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2018 Suzuki GSX-S750: MD Ride Review

After the press launch, we put a lot of mileage on the 2018 Suzuki GSX-S750. As a reminder, this is the significantly revised model first introduced by Suzuki to the U.S. market in 2015.

For 2018, Suzuki took this mid-displacement naked and made the following changes. The 749 cc inline-four has increased performance this year from new crankcase ventilation holes (reducing pumping losses), larger air box, redesigned exhaust system, and new fuel injection mapping. Adjustable traction control settings can be selected by the rider from a handlebar switch.

A big upgrade is the braking system, which now includes Nissin four-piston, radial mount calipers squeezing 310 mm dual discs in front. These are among the best brakes you will find at this price point.

The steel frame mounts revised suspension this year, including a 41 mm KYB fork with damping in a single leg that is adjustable for spring preload. The preload adjustable rear shock mounts a new swingarm this year with a much nicer design than the old, boxed unit. The wheels are new, attractive 10-spoke designs, which carry excellent Bridgestone S21 tires (OEM spec for this Suzuki).

Found on many Suzuki models now, the Easy-start feature allows the rider to tap the start button and then wait for the engine to fire (rather than holding it down). The low-rpm assist feature helps prevent stalling when pulling away from a stop, and we found it more transparent on this bike than previous Suzukis we have tested.

Other styling and detail changes are described in our first ride report, but we should note, once again, the new instrument panel which we found quite legible. It includes, among the typical data points, gear position, fuel economy range and mileage figures.

The more we rode the new GSX-S750, the more we liked it. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Suzuki knows how to dial in a 749 cc inline-four cylinder engine, but the power delivery and refinement from this motor stands out. Despite excellent top end power and higher peak horsepower (expect in the neighborhood of 105 horsepower at the rear wheel this year), the GSX-S750 delivers strong and smooth acceleration at street rpm levels.

Pulling nicely from as low as 3,500 rpm, there is good low-end and mid-range power for mellow, but swift street commuting. Power builds almost linearly to a shrieking pull all the way through 11,000 rpm. This bike is fast, very usable on the street, and features some of the smoothest throttle responses we have seen from a fuel injected motorcycle. It also sounds fantastic when on the boil!

Vibration levels are very low for an inline-four powered motorcycle. We never felt fatigued, or even bothered, by engine vibration in any riding circumstance. Frankly, this is one of the smoothest, sport tuned inline-fours we can recall riding.

The chassis responds well to rider inputs. Whether traveling at high rates of speed in a straight line, or pushing the bike hard through tight, twisty roads, the GSX-S750 displayed poise and balance. The engine flexibility makes ripping up canyon roads a pleasurable, and low effort affair.

The suspension is also hard to fault. It offers a comfortable ride when commuting, but, at the same time, reasonably stiff damping characteristics for sport riding. Again, like the motor, the suspension evidences excellent testing and set-up by Suzuki at the factory before this new model was introduced.

The fork, in particular, responds with very low stiction, and smooth damping reminiscent of more expensive, fully-adjustable units. It can be a little soft for larger (over 200 pounds) aggressive riders, but it never seemed to slow down our test rider — a fast, aggressive, 200 pounder.

The six-speed transmission, typical for Suzuki, shifts positively, and with a light touch. Gear spacing is close enough given the broad spread of power on offer, but sixth gear is tall enough to keep rpm levels reasonable at highway speeds.

The brakes are excellent. The front pads offer a progressive response, but there is huge power available. Feel is good, but it seems Suzuki may have coupled the outstanding Nissin monobloc calipers with a more budget front-brake master cylinder (we would really like to try a top-drawer Brembo master cylinder with these calipers). The only glaring omission is ABS, which many riders will insist on. The special GSX-S750Z model is available, at a $600 premium, with ABS brakes.

We found seat comfort on longer rides good, although there isn’t a lot of room to move fore and aft on the rider’s seat.  We did not test the pillion seat. For a naked bike, there is reasonable wind protection at the chest level, presumably from the design of the headlight area. Comfort on the highway was good, again, for a naked machine.

The 2018 Suzuki GSX-S750 surprised us. It is a sleeper, perhaps. The 749 cc mill is superb … combining similar top-end rip of a 600 cc supersport with the bigger mid-range feel of a full superbike. The bike is easy to ride, handles well, is comfortable, and quite fast. The stock Bridgestone S21s are excellent in terms of both grip and feedback. The suspension and brakes outperform many bikes in its class.

