I was in a similar boat when I was looking at bikes this past December. I went with the Suzuki because it offered the best value. I ended up with a naked ABS version. It isn't a sexy bike from the front, but it's not nearly as hideous as the faired version. The rest of the bike looks amazing and the front has slowly grown on me as I just learn to accept its Japanesey looks. I think they were going for a spider theme or something. I'll try to write as complete of an opinion piece as I can as that was what I was really looking for when I was shopping around and couldn't really find it.
For me it actually came down to the Yamaha FZ-10 and the Suzuki. The best deal I could negotiate on the Yamaha was about $12k I think, which was $3500 more than what I paid for the Suzuki. I think the Yamaha is a slightly better bike in terms of the motor (just for that crossplane sound, it's just amazing), but it gets shitty MPG and the bike itself wasn't nearly as comfortable as the Suzuki. I did like the cruise control and factory 12V outlet on the Yamaha though. Still not a sexy bike though and the fake air scoops on the Yamaha frankly piss me off a bit. But that's neither here nor there... the Triple is an amazing bike too, though I'm not huge on its angles either but I probably prefer it a tiny bit over the naked Suzuki and the Yamaha.
With the Suzuki you get a solid and presumably reliable platform. It is more powerful than the Street Triple R and gets a bit better fuel economy as well. It's an inline 4 though versus the 3 cylinder so the riding characteristics may be a deciding factor. Look at the dyno curves of the two engines. That being said it's worth mentioning again the Street Triple R is doing about 95-100 HP to the rear wheel where the Suzuki is at 140 or so. At 5000 RPM the Suzuki is making 60 HP where the Street Triple R isn't even at 40 yet.
I also think the Street Triple underwent a significant improvement very recently (2016?) so that would also turn me off a bit from buying the older model.
Well rather than me rambling I'll just share my likes and dislikes so far about the bike:
-Very comfortable bike stock. The Renthal bars are great. Most people would still get an aftermarket seat for long days but I find the stock seat pretty good and the seating position perfect (6' even, 180 lbs). I do find I slide forward in the seat a bit though, especially if I'm wearing jeans instead of leathers, so that can be kind of annoying. Even so when I'm on the bike everything feels very solid and well put together. It's such a huge difference when I kick a leg over my GSX-S1000 after a little jaunt in my little metric cruiser ('06 Kawasaki Vulcan 750). In comparison to how solid the GSX-S feels, the Kawi feels almost like it's ready to come apart. Just surreal.
-Nicely positioned seat height, gives good confidence and the bike is resultingly easily flat-footable. I think even the shorter guys have no problems flat footing this bike.
-Snowflake status. This usually goes with just about any naked bike though (in the US at least).
-Very solid engine. Has the fun inline 4 power hit at about 8-10K RPM while maintaining very good low end. Good reliability can be expected from the K5 heritage.
-Smooth transmission. I do wish for a 7th or even 8th gear sometimes though for low RPM highway cruising. Upside is even at 6th on the highway she has a good amount of pull even with 70-80 MPH roll-ons (IIRC it runs about 5k RPM @ 6th gear around 70 MPH). Actually the bike pulls great in any gear. Has a back-torque limiting clutch which is great. Clutch also has a perfect weight to it for me. Supposedly the new model will get a full slipper clutch but I think it would be a marginal improvement at best. Very happy with the clutch & transmission.
-Very good handling. Great mechanical grip. The faired version, hideous as it may be (no offense to the guys with the F, I know you have your reasons), has a purportedly more planted front end going round corners than the naked bike. Food for thought. Haven't had any confidence issues with my naked though since I got the fueling issue fixed (will mention later). Maybe I'll just fasten a 15lb weight between the forks and see how that goes haha.
-Bike has a pretty good stock exhaust. Looks decent and it's pretty loud, I think it was measured a little over 100 dB. If you drop it into 3rd on the highway people will definitely hear you coming. It seems adding an aftermarket exhaust will only net you about a 2-3% power gain at best throughout the range so I think that's a big plus overall, since for me it rules out buying an exhaust. Exhaust systems are pricey. As far as the exhaust note it produces it's cool enough. I much prefer the V4 Tuono sound and I prefer the sound from the crossplane FZ-10 even more. But as far as your regular inline 4s go I think it sounds better than all the rest honestly, even the BMW S1000RR. It's just very typically crotch-rockety, of the literbike variety.
