Wouldn’t it be great if each of us were able to collect as many bikes as we would like? How about one for each purpose and riding scenario? Unfortunately for most, that’s not an option due to the recent downturn in our nation’s economy and progressively rising fuel costs that seems to have impacted the majority of the country’s population.
How does one go about making the right choice when considering the purchase of a new motorcycle, particularly when there are so many to choose from, in a variety of configurations, each tailored or designed to serve a seemingly singular purpose? Versatility is the key my friends. There are a select few bikes that serve multiple purposes equally well. One needs but to shop around and carefully choose a bike that is capable of fulfilling more than one of your riding requirements, while also satisfying his or her tastes in styling and design. The choice is clearly yours to make – concentrate on a narrowly specialized ride, or go for a bike that is both functional and versatile over a broad spectrum of uses.
Have we got a bike for you….Suzuki has a prime candidate that fits nicely into the versatility genre – their GSX1250FA, which is essentially a fully faired replacement for their former half-faired Bandit 1250S. The “F” designation is of course for full fairing, while the “A” stands for ABS anti-lock brakes, which come as a standard feature. The new GSXer also provides better wind protection, and comes with a standard center stand in addition to the traditional side stand.
The Suzuki is powered by a 1255cc, DOHC, 16-valve, fuel injected, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine that makes 98.9 horses at 8,800 rpm while also cranking out 77.4 pound feet f torque at 5,900 rpm. Motive energy is metered to the rear wheel through a six-speed constant mesh sequential manual gearbox via a 118-link chain final drive. The low-end torque may be likened to that of a freight train even though this is not a GSX-R. 0-60 mph may be clicked of in a mere 3.0 seconds.
In terms of its styling, the GSX1250FA comes across looking for the most part like an all out sport bike, and while it is not really as aggressive as some sport bikes in its design, it certainly qualifies as a bonafide sport tourer. The full fairing, vertically stacked headlight and beefy stainless exhaust right side exhaust canister hint at the bike’s performance potential. The suspension set up consists of telescopic oil damped, coil spring front forks with spring preload and 5.1 – inches of claimed wheel travel, and a link-type oil damped coil spring, swingarm out back. Rolling stock is by Bridgestone, in the form of tubeless, 17-inch ZR-rated Battlax BT 023 rubber mounted on 3-spoke, painted cast alloy wheels – 120/70 ZR 17 in the front and 180/55 ZR17 in the rear. Reining in the powerful Suzuki is accomplished via dual disc brakes up front and a single disc in the rear with digital ABS.
The wheelbase of the GSX1250FA measures 58.5-inches, while the overall length is 83.9-inches, and the bike’s dry weight is a manageable 537 pounds. The standard seat height is 31.7-inches which may be adjusted to 32.5-inches.
My test 2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA sported an exterior finish of Gloss Black flecked with Blue metallic flakes and a minimum of bright work. The base price was set at $11,599, while the estimated totaled after factoring in dealer handling and prep (which is variable from dealer to dealer) came to $11,849.
First off, let me say that any claims of exceptional versatility made by the folks at Suzuki when referencing the GSX1250FA are totally legitimate and uninflated. This bike is extremely smooth to ride in virtually any scenario. It’s not an all-out sport bike, nor des it fit exclusively into the cruiser genre. It delivers inspirational levels of both chassis and engine performance capability, while providing a comfortable ride quality, even for long distance rides. In other words, this bike provides an outlet for aggressive riding or for sport touring – it can serve equally well in a variety of riding situations. It’s good for commuting, good for boulevard cruising, good for canyon carving and good for touring. Basically, it’s good for just about anything that might be ailing you.
The riding position is quite comfortable, though longer-legged types will note that a little more sculpting in the sides of the fuel tank’s rearward dimensions would prove to be beneficial. Its foot pegs are rubber cushioned and well placed in a mid/rear position while the handlebars are at a comfortable level and angle back nicely for a more than suitable riding position. Ride quality, which is adjustable, is readily compliant without being extremely tight or loose. The seating is plush by sporting standards, supporting and even encouraging longer treks on the open road.
Low-end torque is incredible and the pull of the engine’s midrange is athletic, but a little less than dramatic at the upper end of the rev limit. Not to worry, the bike’s smoothness and broad torque delivery offsets any misgivings one might have initially.
Bottom-line, the Suzuki GSX1250FA is perfectly capable of serving in more than one capacity, ranking it as highly versatile, not to mention both desirable and affordable.