It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. That phrase haunted my thoughts as the clouds opened up and rain lashed the 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+’s windscreen. “Why didn’t you pack waterproof gear?” I chided myself. “Why didn’t you check the weather report?” As luck would have it, the shower soon became a downpour. Water streamed into my leather jacket first. In minutes, my riding jeans were saturated.

After finding shelter and a warm fireplace, I realized that the "have it and not need it” expression doesn’t just apply to riders; it also sums up the sport-touring category. With travelers covering vast distances in the saddle, manufacturers need to account for all climates and conditions when fashioning a grand tourer. However, there’s a big difference between packing the essentials and packing the kitchen sink. From semi-active suspension to cornering LED lights, many of today’s sport-tourers opt for all the bells and whistles.

Suzuki takes a different tack with the 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Replacing the outgoing GSX-S1000F, the GSX-S1000GT family still champions a K5 GSX-R1000-derived engine, but new internals and ride-by-wire throttle elevate the platform. Updated styling, a full-color TFT dash, and Suzuki mySPIN connectivity also highlight the base model, while 36-liter side cases truly equip the GT+ for the open road. Thanks to those progressive yet prudent changes, the rebranded tourer boasts more beauty and brains without breaking the bank.

Does the latest GSX-S prove that it has what it takes to compete in the tech-laden, feature-rich sport-touring segment, though? To answer that question, Suzuki invited us on a 600-mile road trip aboard the 2022 GSX-S1000GT+. From the zigzagging canyon roads of California’s Central Coast to Los Angeles’ gridlocked interstates, the Suzuki displayed that it has more than it needs in certain areas, but also revealed what it needs and doesn’t have.

Tech Talk

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - TFT

Suzuki has taken a budget-conscious approach to technology with many of its updated models. However, the House of Hamamatsu doesn't skimp on the GSX-S1000GT+’s electronic suite. Three ride modes (A, B, and C), low-rpm assist, cruise control, a bi-directional quickshifter, and traction control comprise Suzuki’s Intelligent Ride System. A new, 6-inch, full-color TFT and control pad at the left switchgear puts those features at the user’s fingertips.

At a stop, the rider can access the GT+’s submenus, but at speed, users can only adjust the ride mode, traction control level, and quickshifter setting (on/off). The display’s configuration allows the rider to gather info at a glance thanks to the large digital tachometer, bold mph readout, and gear indicator. Trip meters and temperature readings (engine and ambient) occupy the TFT’s lower portion while the time and connected devices populate the upper banner.

Suzuki also embraces the user’s devices with help from the mySPIN connectivity app. Riders can pair smartphones and helmet communication units directly to the GT+’s new system. With both my iPhone and Cardo communicator paired to the Suzuki, I could access GPS navigation, answer/decline calls, play music, and even check my calendar. The GSX-S1000GT+ may tout new connectivity features, a glossy TFT display, and ride enhancing tech, but the sport-tourer is also defined by what it doesn’t have.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - TFT, Menu
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - TFT, Maps

Initerial measurement units (IMU) are quickly becoming the gold standard in performance-oriented motorcycles. Driving features such as lean-sensitive traction control and cornering ABS, IMUs not only promote performance but also prioritize safety. Despite those benefits, Suzuki foregoes that expensive tech on the 2022 GSX-S1000GT+. Studying the spec sheet, potential customers may scoff at the lack of IMU-based electronic aids, but after riding the new sport-tourer, Suzuki’s decision doesn’t seem so outdated.

Before taking the GT+ through a particularly twisty section of California’s State Route 33, I cranked the traction control up to the most sensitive setting (5). Once the pace picked up, I continued to introduce throttle earlier on corner exit. Even at full lean, my greedy right wrist couldn’t foil the system. The dash’s TC indicator repeatedly flashed as I piled on the power, but the surprisingly sophisticated system did all the work in the background, preserving side grip while still delivering smooth acceleration.

