Tag Archives: Suzuki Motorcycles

Is web motorcycle purchase the new normal?

It seems online buying has boomed during the pandemic lockdown, but would you buy a motorcycle over the web?

Last year Suzuki Australia offered online ordering for their new Katana model and declared it a success.

Suzuki Australia marketing manager Lewis Croft says dealers were, at first, very nervous about selling over the web.

But he says they loved it because it did all the groundwork with customers and all they had to do was the final paperwork and handover.

In September, MV Agusta opened orders for all its motorcycles online.

MV Agusta CEO Timur Sardarov said the “digital ecosystem is a cornerstone for reaching worldwide growth and strengthen customer relationship”.

And now Royal Enfield Australia has developed an online ordering system.

In all cases, customers choose their bike and accessories over the web, pay a deposit and then the local dealer gets in contact to arrange delivery.

But would you really buy a motorcycle online without having ridden one first?

Demo rides

You wouldn’t buy a car without a test ride, so why should riders be denied the opportunity to test out the bike first?

Some dealers don’t even allow customers to sit on their showroom bikes.Please do not sit

It is estimated that demo rides increase the chances of selling a motorcycle by 10%.

A 2015 US motorcycle industry study found that the availability of demo rides also improved customer satisfaction of dealerships.

The ninth annual Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) US Motorcycle Industry Benchmarking Study found that test rides were offered 63% of the time to mystery shoppers compared with 34% five years earlier.

It also found sales staff encouraged customers to sit on a bike 81% of the time, up from 70%.

A good dealer experience also translated to improved sales, with dealerships ranking in the top quarter selling 22% more motorcycles than dealerships in the bottom quarter.

It found Harley-Davidson, BMW and Ducati the most aggressive in offering test rides.

It is no coincidence that every Pied Piper study for the past decade or more has been led by those same three companies.

Aussie test rides

While there is no equivalent study in Australia, the results are perhaps indicative of strict global manufacturer training standards of dealer staff and attitudes to offering demo rides.

The lack of demo rides is one of the biggest complaints about dealerships we receive at MotorBikeWriter.com.

But many of these are for popular new models where demand outstrips supply and every bike that comes into the dealership is already sold.BMW Motorrad GS Off-Road Training

Perhaps the most aggressive brands offering test rides in Australia are Harley-Davidson, BMW and Indian.

Harley not only offers test rides to licensed riders, but also offers a static ride to unlicensed riders with their Jump Start program.

It’s rare for any dealer to offer test rides of off-road or adventure bikes because of the risk of damage, but BMW even hosts annual GS demo ride days around the country.

And Indian throws in free fuel and accommodation on their weekend demo ride offers!

We only have our own experiences and anecdotes of readers to go on, but it seems Japanese brands are the worst at allowing test rides.

Maybe that has to do with complacency because they are the four biggest sellers.

Sales trends

But with sales crashing, distributors and dealers need to pick up their act.

It may cost more to have demo bikes available, but the results speak for themselves.

The motorcycle industry grapples with this basic sales technique.

Some dealers just see the cost of bike depreciation, fuel and staff time to take riders on escorted demo rides, rather than looking at long-term customer goodwill.

It also requires the manufacturers or importers to back them up with demo bikes and allow them to later sell them at a discount.

Riders see buying a bike as a lottery unless they can actually throw a leg over and feel the bike.

They need to evaluate the ergonomics for their body size, hear the noises, test the power and handling, and even feel the heat from the engine.

  • Have you ever been denied a demo ride? What did you do? Did you go elsewhere and buy the same bike or another brand? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Suzuki Home Delivery With Direct 2 You Service

Suzuki Direct 2 You logo

As it continues to provide essential services to its loyal customer base and national dealer network, Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (Suzuki) is excited to support dealers’ ability to temporarily deliver products to customers’ homes or offices with “Suzuki Direct 2 You”. Suzuki announced this service on April 6, 2020 to its powersports dealers, providing them the opportunity to send Suzuki motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs directly to their customers, all while ensuring the same quality of service as an in-store visit

“We understand the landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, and we are working hard to ease that burden with new and innovative ways to continue our commitment to keeping customers and dealers a priority,” said Kerry Graeber, Vice President MC/ATV Sales and Marketing. “With Suzuki Direct 2 You, we feel it’s a great way to follow appropriate guidelines while providing a way for customers to still enjoy the perks of a new Suzuki motorcycle or ATV.”
Customers are relying on Suzuki to help make the buying experience safe, professional, and convenient, especially those unable to visit a dealership. To help facilitate the purchase process, Suzuki encourages its dealers to communicate through electronic means and other methods to minimize contact, where and when appropriate.
“Suzuki Direct 2 You” will be available through June 30, 2020 at participating dealers, subject to local laws and directives.
For more information on “Suzuki Direct 2 You”, please visit SuzukiCycles.com or contact a local Suzuki dealer for availability.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2019 Honda CB1000R vs 2020 Kawasaki Z900RS vs 2020 Suzuki Katana | Comparison Test Review

2020 Suzuki Katana Honda CB1000R Kawasaki Z900RS
Distinctive styling sets these modern-day UJMs apart from each other, but they’re very similar otherwise. Their nearly 1,000cc engines are liquid-cooled, transverse in-line fours with DOHC and four valves per cylinder. They roll on 17-inch cast wheels with tubeless radials, and have standard ABS and traction control, adjustable suspension and radial-mount monoblock front calipers. They have upright riding positions with minimal wind protection. And they all look good parked in front of Morro Rock. Photos by Kevin Wing.

Remember UJMs? If you were a motorcyclist in the ’70s, or have a soft spot for bikes from that era, then you remember them well. Honda kicked it off in 1969 with its groundbreaking CB750, the first mass-produced motorcycle with a transverse in-line four-cylinder engine and an overhead camshaft. It was an air-cooled four-stroke with a five-speed transmission, a front disc brake, an electric starter and an upright seating position.

Honda created the formula and other Japanese manufacturers followed it. Kawasaki launched the mighty 903cc Z1 for 1973, Suzuki introduced the GS750 for 1976 and, late to the party but the biggest reveler in the room, Yamaha brought out the XS1100 for 1978. Similarities among these and other Japanese models of varying displacements led “Cycle” magazine, in its November 1976 test of the Kawasaki KZ650, to coin what became a widely used term: “In the hard world of commerce, achievers get imitated and the imitators get imitated. There is developing, after all, a kind of Universal Japanese Motorcycle…conceived in sameness, executed with precision, and produced by the thousands.”

Those UJMs, and the standards of performance and reliability they established, revolutionized the world of motorcycling. Decades later, descendants of those progenitors carry their DNA into the modern era. To see how well the formula holds up in the 21st century, we gathered examples from Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki for a neo-retro comparo. (As much as we would have loved to include Yamaha for a proper battle of the Big Four, its contemporary XSR900 is powered by an in-line triple that colors too far outside the lines of the UJM formula.)