Priced at $8,299, the standard GSX-S750 must compete with the non-ABS version of the Kawasaki Z900 ($8,399) and the Yamaha FZ-09 ($8,999 with standard ABS). The GSX-S750 competes surprisingly well with both models, and shouldn’t be overlooked if you are shopping for a mid-displacement naked bike.

The standard GSX-S750 is available for $8,299 at U.S. dealers in either Metallic Triton Blue/Glass Sparkle Black (pictured) or Pearl Mira Red. The Metallic Matte Black GSX-S750Z, with ABS brakes standard, is priced at $8,899.  Take a look at Suzuki’s web site for additional details and specifications.


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69 Comments

  1. bmbktmracer says:

    I think a bike like this should be offered in many different colors because it’s not trying to replicate race livery. A bike like this is more of a statement about the owner and thus needs to express the owner’s personality. Let me choose black, silver, or gold wheels, 3 or 4 base paint colors, and 2 or 3 stripe options. I think that’s the direction Ducati has gone with their Scrambler models.

  2. Fred says:

    I’ve test ridden this model, and well may own one.
    But the reader should know first it’s not a real fire breather of an engine, it’s adequate though.
    Dirck reflected on the tyre’s as a OEM Special brew. The question then becomes as an Owner, why could not Suzuki make this bike preform with the existing off the shelf S21 tyre? What happens to me if I fit a set?It’s hardly a new tyre today. Personally, it’s academic, as I would be fitting Pilot Road 4 Michelin’s.

  3. Grover says:

    So many cool bikes available these days it’s making it hard to choose my next ride. Waiting for the new Kawi 900rs before I settle on anything.

  4. PN says:

    I like it a lot and will decide between it and the coming retro Z1, though the SV650 is getting my attention too. The FZ-09 just has never done it for me. I think the latest version looks worse than the earlier one.

  5. Mike says:

    60+ and still look cool on a bike. Go Dirck.. Surfed Bolsa by 55 6+ft..

  6. Gary says:

    How was the leg room? From the photos it looks a bit cramped.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Not bad,actually. When I ride for photos, I am typically on the balls of my feet, and this makes it appear more cramped than it is. I’d say roughly half way between sport bike and sport tourer leg room.

  7. MG3 says:

    Well, here I go AGAIN..

    Thank you Suzuki for helping to turn motorcycling

    From a:

    Cheap, exciting, utilitarian, FUN and beautiful way to get around –

    Into an:

    Expensive, uncomfortable, BUTT UGLY, hormonally imbalanced, unusable way to entice you to take your car for a drive.

    Mechanically A TRIUMPH! Aesthetically A DISASTER!

  8. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Keep the 636. If my last one hadn’t been stolen, I’d still be riding it (and I’m 48)

  9. OtoBiker says:

    very cool motorcycle, but in my country does not exist yet.

  10. Tom R says:

    “The only glaring omission is ABS, which many riders will insist on. The special GSX-S750Z model is available, at a $600 premium, with ABS brakes.”

    Ah, who needs ABS anyway? That’s for beginners and sissies.

  11. Jeremy in TX says:

    It is the best looking of the new Japanese “modern” standards to hit the scene in my opinion. And it sounds like the engine is a gem accompanied by a good fusion of components.

    I am tired of matte black, so it is disappointing that ABS is only available with that color option. It looks pretty striking in blue.

  12. Vrooom says:

    I like it, but couldn’t buy it. It was 39° commuting to work this morning, and a naked wouldn’t work. Put a fairing and a windscreen on this and I’m there. Maybe some luggage too. Most of these bikes must sell in California, Arizona and the south.

    • Paul says:

      In addition to my leather jacket, I’m wearing bib ski pants, combat boots, gauntlet leather gloves (Ski gloves when it gets really cold) and a neck tube. My commute this morning was in below freezing temps, no ice on the roads so no problems. No fairing but a tiny windscreen is all I have.

      Dress properly and you can ride anything in the cold, even a snowmobile 🙂

      • KenHoward says:

        ‘Depends upon the individual and the length of the ride. Most would probably agree that riding in below-freezing temperatures is very unpleasant – at best – and unsafe, at worst, with ice-cold tire tread meeting ice-cold (with areas of black ice possible) pavement.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “unsafe, at worst, with ice-cold tire tread meeting ice-cold (pavement)…”

          …which eventually translates into ice-cold Middle Aged Man meeting ice-cold pavement. i hate it when this happens.

