The highly anticipated 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S has landed down under, making an immediate impact, and for good reason. Offering affordability and versatility, it’s a feature packed option for riders seeking their first big bike.
An important bike for the Japanese marque, it marks what Suzuki describes as the dawn of a new era. And so it was that we found ourselves in Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for the Australian media launch of the GSX-8S.
Available in Metallic Matt Black, Pearl Tech White and new hero colour Pearl Cosmic Blue, it’s a good looking bike thanks to its sharp and modern styling, and an aggressive front cowling design. LED lighting completes the package.
We found ourselves gravitating towards the Pearl Cosmic Blue version to begin our road ride on the first morning of testing. The easy-to-use, intuitive 5.0-inch full colour TFT dash is the first thing that draws your attention when you power the GSX-8S up.
Controlled via the left hand switch, it works a treat even when wearing thick gloves. It’s here too that you can access the three riding modes, in the form of A (Active), B (Basic) and C (Comfort).
All three work in conjunction with the ride-by-wire throttle system to vary how it delivers the 61kW of power and 78Nm of torque to the bitumen. Three selectable levels of traction control add to the value and technology on offer with Suzuki’s new mid-sizer.
That power and torque comes from a 776cc DOHC Parallel Twin that’s a dream to ride through the low and mid-range. It’s matched to a 6-speed gearbox with a bi-directional quick shifter as standard.
Utilising a 270 degree crankshaft, power delivery is smooth and linear. The 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S adopts Suzuki’s Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S), which incorporates the throttle setup, ride modes and a nifty feature called low RPM assist.
The latter helps the rider get away with zippier starts from standstill situations. Specs aside, a cracking sunny morning saw us heading north, through some traffic. It was a good opportunity to see how easy it is to ride in suburbia, and test its lane filtering capabilities.
It did a pretty nice job of it too, thanks to its 810mm seat height and 202kg dry weight. Free of the traffic, it was time for some open sweeping bends and tighter, twisty terrain, where enthusiasm levels of both bike and rider was on the rise.
The perfect testing ground to become familiar with this new model was upon us, and the 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S planted itself exceptionally well, supported by its 180mm rear wheel and Dunlop Roadsport 2 rubber.
The GSX-8S felt really good and even for a larger rider like yours truly, the rear shock did a reasonable job. Surprisingly, it only comes with one tyre option. Next on the testing menu were some more twists and switchbacks, and again the bike provided a tonne of grins.
Thrown through the corners at varying degrees of speed, the Suzuki handled itself well, and was engaging at every turn. It’s more than enough bike with more than enough mumbo to have a good time on.
The short stubby exhaust looks the goods too, but we would be headed for an aftermarket unit to enhance the soundtrack if the bike were ours. Mt Mee would be the venue for our evening stopover, and a well earned rest after some spirited riding.
A technical presentation followed, before some sleep. After completing nearly 300km on the first day, we felt the ergonomics of the GSX-8S were pretty good. The seat became a little firm as the afternoon progressed, but that’s more a bi-product of the style of the bike.
Ergonomics and reach to the handlebars are good and we found the foot peg position to be spot on. If we had any gripes, it would be the non-inclusion of self cancelling indicators. Road testing complete, our venue for day two was Lakeside International Raceway.
It was here we would test the mettle of the GSX-8S on the track, under the guidance of Aussie superbike icon Shawn Giles. With a next level man crush on the Pearl Cosmic Blue bike, we again jumped on this example.
Lakeside would be the ideal setting to push the GSX-8S and test the new chassis and front end suspension. The technical, high speed flowing conditions provided a great opportunity to showcase its stopping credentials as well.
The Nissin brakes, although not mind shatteringly brilliant, work well. The non-adjustable 43mm KYB inverted fork on the front of the Suzuki also handled itself admirably as we pushed hard around the track. The steel frame chassis provides rigidity and sporty geometry too.
With the conclusion of our track time, the launch had drawn to an end. It was now time to collate our thoughts and rationalise our emotions about exactly how much fun the Suzuki GSX-8S had brought us during our time with the bike.
The 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S is an absolute grin machine. With its aggressive styling, sensational looking range of colours and the pure joy it offers riders at an exceptional price point, it’s possibly the best bang for buck bike in the naked streetfighter space.
With competitors such as Honda’s new CB750 Hornet and Yamaha’s MT-07, potential buyers are going to be spoilt for choice. It’s not rocket science when we say this bike will win a lot of fans either, such are its qualities.
Pricing starts at $14,190 ride away, with the 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S backed by a 2-year warranty that can be extended to 3-years if you service according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Our test bikes were provided by Suzuki Motorcycles Australia as part of the Australia and New Zealand media launch.
To find out more about the 2023 Suzuki GSX-S8, contact your local Suzuki Motorcycles dealer. Pictures courtesy of Ikap.