Honda CB1000R
Like all three bikes in this comparison, the Honda has an upright seating position that puts no strain on the rider’s wrists, shoulders or back, but its footpegs are the highest.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: Arai Corsair-X
Jacket: Scorpion Birmingham
Pants: Joe Rocket Ballistic
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex
Tail Bag: Nelson-Rigg

Honda’s CB1000R, like its granddaddy, has a transverse in-line four, but it’s a more highly evolved one featuring liquid cooling and dual overhead cams with four valves per cylinder — a configuration shared by all three bikes in this comparison. Derived from the pre-2008 CBR1000RR sportbike, the CB’s 998cc engine has been tuned for low- to midrange power and its 6-speed transmission has an assist-and-slipper clutch. Like the others, the CB1000R’s standard equipment includes ABS and traction control, but it’s the only one here with throttle-by-wire and riding modes (Sport, Street, Rain and customizable User), which adjust throttle response, engine braking and traction control.

Read our Road Test Review of the Honda CB1000R here.

Kawasaki Z900RS
With the lowest seat height, lowest footpegs and most room for a rider, passenger and luggage (as well as a magnet-friendly steel tank), the Kawasaki is the natural choice for longer rides.

Mark’s Gear
Helmet: Bell SRT Modular
Jacket: Rev’It
Pants: Rev’It
Boots: Sidi Performer Gore-Tex
Tank/Tail Bags: Chase Harper

A round headlight and an exposed engine are about the only styling traits shared by the “Neo-Sports Café” CB1000R and the CB750. Kawasaki’s Z900RS, on the other hand, is a spitting image of its forebear. Round mirrors on long stalks, bullet-shaped analog gauges, a teardrop tank, a bench seat, a sculpted tail and gorgeous Candytone Green paint with yellow stripes are all inspired by the original Z1. Even the flat spokes of its cast wheels are designed to look like spoked wheels of yore. Derived from the Z900 streetfighter, the Kawasaki’s 948cc DOHC in-line four has revised cam profiles, lower compression, a heavier flywheel, a second gear-driven balancer and narrower exhaust headers for a mellower feel, and its stainless steel 4-into-1 exhaust has been tuned to deliver an old-school four-banger growl.

Read our First Ride Review of the Kawasaki Z900RS here.

2020 Suzuki Katana
Rodolfo Franscoli’s redesigned Katana brings the distinctive elements of the original into the 21st century, though the fairing and flyscreen offer more style than wind protection.

Jenny’s Gear
Helmet: Shoei RF-1200
Jacket: AGV Sport Helen
Pants: Joe Rocket Alter Ego
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex
Tail Bag: Nelson-Rigg

Suzuki’s entry in this contest is the new-for-2020 Katana, a modern interpretation of the iconic 1981 GSX1100S Katana, which revolutionized motorcycle design by treating the bike as a whole rather than a collection of parts. Originally conceived by Hans Muth and reimagined by Rodolfo Frascoli, the Katana has a small fairing and windscreen, and, like the CB1000R, a stubby tail section. Based on the GSX-S1000 naked sportbike, the Katana is powered by a 999cc DOHC in-line four derived from the 2005-2008 GSX-R1000, tuned for street duty with milder cam profiles and valve timing, steel rather than titanium valves, lighter pistons, a stainless steel exhaust and a 6-speed transmission with an assist-and-slipper clutch.

Read our First Ride Review of the 2020 Suzuki Katana here.

Three bikes, three editors, two days. Before hitting the road, we strapped on soft luggage. None have centerstands, and only the Kawasaki has a steel gas tank that accommodates a magnetic tank bag, which carried our tools, flat repair kit and air pump. Its long, wide bench seat also has room for a good-sized tail bag. With their short tails and small pillions, the Honda and Suzuki only have space for small tail bags. Because the Suzuki’s bodywork is more stylish than functional, the Honda and Kawasaki are completely nude and none have hand guards or heated grips, we were exposed to the elements. We bundled up in layers for our mid-January test and pointed our wheels north, taking freeways and back roads up California’s Central Coast.

2020 Suzuki Katana Honda CB1000R Kawasaki Z900RS
Although UJMs of the ’70s and ’80s were sometimes derided for their sameness and lack of style, the formula they created for smooth power, all-around performance, bulletproof reliability and affordability is still being used today.

With their refined, Swiss watch-like in-line fours, these modern-day UJMs are impeccably smooth. Snicking their transmissions into sixth gear and cruising at a steady speed is a sublime experience, with minimal vibration or unwanted perturbations. None have cruise control, but with fuel capacities ranging from 3.2 gallons on the Suzuki to 4.5 gallons on the Kawasaki and as-tested fuel ranges between 130 and 173 miles, the need for gas will likely precede the need for wrist relief. Upright seating positions and windblast on the chest keep weight off the wrists on all three, but there are notable differences in legroom. The Honda and Suzuki have the tallest seat heights (32.7 and 32.5 inches, respectively) as well as the highest footpegs, putting much more bend in the knees — especially on the Honda — than the comparatively spacious Kawasaki. Even though the Kawi has the lowest seat height (31.5 inches) and lowest pegs, on none of these bikes did we find ourselves dragging pegs in tight corners.

Honda CB1000R
With the lightest weight and best suspension, brakes and tires, the CB1000R is a pleasure to bend through curves.

It’s in those tight corners that these bikes further distinguish themselves. With only 10 pounds separating their curb weights and modest differences in chassis geometry, their engine performance, brakes and suspension are what set these bikes apart. In terms of outright horsepower and torque, the Honda and Suzuki, both of which have sportbike-derived engines, come out on top. The Suzuki is the strongest, churning out 142.1 rear-wheel horsepower at 10,300 rpm and 75.9 lb-ft of torque at 9,200 rpm on Jett Tuning’s dyno, though its advantage over the others is mostly above 8,500 rpm. The Honda peaks at 125.5 horsepower at 9,800 rpm and 70.6 lb-ft at 8,300 rpm, but it’s much weaker than the Suzuki and Kawasaki below 7,500 rpm, a deficiency that’s obvious on corner exits and roll-on passes. Although the Kawasaki generates only 100.1 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 67.5 lb-ft at 8,500 rpm, in the midrange it gives the Suzuki a run for its money and leaves the Honda in the dust.

Dyno results Katana CB1000R Z900RS
Dyno results Katana CB1000R Z900RS

With their more compact cockpits and high-revving power, the Honda and Suzuki lean more toward the sport end of the sport standard spectrum. Their smoothness makes them sneaky fast, and their stock suspension settings are firmer than the Kawasaki’s. All of these bikes have fully adjustable upside-down forks and preload- and rebound-adjustable single rear shocks (KYB on the Kawasaki and Suzuki, Showa on the Honda), but the Honda’s suspension, especially its Separate Function-Big Piston fork, is the most compliant. Sportbike-caliber front brakes, with pairs of radial-mount monoblock 4-piston opposed calipers clamping large discs, deliver serious stopping power across the board, but the Honda has a slight edge in feel. Adding to a sense of confidence on the Honda are its Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 radials, which have noticeably more grip (but likely less mileage in the long run) than the Dunlop radials on the Kawasaki and Suzuki.

Kawasaki Z900RS
With its spacious cockpit and dimensions and soft suspension, the Z900RS requires more effort to hustle around corners.

