2024 Suzuki GSX-8R (launch ride)

The Great Ocean Road beckoned with the opportunity to indulge in Suzuki’s latest mid-weight parallel twin; the GSX-8R. An attractive proposition, its nimble and sporty persona was destined to endear itself to the tight switchbacks and open sweeping bends on offer.

Our introduction to the new model began with a technical presentation, with all three colour options on show as part of a two-day media event that also included the opportunity to ride the GSX-S1000GX.

After having such a great time at the launch of the GSX-8S last year, we were jumping out of our skin to climb aboard and hit the road. We managed to nab ourselves a Pearl Ignite Yellow edition of the GSX-8R.

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Suzuki GSX-8R

That said, the Metallic Triton Blue, and Metallic Matt Sword Silver, with its red rims and highlights, both looked extremely tantalising and tasty. Sitting on the same platform as the 8S, this new model scores a full sports bike fairing.

Upgraded Showa suspension front and back, and a set of higher bars that rise above the top of the yokes also feature on a bike that sports identical chassis geometry and the same powerplant as its sibling.

2024 Suzuki GSX-8R
2024 Suzuki GSX-8R

Designed to be useable, accessible and practical, the 8R follows in the footsteps of Yamaha’s R7, Triumph’s Daytona 660, and at a stretch, the Aprilia RS 660. Although not available in a LAMS variant, it does offer plenty.

It’s the perfect platform for riders looking for their first big bike, or those stepping down from the litre sports bike class. And so it was that we found ourselves leaving Warrnambool, greeted by some passing showers and damp roads to begin our journey.

The GSX-8R ate up the conditions, feeling sure footed as we headed for some nice open bends. The bike utilises both the Suzuki drive mode selector and traction control system, which are easily initiated on the fly.

We engaged Mode A for maximum power and throttle response and set traction control to Mode 2 for minimum intervention. The duo form part of Suzuki’s Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S), as well as a ride-by-wire throttle system.

There’s also a nifty feature called low RPM assist, which helps the rider get away with zippier starts from standstill situations. Accessing the settings is easy via buttons positioned on the left hand rider’s block.

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2024 Suzuki GSX-8R

The riding position is user friendly, with enough room for yours truly, who is a tad over 180cm tall. The shape of the bike means you can find comfort whether cruising, or undertaking some more enthusiastic riding.

Back on the road, weather conditions began to clear as we made our way past the Twelve Apostles, and headed for some tight turns and switchbacks. This is where the improved suspension proved itself over the 8S.

The upgraded Showa SFF-BP fork (non adjustable) and preload adjustable Showa shock on the rear handled duties without fuss and were a noticeable improvement on the KYB units utilised on this bike’s sibling.

As the enthusiasm and speed picked up through this windy section of road, the 8R was willing and engaging with its 61kW 776cc liquid-cooled parallel twin, which features a 270-degree crank layout, doing a more than admirable job.

With a firing order that produces rich torque and positive traction, the engine is a dream through the low to mid range, delivering smooth and linear power. That’s matched to a 6-speed gearbox with bi-directional quick shifter as standard kit.

2024 Suzuki GSX-8R
2024 Suzuki GSX-8R

After the sprint, emotions started to settle and we were again greeted with showers as we headed towards Apollo Bay and our lunch stop. The Dunlop Roadsport 2 rubber worked well with the GSX-8R setup and ensured we had good, confidence inspiring traction.

One seafood platter later, and with our bellies full, it was time to hop back on our steeds and continue our journey. Another nice, twisty road was ahead of us, along with Victoria’s traditional four seasons in one day weather.

Braking in both the wet and dry was up to the task thanks to the 310mm twin discs with four piston radial Nissin callipers and ABS up front, and a single 240mm disc with single piston Nissin calliper and ABS at the rear.

From there we hit 80km of dead straight freeway, which raised a very curious question that we pondered under our helmet. Should the 8R be fitted with cruise control? We’re half in and half out on the matter.

It would be a nice to have, but how often are you actually going to use it. It will be interesting to see whether Suzuki adds it as an option in the future. Regardless, the GSX-8R is also pretty impressive on the price front.

2024 Suzuki GSX-8R
2024 Suzuki GSX-8R

The 8R gets LED lighting and a colour TFT LCD multifunction instrument panel, and advanced electronic control systems for $14,990 ride away. As a result, there’s no denying the 2024 Suzuki GSX-8R is a hell of a lot of fun for the money.

An absolute grin machine, it not only looks stylish and contemporary, without being intimidating, but has a host of accessories available to make it your own. Backed by a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty, it arrives in dealerships on April 11.

To find out more, you can visit the Suzuki Motorcycles Australia website, or contact your local dealership.

Our test bikes were provided by Suzuki Motorcycles Australia as part of the Australia and New Zealand media launch.

Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.

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