SUZUKI GSX-8S Review – Less Is More

Less is more is a principle that emerges from the idea that simplicity and clarity lead to good design and a more harmonious life.

Many designers use this expression as a philosophy or inspiration to design things that are simple, yet beautiful. This expression first appeared in a poem by Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto, in the year 1855.

“Yet do much less, so much less…Well, less is more, Lucrezia; I am judged.”

Suzuki has produced a bike that follows the “less is more” philosophy and the result is a simple, exciting, capable naked bike that is joyful and fun to ride.

Suzuki kept the recipe simple; a 776cc parallel twin engine with a 270-degree, 82 bhp, a great chassis, funky styling and a sprinkling of tech, but not too much.

It sounds simple but lots of middleweight naked bikes have come before this and simply not quite hit the mark. Suzuki must have some secret sauce or something because this is great fun. 

The Suzuki GSX-8S is a ground-up, brand-new motorcycle, released last year. It’s a naked street bike designed to be fun, comfortable, and versatile and it is all of this and more.

The 776cc parallel twin engine has a 270-degree crank like most parallel twins these days. It’s tuned for torque and has a big, fat, midrange which means it feels like it has more power than it does, more than the 82 bhp it states in the brochure. The Innovative Suzuki Cross Balancer means it’s a smooth engine, free from the lumpy vibrations you get from some twins. There’s plenty of low-down grunt, pulling cleanly from as low as 2000rpm, with strong drive from around 3500rpm through to 7500rpm, before tailing off. 

Suspension is by KYB front and rear. As is the norm on this class of bike, it’s largely unadjustable save for preload. Out of the box, Suzuki’s standard settings do a mighty fine job. 

The front is planted and the forks work well on the road, soaking up the bumps and giving good feedback. The ride is firm, sporty even, but pretty damn good for budget suspension. The rear is good too, it’s a little firm and a bit bouncy over bumps, but overall this is a great chassis, it’s stable and rewarding to ride. You have to look at these things in context. It is a budget motorcycle, built as an all-rounder, tuned for fun. To that end, it has achieved its objectives.

The 8S gives plenty of feedback and is very stable, which in turn gives you the confidence to press on, which rewards you with more of the same. It’s a great package, balanced and fun. 

It’s firm but not sports bike firm and as speeds increase and things get a little spicy, the 8S just laps it all up. In my opinion, the 8S is more rewarding and more involving to ride than the Hornet. The riding position is upright but there’s plenty of room. For the road, it’s a great riding position. It’s narrow and light and for me, worked well. As you press on, the pegs get pretty close to the road though.

It’s fitted with Dunlop Roadsport 2 which worked well on the press bike. It never felt overwhelmed, even two up.

The front brakes are dual 310mm discs with four-piston radial Nissin calipers and did a great job. They offered good feel and felt natural and progressive. At the back, there’s a 240mm disc with a single-piston Nissin caliper which worked well.

We did a few stints with a pillion and this bike suits us. The rear seat pad is firm but the ergonomics were a good bland of comfortable but sporty. We like a sporty riding position where the pillion feels involved, tucking in behind the rider and the 8S strikes a great balance. The rear pegs aren’t crazy high and it’s easy to get on and off the rear. I wouldn’t want to tour two up, but that’s not what this is about, although you could easily do an hour or two without complaint. 

Two up it’s still great fun too. The mid-range grunt means it’s still responsive and fun and inspires confidence.

This is a ground-up, new bike. There’s a new steel tube frame, exposed tubular subframe and lightweight aluminium swingarm. Aesthetically this is a feast for the eyes. Suzuki’s quality is excellent and all the exposed, tubular components, combined with the futuristic, aggressive styling and stacked headlight make a statement. It’s bold design language and I really like it. 

Inevitably you have a range of electronics, but more than most bikes I’ve ridden recently, the Suzuki feels analogue and simple. The electronics are there but are unobtrusive, they are just quietly working away in the background.

There are 4 rider modes through the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (SDMS). Mode A (Active) provides the sharpest throttle response, Mode B (Basic) a more linear curve with a softer throttle response, and Mode C (Comfort) provides the softest throttle response and more gentle torque characteristics. It only has 82bhp so I just left it in mode A.

Suzuki Traction Control System (STCS) lets the rider can select from three modes or turn the system off. The higher the number of the mode selected, the faster the control takes effect and the more proactive the system is in limiting wheel spin and the 5” TFT colour dash works well and tells you what you need to know.

Suzuki has fitted a standard bi-directional quick-shifter which is excellent. It’s fast a smooth, typical Suzuki.

This is an interesting class. Bikes like the 8S offer newer riders a stepping stone but also offer experienced riders something. They’re light, comfortable, lots of fun and easy to ride. 

Overall, the Suzuki GSX-8S is a great package. It’s fast enough, friendly, looks great in my opinion, it’s comfortable and versatile. You can commute or go for a hoon with your mates. 

If I owned it, and It would be high on my list, I’d spend a few quid on suspension and exhaust and this would be an awesome street bike.

Power – 82.9 PS / 82 bhp

Torque – 78Nm

Engine Capacity – 776cc

MPG – 67.23

Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (SDMS)

Suzuki Traction Control System (STCS)

Front brake – Dual 310mm discs, with four-piston radial Nissin calipers

Rear brake – 240mm disc, single-piston Nissin caliper

Kerb weight – 202kg 

Seat height – 810 mm 

Fuel capacity – 14.0L

Front suspension – KYB Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped, adjustable for preload only. 

Rear suspension – KYB Link type, coil spring, oil damped, adjustable for preload only.

Front tyres – 120/70ZR17M/C (58W) Dunlop Roadsport 2

Rear tyres – 180/55ZR17M/C (73W) Dunlop Roadsport 2

Colours – Pearl Cosmic Blue, Matt Mechanical Grey, Pearl Tech White, Metallic Matt Black No. 2.

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