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Old 05-17-2019, 10:54 PM   #1
twpetry
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Suzuki Demo Day Experience

So I went to a Suzuki demo ride event today at Village Motorsports in Unionville, VA. I got a chance to ride a few bikes (though not as many as I would have liked to!), and just figured I'd write down some of my thoughts in case any one was bored enough to want to read them. Reviews will be below, but first some anecdotes:

Overall it was a pretty good day. Rain was threatening in the morning but it was totally dry by the time I got there around 1:30. I have to say the two suzuki guys they sent out were pretty cool. Unfortunately it didn't seem like they were very "techy" so I wasn't able to go into too much details about the bikes. But they were definitely cool to talk to. I had never been to one of these events and I was a bit afraid of it being like a timeshare vacation where they lure you in and then hound you with the sales pitch etc. But I was pleasantly surprised. There was ZERO sales talk. They were just there to let people ride, sweet. Between group riding sessions we chatted a bit about suzuki and MotoGP. Apparently the one guy was sent by Suzuki to the Circuit of the Americas for the past several years (myself and the other suzuki guy were quite jealous). He ended up giving me a Suzuki pennant from the past event.

There was an older gentleman who showed up late in the day with his son. The man was shorter, fairly thin, with white hair. He first rode a Burgman scooter. He then wanted to ride the Hayabusa. At first the suzuki guy was like, uh, are you sure? At which point the son informed the suzuki guy that his dad had (or rode at some point, my memory fails me) a ZX-14r and he should have seen him on it (implying he was quite the rider). The suzuki guy let him ride the 'Busa and the old man did fine as far as I could tell. While that group was out riding the suzuki guy was like "what was I supposed to think? the old guy wanted to go from the scooter to the hayabusa!?" I thought that was rather amusing.

So the final group of the day around 5 I'm signed up for the hayabusa, and I'm standing around the bikes with the other guys. I ask one guy what he will be riding. He says he rode the gsxr-600 earlier but wanted to try out the 750 this time. He said it all casually and gave me the impression he would be interested in purchasing one. When this group left I was in the rear on the hayabusa, followed by this guy on the 750, and finally the tail riding guide. The ride was going well and the lead riding guide was actually going a bit slower the previous rides as traffic was starting to pick up. I was lagging behind a bit at times just so I could wind the 'busa up a bit in certain spots without getting to close to the next guy in line. The dude on the 750 was a fair bit behind me most of time and I just figured he was doing the same as me to wind up the 750. Towards the end of the ride though I glance in my mirror again and notice there is no one behind me. I figured maybe they got cut off by a car or something. the group comes to a stop sign and finally the tail riding guide comes flying up and starts talking to the lead guide, turns around and heads back. So at that point it was fairly obvious what happened. The dude dumped the bike. I never quite got the story on what exactly happened but the dude was ok, and the bike surprisingly wasn't that bad (though definitely not able to be used for demos any more.) Turns out that dude actually worked at the dealership! Again I have no idea what happened, from my perspective he was there and then he wasn't. We weren't riding fast at all so i dunno. Sour note at the end of day but overall it was still a good day.

Before the bike reviews just a little background on my riding experience. My first bike was 2002 sv650s had it for 1 summer. second bike was 2009 sv650s, full fairing, abs, had it ~4 years. My current bike (a bike I bought to flip and just haven't got around to selling yet) is a 2002 Yamaha V-star 1100 custom. Other bikes I have ridden: Triumph Sprint ST, kawasaki ZZR-600, 2008 ninja 250r, v-star 650 classic, honda shadow 750 aero.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:55 PM   #2
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Re: Suzuki Demo Day Experience

Finally the reviews, in the order that I rode them:

SV 650 X - The first thing that really stuck out to me about this bike was when I sat on it I felt that the shock was way too soft. I weigh maybe 185-190 with gear and it felt to sag too much when I sat on it. I bounced up and down a bit and I thought for sure it would be too soft on the ride. Once out riding though it didn't seem as bad as I thought. It wasn't great, but definitely better then the pogo stick on my '09 SVS. I could be wrong but the front end though felt a little... loose? wobbly? i don't know what the right word is but it just didn't feel 100% stable to me. Visually, the brown leather (not sure if real leather) seat stood out to me. It was pretty comfortable but the ride was fairly short. Second visually was the front fairing. It gives more protection then the standard sv but still, not much. I do not like the styling of it however. If it was my bike, I'd remove it, and maybe look for something else. the SV X has clip ons and that goes with the cafe theme, they felt no different than the SVS clip ons. I will say though the mirrors felt a bit awkward to me. They were further out and lower than I am used to. I kept glancing where I expected the mirror to be and then had to really adjust to "find" it. I was pleasantly surprised by the fueling. It lugged pretty well around the 2-3k rpm range, much better then my 2009 svs with mods, and I didn't notice a huge dip in power around 5k rpm that I was expecting. One of my favorite things about it though had to be the exhaust. It was a typical v-twin burble down low, but rev it out and it actually got to be a rather higher pitched scream that I was not expecting. In the upper rev range it actually reminded me more of the ninja 250 that I had (with full area p exhaust system). Not sure what the deal is there, but I liked it! Everything else was pretty much exactly what I was expecting an SV to be.

