Let those good miles roll with one very sporty sport tourer from Suzuki, the 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT+.
It appears the Big S is starting to wake after a long, Covid-induced slumber. Suzuki, the great sleeping giant of the motorcycle industry, hasn’t done much of anything on the street bike front for quite some time but in the space of one month, we’ve got three new models to play with (well, essentially the same model dressed in different clothes, but let’s not be picky). We tested the $11,299 MSRP GSX-S1000 naked bike back in March and while it indeed had a few flaws, overall it left a nice taste on the motorcycling pallet. That same bike is now the basis for the 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT+, which, if you don’t wish to read any further, is a well-executed, if a little old-school, sport tourer.
That little “+” symbol at the end of the GT name gives this model a $650 premium over the base GT at $13,799 MSRP, but for that, you get a pair of shiny 36-liter side cases matched to the ignition key. You could always buy a base model and buy the cases separately via the Suzuki accessory range, but if you did that you’ll end up paying more overall, so, buy the GT+.
A closer look under the skin reveals a machine that’s essentially a GSX-S naked bike in drag with a few choice upgrades. The same 999cc inline four-cylinder engine that traces its heritage from the legendary GSX-R1000 K5 resides inside the aluminum twin-spar chassis; there’s the same six-speed gearbox mated to that lovely quick-shifter we enjoyed so much on the naked bike; it even has the same seat height of 31.9 inches and the same wheelbase of 57.5 inches.
The difference comes in rider comfort and, thank the good Lord, the electronics.
The former is so due to the bodywork and screen that alleviates much of the buffeting you normally experience on a naked bike, the latter thanks to the 6.5-inch TFT dash that, incredibly, is the first time Suzuki has fitted such a unit to any of its production machines. Oh well, better late than never.
And Suzuki has done a good job executing the ride command system. This is still not a “digital sportbike” so no IMU, Cornering ABS, lean angle sensitive traction control or electronic suspension to fiddle with. All that’s there is your three riding modes, five-stage traction control, and whether you want to turn the quickshifter on or off (we’ve no idea why you’d ever want to turn it off, it works so well).
On top of that, there’s cruise control, and you can pair your phone for navigation, music, etc. It’s a simple suite, executed well, with no frills or gimmicks, and simply light years ahead of horrid dash Suzuki fitted to the GSX-S naked bike.
But when you strip it all back, the genes of the GSX-R1000 K5 shine through. This is a gruff, nasty sounding motorcycle that’s very much angled more to the sport side of sport touring. The intoxicating induction roar, the massive midrange torque, the aggressive nature of the chassis, it’s all there. The GSX-S1000 GT+ is very much like an athlete from 17 years ago — distinguished, accomplished, but still with a bit of fire in the belly. A leopard can’t change its spots, after all.
The throttle response can be pretty abrupt in A mode so like the GSX-S, I quickly switched to B mode and left it there. B mode seems to give the best-closed throttle response and torque delivery, with A mode reserved for only the fastest of road rides.
KYB has done a good job with the suspension, although in standard settings it’s a tad springy for me so I progressively slowed down the rebound damping front and rear across the two test days. However, ride quality is nice for both highway touring and backroads scratching, and with no electronics, you can actually feel what’s going on beneath you as the suspension operates in the analog world, not independently controlled by computers.
The price reflects the fact this machine is largely devoid of electronics, which in my view is a good thing. Cornering ABS and lean angle sensitive TC is all well and good, but do you really need it? The 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT+ is a case of everything you need and nothing you don’t. This is a thoroughly enjoyable ride that harks back to the days of real sporty sports tourers.
Images: Kevin Wing
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