Despite being down on peak power and more softly sprung, the Kawasaki is by no means a boat anchor or a couch on wheels. It’s plenty fast, but its mission is clearly different than that of the Honda and Suzuki. The Z900RS stokes the flames of nostalgia while providing a more spacious, relaxed and comfortable riding experience, with every potentially rough edge sanded smooth. The Katana, on the other hand, is essentially a GSX-S1000 with plastic bodywork and a more upright riding position. In isolation there’s little to complain about when riding the Suzuki, but compared to the Honda and Kawasaki, it feels less refined, with more driveline lash and less precision during gear changes.

2020 Suzuki Katana
With its power, riding position and firm suspension, the Katana is the most sportbike-like of our trio of modern UJMs.

UJMs were the first motorcycles to be called “superbikes,” a name that came to be more appropriately applied to the racer replicas that proliferated in the late ’80s. These modern-day UJMs fall into the more mundane-sounding “sport standard” category, but there’s nothing mundane about 100-plus rear-wheel horsepower, high-spec brakes and suspension, standard ABS and TC, and a level of capability that’s truly impressive. For sheer power and sporting prowess, the Suzuki gets top marks, but its small 3.2-gallon gas tank and high price ($13,499) make it a tough sell. Priced a bit lower at $12,999, the ultra-smooth Honda has a strong top end as well as throttle-by-wire, riding modes and the best suspension and tires, but its weak midrange and high footpegs limit its overall appeal. A relative bargain at $11,199, the Kawasaki won us over with its throwback styling, spacious and comfortable seating, strong midrange, seductive sound and decent fuel range. If you do what we did — strap on some luggage and explore some of your favorite roads for a couple of days — you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Isn’t that why we ride?

2020 Suzuki Katana Honda CB1000R Kawasaki Z900RS
These modern UJMs are best suited to day rides or weekend jaunts. Their fuel ranges are low by touring standards and they don’t accommodate much luggage, but they’re reasonably comfortable, smooth and a heckuva lot of fun to ride.

Keep scrolling past spec charts for more photos….

2019 Honda CB1000R ABS Specs

Base Price: $12,999
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: powersports.honda.com


Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line four
Displacement: 998cc
Bore x Stroke: 75.0 x 56.5mm
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Valve Train: DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 16,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI w/ throttle-by-wire & 44mm throttle bodies x 4
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.2-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain


Ignition: Fully transistorized
Charging Output: 350 watts max.
Battery: 12V 8.6AH


Frame: Mono-backbone steel frame, single-sided cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 57.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.7 degrees/3.8 in.
Seat Height: 32.7 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, fully adj., 4.3-in. travel
Rear: Single shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping, 5.2-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 310mm floating discs w/ 4-piston monoblock radial opposed calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 256mm disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.5 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 6.0 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 190/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 463 lbs.
Load Capacity: 390 lbs.
GVWR: 853 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 4.3 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 30.7/35.8/39.9
Estimated Range: 154 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,250

2020 Kawasaki Z900RS ABS Specs

Base Price: $11,199
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: kawasaki.com


Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line four
Displacement: 948cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 56.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.8:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 15,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: DFI w/ 36mm throttle bodies x 4
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain


Ignition: TCBI w/ digital advance
Charging Output: 336 watts max.
Battery: 12V 8AH


Frame: High-tensile steel trellis w/engine as stressed member, cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 58.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.4 degrees/3.5 in.
Seat Height: 31.5 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm USD fork, fully adj., 4.7-in. travel
Rear: Single shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping, 5.5-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm discs w/ opposed 4-piston monoblock calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 250mm disc w/ 1-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 180/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 472 lbs.
Load Capacity: 398 lbs.
GVWR: 870 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 90 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 34.5/38.5/45.4
Estimated Range: 173 miles 
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,750

2020 Suzuki Katana Specs

Base Price: $13,499
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: suzukicycles.com


Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line four
Displacement: 999cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 59.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.2:1
Valve Train: DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 15,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ SDTV & 44mm throttle bodies x 4
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.4-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain


Ignition: Transistorized, digital electronic
Charging Output: 385 watts max.
Battery: 12V 8.6AH


Frame: Cast aluminum twin-spar w/ cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 57.5 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/3.9 in.
Seat Height: 32.5 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, fully adj., 4.7-in. travel
Rear: Single link-type shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound, 5.1-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 310mm discs w/ radial-mount monoblock 4-piston opposed calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 220mm disc w/ 1-piston pin-slide caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 6.00 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 190/50-ZR17
Wet Weight: 473 lbs.
Load Capacity: 407 lbs.
GVWR: 880 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 3.2 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 90 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 36.2/40.6/46.5
Estimated Range: 130 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,000

2020 Suzuki Katana Honda CB1000R Kawasaki Z900RS
Even on modern-day UJMs we still like using an old-school paper map to plot our route on the back roads of California’s Central Coast. That’s Hollister Peak in the background (just above Editor Tuttle’s head), one of the Nine Sisters—a chain of small volcanic mountains that includes Morro Rock.
Honda CB1000R engine
The Honda CB1000R’s in-line four is a street-tuned version of the engine that powered the pre-2008 CBR1000RR.
Honda CB1000R swingarm
Unique in this trio, the Honda has a trick-looking single-sided swingarm. Suspension front and rear is by Showa, with a top-spec Separate Function-Big Piston upside-down fork up front.
Honda CB1000R display dash
All-digital display with white graphics on a dark background is generally easy to read in bright sunlight. Red light on the right can be set to change colors with different gears, modes, etc.
Kawasaki Z900RS engine
The Kawasaki Z900RS’s 948cc in-line four is the smallest, least powerful engine here, but it has a strong midrange and its tuned exhaust sounds fantastic.
Kawasaki Z900RS seat tail
That bench seat, that sculpted tail with a small kick-up, that taillight and that Candytone Green paint take us right back to the original Z1.
Kawasaki Z900RS gauges
Those analog gauges, with their chrome bezels matching the handlebar, are stunning and easy to read in all conditions. The tasteful LCD display in the middle packs in useful info.
2020 Suzuki Katana engine
The Suzuki Katana’s 999cc in-line four is the beast of the bunch, cranking out 142.1 horsepower at the rear wheel.
2020 Suzuki Katana nose
A modern interpretation of a motorcycle design icon, the Katana is the only bike here with bodywork—a small fairing with a square headlight, a flyscreen and the Hans Muth-designed Katana logo. In addition to Glass Sparkle Black, it’s available in Metallic Mystic Silver like the original.
2020 Suzuki Katana display dash
Light-on-black digital display is busy and hard to read in bright sunlight.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Suzuki Katana Red in virtual launch

Virtual launches look like becoming the new norm during the pandemic with Suzuki launching its cherry red Katana online instead of at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show which was cancelled.

The Suzuki Katana was launched last year in silver and black colours which are historically accurate if a little staid and boring.

2019 Suzuki Katana depositsSuzuki Katana

This cherry red version with matching wheels and gold handlebars instead of black looks much more exciting.

Virtual launch

It certainly matches the exhilarating yet easy-to-ride performance of the reborn Katana.

We reckon the Katana is great bike, but a little overpriced at $18,990 ride away.

