Motorcycles > Suzuki GSF1200S Bandit

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 regular maintenance.

Year of specifications 1996 - 2006
Engine 1157 cc, 4 cylinder
Transmission 5-speed, chain
Max speed 145 mph
0-60 mph -
Horsepower 100 hp @ 8600 rpm
weight 214 kg / 471 lbs
Seat height 790 mm / 30.8 inches

Reviews below: write a review

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 twitchy.

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 flat spot.

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 ( 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.

Image Gallery

Suzuki GSF1200S Bandit

Sports Cars
Luxury Cars
4x4s and SUVs
Hot Hatches
Power boats and Yachts
Sport Submersibles
Strange Aircraft
Extreme Land Vehicles
Extreme Sea Vehicles
Extreme Air Vehicles
Top Ten Lists

Site map
Privacy policy

Home - About - Contact - Privacy Policy
CC 2005 - 2015