-Good quality brakes and front suspension. The pads give it a wooden feel though, replacing them with better units supposedly gives a bunch more feel and bite. Still stops good. Love the Brembos up front.
-ABS and a decent traction control system. The ABS works great, though I wish it had cornering ABS as well. Hasn't saved me yet and hopefully I'll never have to rely on it, but I am very glad to know that it's there and wouldn't buy a new bike without it. The traction control is not as sophisticated as in the ultra-premium Euro bikes but it's all you need.
-Low weight, fancy aluminum twin spar frame developed specifically for this bike and aluminum swing arm, cast aluminum wheels. None of that is cheap.
-Great fuel economy for this type of power. Most of its competitors seem to get a great deal lower.
-Love the single push button start without dealing with a clutch.
-Hardly any buzz. This is great for an inline 4.
-The instrument display is pretty good without being too busy. Has good brightness settings as well. Kind of wish we had TPMS though. One thing I really don't like though is that I have to take my eyes well off the road to get a good look at it. I think this is just a result of the naked bike seating position and not a problem with the display itself. If you are shorter that would probably help things out in this regard. Again I'm 6' almost exactly (like 5' 11.95")
-Really shitty rear shock. It can be tamed a bit by setting up the bike for your weight, but even after jacking with all the settings she still hits my ass real hard over bumps. If I'm wearing a backpack or something it will sometimes hit me in the back of the head. Cheaply replaced though apparently. Will do it someday soon.
-Throttle response - initially I didn't see it as a problem but the bike really did want to take off on you at the slightest twist. This made holding constant speed, low speed maneuvers, and other things sketchy sometimes. For me, installing a PCV transformed the bike for me and did away with all that to the extent I feel it's an absolute must for this bike.
-Stock mirrors are horrible. Seems a common thing if you aren't an Asian with narrow shoulders. I am chicken-winging a lot and am desperate to replace them soon with some bar-end types.
-Wooden feel to stock brakes but this is reportedly fixed with changing out the pads. Bike still stops well though.
-Aftermarket farkles aren't that extensive. There is some decent aftermarket stuff, at least from China. I got a lot of billet Aluminum farkles such as sliders for my stator, swing arm rollers, front fork sliders, etc. Wish there was a hard luggage option though, and I also would like a center stand. Supposedly there is some German manuf. that makes both but not too sure about it at the moment.
Last dislike I just thought of:
-The fucking key and tumbler itself can be annoying to deal with. I haven't had any issues with it lately but for the first few months that tumbler did not want to give up the key sometimes and I really had to jack with it to get it out. I recall someone else having this issue who put like 20k miles on the bike and ended up having to replace the tumbler (from a YouTube video). For the past month though everything has been gravy so I guess it might have just been a break-in issue? Who knows.
That's about it for dislikes honestly. I sat there for a while trying to think of more things I disliked about the bike and only ended up coming up with more positives. And that's my complete honest opinion on the bike after buying it in December and putting about 1500 miles on it so far. The most important thing is fixing the bike's fueling, whatever method you choose.
Either way though if you've never had a bike of this caliber before you are in for a lot of fun. I used to kind of cringe when people would describe a bike "wanting them to ride it faster" or something to that effect but that's really how this thing works. It's hard to not ride the **** thing without breaking the law all the time. It also looks well enough like a crotch rocket that you definitely become a target for cops. I used to never get tickets or have any real dealings with the po-po but it didn't take me long to get my first ticket on this bike and I was just commuting (86 in a 65). I do that all the time in my cruiser and never had a problem, so cops will definitely treat you different, at least in my experience. Then again I was being a retard out in the backroads one night and some country cops stopped me and let me go without incident (though they did say "that is one weird looking bike you have there", haha). Either way, through your own actions or otherwise, expect to attract more LEO attention on a bike such as this. Just thought it was worth adding.
I ended up paying $8500 for mine plus another $400 ish for tax and registration. I think $9000 is a very fair price for all this bike gives you. It's really an impressive value. It sucks that you can't get one any cheaper than 10k in CA. Might be worth looking out of state. Even at 10k though it's well worth it. If I were buying new though I might be tempted to wait to see what all they improve for the 2018. Progressive seems to offer the cheapest bike insurance in the US so make sure you compare quotes with them at least. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Last edited by chuck; 03-30-2017 at 01:50 PM.