To get to know us you have to know a little bit about the bikes, then you'll understand our passion!! Here goes... Wondering why the Bandit's and then the SV's had such a following? Although we catered for the GSX14, GSR6 and the Vstrom as well, it was the Bandit then the SV that started it all off for us back in 1998 and helped to spawn many trends, products and followers!!
Here's a little insight into Suzuki's two top selling bikes, you never know, it might just whet you appetite!
Bandit 250. This much sought after 250 is still very popular in Japan and Australia and thanks to grey imports more are getting to our shores in the UK. It has all the popular looks and finish of its bigger brothers with a very revvy 248cc motor. How do they go? Well, I'd be lying if I said it was fast. anything over 400cc will leave you behind but the bike feels quick. It flies to 70 - 80 in no time and the very buzzy motor is much like the 400. It redlines at 15,000 and gets there easily! What a lot of people like with the 250 is not the outright speed but the sensation of speed and the satisfaction this bike gives you. There isn't a lot below 5,000 in the higher gears; at 8,000 it starts to flow but for real progress it needs to be kept above 10,000. You've still got 5,000 to play with and the motor thrives on it. You can keep it at 85 - 90 all day on the motorway with no problems. The transmission is pretty faultless too, although with so little fly wheel effect you need to balance the revs on downshifts to avoid any snatching. The riding position is good with the seat height at 745mm and it is very easy to flick about with a weight of only 146kg. Good on the open road as well as through town and an ideal bike for those just passed there test or novice riders returning. Having said that though, once you've had one would you really want to get rid of it?
Bandit 400. The 400 Bandit was born in 1990. Compact and light it is a very adaptable bike, pleasant to use about town and a dream on the open road where the nature of the engine and the balance of the bike makes it possible to connect with the curves with precision and delight. The engine is derived from the GSX-R 400 and offers a good reliable service. The revvy engine likes to buzz and you only feel the power kick in from about 6000 revs. Over this the motor is happy to run all day and can do 100mph up the motorways without a care. The 400 is a much sort after bike in the UK and thanks to the grey imports there is a lot about. Officially released in the UK in 1995 for about 6 months, the 400 came as standard with single front disc, mild steel exhaust system, large bulky indicators, a rather large rear fender and handlebars a little like monkey bars. It is hardly surprising that most people looking to buy the 400 go for the Jap import which came as standard with a full stainless exhaust system, twin disc, clip-ons, small bullet indicators and no rear fender. All in all, a more exciting bike to look at.
Bandit 600. Many people wonder why Suzuki took so long to make the Bandit 600. The formula had been there for years. The 400 Bandit was an official import in 1992 and most agreed that it would be brilliant if it only had a larger engine to match the curvaceous chassis. It seemed that only the success of the Yamaha Diversion stirred Suzuki into action and the rest as they say is history. Where the Diversion seemed to stutter along in sales the Bandit 600 went from strength to strength. The engine that didn't get good reviews in the GSX600F and was criticized for being slow had come of age in the Bandit and was suddenly known as a screamer! It had been slightly retuned for more mid range power, which meant slightly less at the top end, but you'd hardly notice. The 600 revs cleanly and a slick gearbox ensures smooth delivery. Crazy cornering is not hard to do and like all Bandits, is its hallmark. Restyled for the Millennium the Bandit oozed improvement. Sharper handling, better braking and more responsive suspension. The uprated front fork internals have all but eliminated the wandering over road repairs and white lining. You can spend your money on the Bandit and know you'll have some great times on it and if you come to sell it you'll get a very good price. Not many bikes can boast that. You can go touring or commute, the Bandit will do it all.
Bandit 750. Only available as a Japanese import, the 750 appears to be a mixture of both the 600 and the 1200. It sold in droves in Japan using a de-tuned GSX-R750 motor. They cause quite a stir when appearing at rallies or shows with people spotting the silver engine and assuming its a 600, but it has 1200 clocks and rear hangers, but 600 fork legs and brace, but....... and on it goes! The powerful acceleration starts from a low 1500rpm and keeps going to 7000. The engine, fed by CVK32 carbs, responds well to the throttle, different to the GSX-R which didn't react strongly at the low revs. Top end is not as sharp as the GSX-R but you don't need to use the high revs on the Bandit as it's for riding rather than racing! The brakes work well and the riding position is typical of the Bandit. Comfy and usable. The one thing you'll notice with the 750 is that there are no grab rails which could be fun for the pillion! The 750 is still a bit of a mystery to some people. Why produce the 750 when they've built the 600? Well, as the 750 was only for Japan it was the middle Bandit. They had the 250, the 400 and the 1200 - but no 600.
