> Suzuki GSF1200S Bandit
The Suzuki GSF1200S Bandit is big hunk of bike. Powered by a retuned
version of the GSX-R1100 engine the motor has oodles of torque and
plenty of power across the range. Later versions (post 2000) were
slightly less thirsty, and the chassis was updated as were the fairings.
The Suzuki GSF1200S is more of a tourer than anything else. The suspension
setup is too soft to make it sporty, and while the brakes are adequate,
they're not amazing.
Reliability wise the GSF1200S is what it is. It was cheap for what
it was when new, and while the engine generally has no problems, the
average build quality and budget suspension and brakes all require
|Year of specifications
||1996 - 2006
||1157 cc, 4 cylinder
||100 hp @ 8600 rpm
||214 kg / 471 lbs
||790 mm / 30.8 inches
Reviews below: write
Review by: Irocmij
I own a 2002 Suzuki Bandit S 1200 that I purchased new in December
of 2002. The bike currently has around 25,000 miles on it and has
been 100% reliable. I use the Bandit mostly for commuting and weekend
rides and it has been a joy to own. The bike is fast enough to be
exciting and the handling excellent for a "Sport Touring" bike once
you learn what tire pressures to use. The Bandit is very sensitive
to tire pressure and seems to prefer about two psi less that what
the manual suggests. Too much tire pressure and the handling gets
The suspension of the Suzuki Bandit is too cushy for a pure sportbike
but is perfect for the crowd that is generally attracted to the Bandit--not
necessarily older, but wiser (I found out a long time ago that the
street is not a race track and that it is totally unsafe to ride a
bike anywhere near the limits that sportbikes are capable of. Better
to have fun and just enjoy the ride and not push the limits on the
street). The suspension is great for most roads but does exhibit quite
a bit of hopping on freeway expansion joints. You can dial in the
preload on both the fork and rear shock but it doesn't seem to affect
the freeway hopping.
That big cushy seat does help to dampen some of the rough stuff but
it will not be mistaken for a touring seat. It's good for about two
hours of riding before you need to get off and take a rest.
Though the bike is very reliable, it has been set up from the factory
with rather lean jetting. Many Bandit owners complain about the cold-blooded
nature and this is a result of the lean carburation that is required
by the EPA. Also, there is a flat spot in the torque curve that shows
up at 4000 rpm--about 70 mph. It shows up on a dyno chart and you
can feel it when you open the throttle at this rpm. Both the cold-blooded
nature and the flat spot can easily be dialed out with the proper
jetting. When accelerating through 4000 rpm's, you never notice the
The Suzuki Bandit is capable of high 10-second quarter mile times
right out of the box. The horsepower is about 100 to the rear wheel
and is plenty for everyday riding. You can easily exceed every maximum
speed limit in second gear and you're never really concerned about
having enough power to pass cars on the highway. Just twist and go!
If you are a horsepower junkie, just check out Dale Walker's website
(www.holeshot.com) and see what he offers the aspiring drag racer.
There also a lot of non-speed related stuff like case-savers and higher
handlebar mounts for more comfort on the road.
I own the "S" model of the Bandit and that means it has a fairing/windshield
with dual projector-beam headlights. The fairing is very effective
and keeps the wind off of your torso and even deflects the air around
your hands on those chilly mornings. The fairing weighs about 14 pounds
and reduces that wheelie tendency that the bike is capable of when
the throttle is hammered open in low gears. The fairing does make
it a bit noisier as the air becomes turbulent as it passer over the
top of the windscreen. Those dual projector-beams look neat but are
not quite as effective as the one big headlight the comes on the standard
model. I always run the bike with the high-beam on as the low-beam
is rather ineffective, both at seeing and being seen.
So what's the maintenance like? Well.... The valve adjustments come
up every 7500 miles. This is the most labor-intensive part of owning
a Suzuki Bandit. It has the old screw and locknut adjuster, but this
means that you can adjust the valves yourself if you are a competent
shade-tree mechanic. Don't try it if you're unsure because here is
one area of the engine that you can really screw things up. If you
do your own valve adjustments, you will find that taking off and reinstalling
all the stuff that is required just to get to the valves takes way
longer than the actual adjustment. Here's a hint, though -- you don't
have to remove the fairing to get to the valves, just tilt the fairing
forward by removing one mounting bolt. You just saved yourself 1/2
hour of work! I know that the newer bikes have the shim over/under
bucket design and only require valve adjustment every 15,000 miles
or so (Yamaha - 26,000!), but you usually have to take it to the dealer.
Do you feel OK with removing/installing the cams just to get to the
shims to do a valve adjustment?
Oil, filter changes and chain adjustments are routine and easy to
accomplish. Checking the brake pads is also dead simple as is the
brake and clutch cylinder reservoirs. It's too bad that the valves
have to be checked so often. So there it is. The Suzuki Bandit 1200S
has been around a long time and the 2007 version has just been announced.
It will offer 100 more cc's, fuel injection, a six-speed transmission,
ABS and a number of other small changes. I imagine that it will be
a more refined motorcycle but will lose the "scrapper image" that
the early air-cooled Bandits have. It will also be more expensive!
Used Bandits are the ultimate used bike deal. Many can be had below
$4000. Hmm.....10 second quarter mile times, 40 mpg, decent handling,
comfortable.... something to thing about!
Review by: hamanncrosscreek
I purchased the '05 Suzuki GSF 1200S new in late 2005. I looked at
similar bikes including the retro Kawasaki ZRX 1200, the Yamaha FZ1 and Honda 919
SuperHawk. Price was the primary factor for choosing the Suzuki. At
$6500 it was the bargain of the four. The faired "S" version also
had the sportbike look I wanted. The 1157 cc motor is very smooth
and revs quickly. This is known as a wheelie bike and it does it easily!
It corners fast and the stock Michelins grip well. I like the big
180/55 on the back. The gearbox is very slick allowing clutchless
upshifts and downshifts. My only complaint so far are the carbs which
are balky when cold. My brother-in-laws '04 Kawasaki Z1000 has digital F.I. which means you
thumb the starter and GO! No waiting to warm up. Riding position is
fine as is the suspension. Most of the magazine reviews bashed this
bike because of its '80s based air-cooled powerplant and lack of frills.
Sure it's no 360 lb. race bike and it wasn't supposed to be one! It's
smooth, fast, comfortable and bargain priced.