Boulevard C50 - Typical japanese cruiser. Not too much really to report about the bike. I did notice that it did not like to be lugged, it definitely preferred to be a little higher in the rev range than one would expect. One of the other riders agreed with me on this. Also the floorboards seemed a bit lower than expected as well. I have ridden a few other cruisers but I was a bit surprised on the ride how easily they scraped making turns. On a side note, apparently I was riding the cruiser pretty spiritedly since after the group got back I had 2 different people come up to me and tell me I was killing it on that cruiser. (I was right behind the lead riding guide in this group, it was earlier in the day with little traffic and he was going fairly quick this outing. What was I supposed to do? I couldn't just let him get away! ) One of the guys asked what size the cruiser was, and when I told him it was just an 800cc, he seemed to be quite embarrassed. (I think he had been on the GSX-S 1000, that ride) OK, enough tooting my own horn...

Boulevard M109R - HOLY TORQUE BATMAN! Seriously, that thing is crazy. Instant torque. Very touchy throttle. That throttle has two modes: instant torque, and engine braking, no middle ground. Given some more time I'm sure you get better at manipulating the throttle, but wow. Slow speed turns were quite tricky, I felt like a noob again. I believe this ride I was last right in front of the tail ride guide. I would have thought that he thought I didn't know what I was doing, except for the fact that he was on that bike on the previous ride and you could see his grin afterwards from across the parking lot. The one time i really gave it some gas getting onto a highway, and I know this is cliche' to say, but it felt like it was going to rip right out of my hands. Easily the most powerful FEELING bike I've ever been on. That thing is nasty. One downside though is it is fairly wide in the seat. Gives you that awkward bow-legged feeling with feet down. I did really like the instrumentation however. tank mounted analog speedo that I like, and a fairly non-obtrusive digital tach mounted on the bars.

GSX-R 1000 - To be honest I really don't have an interest in owning this bike, but it was there and I have never been on a true liter sport bike, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I have come to the conclusion that I still have no interest in owning one, let alone riding one again (on the street). Obviously meant for the track, I have no idea why people actually ride these things on the street, other than simply bragging rights. Super uncomfortable riding position. Unfortunately I did not not get a chance to really wind it up, but I could tell the power was there waiting to be used. I will say that it does behave quite nicely when riding at a reasonable pace.

Hayabusa - It was there, there was some time left in the day, I just couldn't leave without riding it, if only to say that I have ridden it. Honestly though I don't have too much to say about it. It obviously had more mid range than the 1000 and that was nice, but again I didn't get a chance to really wind it up. My biggest take away from it was that once it gets moving it really doesn't feel like a big heavy bike anymore. Make no mistake, it is a big, long, heavy bike, but it is surprisingly nimble at speed.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:58 PM   #3
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Re: Suzuki Demo Day Experience

I got to talking with one of the other guys there. He was currently riding a 2012 Ninja 250 and looking to upgrade. He told me his girlfriend said she wanted to ride with him, but he seemed to think that it wouldn't be nearly as often as she said. He first rode the standard SV 650. He seemed to like it, obviously more power than his 250. He liked the mid range torque. We talked for a bit and I told him from my experience the mid-range torque is great for your typical street riding. However, I did say that for more aggressive riding I actually preferred the 250 due to its lighter weight, faster steering and screaming top end (even if it does have half the power). He then rode a V-strom 650. We talked after that and he again agreed that he liked the mid-range torque, and that he was getting a bit more confident on it, and that he did notice the lack of top end power from the 650. I explained that again obviously it has more power than the 250, but the 650 just starts to nose over around 10k. whereas the 250 pulls nearly all the way to redline. He rode a Boulevard C50 cruiser next just for kicks. His only comment about that was a smile and that it was "different" (not a cruiser guy). He ended up back on the V-strom for that last ride and seemed to like it the best. I wouldn't be surprised if he hits up craigslist soon for a used one. It was a bit tall but he said he could just about handle it. He did not like the handguards however, and after I sat on it I have to agree. Those have to go for normal street riding. No airflow to the hands, plus they feel too restrictive. Not enough room between the levers and the guard for your fingers. Seems like a super simple fix though, so not a big deal.

Like I said overall it was a great day, I got to meet some cool people and ride some motorcycles. 10/10 would recommend. If you can get to a demo day, JUST DO IT!
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:32 PM   #4
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Re: Suzuki Demo Day Experience

The Hayabusa is my absolute favorite Suzuki and truly underrated as a fine handling super sport by those who have never ridden one. Sure itís a good bit more work to throw around than an SV650 but as you mention it weighs more and has a longer wheelbase, etc.... so thatís going to be a given.

