GSX uses a chain to transfer the engine power to the rear wheel. You might expect a shaft drive on a touring oriented bike, but a chain of course lowers the price.

Some mistakes

The competitive price of the Suzuki GSX1250FA Touring doesn’t only imply a pretty basic standard equipment, the bike also makes some mistakes. For example, it has three keys. One to start the bike, one for the topcase, one for the panniers. You can put a helmet in the topcase but the panniers aren’t very spacious. They’re only available in black, not in the bike’s color.

The finishing level could also be higher. For instance, it’s a pity how badly concealed the cabling of the rear direction indicator is. And quite a few cables are attached with zip ties.

The dashboard looks somewhat outdated and doesn’t offer much info: speed, rpm, odometer, clock, two trip meters, some warning lights and a gear indicator. The competition is more extraverted.

The gearbox operates quite roughly but extremely correct, except when you switch a few gears down at standstill. Then it will lose count, every time. So if you want the gearbox to keep count, you have to declutch slightly after every downshift.

However, all of the above minuses aren’t critical. They won’t annoy often and if they do that probably means you have a very picky character.

Energetic engine

Luckily the GSX1250FA Touring also has positive points, with its engine being the most important. The 1255 cc liquid-cooled four-stroke four-cylinder engine descends from the almighty Bandit line.

The two-sided nature of the power source is noteworthy. In low revs, the bike is silent and reacts calmly. But if you fire up the 98 horses towards the redline, its sporty character wakes up with a loud screaming sound. From an almost tame tourer it virtually transforms to a track bike.

Moreover, its torque curve is yummy. A maximum of 108 Nm at 3,700 rpm may not be a very impressive figure, but 100 Nm is available from 3,000 rpm, right until the needle hits 7,000 rpm. Neat!

The gear box allows for very lazy gear-shifting. 50 km/h in sixth gear isn’t a problem at all. And at 120 km/h in third gear the bike doesn’t act like it comes short of breath.

If you like to go fast, don’t forget the GSX doesn’t have traction control. So with its energetic torque, it doesn’t take much effort to make the rear Bridgestone spin on a dirty or wet surface.

Comfortable touring bike

The GSX1250FA Touring has a convenient sitting position. The fairing reduces the wind interference pretty well, although your shoulders and upper arms have to endure some air drag because the fairing narrows upwards. In rainy weather the same story goes: you won’t stay completely dry, but the fairing does a very acceptable job.

The bike’s straight-line stability is good but when you start taking corners the Suzuki really feels at home. It’s very open to playful riding and feels remarkably light for its 257 kg.

Speed bumps don’t need much slowing down. The suspension absorbs them without effort. And while the mirrors won’t win design contests, they offer an excellent view.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a sporty touring motorbike and don’t care about high-tech and luxury, the Suzuki GSX1250FA Touring might just be what you’re looking for. At a competitive price it offers an engine with two characters: the calm tourer and the dynamic athlete. It has a few hiccups, but the rich torque curve will make you forget about those. Only those who are keen on recent innovations and a wide range of comfort functions better let this Suzuki pass by.

Pros

+ Sharp price
+ Allround character of the engine
+ Nice torque curve

Cons

– Empty option list
– Finishing level could be higher
– Some elements look outdated (dashboard, mirrors …)

Tech specs

Engine: In-line 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC, 16-valve, liquid cooled, 1255 cc
Max. power: 72 kW/98 pk at 7.500 rpm
Max. torque: 108 Nm at 3.700 rpm
Starter: Electric
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Front suspension: 43mm Showa telescopic forks with adjustable spring preload
Rear suspension: Link type, Showa with adjustable rebound and spring preload
Front brakes: Tokico 4-piston calipers, dual 310mm floating discs with abs
Rear brakes: Nissin single-piston caliper, 240mm disc with abs
Fuel capacity: 9 litres
Seat height: 805 mm
Length: 2130 mm
Width: 790 mm
Height: 1235 mm
Wet weight: 257 kg
Wheelbase: 1485 mm

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