Suzuki GSX 1400 - One Bike to Rule Them All
It was around 1998 and I was dreaming about a muscle bike, but one with good brakes none of your sliding caliper rubbish. It had to be twin shock or a 1200 Bandit may well have fit the bill. I read in Bike magazine about a Japan only Suzuki that looked perfect but I didn’t want a grey import. I have never had much luck with Kawasaki’s so the ZRX was out. I focused on the Yamaha XJR and started saving my pennies.
A couple of years or so later I walked into David Jones in Newtown and there sat a Suzuki GSX 1400 the bike that was supposed to be Japan only. It was very impressive the tank was huge, having front forks the size of bridge supports. It had six pot Tokiko callipers on the front, remote reservoir twin shocks, traditional looking clocks, a six speed box and a 190 section rear tyre (a big tyre back then). So that’s all the boxes ticked. Just like that my XJR fund had a new destination.
Bill Smith in Chester had a 2001 GSX up for sale so off I went. They gave me 30 minutes to test ride the bike. I already knew I wanted it but why pass up a test ride. A good thing as it turned out as I didn’t end up buying that bike because it had been overly customised and not very well.
So I found myself in Pete Jones’s my then local Suzuki dealer looking at a GSX 1400 in their showroom. Less than an hour later I had a brand new 2003 bike on order in blue (Black was not an option then). The GSX was a lot of bike for the money and was just within my budget. What seemed like a decade later I went to pick up the only brand new Zero miles vehicle I have ever owned.
I have had the bike ever since and still love opening my garage and seeing it there. We’ve done over thirty thousand miles together since even doing a track day and embarrassing a few sports bikes. Nothing else has ever matched up even the B King has a fuel tank the size of a gnats gonads. The GSX 1400 pulls like a train at any speed in any gear something that The Ducati Diavel failed to do when I rode that (great sound track though).
On a sunny summers day there is nothing like the GSX 1400 for bringing the horizon to you in a hurry or just humming along with the engine barely above tick over (legal speeds). I’m sure there will be many people reading this and screaming that one bike or another is better and indeed it may well be, for them but, you will still have to prise the key to my GSX from my corpse.
The Yamaha XJR is the last surviving muscle bike in production. The GSX 1400 had its FE or final edition in 2007 but you still cannot go to a biker meet and not see at least one GSX 1400, they are part of the fabric of the bike scene and you can tell the owners they are the ones with stiff necks and very long arms, the torque on the GSX will do that.
Author - Mark Leese