Suzuki GSXR 1300 Hayabusa

13 Awesome Suzukis We’d Love To Ride

Suzuki was founded in 1909, but its focus was on looms, not high-performance motorcycles. A lot has changed since then, and Suzuki is now known for making some of the best and most fun motorcycles money can buy. 

They’ve built some absolutely game-changing models, such as the Katana, GSX-R750, and Hayabusa, so narrowing the list down to just 13 models we’d love to ride wasn’t easy.

Suzuki GSXR 1300 Hayabusa

Suzuki GSXR 1300 Hayabusa
Image Credit: Suzuki.

During the 1990s, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers were locked in a battle to see who could build the fastest motorcycle. Previously, Kawasaki and Honda had both claimed the throne, but it was all over when Suzuki released the GSXR 1300 Hayabusa.

At the time, Honda’s Super Blackbird was the fastest, and Suzuki clearly wanted to have some fun when they beat it. Hayabusa is Japanese for peregrine falcon, which is known to eat blackbirds. With a 173-horsepower 1,299cc engine, it managed a 194 mph top speed. Immediately after it was released, Japanese bikemakers feared a European ban on these superfast machines and entered a gentleman’s agreement to limit their bikes to 186 mph.

Suzuki GSX-R750 F-H

Suzuki GSX-R750
Image Credit: Rainmaker47 / Wiki Commons.

In 1984, Suzuki introduced the now-legendary GSX-R750. It looked like the four-stroke, four-cylinder racebikes that duked it out on the world’s racetracks every weekend, but it was affordable and reliable.

The GSX-R750 also packed advanced technology and was light, which helped it slow down faster and go around corners without riders feeling like they were wrestling André The Giant. It went on to inspire a whole new breed of motorcyclists who wanted performance but without the ton-up café racer rocker style. In other words, the GSX-R750 was among the first modern-style superbikes we know today.

Suzuki GSX-R1100

Suzuki GSX-R1100
Image Credit: Mike Schinkel / Wiki Commons.

A couple of years after the GSX-R750’s debut, Suzuki decided to go big or go home, which led to the creation of the GSX-R1100. By now, Honda had released its very popular VFR, and Kawasaki had the GPZ900R Ninja, but the GSX-R1100 was more impressive than both.

While the Gixxer1100 was lauded when it was new, its nature is very agricultural compared to modern machinery. Still, it has plenty of devoted followers thanks to its power and reputation as a real street hooligan.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5

Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5
Image Credit: Davor Aladich / YouTube.

Suzuki fans will tell anyone who cares to listen that the K5 version is the best Gixxer Thou ever made. Its dimensions are similar to that of a 600cc sportbike, but with 180 horsepower, it was among the most powerful 1,000cc superbikes in 2005/2006.

The K5 GSX-R1000 was seriously fast and handled like a dream, both on the road and the track. While we wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner, it’s one of the most well-mannered superbikes of this era, so it’s fairly approachable. In fact, it was so good, rumor has it that BMW used it as inspiration when developing the legendary S1000RR.

Suzuki GSX-R600 SRAD

Suzuki GSX-R600 SRAD
Image Credit: Cjp24 / Wiki Commons.

Suzuki introduced the GSX-R600 in the States in the early 1990s, but it was essentially a sleeved-down version of the 750 to avoid taxes. Their other middleweight sportbikes, such as the GSX600F and RF600R, weren’t really sportbikes at all. At best, they could be called sport-tourers.

That all changed in 1997 when Suzuki introduced the excellent GSX-R600 SRAD. It’s easily one of the best-looking sportbikes of the 1990s, and it had the performance to match. Thanks to its low weight, powerful engine, and focused chassis, the GSX-R600 SRAD soon became a hit with riders who wanted to go fast on a budget.

Suzuki TL1000R

Suzuki TL1000R
Image Credit: RubSub / Wiki Commons.

The Suzuki TL1000R has gotten a somewhat bad rep, which is partly deserved. Its rear suspension design was lethal, and the frame is known to develop cracks, but get that sorted out, and it’s a brilliant superbike.

Suzuki built the V-twin-powered TL1000R to compete with Ducati and Honda in WSBK and AMA races. It only won one race before it was replaced by the GSX-R750 race bike. The TL1000R’s V-twin sounds fantastic, especially with a pair of Yoshimura cans, and we’d buy one for the sound alone.