Suzuki Katana is a rider’s delight onlineMBW on the Suzuki Katana launch … a great bike that divided riders over its styling

There is no word yet from Suzuki Australia about when the cherry red version will arrive and whether it has a price premium.

If they keep the same price or maybe reduce the price the carry red katana may give it a sales boost.

Suzuki twin

Suzuki Katana Red in virtual launchPatent drawing

Meanwhile, Suzuki Motorcycles has filed a patent for a cleaner Euro5-compliant 250cc parallel-twin engine.

The new motor is expected to be fitted to their GSX-250R and V-Strom 250.

It features a single-overhead camshaft and new exhaust with two header pipes that join before the catalytic converter.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Retrospective: 1968 Suzuki TC305 Laredo

1968 Suzuki TC305 Laredo
1968 Suzuki TC305 Laredo. Owner: Elwell Perry, Acushnet, Massachusetts.

Nobody seems to remember the company hired by Suzuki to advertise the Laredo model, but it certainly pulled out all the stops. The town of Laredo had a deserved reputation as a tough border crossing in Texas back in the late 1800s, and is rich in history. As well as a song called “The Streets of Laredo,” which is all about a dying cowboy; not sure that would be the proper way to tell people how much fun riding a motorcycle is, as motorcyclists were being called modern-day cowboys.

Suzuki had done a good deal of serious work in approaching the American market. At the start of the company’s business in the U.S., 1962, it offered a relatively ponderous 250 designed in the late 1950s, which had an electric starter, turn signals and a hydraulically actuated rear brake. All quite useful on a practical commuter bike.

1968 Suzuki TC305 Laredo

However, the next version, the 1966 X-6 Hustler, was quite different, with performance being the issue. The X-6 touted its six-speed transmission, the six gears focused on being able to stay in the narrow powerband that the two-stroke twin enjoyed. The all-new, perfectly square (54 x 54mm) parallel twin engine was rated at 29 horses at 7,500 rpm, which was quite astounding for a street-going 250. The heavy electric starter was dispensed with, and weight was an extremely modest 300 pounds wet, resulting in a top speed of 100 mph. Good bike, albeit a tad fragile, with busted gearboxes, slippy clutches and holed pistons high on the list.

As some riders may remember, this was when the AMA was trying to impose four-speed gearboxes on all models in national racing competitions.

Change is good, especially the kind that might attract customers. For 1968 the company upsized the engine to 305cc by boring the cylinders out to 60mm, adding 58 cubic centimeters to the cylinder capacity. The resulting 305cc bike came out in two versions, the low-piped T305 Raider and the street-scrambler styled TC305, with high pipes, knobbyish tires and a skid-plate. Not that such mods made much difference when on seriously dirty dirt, but the rugged look sold — rather like today’s adventure bikes.

1968 Suzuki TC305 Laredo

More essential changes involved making the tranny tougher by almost doubling the size of the gears. And slightly decreasing the compression ratio from the 250’s 7.3:1 to the 305’s 6.7:1. As well as enlarging the clutch plates and using thicker cork (when is the last time we saw a clutch with cork inserts?) to give the much-abused plates added longevity. These improvements added some 20 pounds to the heft of the engine/tranny unit. Overall wet weight, with 3.7 gallons of gas in the tank and almost half a gallon of oil in the Posi-Force reservoir, was almost 340 pounds.

This had all the essential Suzuki modernizations, with that Posi-Force oil injection system making sure that the oil got to the important lubrication points, rather than just mixing with the gas and hoping for the best. More importantly, the buyer that Suzuki was looking for had no interest in the messy business of personally adding oil to the gas tank. A vacuum petcock did away with the need to turn off the gas when stopped, a ritual the older generation was quite familiar with.

The 305 used the Vol-U-Matic induction system, a porting technique that allowed for a reasonable amount of grunt, or torque, to be generated by this middling-small engine. That was helped along by heavier flywheels, which served to make the engine less touchy when plunking along a dirt road. Tractable was a word often used by reviewers. Rotary valving was becoming much the rage in the late 1960s, but Suzuki liked the traditional piston-port design.

1968 Suzuki TC305 Laredo

The 305 was produced with a pair of rather large 32mm Mikuni carbs, compared to the 24mm ones on the 250. The engineers had realized that if they left the intake port the same size as on the 250, with the same stroke, the bigger carbs would allow for rapid filling of the crankcase. And the big gulps of air assisted in quickly jamming the fuel mixture through the ports and into the hemispherical combustion chambers. An amusing side effect was that this system, useful when dawdling along, created a major intake boom when the rider chose to twist the throttle all the way open. As one magazine put it, “…the roar is enough to rattle your very bones.” But 37 horsepower was claimed by the manufacturer.

The engine/tranny unit sat in a full-cradle frame, the tubular members making a full U as they came down from the steering head to go under the engine and loop up to the saddle, to meet with the three tubes running back under the gas tank. The 51 inches between axles provided for good control at slow speeds, and still reasonably capable when pushing the century mark on the speedometer. Though the rider might need a bit of downhill to attain 100 mph, as road tests of the era showed 95 to be about top. The fork was said to be a bit on the stiff side, while the rear shocks seemed soft. Probably much depended on whether one lightweight was on board, or two heavyweights. Good ground clearance was provided, with even the centerstand neatly tucked away.

1968 Suzuki TC305 Laredo

Good bike, well received, but Suzuki obviously felt the need for something new. The Laredo was only on the market for one year, with a few leftover Raiders sold in 1969. Replacing it was the Rebel 350…nice number, but the 305 engine had only been bored out another 2 mm, adding just 10cc, for a grand total of 315cc, not 350cc. Truth in advertising?

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Suzuki slow to plug into electric revolution

Suzuki has been slow to plug into the electric motorcycle revolution, but looks like finally joining the other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, at least in the Asian market.

The big four Japanese manufacturers have all been slow in announcing their intentions with electric motorcycles and scooters.

However, in April 2019, electric vehicle website Electrek claimed Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki has signed an agreement to work on standardising electric motorcycle batteries and charging infrastructure.

No doubt it’s hoped to avoid the Beta/VHS situation where new video recording technology went two different ways.

Standardised batteries and charging infrastructure would mean plugs on bikes and sockets on charging points would suit all electric motorcycle models.

Perhaps a standardised battery size, shape and output would also lead to a battery swap solution which would be quicker than waiting for a bike to recharge.

Slow revolution

By comparison with their major counterparts, the usually innovative Japanese motorcycle companies have been slow to join the electric vehicle revolution.

Yamaha released the PES1 (Passion Electric Street) road bike and PED1 (Passion Electric Dirt) off-roader for limited sale, mainly in Europe.

Yamaha PES1 electric motorcycles product standardiseYamaha PES1 electric motorcycle

Kawasaki has filed a patent for a water-cooled electric.

Honda has a hybrid scooter and an electric self-balancing prototype.

Honda reveals electric self-balancing concept Honda Riding Assist-e self-driving standardiseHonda electric Assist-e self-balancing bike

Meanwhile, Suzuki has been the slow coach with no patents, no announcements, nothing!

Until now.