          • paul246 says:

            adjust accordingly to the conditions… I’ve been doing that successfully for 35 years and I’m now 62. Our riding season is short enough as it is.

      • mickey says:

        Try a heated jacket and glove liners.Like riding wrapped up in an electric blanket. I ride year round..in Ohio. Not exactly tropical here from the beginning of November to end of March. I have ridden to -4 (4 below zero) although it rarely gets much below 32 here for very long. Tire adhesion has never been a problem as long as you don’t do stupid stuff. Like my brother says (regarding the riding modes on his new Bonneville) “I don’t need a computer to tell me to slow down in the rain”. Same goes for cold and snow.

        Ice and accumulated snow will keep me off the road but that’s about it. other than that there is no bad weather, only bad gear.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “as long as you don’t do stupid stuff”

          well that tears it, i’m out.

          re: “I don’t need a computer to tell me to slow down in the rain”.

          dammit Mickey you missed a golden opportunity to embellish. for emphasis, let’s pretend your brother said it THIS way…

          “computers…? i don’t need no stinkin’ computers to tell ME to slow down in the rain”. (Alfonso Bedoya voice)

          https://tinyurl.com/oxbt53g

  13. allworld says:

    This is a good bike, at a great price. I personally would like to see a GSXS-750F similar to the GSXS-1000F. Which with a bit of a fairing and some luggage makes for a great one up touring bike. (IMO)

  14. skortch says:

    Very nice, as long as you don’t regularly carry a passenger. The abbreviated high tail section is lost on me but that seems to be the style these days.

    Personally, since I rarely carry a passenger it’s not a huge issue. I’d probably look for a small rack for the back and a mid-size screen for the front.

    The performance and price are impressive, especially if you compare to the 750cc sportbikes of 20 years ago. As for pricing against current competitors, the Z900 is made in Thailand, which surely helps keep its price low, though I’m not sure if the FZ-09 or this GSX-S are made in Japan. The Suzuki is definitely a bargain compared to the Honda CBR650F.

    • Brian says:

      Do people really carry passengers on bikes like this anymore? I never see a pillion on anything other than a big Harley or dedicated touring machine these days. Used to see the occasional girl pretzled up on the back of the boyfriend’s sportbike, but that seems to have gone away around here (kinda like sportbikes in general). I wonder if people have decided it’s too dangerous…

  15. Neal says:

    Looks like a fantastic bike. A refined, usable motor in a chassis that won’t beat you up when you’re just cruising or commuting and won’t hold you back when you that inspiration hits to push it a bit. And I think the looks in red and the price are great, too. My next bike is between this and a leftover CBR650.

  16. mechanicus says:

    What do you people DO with a bike like that? No passenger seat, torturous ergos, just reeking with angular ugliness…. I dunno, get it out and ride it up and down the street on the back wheel just to bird-finger the establishment, then put it back up?

    • Brian says:

      Nobody tell this guy about sportbikes…

    • Stuki Moi says:

      This one has quite decent ergos. It’s no Gold Wing, but for riding in the city, or sporty riding through tight twisties, that’s hardly a bad thing.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Passenger seat? Not needed. Torturous ergonomics? At 41yo, ergonomics look great to me. I personally think the bike looks great too. Seems like a great time on two wheels to me.

    • Selecter says:

      Passenger seat – don’t care. The girl can get her own bike.

      Torturous ergos? On THIS? You’re effing kidding, right? I rode my TT600 a couple hundred miles yesterday… not a big deal. I could ride this GSX all day!

      Angular ugliness – to each their own, but I like this bike plenty. The styling definitely wouldn’t keep me in the way if I were in the market for one.

      So what would I do on it? Commute… Throw some side bags on it and ride to visit family in South Dakota… Do a few track days locally after taping everything up… Hoon it up on the Wisconsin back roads on weekends… there’s actually quite a lot I could do with one, personally! I guess I was blissfully unaware that the styling or the passenger pad would affect how much I could do on a bike, but boy howdy, how could I have missed it all? *rolleyes*

  17. Sam says:

    This should be an appealing ride for the masses but just look at the position of the riders legs in the picture! All of us aren’t 90 pound Japanese ‘Jockeys’ with 28 inch inseams!

    How about extending rear view mirrors out so they are useful. Some of us have shoulders twice as wide as the rider mentioned above.

    I’m tired of 100 mile seats.

    How about a higher handlebar option or at least wiring and cables long enough to allow the owner to change bars.

