My GSX1400 has just been at the second service. There have
not been any problems so far with the bike so the guy at Kenneths
Motor in Eskilstuna provided the service while I was waiting.
The only thing he could point out was a couple of bolts between
frame and the engine (on the left side) were a bit loose and
he tightened them up. I chose to use the same (inexpensive)
Texaco Havoline semi-synthetic car/motorcycle engine oil that
I used the last time. There have not been any problems with
slipping or dragging clutch or difficulties in gear changing.
I still believe it's an overkill to use the expensive brands
and makes sold for motorcycle use only.
About the tires
The rear tire is worn out now and I theres a new tire
waiting for me at a local dealer where I get a better price,
it should probably have been replaced several miles ago already
but I have wanted to use the old tire as many miles as possible.
I choose to use the original type and dimension. I have been
quite pleased with it so far. When the roads are dry theres
all the grip in the world. At rain old cold weather (I have
used my bike almost the entire winter so I know) the Bridgestone
BT020 reveals quite soon that you shouldnt ride as aggressively
as during perfect conditions. Im not an expert but I think
the BT020 is as good as any other great standard tire at the
The rear tyre after a few laps on the race
track. Click to enlarge.
A message sent by a guy called Sam Rubra to the www.gsx1400.org
message board earlier this year made it easier for me to choose
the same kind of tire that was mounted on the stock GSX1400.
Here follows the story Sam told us.
Sam Rubra told that he had had an interesting conversation with
the technical authority from Avon Tires, responsible for the
bike tire products worldwide, a former 250cc race champion.
He had just returned from a test track in Europe where they
had tested the latest rubber on all the manufacturer's machines.
He had lots of bad things to say about lots of bikes including
the Honda Blackbird, though Honda was his favorite make. One
point he wanted to make was NEVER repair a puncture as there
is a continuous belt (360 meters long) in all-modern performance
tires if this fractures, then you will have many belts and the
tire will deflect up to 2 cm diameter increase under load and
Sam asked him about the GSX1400, he advised, It's an absolutely
smashing piece of kit. He liked it so much he kept the
test bike for himself for the whole two-week test period. He
also said that if he'd been given it ten years ago that he'd
have won another championship!
As for the tires, he said "the Bridgestones work really
well on this bike, I wouldn't recommend changing them for anything
else... so he didn't even recommend his own product...
He thought you could get between 3000-5000 miles, (about 5000-8000
km) out of them depending on how you drive. He said that faster
riders get more from their tires as they drive smoother
A day at the races
Earlier this spring I spent a day on a racing track with my
GSX1400. The Swedish importer of Suzuki motorcycles had arranged
a training day on the Karlskoga Motorstadion for the customers
that had bought a new sports model of Suzuki after autumn 2001.
There were a few GSX1400 owners there among a couple of GSF1200
Bandit owners and a whole bunch of GSX-R1000 owners. The training
day proved to be great fun.
Two GSX1400's checking in. Click to enlarge.
Riding a bike on a racetrack was a whole new experience for
me. I didnt actually know we were going to do that, I
had been told that the training day was about training
extreme situations in order to became a better driver in the
traffic. At first I was suspicious. I even asked the Suzuki
personnel there if it was that wise to learn how to ride on
the wrong side of the road, cut every corner and ride as fast
as possible. They didnt really know what to say.
After about 50 laps on the track I KNEW I was a better driver
than I had been before the exercise. I realized that if the
tarmac is dry and clean I can actually lean the bike as much
as I want to in the corners (at least until my feet touch the
road) and theres still 100 percent grip. That may sound
like yesterdays news to you more experienced drivers but
I am a new-beginner with real motorcycles so I have
never used the whole width of the rear tire earlier.
Waiting for the fun to begin.
I wasnt driving among the fastest and more experienced
guys on the circuit but it was a great feeling to realize that
the old mans bike as a couple of GSX-R1000
owners called the GSX1400 was as fast a bike as the racing replica.
The driver made the difference, not the bike. A couple of R1000
owners were given the opportunity to take a spin around the
track with a GSX1400 and they were all positively surprised.
Its wasnt anything like I though it should
be, one guy said. Its actually a great motorcycle!
By that time (about 3000 km/ 2000 miles on the meter) I had
noticed that the fuel consumption had improved, the exhaust
noise been more masculine and the engine gave more power. I
really loved the sound of my bike at high revs on the racetrack.
No way Im going to spend lots of money to buy new
exhausts I thought. I liked my bike even more than earlier.
The suspension and the original settings
Theres lots of adjusting possibilities but I hadnt
touched the buttons. I had been reading articles about how to
adjust the suspension settings on bikes to make it perfect for
the owner but I still didnt feel like I knew what I was
doing so I had used the factory settings. There was actually
nothing wrong with them. The only thing I had done was to increase
the rear tire pressure from 2,5 kg (36 psi) to 2,8 kg (40 psi).
The rear tire had started to wear flat and felt uncomfortable
at the corners. My friend at the local tire shop suggested that
Id put more air in the tire and so I did. Im not
a skinny guy, at that time I weighted almost 100 kg (220 lbs)
and I figured that I must use tire pressure used for about one
and a half persons sitting on the bike. Almost immediately the
rear tire felt like it was round again! It began wearing smoother
that before and it felt much better! Now I have lost some of
the dead weight and weigh about 85 kg (187 lbs) and I still
keep the higher rear tire pressure.