Without an IMU, such a nuanced rider aid seems impossible. However, Suzuki’s latest tech manages grip by continuously monitoring wheel speed, engine rpm, gear position, and throttle application. Thanks to the traction control’s subtle intervention and ease of use, I left the system in the highest setting throughout the ride. Owners can dial the parameters to their personal riding style or turn it off completely, but with such refined functionality, it's hard to fault Suzuki for foregoing the expensive IMU.

Gallery: 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+

The GSX-S1000GT+’s electronic suite may be more refined than anticipated but that doesn’t mean the system doesn’t have its quirks. Unlike many flagship models, the Suzuki doesn’t automatically adjust traction control settings to the selected ride mode. Instead, the user sets TC settings independently. Some riders will embrace that flexibility while others may find calibrating the separate functions cumbersome.

No sport-tourer is complete without cruise control, but activating the system can prove problematic. With the initiation switch situated at the right-hand grip, the rider has to stretch their thumb to the button while applying steady throttle. I failed that feat on several occasions, leading to choppy acceleration until I could reach the switch. On the other hand, Suzuki installed the cruise control speed setting dials at the left switchgear. For that reason, I typically left the cruise control engaged without setting the speed, allowing me to manipulate the system entirely from the left-hand grip when necessary.

Many electronic interfaces restrict use while the motorcycle is in motion, but Suzuki takes those limitations to the next level with the 2022 GSX-S1000GT+. Users can toggle between ride modes and traction control settings while riding, but they first have to roll off the throttle. For a system meant to ensure safety, requiring riders to give up the gas seems just as dangerous as distracted riding. Most competitors allow users to adjust electronic settings on the fly, but don’t apply the changes until the throttle is dumped. Suzuki would do well to adopt similar protocols, as the current one effectively turns the rider into a sitting duck.

A Proven Powerplant

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - Engine

At the heart of the 2022 GSX-S1000GT+, Suzuki calls upon the tried-and-true K5 GSX-R1000-based engine once again. The made-over mill also powers the GSX-S1000 naked bike and Katana retro racer, and Suzuki maintains the state of tune for the new grand tourer. That means that the claimed 150 horsepower peaks at 11,000 rpm and 78.2 lb-ft of torque tops out at 9,250 rpm. Just like its naked bike counterparts, the GT’s engine benefits from lightweight internal and updated power delivery.

Suzuki smoothed out both the powerband and torque curve for a liner power profile that feels peppy but progressive at the throttle tube. Both torque and power steadily build over the rev range, but that doesn’t make the GT slow on the draw. That even-keeled nature can also surprise the rider. Thanks to the smooth acceleration, I frequently approached corners faster than anticipated. Luckily, the Brembo binders helped control that speed as I negotiated the tight turns, but Suzuki takes yet another baby step with its latest K5-derived inline-four.

The new quickshifter marks a large leap forward, though. Thanks to the ECU-connected gear position sensor, upshifts are so smooth they’re practically seamless. Downshifts are just as polished under mild-to-heavy engine braking, but the mechanism can deliver notchy feedback when rolling to a slow stop. That minor detraction will only bother the most particular riders, but the quickshifter’s reliability and false neutral-free action will satisfy the vast majority of GSX-S1000GT+ owners.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - Twisties, Right
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - Twisties, Left

In addition to the new quickshifter, Suzuki also fine-tuned the sport-tourer's ride modes. For the set-it-and-forget-it folks, the GT’s B mode will adapt to nearly all situations. While none of the ride modes neuter overall output, the B mode finds a happy medium between A mode’s rapid roll-on and C mode’s gentle acceleration. However, A mode isn’t so abrupt that it’s impractical in urban environments and C mode isn’t so docile that it’s useless outside of rainy conditions. Of course, A mode works best for maximum passing power on the highway and C mode suits wet tarmac, but Suzuki makes each ride mode surprisingly usable for most occasions.