Autocar India reports that Suzuki Motorcycle India MD Koichiro Hirao says they are working on an EV platform for India.

There is no word on what that EV platform will be; motorcycle, scooter, mobility scooter!

Nor is there any word about whether they would be available outside the country.

India is becoming a major player in the EV market with a host of companies from start-ups to major manufacturers now making them.

This comes in the wake of tough new emissions regulations in the overcrowded and polluted country.

Learn electric terms

Living with petrol-powered motorcycles all our lives, we now find we will have to learn a lot of new terms in the coming electric revolution.

We certainly don’t profess to know much about electrical terms.

But here is a very non-technical, idiot’s guide to the main terms. (Electricians may find this quite amusing!)

Volts: This is a measure between two points in an electrical circuit, sort of like the water pressure in pipes. The mains plug in your house has 240V (230V in UK, 110V in USA) and your motorcycle battery has 12V.

Amps: Together with the voltage, it determines the flow rate of the current. High amps with a low voltage means a lot of current flowing slowly, like a fat, lazy river. Low amps with a high voltage means a faster flow of less current, sort of like when you squeeze the end of a hose and the water spurts out.

Watts: It you multiply the volts by the amps you get the watts, which is the output power of the electric motor. You should already be familiar with kilowatts which are 1000 watts. One kilowatt is 1.34% of one horsepower or one horsepower is 0.75% of a kilowatt.

Sporty Harley-Davidson electric LiveWire parade silicon standardiseHarley’s LiveWire electric motor

Kilowatt hours: This is the capacity of the battery. Think of how many litres you can fit in your fuel tank. A one watt-hour battery will power a 1W electric motor for one hour. The new Lightning Strike Carbon Edition has a 20kWh battery which means it can produce 1kW of power for 20 hours.

That’s just a start.

There are a lot of other factors involved and other terms for battery energy-density (watt-hours per kilogram), charging terms (AC, DC and fast chargers) and a variety of range calculations that take into regenerative charging.

Click here to read more about the complexities of range.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT | First Ride Review

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
The 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT offers more power, more sophisticated electronics, more touring features and cool retro styling. (Photography courtesy Suzuki)

The Suzuki V-Strom 1000 is an old lion of the adventure-touring
world. When it debuted for 2002, there weren’t many liter-class adventure bikes
to choose from, and the few you could buy were European. There was the standard-bearer
BMW R 1150 GS plus a handful of others like the Aprilia ETV1000 CapoNord, Cagiva
Gran Canyon, Moto Guzzi Quota and Triumph Tiger 955i. Back then adventure
touring was still a niche segment, and most of these models faded away after a
few years.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
The 2020 V-Strom 1050XT is equipped with the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, which includes cruise control, cornering/combined ABS, traction control, hill hold control, slope dependent control and load dependent control and uses a six-axis Interial Measurement Unit (IMU).

When it launched the DL1000 V-Strom, Suzuki became the first
Japanese manufacturer to offer a big adventure bike in the U.S., and its domestic
competitors stayed on the sidelines until Yamaha introduced the Super Ténéré
for 2012. The V-Strom had a 996cc liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin derived from
the TL1000S/R sportbikes and a twin-spar aluminum frame, and it delivered
impressive horsepower, torque and handling. Although it had a 19-inch front
wheel and tallish suspension, the DL1000 was best suited to the paved roads where
most adventure bike owners spend most of their time.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
The 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050, V-Strom 1050XT and V-Strom 1050XT Adventure have a new LCD display that provides a wealth of info and makes it easy to navigate between throttle response (SDMS), ABS and TC modes.

The DL1000 underwent few changes until 2014, when it got a
larger, more powerful engine, Suzuki’s first-ever traction control system and
updates to its chassis, styling and ergonomics. Four years later, Suzuki gave
the V-Strom 1000 another refresh, bringing its appearance in line with the
V-Strom 650 and adding IMU-based cornering ABS, which Suzuki calls the Motion
Track Anti-lock and Combined Brake System. Here we are just two years later
with yet another update, and the big V-Strom looks and performs better than

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
Based on the 90-degree V-twin from the ’90s-era TL1000S/R sportbikes, the V-Strom 1050’s 1,037cc V-twin has been improved and refined over time. It is now Euro 5 compliant and makes more power and torque at higher revs.

Although engine displacement remains the same at 1,037cc, for
2020 Suzuki decided to change the name to V-Strom 1050 and offer three versions—a
standard model, the V-Strom 1050XT and the V-Strom 1050XT Adventure. All have a
revised engine that’s Euro 5 compliant and produces more horsepower and torque
at higher revs thanks to larger throttle bodies, new fuel mapping and cam
timing, higher-compression pistons and a revised exhaust. Claimed output has
increased from 99 horsepower at 8,000 rpm to 106 at 8,500 rpm, whereas peak
torque is down a bit, from 75 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm to 74 lb-ft at 6,000 rpm, though
there’s more grunt at high rpm. New throttle-by-wire has enabled the Suzuki
Drive Mode Selector, which offers three throttle response modes (A, B and C). Other
changes include an updated traction control system with three levels of
intervention, new instrumentation and LED lighting, a lighter, reshaped tapered
aluminum handlebar, wider footpegs and new Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A41

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
The 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT in Pearl Brilliant White/Glass Blaze Orange. New styling is courtesy of Ichiro Miyata, who designed the ’80s-era DR-Big dual-sport below.
Suzuki DR-Big
The Suzuki DR-Big was a 797cc single-cylinder dual-sport that was introduced in 1988 but never came to the U.S. Its styling and color scheme provided inspiration for the new V-Strom 1050XT.

Ichiro Miyata, who designed Suzuki’s DR-Z Paris-Dakar racer
and DR-Big dual-sport in the 1980s, also designed the V-Strom 1050, and its
sharp beak and geometric lines are very similar to those found on the old DRs.
The cool retro styling, unfortunately, gets lost on the standard V-Strom 1050 ($13,399)
because it’s only available in Glass Sparkle Black/Solid Iron Gray. The V-Strom
1050XT ($14,799), on the other hand, looks fantastic in either throwback color
combos—Champion Yellow No. 2 with a blue seat and blue accents or Pearl
Brilliant White/Glass Blaze Orange. Spending the extra $1,400 for the XT replaces
the base model’s cast wheels with tubeless spoked wheels and adds the Suzuki
Intelligent Ride System, a different windscreen with toolless height adjustment,
more stylish hand guards and mirrors, a height-adjustable seat, a centerstand,
engine guards and a lower engine cowl. The V-Strom 1050XT Adventure ($16,999)
adds quick-release aluminum panniers and heated grips, but it’s only available
in Glass Sparkle Black; for my money, I’d buy a colorful XT and buy the
panniers and heated grips separately (there are nearly 60 items on the
accessory list).

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 Glass Sparkle Black/Solid Iron Gray
The 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 is only available in Glass Sparkle Black/Solid Iron Gray, a color scheme that does little to show off the cool retro styling.
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Adventure Glass Sparkle Black
Likewise, the 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Adventure, which adds aluminum panniers and heated grips, only comes in Glass Sparkle Black.

