All Duels – Head to Head Suzuki Gladius – Yamaha XJ6: the battle of the senses! – Contact: the city is too easy!

Face to face Suzuki Gladius – Yamaha XJ6: the battle of the senses !

All Duels - Head to Head Suzuki Gladius - Yamaha XJ6: the battle of the senses! - Contact: the city is too easy!

Barely unveiled, the Suzuki Gladius v-twin opposes the in-line four-cylinder of the new Yamaha XJ6! A real war of the chapels, between sensations and efficiency, in a category that is a hit in Europe… Face to face test !

Contact: too easy the city !

After a few maneuvers at a standstill which quickly highlighted the significant weight gain of the Gladius (+8 kg compared to the old SV, mainly due to the steel frame and probably to the pot which allows it to meet the standards pollution control), the two machines are ready to merge into a Paris more congested than ever on the eve of a general strike…

Suffice to say that the task promises to be difficult for our companions, especially as the icy weather and slippery roads will be all relevant indicators when it comes to their capacities in urban areas! First good surprise: the saddle height (785 mm on both) allows a pilot of 1.75 m to calmly put his feet on the ground !

Special mention for the Gladius and its narrower saddle, which allows it to fit well with the bike: an advantage directly attributable to the smaller width of its tank (14.5 l against 17.3 l on the Yamaha) and its architecture V-twin engine. Little padded – the price of a reasonable height – the saddle of the XJ6 is still more comfortable than that of the Gladius, which also tends to slide the lower body towards the tank…

The position of the arms and legs is also different: if the Yamaha tilts the torso forward, the Suz ‘bends the legs more. All in all, the two motorcycles are quite comfortable, undemanding, and the width of their handlebars allows you to quickly find your marks..

Incredibly well balanced, the SVF instantly makes you forget its slight overweight, especially as the manufacturers’ data place the machines almost equal once the full tank is done (202 kg for the Suz ‘and 205 kg for the Yam’). Healthy and lively, the two grasshoppers twirl between the cars with ease and blow up the traffic jams on the Champs-Élysees in total relaxation. !

Undoubtedly urban, the Yamaha takes advantage of the softness of its 4-legged and accepts to resume at 1000 laps without flinching, or even to start in second at a red light. With 78 hp at 10,000 rpm and decent torque of 6.1 kg / m at 8,500 rpm, the XJ6 is not a thunderbolt below 4000 rpm and is perfect for in city wanderings: steering in a pocket handkerchief and braking sufficiently when firmly pressing the right lever, the Yam ‘unfolds without surprise and is forgotten in order to better concentrate on the van which infiltrates in force or the cashier who changes lanes without warning…

Just ahead, the Gladius takes advantage of its superior torque at low revs to achieve the hole shot at each fire: its revised clutch is of appreciable smoothness and the point of attachment is much closer and direct than on the Yamaha. In addition, the SVF benefits from a gearbox as quiet as it is efficient: up and down without counting the reports is a game made all the more childish because Suzuki had the excellent idea to equip its dashboard with a gear indicator engaged !

Complete on both machines, the dashboard is more readable on the Suzuki. The latter just suffers from the absence of a fuel gauge: only a reserve indicator light will remind you to order..

Firmly stuck on its narrow tires (160 mm at the rear on both, which is financially appreciable when changing climbs!), The Suz ‘sticks the banana at the slightest acceleration. Each trip becomes a playful moment, punctuated by the velvety sound of its engine that the ten-hole injectors of the latest GSX-R 600 and 750 generously boost and whose two iridium spark plugs per cylinder – a combination never seen before at Suzuki – ensure the explosion..

The intake pipes adopt different shapes and lengths from those found on the latest SVs. The radiator is also narrower and better positioned, its larger fan and the aluminum cylinders use the SCEM (Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material) surfacing system..

Finally, the valves now use a single spring to reduce inertia and mechanical losses, while the camshafts are more aggressive and the crankshaft inertia improved by 5% compared to the SV 650..

All of these modifications are intended to increase torque and feel. And at Suzuki France, we are categorical: "the hunt for power was absolutely not a priority! The Gladius was designed to reconnect with the fun and "character" side of the first carbureted SV", assures us Pierre-Laurent Feriti. Thus, if the Gladius displays two horses less (72 hp) than the last SV, they are actually available 600 revs earlier (8,400 r / min), just like the torque (renewed at 6.4 but which delivers its benefits some 800 revolutions earlier (6400 rpm) !

From the outset, like Yamaha, which perfectly knew how to rework its engine from the R6 to make it flexible and more torquey, the work of Suzuki engine manufacturers is obvious: the Gladius is both full at low speeds, vigorous on the raises and has a substantial extension for a twin (10,500 rpm) !

The friendly roadster resumes without too much reluctance below 2000 rpm until 4th and the two machines agree to drive at 50 in town on this same report, both set at 3000 rpm.

More present, the engine brake of the Suzuki will surprise the uninitiated in town, where the brutal releases of the accelerator are legion: a point where the four-cylinder imposes its greatest smoothness, appreciable in the daily traffic jams. The bust more inclined on the front on the Yam ‘allows to control the urban gymkhana down to the micron and more naturally allows tight steering to fit into the traffic lights.

Under these conditions, the Gladius then suffers from the greater width of its mirrors, which readily catch those of vans and other utilities … It should however more readily accept the duo and its space under the saddle is more suitable (read the part "practical life"). As for the gearbox, it is undoubtedly much smoother than on the Yamaha.

However, the XJ6 clearly dominates its subject in built-up areas where its softness and smoothness do wonders for the everyday user. In addition, for an additional € 400, the Yam ‘offers a healthy ABS, while Suzuki has not provided this option immediately. A hint of roughness, the Gladius nevertheless gets the job done with honor and rare are the twins to be so pleasant in town !

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