What the owners manual says about tire pressure and loading:
Under-inflated tires make smooth cornering difficult,
and can result in rapid tire wear. Over-inflated tires have
a smaller amount of tire in contact with the road, which can
contribute to skidding and loss of control. The recommended
cold tire inflation pressures are: front 2,5 kgf/cm2 (36 psi),
both solo and two-up riding and rear 2,5 kgf/cm2 (36 psi) solo
riding, 2,9 kgf/cm2 (42 psi).
The Suzuki personnel at the racing track though that my choice
of using 2,8 kgf/cm2 (40 psi) sounded OK. Even the service guy
at Kenneths Motor in Eskilstuna thought that he wouldnt
go below 2,7 kgf/cm2 (38 psi)
Then the suspension settings. The owners manual says:
The standard settings of both front and rear suspensions
are selected to meet various riding conditions such as low to
high motorcycle speed and light to heavy load on the motorcycle.
The suspension settings can be adjusted for your preference
and fine-tuning. Then the manual tells how to make the
There lots of possibilities (but the manual doesnt describe
what happens if you change the settings):
spring pre-load fully adjustable,
rebound damping force 12-way adjustable.
spring pre-load fully adjustable,
rebound damping force 4-way adjustable,
compression damping fully adjustable.
Instead of turning all the knobs and see what happens I asked
the Suzuki personnel at the racetrack what they might suggest
me to do. The mechanics didnt think there wasnt
anything really wrong with the factory settings but because
I weigh more than average motorcyclist (his guess
was it was about 79 kg/ 174 lbs) he increased the spring pre-load
from the factory setting (1,5 lines visible) to three lines.
He even stiffened the rebound damping from the factory setting
(position 2) to position 3. He didnt touch the compression
damping force adjuster and did nothing to the front suspension
Its hard to tell the difference on the track because the
changes were made before I had ever rode a bike on a racing
track but I felt comfortable with the settings. The bike felt
stiffer than before, in a positive sense.
A professional racing driver was invited
to show us rookies how it was done. It was fun to see him ride
his factory racer like crazy but it was absolutely more fun
to pertend you were a racing driver yourself for a day.
It wasnt until on my way home from Karlskoga I noticed
that some of the comfort was gone. The original settings seem
to be a great compromise between comfort and handling. The seat
and actually the whole bike seemed to vibrate more and I felt
that the new settings are not that great for cruising speeds.
Now I have softened the rear suspension a bit since the racetrack.
The rebound damping is back to the factory setting (position
2) and the spring pre-load is at two lines (factory setting
was 1,5) and Im comfortable with it at any speed (for
The next weekend I visited the Custom Bike Show in Norrtälje
with my older brother Yrjö, the GoldWing owner. I met a
GSX1400 owner there from Stockholm and we chatted a little.
He knew a guy that was working at the Öhlins, manufacturer
of the world-famous suspension details. He had tested the GSX1400
and he actually praised the suspension of the bike. He thought
the handling and the comfort were excellent and he found nothing
wrong with the standard settings.
This start to sound almost embarrassing, everybody who understands
about bikes seem to tell only good things about the bike I bought
mostly for the looks. Well, they praised a bike in some magazine
articles as well and said that it was great fun to ride and
was easy to handle. What I didnt know that it was such
a great piece of machinery, I ordered a bike without even seeing
it in flesh.
Having fun in Karlskoga.
Still satisfied with the bike
As I have told you many times already, I am not a bike mechanics
and Im not really the right person to criticize or praise
any technical solutions of the GSX1400. But after 6000 km (almost
4000 miles) on its saddle I have learned to know my bike a bit
more and I think I can say a bit more about it that after the
first service (the last time I wrote a story like this) and
I still have not got any bad things to say about the GSX1400.
It has worked like a Swiss quality watch (apart from the time
it wouldnt start at all one day, see the problems and
troubleshooting page for details). After I purchased the little
windshield I got rid of the turbulence at very high speeds.
I still miss a full fairing on cold weather and Im saving
for a hard saddle bag kit and I sometimes wish I owned a light
offroad bike as well) but you cant get it all, cant
you? I dont even wish for a new exhaust system anymore.
By the way, the GSX1400 owner I met at the Custom Bike Show
had mounted a Suzuki original bikini fairing that was designed
for the GS500E. It fits perfectly and looks quite nice (see
the pictures of the bike here),
looks a bit like the GS1000S from the late seventies. The only
modification he had to do was to make a couple of plate holders
to attach the fairing to the bike.
Even the air filter from the GS500E seems to fit. There are
no K&N air filters available for the GSX1400 yet but somebody
said that there is a K&N filter for GS500E and it will fit.
The GS500 filter is much shorter though and therefore lets less
air to pass it and isnt the optimal solution for the GSX1400.
Yes, theres dozens of manufactures making zorsts and full
exhaust systems for the GSX1400, theres replacement cams,
Power Commanders and all sorts of trim kits available for the
GSX1400 that is obviously capable of delivering much more power
than it does from the factory but I like it just the way it
is. More power means more tire and chain wear and for the moment
Im satisfied with the speed resources of it. Im
even happy with the fuel economy. If you ride at around the
allowed speed it actually shows remarkably fuel mileage.