What is it that makes a litre-class motorcycle so special? It’s the fact that these bikes can deliver sheer power and acceleration that can put expensive supercars to shame. And yes you get some special bragging rights. The catch is that the powerful ones are really expensive and tricky to ride, the others might cost less but miss out on the power. The Suzuki GSX-S1000 is more powerful than the litre-class Triumph Street Triple (125 bhp) and the Kawasaki Z1000 (140 bhp) and cheaper than both of them.But that’s all on paper, how is it on the road?The Suzuki GSX-S1000 comes from the manufacturer that makes the Hayabusa and at the heart of it, is the almost legendary K5 engine from the GSX-R1000 that was manufactured from 2005-2008, believed to be one of the best engines that the Japanese automaker has ever made. That very engine has been tuned to deliver even stronger low and mid-range power with newly designed pistons and camshaft, so the expectations were really high and the engine lives up to it.If we talk numbers then the engine is a 999 cc 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC unit that produces 146 bhp and 106 Nm of torque and comes connected to a smooth 6-speed constant mesh transmission. In simple words, you can go over 130 km/h in the first gear, the third gear kicks in at around 180 km/h.In terms of electronics, the bike comes with a three-level traction control system in which – level 1 is meant for the tracks, 2 for city riding and 3 for wet road conditions. These reduce the power sent to the rear wheels to help the rider in different road conditions and this usually translates into an intrusive experience but not with this bike. The traction control works so smoothly that you’ll hardly notice that it’s reducing power to the rear wheels, even at level 3. This could be as the sensors on the bike monitor front and rear wheel speeds, throttle position, crank position and the gear position 250 times a second. Of course, you can switch it off completely if you want to.What’s Cool?What’s really impressive is the riding ergonomics of the GSX-S1000 which are easy on your wrists, back and shoulders. It gets a new aluminium frame which helps the bike in maintaining a light weight of 209 kilos (Kerb), add to that a low seat height (810 mm) and a flat handlebar and the result is a very, on-its-toes, agile machine making it easy for street riding.Heat dissipation is not a problem either as it gets a curved radiator. We rode it for over 400 kilometres in bumper-to-bumper Delhi traffic and the bike coped extremely well, even when it rained and gave a decent mileage (for a 1000cc) of 15 km/l, giving a good range from its 17-litre fuel tank.The 17-inch tyres are Dunlop radials (120/71 at the front; 190/50 at the rear) provide ample grip and the KYB inverted fork suspension is fully adjustable.best part about the riding experience, other than the ease of handling, is the exhaust note. In short, it is one of the best stock exhaust notes out there and sounds absolutely eargasmic.The bike’s naked design means wind bursts once you go at triple speeds, but that comes as standard with most other street-naked motorcycles as well.The throttle can be a bit snatchy and needs to be dealt with carefully. Although the traction control keeps you in check and will help you handle the mental acceleration.The styling is good, but not great. It looks extremely sporty from the back, as it has a well designed rising tail section but the layered, sloping design on the front is unable to compliment that sportiness.The drawback for us were the brakes. The humungous radial-mount Brembo monobloc callipers on the front 310 mm floating mount disc, provides all the bite you need but you’d be left wanting more feedback from the brakes under intense braking.It competes with the Kawasaki Z1000 and the Benelli TNT R, both of which look better but are more expensive and produce lesser power. What sits right next to the GSX-S1000 in terms of price is the litre-class variant of the Triumph Speed Triple but then even that’s less powerful than the SuzukiThe Suzuki GSX-S1000 was designed for the street and it takes them on extremely well. It offers the adrenaline rush you’d want from a litre-class motorcycle and the agility you’d need for city riding.Priced at Rs 12.25 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) it is great value for money and it has everything in it to raise the hair on the back of your neck.
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