Iíve owned a good number of Suzukiís motorcycle offerings over the years and have test ridden a good number of their other models. Iíve owned two SV650ís 1st and 2nd generations, both were excellent bikes. A 98 GSXR 600 & a GSXR 1000K7
Two V-Strom 1000ís, better handling in the turns then they look to be and the upright comfort with a 1000cc v-twin, whatís not to like.
Iíve owned three HayabusaĎs and a B-King. The B-King is cool for being a naked street fighter version of the Hayabusa but it does not handle or ride nearly as well with or without a pillion as the Busa does in either scenario.
The Busa is just a great all around super sport motorcycle. Itís as mild mannered as Clark Kent, yet more powerful then a locomotive and faster then a speeding bullet when the glasses come off and fully unleashed. Itís not a bike you let your guard down on but with a careful dose of common sense it can be a great bike for those looking in that segment. At this point it could use a 3rd generation update in the performance department but Iíd still take it in current form over the competition just because it works so well at so much.




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Old 05-20-2019, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: Suzuki Demo Day Experience

I honestly didn't realize suzuki was still making the hayabusa. It is getting a bit long in the tooth. It could definitely use even a facelift if not a new generation to make it more current style-wise. The all analog instrumentation and lack of rider modes etc makes it seem quite dated. I know R&D costs are expensive, but updating the fairings and throwing a LCD gauge cluster on it would make a big difference.

The gearing was pretty sweet though. If I remember correctly I was going down the highway about 60mph or so, RPMs around 6k and I was surprised to see I was only in 3rd gear!
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:13 PM   #6
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I had a second generation Hayabusa that I rode quite regularly for almost 5 years. It weighed in right about the same as my SV1000, about 480. But for about a year I had a gsxr 600 in the garage too and the handling between the two was night and day. The 600 was easy to toss around and more fun to push but the Hayabusa was much more stable and highway friendly.

I loved that bike. I'm getting used to the SV but surprised it weighs so much.

You're def right about Suzuki needing to update the bike. That's been HIGHLY anticipated but nothing has come of it yet.

Very cool that you rode so many different bikes in one day. Being out riding with groups I've had the opportunity to ride a number of other bikes and I think having those experiences is important in knowing what features you want to have in a bike.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:04 PM   #7
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Re: Suzuki Demo Day Experience

"I could be wrong but the front end though felt a little... loose? wobbly? i don't know what the right word is but it just didn't feel 100% stable to me"



I feel this too on my 2017. Not sure if it's the new tires(only 355 miles) or the tires.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:51 PM   #8
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Re: Suzuki Demo Day Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanPro View Post
I had a second generation Hayabusa that I rode quite regularly for almost 5 years. It weighed in right about the same as my SV1000, about 480. But for about a year I had a gsxr 600 in the garage too and the handling between the two was night and day. The 600 was easy to toss around and more fun to push but the Hayabusa was much more stable and highway friendly.

I loved that bike. I'm getting used to the SV but surprised it weighs so much.

You're def right about Suzuki needing to update the bike. That's been HIGHLY anticipated but nothing has come of it yet.

Very cool that you rode so many different bikes in one day. Being out riding with groups I've had the opportunity to ride a number of other bikes and I think having those experiences is important in knowing what features you want to have in a bike.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.
Hmm, you must have had some serious weight reduction on that Busa, most sources list the wet weight of the 2nd gen up to 580?
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:57 AM   #9
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Re: Suzuki Demo Day Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by twpetry View Post
I honestly didn't realize suzuki was still making the hayabusa. It is getting a bit long in the tooth. It could definitely use even a facelift if not a new generation to make it more current style-wise. The all analog instrumentation and lack of rider modes etc makes it seem quite dated. I know R&D costs are expensive, but updating the fairings and throwing a LCD gauge cluster on it would make a big difference.

The gearing was pretty sweet though. If I remember correctly I was going down the highway about 60mph or so, RPMs around 6k and I was surprised to see I was only in 3rd gear!


The second generation Hayabusa and B-King has rider modes.
Iím no millennial, I personally like the analog gauges everything I need is right there and easy to read.
It may be slight but the second gen Busa got a facelift, you may not like the style but itís one thing Suzuki did right. They went with function over form. What worked in the wind tunnel is what they went with. It took years for Kawasaki to catch up adding more and more power because they thought the aero body would never sell.

For me, the Hayabusa is still the best bike Suzuki has ever built.
Of course having different riding options, mood dependent is always the best bet and back then I was lucky enough to usually have 3~5 bikes in the garage to choose from.
Iím not getting any younger but still waiting on that 3rd gen revamp if for no other reason then to see what the engineers decided to do with the bike.
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