Bandit 1200. There's something really wicked about the 1200 Bandit, I mean really BAD. The 1200 is a muscle bike, a streetfighter, a true retro. The engine's been tried and tested in the early oil/air cooled GSX-R1100 and this well proven, reliable motor is ripe for tuning with a huge range of after market parts available. High wide bars offer excellent leverage for low speed riding and traffic filtering. The 1200 is as close as you'll come to a production stunt bike. Stoppies are as easy as pie thanks to the four-pot nissin calipers biting on the big discs. Wheelies are fun too. In first, the front end will rise at the command of the throttle and it will travel through the box without the front dipping, with only a slight head shake as the front end kisses the tarmac on touch down. Sheer poetry! It's this madness, on top of its all round chuckability that wins it so many friends. Touring, scratching, stunting, track days and everything in-between are all handled beautifully by the 1200. Since its launch the Bandit has consistently topped the muscle bike class in sales, fun and outright usability and a make over in 2001 was to ensure it stayed top of its class. At first glance there does not appear to be a lot of difference but with 116 changes to the motor alone you begin to wonder at this 'new' Bandit. The low and mid range torque has been improved, the throttle response sharpened up and emissions reduced. The new carbs have throttle position sensors linked to the ignition timing. The frame has straightened lines and the fuel tank holds 20 ltrs. The side panels are reshaped and a single grab rail fitted behind the seat. The best news of all is that there are now loads of customizing gear available for this new shape to. Fantastic!
Bandit 1250 / 650 water cooled. Suzuki led the way with the Bandit back in 1996, proving that this is the original street classic. Now the new 2007 model comes in with a host of changes. The bike now features a new liquid-cooled 1250cc engine with high-tech fuel-injection to keep it where it’s always been, at the front of the line for big-bore urban bruisers. As you can see, apart from having the water cooled motor now and being 1250cc the only other noticeable difference from the MK3 Bandit is the weight, an extra 14kg. and the name, being mellowed out to a GSX-F. The true Bandit is gone - but never forgotten!! Long live the Bandit.
SV650. Despite being launched in the same year as the well-hyped GSX1300R Hayabusa, the SV650 might just have been the more important. Aimed directly at novice and returning rider the bike is slowly getting a huge fan base. The SV650 not only looks good and is well balanced, its cheap as well. With its low weight, low seat, stable handling and easy power delivery it has all the classic markings of a winner. The V-Twin engine is quiet with all the standard pipe work on and anyone hoping to buy a pint sized TL1000s experience might be disappointed. The SV's power delivery is more purr than growl. The power starts at around 4000rpm with a kick at 6000 that carries you right through to the 11,500rpm rev limiter. You don't have to cane this bike to get the best from it. There's enough mid range to cruise happily and if you really want to hear that beautiful v-twin motor put an aftermarket end can on!! The SV, like all bikes, is open to improvement but unlike a lot of other bikes you can actually find the bolt on goodies to customise and style it to your own. It is this that likens it to the Bandit as well as the stunts that can be performed. All this added to the initial cost of the bike makes you realise what value for money you've got. The SV is great for stoppies and wheelies, once mastered, are impressive. The best way is to keep the revs low, slip the clutch and give it a big handful! There's none of this wait for the power band in the high rev range with the twins! Being so light too, they are easy to keep airbourne and with the added engine braking of the V-Twin you don't have to rely on the back brake as much. The SV is very versatile and has a huge following around the race tracks in the USA. Places to find out more about this are sites such as svrider.com which also has some cool pictures. With a revamp in 2003 to bring the styling the same as the new SV1000, the 650 won many more fans. One wonders why Suzuki decided to cull it with a Gladioli !! (Gladius)
SV1000. Many people asked for it and Suzuki listened. The Suzuki SV1000 was released at the Intermot Show in Munich in September 2002 and the crowds loved it. The new styling has also been adopted for the SV650 which will please many fans worldwide. One of the biggest challenges for all manufacturers in this year was meeting the European exhaust emission laws that came into force on April 1st 2003. These state that emission levels are just 60% of the pre 2003 limit (and this was cut even further in 2006). Suzuki have combined three different elements to meet these demands: Fuel injection allows a more precise and more efficient fuelling in whatever situation. An exhaust catalyser, although heavy and quite expensive, allows its platinum grille to turn pollutants such as carbon monoxide into less harmful gases, like CO². Lastly the PAIR system (pulsed secondary air injection). This pumps oxygen into the exhaust ports at specific timings to allow the exhaust burn to continue longer and more thoroughly. The frames of both the SV1000 and new SV650 both use a new process pioneered by Yamaha on its 2003 R6. Called High Vacuum casting it allows complex frame parts to be cast in large sections. It also reduces the weight and offers greater strength. Each side of the SV chassis is cast as a single part with a complex pattern of internal bracing rather than fabricating a trellis by welding together several straight sections. The SV1000 was a great bike with a too short lifespan.