2023 Suzuki GSX-8S
- First new Suzuki engine in years
- Engine and chassis designed in synchrony
- Bidirectional quickshifter standard
- Decent, name-brand suspension and brakes
- Angular looks don’t appeal to all
- Power figure won’t win many boasting matches
- Strong competition from rivals in this part of the market
- Parallel-twin engines tend to lack the visceral appeal of V-twins or inline-fours
No company’s range seems complete without a midsize, twin-cylinder naked bike that fulfills the essential idea of a motorcycle without being pigeonholed into subgenre. For Suzuki that machine is the GSX-8S, a technological quantum leap forward compared to the SV650 and GSX-S750 that have long filled the space. Strong styling and high equipment levels allied to a clean-sheet design for the engine and chassis make it one of the most anticipated Suzukis in years.
In 1999 Suzuki shook up the establishment with the SV650; a true do-anything bike that was simultaneously capable, fun, and incredibly affordable. It could commute or cross continents and was as happy on track as on tour. The GSX-8S looks to build on that success, as the modern-day naked for the next generation of Suzuki riders.
Suzuki is undoubtedly proud of the GSX-8S and the careful steps engineers took to ensure that the bike would appeal to a wide range of riders, regardless of age or experience. Performance is important, but so too is balance, and in the GSX-8S, Suzuki aimed to find the middle ground between engine and suspension performance, ergonomics, and features.
An aggressive, mass-forward look falls in line with Suzuki’s new-generation styling concept, while a modest, but full-featured electronic rider-aid suite includes all the technology you’ll need in a bike aimed at everything from daily commutes to weekend trips to your favorite canyon roads.
Updates for 2023
Entirely new for 2023, the GSX-8S is one of two bikes (the other is the V-Strom 800DE) debuting Suzuki’s 82 hp, 776cc parallel-twin engine, which is expected to become a mainstay across multiple models for many years to come.
The chassis is a new design as well, while Suzuki has turned to notable suppliers for suspension and brakes.
Pricing and Variants
Just one version of the GSX-8S is available, so your choices are simply between three color options: white with blue wheels and subframe, blue with blue wheels and subframe, and all black. Suzuki does offer a whole range of accessories to tailor the bike to personal taste.
There’s no shortage of competition in this part of the market, although few bikes exactly match the GSX-8S’s mix of power, torque, and weight.
Slightly below it, there are machines like the Yamaha MT-07 ($8,199), Suzuki’s own SV650 ($7,849), and the Kawasaki Z650 ($7,749). The Honda CB650R ($9,399), Triumph Trident 660 ($8,595), and Aprilia Tuono 660 ($10,499) are all worthy contenders, as is KTM’s 790 Duke ($9,199). The Ducati Monster Plus ($12,995) is much more expensive, but another example of a great naked bike that’s loads of fun around town.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Suzuki took its time to develop the GSX-8S’s engine. It features some now familiar ideas—a 270-degree crankshaft, for instance, to give a V-twin-style throb—and some more novel ones including a patented dual balancer shaft setup to limit vibes. The 84mm bore and 70mm stroke are pretty moderate, particularly compared to Honda’s recently announced (but not yet available) Hornet (87 x 63.5mm) and KTM’s 790 Duke (88 x 65.7mm). This contributes to a strong 57.5 lb.-ft. of torque that peaks at 6,800 rpm, but it hits nearly that number several thousand rpm lower. The 82 hp power peak arrives at 8,500 rpm.
The GSX-8S features all the tech you’d expect in 2023, including ride-by-wire throttles that allow multiple modes and torque maps. Uneven-length intakes in an underseat airbox boost torque, while the engine breathes out via an under-belly exhaust.
The six-speed transmission is fitted with a bidirectional quickshifter, with rev-matching auto-blipper, and assist-and-slipper clutch as standard.
Like the engine, the GSX-8S’s frame is an all-new design, but one that doesn’t set out to rewrite the rulebook. Two steel upper rails run above the engine, with a trellis-style section of chassis between the headstock and the upper engine mounts, and a pressed and welded steel section behind the motor to hold the aluminum swingarm.
At the back, the tubular steel subframe is a bolt-on design. The wheelbase is longer than you might expect, at 57.7 inches, and the 25-degree rake suggests a moderate balance between agility and stability.
KYB provides the nonadjustable USD fork and the rear monoshock. The cast alloy wheels are 17-inchers, with a surprisingly wide 180-section rear—substantially broader than the 160-section used on the more powerful Honda CB750 Hornet—to give a muscular look. The seat height is a modest 31.9 inches.
Radial Nissin four-pot calipers on the front clamp a pair of 310mm discs, with the usual single-piston sliding caliper at the rear on a smaller 240mm rotor. ABS comes standard.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Suzuki’s claimed economy figures, tested under WMTC conditions, are 56 mpg (US). With a 3.7-gallon tank that suggests a range of 207 miles is theoretically possible.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
The parallel-twin engine isn’t just simpler and more compact than a V-twin, it also helps improve the riding position, allowing the rider to sit further forward. A wide and relatively tall bar is paired to low pegs mounted almost directly beneath the seat for a riding position that’s both comfortable and gives plenty of control. Accessories including a small screen, soft luggage, and heated grips should all help boost the GSX-8S’s longer-range prospects.
Three riding modes are on offer—A, B, and C (for “Active,” “Basic,” and “Comfort”)—each with a different throttle map to alter the power delivery. There’s also a trio of traction control settings with different levels of intervention, and standard ABS, although these systems don’t have the IMU needed to make them lean-angle sensitive. There’s full LED lighting, as you’d expect in 2023, and a 5-inch, color TFT dash with a choice of modes.
Additional technologies include Suzuki’s Easy Start System and Low RPM Assist System, which increases engine speed to smooth the power delivery when leaving from a standing start or riding at low speeds. As previously mentioned, a bidirectional quickshifter comes standard.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
There’s a 12-month, unlimited-mileage, limited warranty with the option to extend to longer cover periods via Suzuki Extended Protection.
2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Claimed Specs
|Engine:||DOHC, 776cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin, 4 valves/cyl.|
|Bore x Stroke:||84.0mm x 70.0mm|
|Fuel Delivery:||Electronic fuel injection w/ 42mm throttle bodies|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiple disc|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||Ride-by-wire with multiple modes|
|Frame:||Steel tube frame with bolt-on trellis subframe|
|Front Suspension:||KYB inverted fork; 5.1 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||KYB shock, preload adjustable|
|Front Brake:||Nissin radial-mount 4-piston calipers, 310mm discs w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||Nissin 1-piston caliper, 240mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Cast-aluminum alloy; 17 in./17 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||120/70-17 / 180/55-17|
|Ground Clearance:||5.7 in.|
|Seat Height:||31.9 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.7 gal.|
|Wet Weight:||445 lb.|