Suzuki Bandit 1250 – Test Ride

Suzuki’s Bandit has always been near the top of my “Best Motorcycle” list because it’s got everything I want in a motorcycle: it’s comfortable, fast and torquey, handles well and, if you threw a set of bags on it, you could easily ride it to the Left Coast and back.



Suzuki’s Bandit has always been near the top of my “Best Motorcycle” list because it’s got everything I want in a motorcycle: it’s comfortable, fast and torquey, handles well and, if you threw a set of bags on it, you could easily ride it to the Left Coast and back.

Bandit 1250
Muscle for the masses?

So when Suzuki announced several major changes to the 2007 Bandit, I was a bit nervous.

For ’07, the Bandit received another 50 cc of displacement (now 1250cc), a new chassis, fuel injection, liquid-cooling and optional ABS.

EFI means no choke or enrichener so just pull in the clutch lever, hit the button and, presto, the engine is running. Throttle response is linear and immediate with no lurches or flat spots, and is very smooth, even right off idle. EFI also makes the motor extremely tractable as you can idle down to 2,000 rpm in sixth and power away with no bucking or snorting.

Victory Vision
New liquid cooled motor brings
the Bandit into the 21st century.

The engine is a huge improvement and, even though claimed horsepower remains at 96, that number kicks in 1000 rpm lower, at 7,500. The most noticeable change in El Bandito’s personality is the torque, up almost 20 per cent to 79 lb.ft., and it arrives at 3,500 r.p.m. rather than 6,500. Bottom line? There’s more torque and power available through the entire rev range and the motor is smooth and vibration-free to boot.

With the previous Bandit, I was constantly reaching for another gear that wasn’t there. Surprise! This year, there are six in the box, which is really noticeable on the highway, as 100 km/h comes up at a very relaxed 3,450 rpm — almost at the torque peak. So, if one of those dreaded minivans or RVs needs passing, no downshifting is necessary. In addition to the extra gear, Suzuki lightened the shifting action and gave the lever a slick, very short throw.

Despite appearing similar to the 2006 version, the chassis is almost entirely new. The engine is shorter overall, allowing Suzuki to fit a longer swingarm without lengthening the wheelbase. The new frame is also more rigid and the suspension has revised damping rates, although still preload-adjustable-only both fore and aft.

Bandit 1250
Chassis is almost entirely

The new chassis steers quite well, with a much lighter feel to it — the older version required a fairly firm hand to initiate the turn and keep it there. Spring and damping rates seemed quite well matched to the motorcycle, although once you crank in the preload to firm up the handling, the ride gets a bit harsh over frost heaves and expansion joints.

Wind protection is good on two-lane roads and around town, but a higher screen would be nice at highway speeds. I found the screen directed most of the air right at my helmet, although riders under 6-foot-3 should be okay.

The brake and clutch levers are both five-position adjustable and the hydraulic clutch is smooth and progressive, if a little on the heavy side. Even though the brakes are ABS, feel at the lever is quite good and the four pot calipers bring the 229 kg (505 lbs.) Bandit to a safe, controlled halt. I never used the brakes hard enough to activate ABS.

Bandit 1250

Instrumentation is well thought out and quite legible, with a large analogue tachometer flanked by an equally large digital speedo. There’s an LCD “bar type” fuel gauge, twin tripmeters and a digital clock.

Nice touches are a high beam flashing lever on the left side switch pod, a seat that adjusts up and down over a 20 mm range (accommodating those short of inseam), and a centrestand that makes chain adjusting and lubing a snap.

Riding position is darned near perfect, with honest-to-God tubular handlebars (like they had in days of yore), and the seat-to-peg distance fit my lanky frame perfectly.

Bandit 1250
Mr. Bond is happy.

credit: someone Steve knows

Once again, we see that a do-it-all, fun motorcycle “outgreens” almost anything on four wheels, as the Bandit returned an average of just under 5 L per 100 km – and that included some spirited riding. Plus, the Bandit’s emission controls and catalytic converter ensure it meets tough Euro 3 Tier 2 standards. When the fuel light started flashing, I could only get 13.5 litres into the 19-litre fuel tank, so the reserve is quite generous.

The overall result is a much better Bandit (as well as being one of the best motorcycles out there) and, at $10,799.00 for the non-ABS version, a major bargain as well.

Editor’s note: for 2008, the standard Bandit 1250 arrives with ABS, but the price remains at $10,799.00 – effectively dropping by $500.00. Suzuki Canada has also just announced a new Canadian Special Edition with fairing lowers and saddlebags. MSRP is $11,999.00. More info in the CMG News.


Bandit 1250S Comments compared to the old 1200
$10,799.00 Same price as 2007 but now with ABS
1,255cc Up 98 cc on the old 1200
Engine type
four-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC 16 valve, liquid cooled Goodbye to the old air/oil cooled motor!
Fuel Injection That’s new too.
Final drive
6 speed, Chain One up from the 1200
Tires, front
120/70ZR17MC No change
Tires, rear
Brakes, front
Dual 310 mm disc with four piston caliper. ABS. No change
Brakes, rear
Single 240 mm disc with single piston caliper. ABS.
Seat height

790mm/810 mm (31.1/31.9 in) 2 way adjustable

Always good to see some seat height adjustability
1.480 mm (58.3 in) No change
Dry weight
229 kg (505 lbs) (claimed) That’s up 14Kg from the 1200, likely due to the extra plumbing of the liquid-cooled motor.
Black (2008) Slightly limited
Tank capacity
19 liter (4.18 imp gal)
Down 1 litre.
12 months Unlimited km
No change

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