New Motorcycle/Review


Alexis Bachofen

Extract a legendary motor from the old GSX-R1100, bore out the engine slightly to 1157c and ride to work in style! Suzuki's Bandit 1200 offers an executive bikini-faired retro-style bike, with enough power and a top speed to thrill any rider. With its discrete looks many road users wouldn't give the Bandit a second glance, Bland and boring? Suzuki's attempt at out styling other manufactures has missed its mark, offering clients little street-cred and even less respect from other bikers. That's until you get on the open road.

Suddenly the Bandit shows its true colours, offering one of the most thrilling riding experiences from any retro-styled muscle bike, second only to the Honda X-11 (currently unavailable in Australia - luckily for Suzuki). As if injected with nitroglycerine the Bandit takes control of your sub-conscious mind and begs you to push it firmer and faster into every corner. "Fast" is the wrong word, it's intense! Drop down a gear approaching a corner and the front wheel will lift off the road and kiss the sky. It's a brute! Offering well over 110bhp and a top speed over 235kmh the Suzuki Bandit pushes its rider almost to the limit, let down only by its heavy handling in corners and aging looks.

Even with its incredible power the Suzuki Bandit still doesn't quite do it for me. I would far prefer to be riding a Ducati Monster 900, even with its slight lack of power compared to the 1157cc Bandit. The stying of the Bandit just doesn't know what it's trying to be. Suzuki would do better to set up the faring around the power the bike is able to deliver. Make it look aggressive! I've seen pictures of the 2001 Bandit to come and it doesn't look much better. Styled similar to Suzuki's GSXF I'm unsure if it will appeal to the masses. How can a company capable to offering us a Hayabusa and new GSXR be able to get things so very wrong?

On a more positive note it is surprisingly comfortable and the faring is effective. The Bandit has telescopic adjustable spring preload front suspension that will easily help its cornering ability, when adjusted to suit the rider. 'Twas way off for me! The dials are clear, simple and nicely chromed. It's the engine and exhaust note however that I enjoyed the most. The 4-stoke, 4-cylinder engine is calm, purring in hibernation until you yank back the throttle. Even in high revs the engine feels as if it's capable of so much more. The quite reserved type for the owner not wanting to prove anything until he/she gets on the open road. For $11,800 on the road it's unbeatable value. There are few new bikes around that provide this amount of power for the money, but I unfortunately can't stop thinking that money would be better spent elsewhere.

Many thanks to McColloch Suzuki in Victoria Park for the Bandit and visor. My question to Suzuki would be "Why isn't it available in Australia without the bikini fairing?"

Engine Type:           4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC,
                       16 valve, oil/air cooled
Bore & Stroke:         79.0mm x 59.0mm
Displacement:          1157cc
Compression:           9.5:1
Carburetion:           MIKUNI BST36x4
Starter System:        Electric
Lubrication system:    N/A
Transmission:          5-speed constant mesh
Frame type:            N/A
Suspension Front:      Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped,
                       adjustable spring preload
            Rear:      Link-type, gas/oil damped,
                       4-way adjustable rebound damping and
                       7-way adjustable spring preload
Wheels:    Front:      N/A
            Back:      N/A
Brakes:    Front:      Disc, twin
            Rear:      Disc
Tyres:     Front:      120/70 ZR17 (58W)
            Rear:      180/55 ZR17 (73W)
Fuel Tank:             19 L
Wheelbase:             1435mm
Ground clearance:      130mm
Dry weight:            214kg (471lbs)
Top Speed:             235kmh
Horse Power:           114bhp

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