The same goes for the power profile. At 6,000 rpm, engine vibes pulse through the footpegs and fuel tank. Running the inline-four below that threshold produces the maximum cruising comfort, but it also sacrifices roll-on power. While passing slower vehicles on a two-lane highway, I twisted the throttle with the engine running at 5,000 rpm in sixth gear. As a result, the GT+ required a half-second to spool up and accelerate past traffic. After that experience, I made sure to downshift before executing similar maneuvers.

Comfy And Capable

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - Top

Providing both comfort and performance is a major balancing act for sport-tourers but the 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ finds an equilibrium between those two poles. The GSX-S1000F's 31.9-inch seat height remains, but a wider, raised handlebar opens the rider triangle for an upright position in the saddle. Rubber-damped footpegs and handlebars also help manage engine vibrations over the long haul, and a larger 5-gallon gas tank reduces trips to the pump.

Those upgrades prepare the GT+ for life on the highway and the byway. The twin-spar aluminum frame, superbike-style swingarm, and KYB suspension handle everything the interstate can throw at it, but the chassis truly excels in the twisties. Paired with four-piston Brembo calipers at the front and Dunlop Roadsport 2 tires, the GSX-S tracks true, holding a line with precision and poise. The axial master cylinder may not provide the utmost bite and feel, but the Brembos still deliver enough clamping force to drop the pace quickly.

Just like Suzuki’s GSX-S1000 naked bike, the GT+ offers road-oriented suspension with a 41mm, fully-adjustable KYB front end and a link-style, preload and rebound adjustable rear shock. The setting out of the box optimizes comfort without upsetting the handling characteristics but the system’s limitations are evident at lean. When encountering bumps mid-corner, the GT+ bobbed several times before resettling. Fortunately, the suspenders proved competent and compliant in all other situations, but users can adapt the rebound traits to smooth out those at-lean hits.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - Front Fairing

While we didn’t bring passengers on our Central California tour, the GT caters to two-up riders with an elongated trellis subframe, raised passenger seat, and padded pegs. For a single rider, the spacious cockpit suits various sizes and body shapes. The reach to the bars felt natural for my five-foot, 10-inch frame, but taller riders can also shift aft in the saddle for extra space. The fuel tank knee cutouts are ergonomically designed and positioned while the aerodynamic bodywork mitigates wind fatigue on the open road.

The weather protection isn’t full-proof, though. The standard screen deflects wind sufficiently, with oncoming air flowing past the top of my shoulders and helmet. Unfortunately, the windscreen is non-adjustable but owners can purchase an extended unit from Suzuki’s parts catalog. Similarly, the GT+ doesn’t include heated grips as standard. If you intend on traveling to cooler climates or anticipate hitting a storm en route, springing for Suzuki’s accessory heated grips is advised.

Due to the conditions we encountered during our 600-mile journey, I would happily add both the tall touring windscreen and heated grips to the 2022 GSX-S1000GT+. Many could argue that those features should come standard on the flagship model, but in order to keep the sticker price down, Suzuki allows the customer to determine which extras they need.


2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ - Side, Right

Starting at $13,749, the GSX-S1000GT+ adopts cutting-edge tech while remaining budget-friendly. With the base model GSX-S1000GT ditching the luggage and retailing for $13,149, long-distance travelers can save some coin on add-on cases by purchasing the GT+. Installing heated grips ($419.95) and a touring windscreen ($169.95), the sport-tourers' price tag still comes in under $14,500. Of course, Suzuki’s accessories catalog also offers tank bags, crash protection, and styling add-ons for extra functionality and curb appeal.

Similar to my packing skills, the 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ has more than it needs for ideal conditions but needs what it doesn’t have for wet and cold weather. However, judicious Suzuki customers can still pick up a new GT+ for a reasonable price while expanding the tourer’s capabilities through the brand’s parts and accessories department. Yes, it is better to have it and not need it, but it’s best to have it and need it, and Suzuki’s 2022 GSX-S1000GT+ allows riders to create such a bike.

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