The big upgrade for 2020 is the Suzuki Intelligent Ride
System, a comprehensive electronics package that uses a new six-axis (up from
five) IMU and includes cruise control, cornering/combined ABS, hill hold
control, slope dependent control (which mitigates rear wheel lift when braking
downhill) and load dependent control (which adjusts brake pressure based on rider/passenger/luggage
weight). Connecting all of the control units and sensors is a new Controller
Area Network (CAN), which simplifies the wiring harness and offers faster data

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
Although it has a 19-inch front wheel, 90/10 adventure tires and 6.3 inches of suspension travel, like all V-Stroms the new 1050XT is best suited to pavement. It has plenty of low to midrange grunt and handles well.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: Arai XD4
Jacket & Pants: Aether Divide
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex

What has made the V-Strom 1000 a perennial favorite over the
years is its user-friendliness. It has always been an approachable, versatile,
dependable motorcycle that’s blessedly free of quirks. With its new
electronics, the V-Strom 1050XT is the most technologically advanced V-Strom to
date but it retains its welcoming disposition. During the press launch we rode
the XT on some of southern Spain’s best paved roads, with a few miles of dirt
thrown in for good measure. From seating comfort and wind protection to
throttle response, engine performance and handling, the V-Strom 1050XT felt well
rounded and satisfying to ride. About the only thing missing on that cool
January day were the accessory heated grips.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Champion Yellow No. 2
The 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT in Champion Yellow No. 2 with a blue seat and blue accents, a color scheme inspired by Suzuki’s DR-Z rally racer below.
Suzuki DR-Z Type 2 Paris-Dakar
The 1991 Suzuki DR-Z Type 2 was raced in the Paris-Tripoli Dakar Rally. Like the new V-Strom 1050, it was designed by Ichiro Miyata.

As we left the coastal town of Marbella on our test ride and
ascended into the Sierra Nevada range on the fast, winding and damp A-366, I
started out in mode A, which offers direct throttle response and was just on
the cusp of being too abrupt for my taste. The mode button and large rocker
switch next to the left grip make it easy to navigate through the various modes
for throttle response, traction control and ABS, as well as operate cruise
control (which only works in gears 4-6 from 31-99 mph). Mode B felt just right,
and the fueling was consistent and never stumbled in on/off transitions. The
V-Strom still pulls strongly in the low- to midrange, while the revised engine’s
newfound liveliness at high revs rewards exuberant grip twisting. And thanks to
the assist-and-slipper hydraulic clutch, even aggressive shifting of the
6-speed transmission was drama-free.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
Standard equipment on the 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT includes an accessory/engine protection bar and lower engine cowl. The cylinder head, clutch covers, magneto cover and water pump case have a bronze finish to provide contrast with the black engine.

The new V-Strom uses the same fully adjustable 43mm upside-down
fork and rebound- and (remote) preload-adjustable link-type rear shock, both with
6.3 inches of travel, as before, though damping is softer in the front and
stiffer in the rear. Those changes weren’t readily apparent from the saddle,
and the 1050XT was pleasantly compliant on fast, smooth pavement and bumpy,
rocky dirt. Also unchanged are the Tokico monoblock 4-piston front calipers and
Nissin 2-piston rear caliper, which exhibited good initial bite but felt rather
vague otherwise even though there was plenty of stopping power. The
cornering/combined ABS now has two modes, offering more or less intervention,
but it cannot be turned off.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
The V-Strom 1050XT’s new windscreen can be adjusted through 11 positions over a 2-inch range, but the quick-release lever is not accessible on the fly. It’s the silver part just above the new LED headlight, which looks a lot like the squarish one on the new Suzuki Katana.

The XT’s new windscreen deflects air well and is height
adjustable over a two-inch range, but because the quick-release lever is on the
lower front of the windscreen, just above the headlight, adjustments must be
made while the bike is parked. Behind the windscreen is an accessory bar that’s
ideal for mounting a smartphone or GPS, and there’s a new USB outlet on the
left side of the dash (there’s also an SAE 12V socket under the seat). The new
seat is comfortable and height adjustable (33.5/34.3 inches), but the
adjustment process requires swapping out bolts under the seat using the wrench
in the toolkit. The brake lever, clutch lever, shifter and rear brake pedal are
all adjustable, so riders should have little difficulty dialing in the V-Strom
to suit their preferences.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
Like its predecessors, the 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT is suitable for light off-roading. The oil filter and undercarriage are vulnerable, so installing the accessory skid plate is recommended before you go boony bashing.

With three major updates in the past six years, the V-Strom
1000/1050 has evolved quickly. What was once a fun and competent but rather
basic adventure touring motorcycle has become sophisticated and refined. The
V-Strom 1050XT offers a higher margin of safety, more versatility and more
touring features while retaining the fun, go-anywhere spirit of the original.

Check out Rider‘s 2020 Guide to New/Updated Street Motorcycles

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Specs

Base Price: $14,799
Website: suzukicycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 90-degree V-twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,037cc
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 66.0mm
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically-actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 61.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.3 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 33.5/34.3 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 545 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
This is what the 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT looks like disassembled. We don’t recommend doing this with yours.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2019 Honda CB650R vs. Kawasaki W800 Cafe vs. Suzuki SV650X | Comparison Review

SV650X CB650R W800 Cafe
Three brands, three middleweights, three engine configurations, three very distinct personalities. Which one are you? Photos by Kevin Wing.

Three riders walk into a dealership…. (I know it sounds like the start of a bad joke but bear with me.) All three are in the market for a new middleweight motorcycle, and each has a unique style and riding experience in mind. They’re in luck — thanks to a challenging economy, increasing growth in female ridership and a need to attract younger riders, manufacturers are doubling down on the small- and midsize-displacement market, meaning there’s a middleweight machine out there for just about anyone. We gathered three of the newest for an unorthodox Comparo Review; rather than pitting them against each other in a head-to-head battle, we thought instead we’d focus on each one’s unique personality. So here we are, the door just swung closed behind us, and our first rider already seems to know exactly what he wants.

The Speed Demon – Honda CB650R

2019 Honda CB650R.
2019 Honda CB650R.

Mark’s Gear
Helmet: Bell SRT-Modular
Jacket: Fly Strata
Pants: Rev’It
Boots: Alpinestars
Tail Bag: Firstgear

We find him standing next to the Honda CB650R, where he’s admiring the waterfall of header pipes cascading from its 649cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC in-line four. The replacement for the stale CB650F, this fresh CB650R rounds out Honda’s Neo-Sports Café lineup, slotting in between the CB300R and CB1000R released for the 2018 model year.

Honda gave the middleweight CB more than just a facelift, with new wheels, an updated steel frame and a new, smaller fuel tank that combine to drop a claimed 9.2 pounds (11.6 pounds on the ABS version), a new inverted 41mm Showa fork with adjustable preload, a slightly more aggressive riding position and a redesigned airbox. The engine got a few tweaks as well, with new pistons and valve timing and a redline that’s been bumped up 1,000 rpm to 13,000. Also new this year is optional HSTC (traction control), which is only available on the ABS-equipped model and can be switched on and off on the fly.

