When we rode the original iteration of Suzuki’s GSX-S750 two years ago (“Suzuki’s New Standard,” June/July 2015), we have to admit we weren’t overly impressed. Basically a rebadged version of the European-market GSR750, the GSX-S’s age and budget build certainly showed, with an uninspiring engine character and excessive heft. Although admittedly it would take a superb bike to knock off the class-leading Yamaha FZ-09, the Suzuki was nevertheless trounced by the game-changing triple in our comparison test (“Budget Blasters,” Oct./Nov. 2015).
So Suzuki decided to instill a good number of updates to the 2018 version of the GSX-S750 aimed at spicing up the engine and running gear. The 749cc inline-four now has larger internal crankcase windows to reduce pumping losses, refined EFI maps along with new long-nose, 10-hole injectors for better fuel atomization, plus a larger airbox up top and a new 4-into-2-into-1 exhaust down below. Claimed power is up more than 8 hp over the old GSX-S (112.6 hp at 10,500 rpm compared to the original’s 104.5 hp at 10,000 rpm). Shorter final drive gearing helps acceleration even more.
A slightly updated version of the 41mm KYB inverted fork has springs in both legs but only the left side handling damping duties. The rear KYB shock is basically the same (though the steel swingarm now has a different contour box shape that Suzuki claims is stronger), as are the adjustment capabilities at both ends: spring preload only. Suzuki heard everyone’s complaints about the previous front brakes and dumped the old axial-mount, two-piston, slide-caliper units for a pair of radial-mount, four-piston Nissin calipers biting on 310mm petal-style rotors. Other changes include new 10-spoke wheels with Bridgestone S21 rubber (replacing the old three-spoke wheels and old-gen Bridgestone BT-016 tires), a full LCD dashboard, and slightly revised bodywork (including a new bellypan to partially cover the ugly catalyzer collector of the exhaust).
Suzuki also infused some modern technology into the new GSX-S750, with the one-push Easy Start system and Low-RPM Assist feature found on the latest SV650, as well as the three-level (plus off) traction control system from the 1000. Reflecting Americans’ continuing love/hate relationship with ABS, only the all-black GSX-S750Z comes standard with ABS (along with a $600 bump in price).
With identical ergos to the previous model, the new GSX-S750’s retains the original’s comfy feel. Suzukis have never been known as hard starters, so the Easy Start system is kind of superfluous, and with the 750’s relative lack of low-end torque, the Low-RPM Assist feature is barely noticeable. Like the previous engine, power begins to really develop around 4,000 rpm; but instead of the original’s somewhat lackluster powerband that quickly goes flat around 9,000 rpm, the newer engine revs quicker and continues making decent power well past 10,500 rpm. No, the new GSX-S powerplant is no GSX-R replica, but the added power significantly raises the Suzuki’s fun quotient.
Despite only having preload adjustability, the GSX-S750’s suspension rates are fairly well dialed in for everything from urban commuting to canyon strafing. Steering manners are better with the newer Bridgestone S21 tires, but turn-in effort still demands some muscle—the narrow handlebar and basically unchanged 465-pound wet weight surely contribute here. Thankfully, the upgraded brakes are a vast improvement over the previous parts-bin pieces; slowing the GSX-S750 is no longer a high-effort, numb-feeling affair, with the four-pot Nissins providing excellent power and feel.
Perhaps best of all, the upgrades to the 2018 GSX-S750 only result in a $300 bump in price over last year ($8,299 for the base model, $8,899 for the ABS-equipped Z model). So even though it may not be a class leader in performance, the improvements along with the lowest price compared to the competition mean the new Suzuki is certainly a much more recommendable choice now.
|2018 Suzuki GSX-S750|
|MSRP||$8299 standard model; $8899 GSX-S750Z|
|Type||Liquid-cooled, DOHC inline-four|
|Bore x stroke||72.0 x 46.0mm|
|Induction||SDTV, 32mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl.|
|Front tire||120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21F G|
|Rear tire||180/55ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21R G|
|Rake/trail||25°/4.1 in. (104mm)|
|Wheelbase||57.2 in. (1455mm)|
|Seat height||32.2 in. (820mm)|
|Fuel capacity||4.2 gal. (16L)|
|Claimed wet weight||465 lb. (211kg); 469 lb. (213kg)|