The new GSX-8S has legendary shoes to fill depending upon how Suzuki want to configure the line-up.
It is like the situation the new V-Strom 800 but more so. The SV650 was the very best home of the excellent Suzuki 647cc v-twin. It is (was? we will have to wait to find out what becomes of the motor) one of few v-twins available in the segment if you preferred to not pony up for a more expensive Ducati Monster. Placed within the lightweight chassis of the various iterations of the SV650 that have passed through though Suzuki showrooms over the last two decades — Gladius anyone – the motor was a gem? Regardless of bodywork the little v-twin always provide a spirited and characteristic ride.
Suzuki could decide to keep the SV650 going but truth be told, it is getting a little long in the gear tooth.Progress does demand some updating.
Technically, as made obvious in the new bike’s name, the GSX-8S falls within the GSX-S family. This group of mostly naked bikes are powered by somewhat softened versions of previous generation GSX-R 1000 mills to provide a sporty ride but with more reasonable ergonomics. The new GSX-8S is the first bike to join the family with an entirely new mill, the 776cc parallel twin.
The styling is very similar to that of the other GSX-S bikes but with the addition of a few new cues such as the stacked headlight effect. It is a pleasant look if only because it is conservatively simple.
It is an interesting move, this new bike from Suzuki. The engine is slightly larger than the competition but competition there is – very, very similar competition. Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda (just to stick with the Japanese bikes) all have bikes in the category and should Honda Canada realize there is a new Hornet elsewhere in the world and bring it to our shores, that bike is a very close competitor both in styling and engine size and configuration.
One might very well ponder why a new 800cc v-twin wasn’t considered by Suzuki just to maintain a small creative difference in a very crowded category. But as we are learning it is a parallel twin world these days. The success of the new Gsx-8S is going to depend on pricing and personal preferences – the former we are still waiting to discover.