Here’s the Day One first-ride summary from Ross!
We’re out on the launch of the newly released GX. Sitting neatly in the range between the GT and V-Strom, it aims to blend sporty performance with long-distance comfort. Sounds good, right?
Today’s mostly been about bagging photos and video, so we’ve not managed to get a ton of miles under our belt – but thankfully, we’re out riding tomorrow, too, and will have a chance to properly get stuck into some of the cracking roads near Cascais in Portugal.
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I had high expectations for this bike, and by the time we stopped for lunch, I was fairly underwhelmed. We’d not really had a chance to open it up and stretch its legs, and although it proved itself quietly capable, I had little to write home about. Thankfully, an uninterrupted stretch of twisties on the run back to the hotel presented the perfect opportunity to get a real feel for what the bike’s about.
It’s a comfortable place to be. It’s not quite as big or as roomy as I expected – but with the bars 38mm higher and 43mm closer than the GT, and the seat 15mm higher, it feels good (there is an optional low seat too), though some taller riders have reported aches from the seat and pegs being a little too close together. The three-step adjustable screen does a decent job of keeping the wind at bay even at motorway speeds, and the handguards will no doubt be a welcome addition when we get to ride it back in Blighty.
Its road-tuned tried and tested 152bhp GSX-R 1000 engine is the centrepiece – and it’s a lovely thing, tractable, flexible and super smooth with more than enough poke. It comes alive higher up the revs, as proved by our spirited ride back to our digs for the night.
Some may criticise it for a lack of character, but there is a reason Suzuki’s been using this powerplant for so long – and with 180,000 of them produced over the years, it’s no surprise they’ve got it set just so.
There’s a swathe of electronics fitted to the GX as standard. The big news is that it’s the first Suzuki with electronic suspension, which is capable of automatically adjusting to your riding style, the road conditions and the weight it’s carrying.
It’s essentially a sky-hook style system, which automatically adjusts the damping to better absorb lumps and bumps in the road. It works with the Suzuki Road Adaptive Stabilisation, which detects the road surface and adjusts the suspension and throttle response to suit. Another nice touch is the Suzuki Decelaration Damping Control. It smoothes out the suspension under hard braking.
The drive mode selector also integrates the systems into 3 riding modes (Active, Basic and Comfort), adjusting the damping to suit. You can also choose to dial in the traction control settings and throttle response, which means there’s a load of different ways to get the bike just right.
In truth, it’s going to be difficult to really get under the skin of all the tech in such a short space of time – but from what we’ve experienced so far, it’s super capable. It’s slightly let down by it’s somewhat dated dash, but at least it’s clear and easy to navigate.
The Brembo stoppers are capable of hauling the bike up in a hurry, with enough feel to feather and shave off speed when the turn unexpectedly tightens up. They’re not sensational, but they work well.
I’d argue the Dunlop Roadsmart 2 tyres feel like a bit of a weak link. They’re not bad, but they could be better…
It is a versatile machine, though, and we’ve taken it all over – from rough little lanes to wide open motorways via sections of fast, flowing twisties. While it’s most at home making swifter progress, it is surprisingly capable of remaining poised on less than favourable Tarmac.
The good news is that we’ve got a whole day of riding tomorrow to delve a bit deeper and properly get under the GX’s skin – and we’ll be bringing you more thoughts on the £14,499 as soon as we step off it.