CB650R engine
Liquid-cooled, DOHC in-line four is the most potent of the trio, with 83 peak horsepower on tap.
CB650R wheel
Switchable HSTC (traction control) is only available on the ABS model (which our test bike was not).
CB650R display
LCD gauge includes range to empty, fuel gauge, gear indicator and a clock.

The result is a seriously sporty machine that will pluck at the heartstrings of any rider yearning for the howl of a rev-happy in-line four in an affordable, fun-to-go-fast package. This is a bike that’s happiest when wound up, with the real action not kicking in until about 6,000 rpm. Per the Jett Tuning dyno, the CB650R spins out a respectable 83 horsepower at 11,000 rpm, with torque topping out at 43 lb-ft at 8,200. “Go fast or go home,” says our rider as he swings a leg over the nearly 32-inch seat.

Footpegs are just a tad higher and farther back than before and the wide, flat handlebar is lower and more forward, but the riding position is still relatively comfortable, especially when compared to the drop-down sport position of our other two comparo bikes. With suspension front and rear being preload-adjustable, it’s easier to find a happy medium for sporting canyon runs and bombing around town, and powerful radial-mount, 4-piston front brakes pinching big 320mm discs provide more than enough stopping power. As someone unaccustomed to an in-line four with less engine braking than a twin, I was happy for the peace of mind those brakes offered when winding things up on a twisty road. While the CB could be a good first bike (Honda says 25% of its 650cc bikes are bought by first-timers), it’s got enough juice to keep an experienced rider happily entertained.

“And,” smiles our first rider as we wander away, “it’s the right color: red.”

The Distinguished Gentleman – Kawasaki W800 Cafe

2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe
2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: 6D ATS-1R
Jacket: Scorpion Birmingham
Pants: Highway 21 Defender Jeans
Boots: Highway 21 Journeyman
Tail Bag: Nelson-Rigg

It might be fair to say that rider number two is the polar opposite; he’s drawn to the Kawasaki W800 Cafe, a new model (in the U.S. and Canada) for 2019 that evokes the look and spirit of the original 1966 W1. For him, sheer performance numbers aren’t a priority, but rather classic good looks and a timeless sense of style — although a few modern conveniences like a bright LED headlight, ABS and fuel injection don’t hurt.

With the possible exception of the paint, which is a polarizing metal-flake-brown and silver combo (I happen to like it), the W800 checks all the retro-loving riders’ boxes in the appearance department. Central to that is the 773cc air-cooled, SOHC vertical twin, with its distinctive bevel gear shaft-driven cam and 360-degree firing interval. Despite its balance shaft the engine vibrates significantly at idle and throughout most of the powerband, but the wide-ratio 5-speed gearbox shifts smoothly (thanks in part to the assist-and-slipper clutch) and the chrome peashooter mufflers burble modestly. “It’s got character,” shrugs our rider.

W800 Cafe engine
Air-cooled parallel twin looks the part, but vibrates excessively at lower rpm and idle.
W800 Cafe wheel
ABS is standard on the single front and rear discs.
W800 Cafe gauges
Classic round gauges include analog speedometer and tachometer and LCD trip info; there is no gear indicator, fuel gauge or consumption data.

That character extends outward from the engine, with the old school double-cradle frame that was designed using Kawasaki’s advanced dynamic analysis software for new school handling, 18-inch spoked wheels rolling on tube-type Dunlop K300 GP rubber, dual rear preload-adjustable shocks, a 41mm gaitered fork and a classic clubman drop-down handlebar. The 31-inch two-tone seat is comfortable enough for about an hour at a time, and the riding position is sporty yet civilized.

Mid-mount footpegs will drag early, the vertical twin generates a middling 46.7 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 44 lb-ft torque at 4,600, and the two brake discs, one front and one rear, both with 2-piston calipers and standard ABS, aren’t up to true sport riding levels, but that’s not what the W800 is all about. Cruising city streets and weekend jaunts into the countryside are what it was made to do, and you’re almost guaranteed to draw some admiring eyeballs when you get to your destination.

The Cool Kid – Suzuki SV650X

2019 Suzuki SV650X
2019 Suzuki SV650X.

Jenny’s Gear
Helmet: HJC RPHA 11 Pro
Jacket: Flying Duchess The 66
Pants: Bolid’ster Jeny’ster
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex
Tank Bag: Chase Harper

Now where did our third rider go? Ah, she discovered the Suzuki SV650X, which mixes the best of both worlds — sporty and retro — and also happens to be a time-tested, proven platform that’s been pasting smiles on faces since 1999, the year the original SV650 launched. In the intervening 20 years there have been S models with clip-ons and half fairings, but in my opinion this new-for-2019 café-racer X variation is the most true to the SV650’s spirit.

The bones haven’t changed: it’s still powered by the same 645cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90-degree V-twin that pulls strongly from idle to its peak of 69.3 horsepower at 8,700 rpm and 43.3 lb-ft of torque at 8,100, wrapped in a familiar steel trellis frame. Dual 290mm discs with 2-piston calipers up front and a single 240mm/1-piston combo at the rear work well, and ABS is standard. It’s shod with the best tires of the trio, grippy Dunlop Roadsmart IIIs. 

SV650 engine
If it ain’t broke…. Liquid-cooled 645cc 90-degree V-twin is still tractable and fun.
SV650 wheel
The SV gets standard ABS and solid if not great braking performance.
SV650 display
LCD gauge is simple and easy to read, with range to empty, a fuel gauge, a gear indicator and a clock.

The SV650X also continues to be one of the most user-friendly middleweights out there; nearly everything about it is approachable, from its one-touch Easy Start feature and Low RPM Assist that automatically raises engine speed when releasing the clutch, to its 31-inch seat, narrow waist, predictable powerband and no-frills, easy to read, comprehensive LCD gauge.

It’s responsive and stable, cool as a cucumber, never demanding too much of its rider even when the road gets twisty, and with some suspension work it could be a great track day warrior. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be wrung out in order to have fun, and is equally happy munching through traffic or carving up canyons — though not for hours on end. The fairly long reach to the clip-ons requires a strong core, lest too much weight is placed on the hands, and the low seat and tallish footpegs create an aching need to stretch out cramped-up knees. That said, if you’re young enough, fit enough and/or willing to rest often enough, the SV650X is a cool ride that looks, feels and sounds great.

The Choice

So which one am I? The Kawasaki looks the part, but its annoying vibration, squishy suspension, uninspiring power and high price tag are turnoffs. The quick, flickable Honda is a hoot to ride, but my personal preference is for low-end grunt over a high-strung in-line four. I don’t have a long commute and we have plenty of more appropriate touring bikes in the Rider garage, so for cruising around town and half-day blasts up the local canyons, the cool-as-a-cucumber Suzuki best matched my personality. Wait…does that make me the “cool kid”? 