Suzuki GSX 1100S Katana

Suzuki Katana 1100
Image Credit: Suzuki.

As cool as the new, retro-styled Suzuki Katana is, we’d still prefer to swing a leg over the original GSX 1100S Katana from the early 1980s. It still looks stunning today and is credited as one of the bikes that changed sportbike design forever.

Today, it may seem pretty basic, but it was quite advanced and ahead of its time. The front forks had a simple anti-dive feature, and it had pre-load adjustment at the rear. With 110 horsepower, it even packed a serious punch, and we’re not sure we’d want more than that in an old bike with 1980s technology.

Suzuki SV650

Suzuki SV650
Image Credit: Suzuki.

The Suzuki SV650 has been around for 25 years, and during that time, it’s consistently been one of the best “big” bikes for inexperienced riders. 

There’s nothing flashy about it, nor does it pack any fancy tech. It’s just an honest, basic, affordable, and extremely reliable bike that’s genuinely fun to ride. Over the years, it’s even been hugely successful on racetracks, and for a while, it was one of the best options for those who wanted to compete in the Isle of Man Supertwin class.

Suzuki V-Strom 650

Suzuki V-Strom 650
Image Credit: Suzuki.

Nestled in the V-Strom 650’s frame is the same 645cc V-twin as used in the SV650. Motorcycle journalists have praised the V-Strom 650 since its introduction in 2004 until today’s 3rd-gen model. 

Granted, it’s not the most off-road-capable adventure bike, but if you mainly ride on the road and want to cross continents on a budget, we can’t think of a better bike for the job.

Suzuki RG500 “Gamma”

Suzuki RG500 Gamma
Image Credit: Thesupermat / Wiki Commons.

Over the years, motorcycle manufacturers have gifted us mere mortals with GP-derived sportbikes, such as the Ducati Desmosedici and Honda RC213V-S. Well, at least those with tons of cash to spare could buy them. 

From 1985 to 1987, Suzuki sold the RG500 Gamma, which was practically identical to the GP bike. It had a 498cc twin crank, square four, two-stroke engine with flat-slide carburetors that produced 95 horsepower. Weighing only 385 lbs, it was lightning quick, and being a two-stroke, it took a skilled rider to get the most from it without high-siding in a corner.

Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.

Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Image Credit: Suzuki.

Suzuki may be best known for its sportbikes, but the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer has also built some excellent cruisers. The Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. is its flagship muscle cruiser, and it can compete with any American machine.

The M109R combines Suzuki’s racing knowledge with an American-style cruiser, and the end result is just astonishing. As the name suggests, it’s powered by a massive 109 cu-in V-twin that sends 128 horses to the fat rear tire. The chassis is somewhat sporty, so it can go around corners in style, and GSX-R brakes will slow it down when it’s time to bring things to a halt.

Suzuki Bandit 1200

Suzuki Bandit 1200
Image Credit: Reg Mckenna / Wiki Commons.

European riders, and perhaps especially British ones, recognize the Suzuki Bandit 1200 as the ultimate street fighter-style bike. For years, it had a massive fan base and a huge selection of aftermarket parts.

It’s a parts-bin special, which made it cheap to develop, but it’s also a fantastic bike in its own right. The engine was a modified and re-tuned GSX-R1100 unit, producing close to 100 horsepower and more torque than before. Suzuki used very basic components, but the Bandit is still a safe and predictable bike.

Suzuki GSX-8R

Suzuki GSX-8R
Image Credit: Suzuki.

Suzuki may have arrived a bit late to the middleweight sportbike party, but the GSX-8R immediately became one of the top options in the segment. Unlike other fully-faired Suzuki sportbikes, the GSX-8R is so comfortable to ride, one can spend an entire day in the saddle without getting back pains.

The 776cc parallel-twin engine is Suzuki’s first all-new engine in a very long time, and with 81 horsepower, it’s more powerful than both the Kawasaki 650 Ninja and Yamaha R7.

Andre Nalin

Author: Andre Nalin

Title: Writer

Bio:

Andre has worked as a writer and editor for multiple car and motorcycle publications over the last decade, but he has reverted to freelancing these days. He has accumulated a ton of seat time during his ridiculous road trips in highly unsuitable vehicles, and he’s built magazine-featured cars. He prefers it when his bikes and cars are fast and loud, but if he had to pick one, he’d go with loud.

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