2023 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT and GSX-S1000GT+

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The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT and GT+ are capable sport-tourers thanks to a combination of great engine and chassis, modern rider aids, comfortable ergos, good wind protection, hard luggage (standard on the GT+ model), and an affordable price tag. The 2023 GT+ (shown) is now available in a brighter Metallic Triton Blue color option, alongside Glass Sparkle Black.

The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT and GT+ are capable sport-tourers thanks to a combination of great engine and chassis, modern rider aids, comfortable ergos, good wind protection, hard luggage (standard on the GT+ model), and an affordable price tag. The 2023 GT+ (shown) is now available in a brighter Metallic Triton Blue color option, alongside Glass Sparkle Black. (Suzuki/)

Ups

  • Relative light weight, a reasonable seat height, and sporting geometry make the GSX-S1000GT a more approachable and exciting touring option for riders who aren’t planning to head off-road
  • One of the all-time great road-going inline-four engines is strong as ever
  • Technology package features ride modes, ABS, traction control, cruise control, and a quickshifter

Downs

  • Rider aids are not managed by an IMU
  • Nonadjustable windscreen
  • Heated grips don’t come standard

Verdict

The 2023 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT makes a strong case for sportbike-derived touring. A rock-solid chassis and a renowned motor emphasize Suzuki’s engineering brilliance, while modern tech means these Suzukis aren’t playing the catch-up game.

No need for luggage? The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT comes without the hard cases that are standard on the GT+. Dedicated panels cover the mounting points but can be removed if you decide to add luggage at a later point. The 2023 GT is available in Metallic Reflective Blue for $13,349.

No need for luggage? The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT comes without the hard cases that are standard on the GT+. Dedicated panels cover the mounting points but can be removed if you decide to add luggage at a later point. The 2023 GT is available in Metallic Reflective Blue for $13,349. (Suzuki/)

Overview

Over the past decade, there’s been a shift in the culture of long-distance motorcycling, as many riders have transferred their allegiance from sportbike-based sport-touring motorcycles to off-road-influenced adventure-tourers. For going the distance, it’s hard to argue with upright ergos, wide bars, and perceived go-anywhere capability. But when Suzuki introduced the GSX-S1000GT and GT+ for 2022, it was an excellent reminder that for lots of riders, unless heading off-road is a priority, 17-inch wheels and sportbike-like geometry are likely to be more fun, more of the time.

The GSX-S1000GT is based on the GSX-S1000 naked bike and is powered by an updated version of the long-stroke inline-four from the renowned GSX-R1000 K5. Rider aids, a TFT dash, and a quickshifter bring the sport-tourer up to contemporary standards for the most part, though rider aids aren’t managed by an IMU. Extensive wind tunnel work gave the GT aerodynamic efficiency as well as a modern look. It’s a sport-tourer with real presence.

The engineers in Hamamatsu know how to make a hell of an engine and a hell of a sweet-handling chassis. So despite being built to an attractive price point, the GT excels in the areas that most riders really care about. The GSX-S1000GT is the Suzuki sport-tourer many riders have wanted for a long, long time.

Designers challenged themselves to give the GSX-S1000GT models a modern look. No shortage of lines here. It’s not all for looks though, as much of the bodywork was developed in a wind tunnel and shaped to move wind flow away from the rider.

Designers challenged themselves to give the GSX-S1000GT models a modern look. No shortage of lines here. It’s not all for looks though, as much of the bodywork was developed in a wind tunnel and shaped to move wind flow away from the rider. (Jeff Allen/)

Updates for 2023

The GSX-S10000GT is unchanged for 2023 except for colors and pricing. The GT+ is available in new Metallic Triton Blue or Glass Sparkle Black, while the base model returns in Metallic Reflective Blue. The base model gets a $200 boost for 2023 while the GT+ is bumped up by $300.

Pricing and Variants

The 2023 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT has an MSRP of $13,349, while the GT+ has an MSRP of $14,099 and includes hard side cases. An optional touring windshield is available for the GT+ at no extra cost.

Competition

The sport-touring category has taken on many shapes and sizes over recent decades, meaning there’s something for everyone, regardless of background or styling preference. That being said, the GSX-S1000GT’s main competition comes in the form of Kawasaki’s Ninja 1000SX ($13,199), BMW’s R 1250 RS ($15,695), and Moto Guzzi’s V100 Mandello S ($17,490). The GT+ is the only bike in the group to come standard with side cases.

OK with something that doesn’t have a sportbike-esque design? There are a number of other similarly priced, road-biased sport-touring models on the market, such as the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT ($14,999) and Triumph Tiger 900 GT ($14,995).

The GT receives a host of changes to the 999cc K5-derived engine to improve tractability. The engine is exciting, flexible, and clearly of the GSX lineage.

