New Suzuki GSX-8R: A Sensible Sportbike With Grunt

Credit: Suzuki

When Suzuki debuted the its 800 parallel twin engine in 2022, we figured it would be the foundation of the company’s lineup for years to come. That is indeed the case, because along with the GSX-8S naked bike and the V-Strom 800DE (see our review of that bike here), we now see the GSX-8R sportbike hitting the market.

Announced earlier today at EICMA, the GSX-8R is a real-world sportbike that Suzuki says is at home in the twisties, on the commute or at the track.

Obviously, much of this is stuff we’ve seen before in the 800 lineup. The engine is a liquid-cooled 776 cc parallel twin that makes a claimed 82ish hp at 8,500 rpm and 57 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 rpm. Yes, those sound like adventure bike numbers, no surprise there, but it makes us wonder: Just how much fun could this bike be on a back road? The P-Strom (as the 800DE is known) is a hoot in the corners, and that’s with a 21-inch front wheel. Put a faster-turning 17-inch wheel on the front and sporty suspension, and you could have a machine with the engine of a supermoto in the body of a sportbike. That sounds fun!

Like the other 800 models, the GSX-8R has the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, aka “Electronics without an IMU.” That means despite traction control and ABS systems being present, they are not lean angle-sensitive. The bike does have a ride-by-wire throttle and that means Suzuki was able to plug in a bi-directional quickshifter into this engine.

Riders can switch between three ride modes with the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector. Other electro-features include an Easy Start System that starts the engine for you with a single press of the button, no matter how much cranking it actually needs. Oh yes, and there’s Low RPM Assist to help you avoid stalling at a light… and a five-inch TFT instrument panel… and all-round LED lighting. Again, stuff we’ve seen before on the other machines in this series, repackaged for this sportbike.

The GSX-8R rides on a Showa SFF-BPP fork, with damping and spring functions split between the different legs. In back there’s a link-type monoshock with spring preload adjustability.

The wheels are simple cast aluminum units, with Dunlop RoadSport 2 radial tires. The front brakes use four-pot, radial-mount Nissin calipers tied to 310 mm discs. There’s a simple single-pot caliper in back, and 240 mm disc. Those are the same parts as the GSX-8S naked bike.

The gas tank has 14-liter capacity. Suzuki says the paint on tank and fairing pays tribute to classic machines from the company’s history. As for the bodywork itself, check out that bob-job rear end. You can bet the aftermarket is already busy gearing up to make fender eliminators for this machine, which will result in a bike with a sharply abbreviated backside that’s reminiscent of the nakeds of the mid-2000s (Buell XB12, anyone?).

The GSX-8R weighs 205 kg at the curb and will carry an $11,599 MSRP in Canada for 2024.

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