Jett Tuning Dyno results for the 2019 Honda CB650R, Kawasaki W800 Cafe and Suzuki SV650X
Jett Tuning Dyno results for the 2019 Honda CB650R, Kawasaki W800 Cafe and Suzuki SV650X.
Jett Tuning Dyno results for the 2019 Honda CB650R, Kawasaki W800 Cafe and Suzuki SV650X
Jett Tuning Dyno results for the 2019 Honda CB650R, Kawasaki W800 Cafe and Suzuki SV650X.
SV650X CB650R W800 Cafe
The Suzuki’s low and forward clip-ons demand youth or stamina, or both. The Kawi’s clubman requires a less dramatic lean, while the Honda is upright and all-day comfy.

2019 Honda CB650R Specs

Base Price: $8,899
Warranty: 1yr., unltd. miles
Website: powersports.honda.com


Type: Liquid-cooled in-line four
Displacement: 649cc
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 46.0mm
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 24,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI w/ 32mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 2.7-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain


Ignition: Full transistorized
Charging Output: 370 watts max.
Battery: 12V 8.6AH


Frame: Twin-spar steel w/ aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 57 in.
Rake/Trail: 32 degrees/4.0 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm USD fork, adj. for preload, 4.25-in. travel
Rear: Single link-type shock, adj. for preload, 5.04-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm discs w/ opposed 4-piston radial calipers
Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston pin-slide caliper
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 180/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 441 lbs.
Load Capacity: 342 lbs.
GVWR: 783 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gals., last 0.8 gal. fuel light on
MPG: 86 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 43.0/45.3/48.2 
Estimated Range: 186 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,250

SV650X CB650R W800 Cafe
Photo by Kevin Wing.

2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe Specs

Base Price: $9,799
Warranty: 1yr., unltd. miles
Website: kawasaki.com


Type: Air-cooled parallel twin
Displacement: 773cc
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 83.0mm
Compression Ratio: 8.4:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 7,600 miles
Fuel Delivery: DFI w/34mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.4-qt. cap.
Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain


Ignition: Digital
Charging Output: 154 watts max.
Battery: 12V 10AH


Frame: Double-cradle steel w/ steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 57.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/3.7 in.
Seat Height: 31.1 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm fork, non-adj., 5.1-in. travel
Rear: Twin shocks, adj. for preload, 4.2-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single 320mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper & ABS
Rear: Single 270mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Spoked tube-type, 2.50 x 18 in.
Rear: Spoked tube-type, 3.00 x 18 in.
Tires, Front: 100/90-H18
Rear: 130/80-H18
Wet Weight: 488 lbs.
Load Capacity: 407 lbs.
GVWR: 895 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 4.0 gals., last 1.1 gal. fuel light on
MPG: 87 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 34.1/40.3/52.9 
Estimated Range: 161 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,500

SV650X CB650R W800 Cafe
Photo by Kevin Wing.

2019 Suzuki SV650X Specs

Base Price: $8,399
Warranty: 1yr., unltd. miles
Website: suzukicycles.com


Type: Liquid-cooled 90-degree V-twin
Displacement: 645cc
Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x 62.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.2:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 14,500 miles
Fuel Delivery: DFI w/ SDTV & 39mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 2.9-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain


Ignition: Full transistorized
Charging Output: 375 watts max.
Battery: 12V 10AH


Frame: Steel trellis w/ steel beam-type swingarm
Wheelbase: 56.9 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.2 in.
Seat Height: 31.1 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm fork, non-adj., 4.9-in. travel
Rear: Single link-type shock, adj. for preload, 5.1-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 290mm discs w/ 2-piston floating calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.00 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 160/60-ZR17
Wet Weight: 437 lbs.
Load Capacity: 488 lbs.
GVWR: 925 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 3.8 gals., last 1.1 gal. fuel light on
MPG: 87 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 38.9/53.1/58.7 
Estimated Range: 202 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,250

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Suzuki seeks 1440cc Hayabusa patent

It’s almost news too good to be true, but it seems Suzuki Motorcycles has filed for a patent for a new Hayabusa engine with 1440cc of tarmac-tearing oomph!

The former world’s fastest motorcycle is now in wind-down mode as it no longer meets the tough new Euro5 emissions regulations coming next year.

While some will still be made for the Australian and US market, the future of the bike depends on developing a new, cleaner engine.

There has been speculation for some time that Suzi would make a bigger donk.

1440cc donk

According to Bennetts of the UK, it will have a 1440cc engine which is 100cc more than the 148kW outgoing model.

They also say it will have a slimmer design, double exhausts like the current model and an evaporative emissions control system.Suzuki Hayabusa 1440cc

Third patent

It is no longer just rumour that the Hayabusa will be retained as this is the third patent for an upgrade.

The ageing Hayabusa has only had two major upgrades in its 17-year history.

While many are expecting turbo or supercharger technology, the first two patents were for a semi-automatic transmission.

The first patent in February 2018 detailed how actuators would be used to control clutch engagement and the shifting of gears.

Suzuki automatics patents in Hayabusa
Suzuki automatics patents in Hayabusa

So it’s not totally automatic as riders would still need to change gears but without the need to use a clutch.

While the patent application used a drawing of a Hayabusa, it was not necessarily meant for that bike.

However, the second patent described the gear position sensor, confirming that it was destined for the Hayabusa.

Hayabusa GSX1300 second patent
Second Hayabusa GSX1300

The rest of the drawings show the bike much as it is now.

Suzuki president Toshihiro Suzuki has confirmed that Suzuki engineers are working on the new bike, but has not said when it would be due.

He says it will follow the same style, but gain several electronic riding aids.

Fastest rider Beccie Ellis on her Hayabusa Turbo - wheelie second patent
Beccie Ellis on her Hayabusa Turbo

There is not much they can do with the styling as the bike was designed to be aerodynamically stable at high speeds.

It was apparently designed on paper by aerodynamic experts, but not tested in a wind tunnel until several years later when it was confirmed the aero theories actually worked.

So when it was updated in 2008 and 2017, there was no need to change the shape. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Suzuki still serious about turbocharging

We have been reporting on Suzuki’s turbocharging plans ever since they unveiled their Recursion concept in 2013.

Suzuki Recursion - Katana turbo blown turbocharging
Suzuki Recursion

Over the years there have been rumours about mid-capacity turbo sports bikes of 500-700cc capacity and even a turbo version of their Hayabusa or new Katana.

Each year they have hinted at turbocharging and we fly expected to see one at this year’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan were they had said they would release several new mnkdles.

Instead, we got an updated DR Big V-Strom!

Suzuki V-Strom 1050 Dr Big
Updated DR Big Strom!

Serious about turbocharging

But Suzuki is still serious about turbocharging tech.

British insurance broker website Bennetts says it will be a a GSX 700 Turbo and have released new patent drawings that seem to support that theory.

It shows the turbo located closer to the cylinder heads which makes the engine more compact and reduces turbo “lag”.

The drawings show a tubular frame, compact low exhaust and twin radiators.

Will it be revealed in 2020? Who knows! We’ve almost given up predicting the launch of their forced-induction model.

Meanwhile, Kawasaki is forging ahead with their supercharged models. They now have four models – H2, H2R, H2 SX and the Z H2.

Kawasaki Z H2 - Bimota
Kawasaki Z H2

They’ve also bought Bimota and are powering their new Tesi with a H2 supercharged engine.

Bimota Tesi H2

Even BMW is considering forced induction for their M bikes.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com