The GT receives a host of changes to the 999cc K5-derived engine to improve tractability. The engine is exciting, flexible, and clearly of the GSX lineage. (Kevin Wing/)

Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The GSX-S100GT uses a heavily updated version of the 999cc long-stroke mill, derived from the GSX-R1000 K5. On CW’s in-house Dynojet 250i dynamometer, the GT produced 135.53 hp at 10,360 rpm and 73.15 lb.-ft. of torque at 9,190 rpm. Torque spread is flat and broad, boasting over 60 lb.-ft. of torque from roughly 4,750 rpm and doesn’t taper until the 10,000 rpm threshold for tractable and usable delivery. For reference, the last time we ran a true K5 on our dyno, it produced 156.9 hp at 11,500 rpm and 78.9 lb.-ft. of torque at 8,600 rpm.

Iterative changes to the engine include new camshafts, which decrease lift and valve overlap. Retooled valve springs are matched to the new camshafts, while a revised cam-chain tensioner and tension adjuster reduce friction and improve durability. The shift shaft, clutch assembly, and engine cases are also on the list of new-for-’22 components. New electronic throttle bodies help smooth out the engine response, and the ride-by-wire setup opens the door to a suite of electronic systems.

The GT is outfitted with a slipper/assist clutch and uses a close-ratio transmission borrowed from the GSX-R1000, with vertically staggered shafts to reduce overall engine length. Carryover items like this are a major indicator that Suzuki intended this sport-touring bike to place the emphasis on sport.

Even though versions of this engine have been used for going on two decades, it remains one of the all-time greats for road-riding. The changes Suzuki made for 2022 only add to the experience. The engine is so flexible that on a typical twisting section of road, shifts are more of an option than a necessity. The bike sounds sporty too.

Fueling is smooth and can be tailored per riding mode. In riding mode A, throttle response is a touch aggressive. In most situations, the B mode works great. The biggest benefit here is a smoother transition between on/off throttle, ideal for navigating traffic or working through tighter sections of canyon road where the throttle is on and off more frequently. Peak power is the same in all modes, including in the C mode (think of it as rain mode). The Suzuki may not light a fire under your behind like some of its competitors, but there’s more than enough power up top to experience the sport side of sport-touring.

Suzuki’s proven, twin-spar aluminum frame offers up nimble handling and great road feedback, ensuring that the GT is fun to ride when the road tightens up.

Suzuki’s proven, twin-spar aluminum frame offers up nimble handling and great road feedback, ensuring that the GT is fun to ride when the road tightens up. (Kevin Wing/)

Chassis/Handling

More connections to the GSX-R1000 are found in the chassis, the foundation of which is a twin-spar aluminum frame with relatively straight main spars that offer higher rigidity and lighter weight. The swingarm comes straight from the GSX-R1000, while wheels are unique to the GSX-S. So too are Dunlop’s Roadsport 2 radial tires (120/70ZR-17 at the front and 190/50ZR-17 at the rear). A much more obvious change is the addition of a bolt-on trellis-style subframe, which not only looks trick but adds structural support for two-up riding with luggage.

The most accurate way to describe the GT’s chassis and handling manners is “well balanced.” Weighing in at a claimed 498 pounds, the GT+ is almost 16 pounds lighter than the Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX when measured without the standard side cases. The bike carries its weight well, though the touring-focused features tack on enough weight that the GT is a touch heavy when leaned into a corner or when flicked from side to side. This is likely the reason Suzuki incorporated a wider handlebar that gives the rider more leverage and less steering effort.

The GT uses a 43mm inverted KYB fork and a shock with bespoke spring rates and damping settings. Stock settings are admittedly soft, allowing the bike to move around as you roll over the occasional bump in the road. Slowing the rebound front and rear keeps suspension movement to a minimum and helps keep the bike controlled regardless of road conditions. Worth mentioning is that the fork is fully adjustable, while the shock is adjustable for rebound and preload only.

With suspension sorted, the bike is incredibly stable when leaned over, with good feedback through the chassis and an ability to hold its line. Consistent, sure-footed handling is important on any long tour where riders see countless corners, and that’s exactly what the GT delivers.

Brembo front brakes don’t have an aggressive initial bite, but power ramps up through the pull and brings a loaded-down GT+ to a stop with relative ease.

Brembo front brakes don’t have an aggressive initial bite, but power ramps up through the pull and brings a loaded-down GT+ to a stop with relative ease. (Kevin Wing/)

Brakes

The GSX-S1000 uses Brembo Monoblock calipers up front with 310mm discs. ABS comes standard.

Initial bite feels relatively muted, yet stopping power quickly ramps up and does a good job of getting the luggage-equipped bike slowed down. While it could be argued that a bike with “sport” in its DNA should have a stronger initial bite, the braking package is exactly what’s needed considering the inclement weather and mixed road surfaces encountered on the average tour. It’s a good thing to not overwhelm the chassis or tires when slowing all that weight down. Progressive braking power also limits the chance of surprising and overwhelming a passenger with a quick stab of the lever. Suzuki has once again found the balance between performance and comfort.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Fuel mileage numbers are not currently available for GSX-S1000GT models.

