2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT Turns Sportbike GSX-R into Sport Tourer

  • Suzuki caters to an aging demographic by transforming the incredible GSX-R into a more palatable sport-touring motorcycle.
  • The new bike shares many of its components with the iconic GSX-R sportbike, but in a more comfortable layout.
  • The bike will be in showrooms in late May or early June for $13,149 before destination fees.

    Some people, now I’m not saying you, but it seems like some people have aged lately. These people, many of whom are motorcyclists, are no longer so willing to reach forward and grab those gripper handles and slide their gorgeous kiesters up the side of the seat and slide their elbows with every turn . It’s not you, of course, you’re still young and vibrant and you don’t need help getting out of bed in the morning. But others, well…

    Recent data suggests that there are 46 million adults in the United States over the age of 65 and by 2050 that number is expected to rise to almost 90 million. About 8% of American households own at least one motorcycle. (Your house probably has 10.) That’s 3.5 million households with someone over 65 and a motorcycle.

    There are even more members of the population reaching their 50s. It’s getting crazy!

    The GSX-S1000GT+ starts with the GSX-R and makes it more comfortable, but almost as sporty.

    Kevin Wing

    So if you were making motorcycles, you would probably take note of this trend and adjust a few things in the product line. That’s exactly what Suzuki did when they took the GSX-R sports bike icon and tweaked a few settings to make it the GSX-S1000GT.

    This is a perfectly natural progression and one we should all embrace rather than fight against. As the population inevitably ages, the market is responding to its changing needs with everything from walk-in tubs to superbikes. Yes, superbikes. Or at least sports bikes. Our bodies may be getting older, but our brains are still 19, man, and can’t wait to dive-bomb every peak! It’s just that lifting your neck to see the road from the MotoGP seated position gets a little more painful each time and, frankly, some of us are ready for the transition to a more upright and comfortable posture.

    Does this mean that we have given up? Nope! Neither does Suzuki.

    “Suzuki wanted to create a Suzuki-style touring motorcycle,” Suzuki training manager Avery Innis said of the new GSX-S1000GT.

    The gear that kept me safe and dry: AGV Sportmodular Mono helmet $749.95, Dainese Telvio D-AIR D-DRY XT jacket with air bag $1,449.95, Combat TEX pants $419.95, Red Wing motorcycle boots by Indian.


    Or, as it says in the brochure:

    “The all-new 2022 GSX-S1000GT+ intelligently combines the championship performance of its GSX-R1000-based engine with an agile, lightweight chassis to provide riders with an exciting and comfortable GT driving experience. Here’s a Grand Tourer with sportbike-level features, cutting-edge styling, truly functional integrated side cases, and a huge selection of optional equipment.

    Suzuki claims the GSX-S1000GT and GT+ are more than an evolution of the GSX-S1000F. Power comes from a version of the Gixxer’s 999cc cross-injected inline-four to produce 150bhp at 11,000rpm and 78lb-ft of torque at 9,250rpm. That’s mated to a six-speed manual with Suzuki’s take on the assist and slipper clutch.

    It sits in a twin-spar aluminum frame with a single rear swingarm. Ride height sits at a quite reasonable 31.9 inches. It’s all wrapped up in a downright sportbike-ish aerodynamic exterior that even includes a small windshield. The GT+ version comes with these two rear-mounted hard cases.

    Missing from the spec sheet: an inertial measurement unit or IMU that can help you stay on the road and prevent the front wheel from lifting; a top box for even more storage; one of those really comfortable rear seats for your passenger; and a really great windshield (even the optional taller windshield just creates jolts). But no bike is perfect.

    But this one is close. Oh man. Our small group of runners covered about 600 miles in less than 48 hours, much of it in the pouring rain, but much of it on some of the best twisty mountain roads in the state. So was it a sports bike or a grand tourer? I would say it felt like a very comfortable sport bike with an upright riding position. In fact, on the twistier parts I kind of wanted a GSX-R, but on the hundreds of miles of flat, straight routing that’s always between the really good parts, I was glad to be on a GSX-S1000GT+.

    Our itinerary included State Hwy. 33 out of Ojai and the highway. 58 west of McKittrick, two of the best roads in the state. I was lucky enough to follow some very fast riders and once I set the bombing at the top I was leaning in and out of corners all day. I wasn’t going through corners fast enough for an IMU to have much to do, but I was still happy for the ABS and traction control, especially in the rain.

    You might think that a sportbike type motor would not have low torque and would only get its power at the top of the tachometer. You would be wrong on both counts. “The longer stroke gives torque-rich performance,” Innis had said, and he wasn’t kidding.

    Like the much larger displacement Suzuki Hayabusa that I drove a few months ago, you find yourself shifting through six gears fairly quickly, but then you get used to letting the engine get into its range and you find all the power and the torque you are likely to want.

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    Right out of the Suzuki parking lot, the lighter clutch feel and easy engagement was surprising and welcome. It is remarkably easy to drive. Stop-and-go traffic launches are aided by automatic throttle acceleration on start-up to prevent distracted drivers from stalling. Once underway, you can use the two-way Quickshift function throughout the day. It is particularly practical in tight and technical turns in the hills.

    And the power – ooo lawdy – I once looked down and saw 122 mph when I thought I was cruising just within the posted limits (on a closed course with adult supervision for legal purposes). So watch your speed. The engine is a dream. Not as close to perfect as the heavier and more powerful Hayabusa 1340cc, but in the same league.

    “The GSX-R is Suzuki’s small-block Chevy,” said communications manager Richard Kimes. “The engine powers the GSX-R 1000R, S1000, Katana, and now the GSX-S1000GT and GT+.”

    Other motorcycle manufacturers are also approaching this market, which is good news for you. Yamaha has the 890cc Tracer 9 GT, also with two hard cases, for $14,999 before destination; Kawasaki makes the 1043-cc Ninja 1000SX for $12,899; BMW makes the R 1250 RS for $15,695. He misses the Honda NT1100a sport-touring version of the popular Africa Twin Adventure Bike that Honda sells in Europe but not here, for some reason.

    The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT starts at $13,149 without the hard cases or $13,799 with it. All of these prices are before the destination, which is around a grand. Which do I recommend? For the most practical sportbike sport tourer you could live with every day and love life, I would say the Suzuki. But for me and my aging carcass, I’d say spend the extra cash on the BMW. For screaming good times atop the tach, get the Kawasaki, even if it’s been a while. And someone is starting a letter-writing campaign for Honda to bring the NT1100, okay? And please hurry. I’m getting old and I don’t have much time left.

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