    Hey you cheapskate MFG’s, how about bringing the iconic CENTER STAND back as standard equipment:(

    Not all of us buy a new bike to take it to the track:)

    Sam

    • Stuki Moi says:

      Compared to the Street Triple Triumph sells, and even the Kawi Z900, this one has actual legroom. It doesn’t have adventure or touring bike legroom, but neither is it as tight as a sportbike.

      More forward lean helps taking pressure of the knees, by putting a bit more tension/emphasis on the posterior chain. It also helps save the lower back from impacts. And makes riding on the freeway more tolerable on a naked.

      Wider mirrors would block progress through tight traffic. Which is one of the places bikes like this excel.

      Modern tires are so darned grippy, hence modern bikes can be leaned so far over, and modern regulations results in exhaust systems so big, that there is precious little space left over for a centerstand that doesn’t interfere with cornering at even non-crazy speeds.

      In the city, and in twisties, a 100 mile seat is a pretty good match for the 100-odd mile tank…

  18. Kagato says:

    Lack of vibration: very very good! Looks better to me than the other Transformer bikes.

  19. slipjoint says:

    It’s a good time to be a buyer in the three quarter to one liter naked bike class. Some excellent choices well under $10k.

  20. Aussie mike says:

    What is it with Japanese designers? IMO this bike is fugly. Lego could do better. No wonder retro bikes are the rage. Triumph Bonnevilles, Moto Guzzi V9s & V7s, BMW’s heritage range & let us not forget the Harleys & Indians. At least they look like motorcycles.

  21. cinderbob says:

    Just looking at the bend in Dirck’s legs is painful. My knees would cry uncle in no time flat.

    • joe b says:

      He has his toes on the pegs. Gosh are you blind too?

      • Tim C says:

        Yeah, but it’s still SOP for these bikes to have reasonable ergos from the waist up and bent knees to get cornering clearance. Made worse by The Quest For All To Flat Foot.

        I’ve mentioned before having my FZ6 seat built up – I now can’t flat foot both feet and I’m 6’2″ and change. And that added JUST enough relief to the knee bend for me.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          Reading that (6’2″ not flatfooting a 600…), made me think of one of those sportfishing boat tuna towers, bolted on to a little motorcycle……

    • todd says:

      You need to get up off your couch and exercise and do some stretches. The world does not need to accommodate every fat SOB 😜

  22. Random says:

    Any fade on brakes? I know it usually shows itself in track riding, but Suzukis are notorious for that.

  23. xLaYN says:

    I’m curious, the chassis is stated to be steel, how much does the bike weights?
    Beautiful bike.
    Nice to hear refinement, power, linear power delivery, good brake and suspenders in the same review.

    • Dave says:

      Spec says 465lb. wet. Frame material doesn’t have much to do with overall weight. KTM’s mx bikes are the lightest of the major makes, and the only ones with steel frames.

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        porky per cc compared to the Yamaha and Kawi. Wonder how that translates in the real world? Much better looking (less tacky) than the other two..that counts for something

        • Stuki Moi says:

          The extra weight is from a steel frame, and an older motor (than at least the Yamaha.) IOW, it’s all concentrated pretty much at the roll center.

          I haven’t ridden one, so it’s all conjecture, but I’d be surprised of the weight difference is that big a deal.

          What I expect to be noticeable, especially in faster chicanes, is the bored out 600 length stroke, hence crank throw hence gyro effect. Compared to the Kawi’s sleeved down liter, and Yamaha’s triple. For that reason, this one, and the Honda 650, are the ones I’m mainly interested in, if I should ever grow up enough to realize my joints are no longer aged for the 636.

          • Dave says:

            I have never heard of anyone who could detect a difference in an engine’s gyroscopic effect. Is it even a thing outside of motoGP?

          • Kagato says:

            Maybe it pulls to the right like a Corsair. Full left rudder!

          • Stuki Moi says:

            @Dave

            If gyro effects themselves are undetectable, there is definitely some other measure that correlates almost perfectly with gyro effects that is very detectable, across different size and layout class bikes. With e-bikes being at one extreme end, long stroke (KTM Superduke) twins at the other.

  24. VLJ says:

    ABS only available with matte black.

    Brilliant!

    Also. check out the provided link to Suzuki’s website for this model. In particular, check out the photo gallery, and Man Bun and his rolled up skinny jeans with no socks, and little tennis shoes.

    Yeah, there’s your target demographic, Suzuki!

    Good luck with that.

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