Rider and passenger seats are designed with comfort in mind; the passenger seat sits 2.3 inches higher than the rider seat for better visibility.

Rider and passenger seats are designed with comfort in mind; the passenger seat sits 2.3 inches higher than the rider seat for better visibility. (Kevin Wing/)

Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility

The GSX-S1000GT has a tall handlebar and wide seat that creates a neutral, upright riding position. When positioned toward the front of the seat, riders will notice that the tank is a touch wide, but there are very few vibrations throughout, a testament to the efficacy of rubber-damped components. The bike has just enough character to remind riders that they’re on a motorcycle, but not enough to annoy them during a full day in the saddle.

Passenger comfort is a bit of a question. The passenger seat looks thick and comfortable, but the relatively small surface area inspires speculation regarding just how many miles or hours a companion may want to spend on the back of the bike. The GT+ might be better for shorter two-up trips, with longer rides reserved for just the rider. A multiday, 500-mile trip of spirited riding is probably on the upper limits of what a passenger would want to subject themselves to.

Upgrading to the GT+ gets you a true sport-touring machine with standard 26-liter side cases color-matched to the bike. These are capable of carrying a full-face helmet and can be removed in just seconds. A 2.75-inch taller screen that arches forward for reduced airflow to the rider is available at no extra cost. Unfortunately, the windscreen is nonadjustable.

Cruise control and LED lighting come standard. Heated grips are available as an accessory. A centerstand is currently not available.

The 6.5-inch TFT display is superior to LCD displays in that it makes it far easier to change ride modes and settings.

The 6.5-inch TFT display is superior to LCD displays in that it makes it far easier to change ride modes and settings. (Suzuki/)

Electronics

Suzuki’s electronic rider aids bring the GSX-S1000GT into the modern era and features Suzuki’s Drive Mode Selector (SDMS) with three selectable ride modes, Traction Control (TC), Electronic Cruise Control (CC), and a bidirectional Quick Shift system (QS).

The GT also uses Suzuki Low RPM Assist System, which helps with smooth launches by moderately increasing engine speed when pulling away from a stop. The Suzuki Easy Start System starts the bike with a single tap of the starter button.

The simple, elegant TFT display provides a crystal clear view of important information, and is easy to navigate thanks to a well-designed switch cluster that most riders will adapt to in just minutes. Adjusting ride modes, traction control levels, and quickshifter settings can be done on the fly and with relative ease.

Rapid clutchless downshifts are fun, and so is pulling away from a stop with absolute ease thanks to the Suzuki Low RPM Assist System. The quickshifter is among the best units on a road-going bike today and proves that Suzuki engineers are capable of developing serious electronic wizardry when assigned the task.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The GSX-S1000GT comes with Suzuki’s standard one-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Longer coverage periods with extended benefits are available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP).

Perhaps not the most elegant switch gear ever, but as always, Suzuki emphasizes value (and performance) to suit a multitude of budgets.

Perhaps not the most elegant switch gear ever, but as always, Suzuki emphasizes value (and performance) to suit a multitude of budgets. (Kevin Wing/)

Quality

While fit and finish isn’t as superficially high-quality as some of the competition, the GSX-S1000GT benefits from Suzuki’s reputation for reliability. With years of development behind it, the engine is practically bulletproof. The GSX-S will no doubt provide years of trouble-free touring.

2023 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT and GSX-S1000GT+ Specs

MSRP: $13,349 (base model)/$14,099 (GT+)
Engine: DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four; 16 valves
Displacement: 999cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 59.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.2:1
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain
Cycle World Measured Horsepower: 135.53 hp @ 10,360 rpm
Cycle World Measured Torque: 73.15 lb.-ft. @ 9,190 rpm
Fuel System: Fuel injection w/ ride-by-wire
Clutch: Wet, multiplate SCAS type; cable actuated
Engine Management/Ignition: Electronic (transistorized)
Frame: Twin-spar aluminum
Front Suspension: KYB 43mm inverted fork, spring preload, compression and rebound damping adjustable; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: KYB shock, spring preload, rebound damping adjustable; 5.1 in. travel
Front Brake: Brembo 4-piston Monoblock calipers, dual 310mm discs w/ ABS
Rear Brake: Nissin 1-piston caliper, 240mm disc w/ ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum; 17 in./17 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: Dunlop Roadsport 2; 120/70-17 / 190/50-17
Rake/Trail: 25.0°/3.9 in.
Wheelbase: 57.5 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.5 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal.
Claimed Wet Weight: 498 lb.
Contact: suzukicycles.com