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Are You Tasting the Pith? - 17th July 05

Suzuki GSF600S

OK, I know it's cheating, but after last weeks nonsense, I've had a week where I just don't want to face more generica. So, this week, the GSF600S Bandit that I picked up for 1700 recently.

I've had a series of disasters with motorbikes over the last couple of years, and so finally bit the bullet and bought one from a dealer rather than an eBay bargain. I have to say, I'm stunned by what you can get for your money. Admittedly, the example I picked up was pretty low mileage (40k) and had been well looked after, but still, it's a lot of bang for your buck.

It seems utterly bulletproof, the motor sounding smooth and muscular, with an entertaining induction whistle tuned into the engine - as you open the throttle, the bass rumble develops a higher harmonic shriek, sounding powerful and feral. Pottering around town, there is perhaps a bit too much weight on the hands to be completely comfortable, although at higher speeds I find there is a bit too much weight on the seat, so perhaps I'm just carrying a bit too much weight all round.

Power delivery is pretty smooth from 3000 rpm up to about 7000 rpm, then there is a big rush from there all the way to the 12000 rpm redline. Everything happens very quickly when you enter this zone - the world blurs, the bike takes off, and you need to change gear immediately. How fast will it go? I've absolutely no idea - a lot faster than I want to. It will go from 60 mph to 90 mph in just a few seconds, should you stir the gears and throttle vigorously enough.

The Japanese build bikes like the Germans brew beer - with fanatic attention to detail, tradition and quality, and once you get a taste for it, you can't understand why anyone would want anything different.

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