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2007 Suzuki Bandit 650S Road Test


by Pascal Bastien ,

At idle, the engine sound is very subtle. Its incredible smoothness at low and medium revs definitely enhances the driver's comfort. The engine lacks a certain charisma, but it proves to be particularly friendly and relaxing during long rides. Unlike the engines of the premium 600s, which deliver real power only beyond 10,000 rpm, the Bandit's engine power is available from 4,000 rpm. As the revs increase, this mill becomes much more lively and its sound, which is transmitted by larger-opening throttle butterflies, is music to the ears.

The engine remains very subtle at low revs.

With its new engine, the Bandit 650 offers more power across the whole rev band. The new cylinder head likes higher revs and doesn't need to be told twice before getting there. This bike remains pleasant to ride at highway speeds, but its torque is not inappropriate at 90 kph on a country road; in fact, passing maneuvers are a breeze -- even in sixth gear.

The new transmission boasts six close gears and allows improved accelerations in all situations. Its extreme precision was more than appreciated during my road test; nothing compares with the old model. I should also point out that this gearbox benefits from a remarkably smooth hydraulic clutch.

Safety at the forefront
The powertrain components of the Bandit 650S are mounted inside a tube frame chassis featuring a dual cradle in grey-painted steel. This rigid structure improves stability and offers a solid feel. As for the suspension, there is a traditional fork and a single shock, both of which only feature preload adjustment. This simple, cost-effective and well-calibrated suspension offers a nice balance between ride and handling.

The brakes have a little more bite but they remain easy to modulate. My tester was equipped with an antilock braking system that I found surprisingly effective. It was virtually impossible to lock the rear wheel even during emergency braking maneuvers. ABS is a pretty rare feature on similarly-priced motorcycles. Kudos to Suzuki for their smart decision.

ABS is a pretty rare feature in this category.

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