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2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 ABS Review


by Pascal Bastien ,

Suzuki’s newfound approach to technology has the Japanese manufacturer adding a new 1,000cc naked bike to its GSX family. With ABS, advanced traction control, a cast aluminum frame and swingarm, the 2016 GSX-S1000 ABS has racing written all over it.

Styling is unquestionably part of the allure of a standard sport bike, so Suzuki departed from the exuberant Hayabusa and B-King to create a sleek, modern design that centres on a superbly sculpted frame and tastefully exposed engine. The gold anodized fork and superbike-style swingarm really enhance the sporty looks of the GSX-S1000 ABS. Premium fit and finish is icing on the cake.

A neat, straightforward layout

A clean instrument panel with large, ergonomic controls and a wide display sit atop a stylish, matte-black aluminum Renthal Fatbar handlebar. Besides the usual info, you get gear position, coolant and ambient temperatures, driving range, average fuel consumption, instantaneous fuel consumption, traction control mode, and a clock.

The riding position feels natural, with the upper body leaning slightly toward the handlebar, and the legs more relaxed than on a supersport bike. While the rider’s seat provides adequate comfort, the rear pillion is hard and almost as high as that of a superbike. Luckily, the passenger footrests are positioned in a way that significantly reduces knee bend.

The heart of a superbike
Derived from the 2005-2008 GSX-R1000, the engine really sets the tone from the get-go. Its deep rumble is akin to a superbike and amplified by a mid-muffler design. Sporty riders will appreciate such clever exhaust tuning while the neighbours won’t complain about the GSX-S1000 ABS making too much noise.

The 4-cylinder powerplant is pretty flexible and delivers strong acceleration from ultra-low revs. It’s easy to exploit thanks to a smooth and precise transmission, and it feels almost as powerful as the GSX-R1000 despite lacking a number of ponies. Rip the throttle wide open in the first three gears, and the front wheel will easily take off – just keep an eye on the speedometer, though.

The mad rush starts at 4,000 rpm, intensifies at around 7,000 rpm, and keeps going all the way to redline at 11,600 rpm. In fourth gear, the bike regains stability as it approaches 200 km/h on a track. I don’t understand why some European journalists criticized the injection system for a lack of precision, because my tester had absolutely no issues in that department. Power delivery was so smooth and fluid I might as well use the word “perfect.”

A fire-breathing monster with a solid backbone
Power seems to be excessive at first, especially when riding around town, but I quickly found out how friendly this revised engine can be on a daily basis. Whether in the city or on the highway, the 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 ABS mocks traffic without having to hold the gears. Stability and handling are quite good, as well. On the other hand, in typical naked-bike fashion, protection against the elements is very limited.

In order to get a better appreciation of this Japanese beast, a twisty byroad is the way to go. Blessed with a modern and competent chassis, it displays superb agility when attacking corners and even shows a bit of a wild side as you accelerate out of them. Pure bliss!

Fortunately, a 4-mode traction control system is there to keep everything in order. It’s easy to set on the fly; simply cut power when you want to make a change. The system’s action is positively effective, yet transparent, allowing smooth riding on slippery or uneven pavement, as well as some fun drifting when you decide to push the machine a bit harder. As for braking, the Brembos prove sharp and easy to modulate at the same time. I found ABS to be little intrusive.

Suzuki GSX-S1000 ABS 2016
Suzuki met en avant sa récente philosophie de développement des technologies et bonifie la famille GSX d’une nouvelle monture « naked bike » de 1000 cc. (Photo: France Ouellet)

Bottom line
The new 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 ABS basically matches the performance of a superbike from 2000-2004. The combination of agility and stability, the near-perfect power delivery, and the rider-friendly ergonomics remind me of those good old sport bikes that doubled as everyday commuters. On top of that, there’s no diluting the DNA of Suzuki as a multi-time world endurance champion.

  • Sporty and ergonomic riding position with generous ground clearance
  • Well-sorted chassis
  • Lovely engine sound and personality
  • Quality components, fit and finish
  • Sport-tuned suspension is a bit stiff on rough pavement
  • Passenger seat is too high