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2024 Suzuki GSX-8R SW Sport Bike Makes the Mid-Weight Mighty

a man riding a yellow 2024 suzuki gsx 8r
2024 Suzuki GSX-8R Makes the Mid-Weight MightyKevin Wing
  • Suzuki introduces the GSX-8R middleweight sport bike.

  • It has a fairly new and relatively potent 776-cc upright parallel twin that makes 82 hp and 58 lb-ft of torque, more than enough to move the 452-pound bike.

  • Price is $9999, including destination and freight.


It used to be that you needed at least 1000cc in a transverse-mounted four-cylinder to really have fun. Maybe even 1200cc, or 1250. And maybe you still do. It’s hard to argue with the enjoyment provided by 1000cc of just about anything, especially when you’re talking sport bike displacement.

But the new Suzuki GSX-8R makes a pretty good argument that you can still have fun with 224 fewer cubic centimeters. As your grandpappy used to say, “There ain’t no substitute for cubic centimeters, unless’n you’re talking digital port fuel injection via 42-mm throttle bodies matched by 10-pinhole injectors and a 270-degree firing order.”

a yellow motorcycle parked in front of a dragon in the sand
This is as close as we got to The Tail of the Dragon, but you get the idea.Kevin Wing

The GSX-8R is all that, with a stout new two-cylinder from the sportbike kings at Suzuki—the same guys who brought us the original GSX-R (pronounced “Jixxer”) way back in 1985. The new 8R is similar to the naked-bike GSX-S in many ways, except that the 8R has a smooth, aerodynamically efficient fairing on the front. Pricing is a reasonable $9999 including destination and freight.

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That’s another benefit of a midsize sport bike: cost. Two fewer cylinders means a lower sticker. Compare the new GSX-8R’s price to the GSX-R1000R at 1000cc but with a $19,059 MSRP and you start to see the benefits of the midsize sport bike category.

The GSX-8R is built around a new, upright parallel twin with 776cc. That compact and tidy powerplant makes a solid 82 hp at 8500 rpm and 58 lb-ft of torque at 6800 rpm. The power and torque peaks may be a bit high, but you can access both all up and down the tach.

On a very pleasant day’s ride bombing apexes across the Southern California lower desert and over the local mountains, that engine felt entirely useable, offering as much twist as I may have wanted on what started out as a very slippery, wet day.

And if it ever exceeded my ability, Suzuki’s electronics stepped in to keep the bike upright and going strong. Ride modes were easy to access via a left-thumb-operated switch. That controlled the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) and Suzuki Traction Control System (STCS).

Modes are A for Active, which has the quickest throttle response and power delivery; B for Basic, a little softer throttle; and C for Comfort, which is a little like a rubber band on the controls. In the wet morning—with water, mud, and maybe even a little ice—I started in C, then kept it in B. Later I upped response by one click and lived to tell the tale.

Modes are displayed and easy to read on the TFT screen, which also offers an easy-to-read tachometer, speedo, gear position, gas gauge, odometer, battery charge level, and coolant temp, as well as few warning lights.