You know, it's probably easy for all of us on here (ie. owners and riders of the GSX-S) to get quite blasť about the bike we ride and forget it's strengths - most forums tend to focus on being critical of the bad bits rather than the good. So, as a total newbie to the GSX-S world (but not new to riding) I thought I'd just pop in here and give you my thoughts on why I went for it (collected my bike yesterday).
I've been riding a Triumph Street Triple for over a year, and utterly utterly
loved the thing. It was near enough perfect. I loved the seating position, the forward-bias of it, the wide bars, the sporty nature and flickability, the beautiful character and flexibility of the engine and the overall value for money it represented. I liked the styling. About the only thing I could critique on it was the throttle behaviour a little. My riding is primarily short trips for fun - weekend blasts with friends or a short cross-country commute to work or to visit buddies. It was perfect for this.
But as I look towards doing some longer distance stuff this year - one or two journeys only - the thought of doing them on a Striple wasn't the most exciting of propositions. Don't get me wrong, I'd do it, but... meh... a smidgen more weather protection wouldn't have gone amiss. So I decided to start looking for something that could deliver everything the Triple did, but with slightly more practicality for long-distance use.
I have spent months looking at loads of things, generally all brandished with the phrase "sport-tourer" or "adventure". Any pretty much everything "sport-tourer" has been far more tourer
, and everything "adventure" has been way too fudging tall and heavy for my 5ft 7" frame. I'd have liked to try an MT-10 with the Touring guff on it, but you simply can't find one and besides that... well, the looks just... aren't for me. I had an utter stiffy for a 1000XR for over 12 months now, but after trying some low-suspension models I finally ruled it out for good
. In desparation I tried the R1200RS and within a mile discovered the error of my ways (please forgive me, my friends, I was just curious!). I'll admit I didn't even both riding the Tiger 800, much as I loved my Triumphs I was pretty sure it was a step away from sporty and a bit too
far into the adventure/tour camp to float my boat the rest of the time!
It was only when I stumbled across the GSX-S1000F at the NEC that I realised I had never given this bike so much as a once-over, but when I sat on it at the show I thought "Bloody ****, this actually feels really comfortable and familiar!". Then I saw the price and was even more pleasantly surprised. So I vowed to go test ride one, and I'll admit I went into that test in the best frame of mind - I wanted
to hate it. Surely it was a pretty crap bike for that money.
Well, suffice to say I was sold. Sure, it's not got the bells and whistles. The styling is rather dubious, or 'safe', depending on your viewpoint. And it's utterly useless for outright touring, particularly 2-up. For me, it's redeeming strength is that it is 80% sports bike, 20% tourer - a balance which pretty much every other bike it's compared with gets round the other way (far too toury and not sporty enough for *my* desires). And while the engine is no triple, it certainly has a character of it's own that I can admire and enjoy.
Sure, it's not perfect - what bike is - but sometimes the foibles give it a bit of personality. It rides beautifully for the money. The gearbox is a peach. The seating position is incredibly familiar and comfy, and the fairing design affords me just that little bit of long-distance comfort for me to look forward to the trips this year, rather than approach them with a dread that the weather might turn them into some sort of Bear Grylls adventure series.
And as always, the one point no-one from the other brands ever mentions... value for money
. It's a whole lotta bike for the moola.
Hopefully anyone visiting this forum contemplating a GSX-S might find my thoughts useful. I did do a video of my test ride, I might upload it one day to the old 'tube