Suzuki launched the GSX1400 in
2001 as a response to a market desire for large-capacity naked retro-styled
machines. The firm expressed the view that many riders were becoming less
interested in ultimate sports machines, because of the twin problems of
increasing anti-speeding legislation and tougher insurance premiums.
A handsome machine, the GSX1400
is physically massive - at 228kg (5021b) dry with a 1520mm (60in) wheelbase,
it looks every inch the bruising musclebike. Once astride the bike, it still
feels extremely wide, but the considerable weight vanishes once on the move.
This muscle-bound image is more
than skin-deep. Nestling in a tough steel-tube frame is a brutish lump of an
engine - based around the firm's balance-shaft equipped GSX1100 engine from
the late 1980s. The 16-valve, DOHC design was a strong, reliable design
which has given excellent service, and the increased bore and stroke of the
1402cc update was well within the limits of the tough engine.
Although based on an old
air-cooled design, the GSX1400 engine has been updated with a high-tech SDTV
dual-throttle fuel-injection system. Borrowed from the GSX-R range of
high-tech sports machines, the system uses a computer-controlled secondary
throttle valve to match the intake air flow to the engine's demands and the
rider's throttle opening.
The GSX1400 engine has been
re-tuned for even more low-rpm torque, with a peak figure of 93ft lb at
5000rpm, and is very strong through the mid-range. The chassis, while
conventionally styled, is well-equipped. Six-piston front brake calipers are
sportsbike items, while the rear piggyback shocks and 46mm (1.9in) front
forks are high-spec, fully adjustable items.
The handling of the GSX is
impressive, considering its mass and design. The suspension gives a plush,
controlled ride, and although ground clearance is poor for a sportsbike, the
GSX is still a very satisfying ride.