Driving report, Suzuki TL 1000 S
Suzuki TL 1000 S.
The TL 1000 S is intended to break the Italian supremacy among large-volume two-cylinder engines and offer fans of Japanese motorcycle construction a real alternative.
Even if it looks like a definite attack on Ducati, even the Suzuki bosses do not believe that they are dealing with the TL 1000 S to induce die-hard 916 drivers to pay homage to Japanese engineering.
But in addition to this tight-knit circle, there are enough motorcyclists who have long dreamed of a potent two-cylinder, but who have so far lacked the necessary change. And this is exactly where Suzuki comes
in. The sensationally low cost price of 17,790 marks will not leave skeptics indifferent, if you get everything the high-tech scene has to offer for your money: upside-down fork, Aluminum tubular space frame, water-cooled V-two-cylinder, four-valve technology and injection. And last but not least, Suzuki has succeeded in giving its two-cylinder engine its own design, as was already evident at the IFMA in Cologne. All that remained was the question of how the individual assemblies ultimately work together and whether the Japanese will also be able to spread at least a little of the fascination of a Ducati. To check this, MOTORRAD accepted an invitation to Miami. The first armada of pre-series TL 1000 S was able to prove its effectiveness on the exemplary designed Homestead racetrack
in the sunny US state of Florida. Even while the Japanese mechanics and technicians are warming up the ten lined up machines, it becomes clear that Suzuki is serious. Very
seriously indeed. The dull thud of the Vau engines makes not only the air but also
the floor vibrate, and there it is, that Ducati-typical feeling in the stomach, which no modern in-line four-cylinder is able to produce. Even when you gently pull the gas out of the pit lane, everything reminds you of the Italian competition. Only the rattling and rattling of a dry clutch is missing – otherwise the illusion is perfect. If the first laps are generally used
to get used to the unfamiliar vehicle, in the case of the TL 1000 this process is limited to a few curves. Almost by itself, it follows the targeted line, behaves neutrally when braking in an inclined position and still circles precise radii on the asphalt even when driving slowly. Already from 2000 rpm the two-cylinder pulls through smoothly with gentle throttle opening and delights with an incredibly gentle use of power when applying the throttle from the overrun mode. In short
: this motorcycle is as easy and natural to drive as an automatic scooter, and confidence in the chassis, engine and tires grows from lap to lap. With the choice of the Metzeler ME Z1 Racing tire as original equipment, Suzuki fully lives up to the sporting demands of the TL 1000. The gentle, yet powerful thrust of the two-cylinder can be easily transferred to the asphalt at any time. And although the rear lightweight 190 slipper comes from the GSX-R 750, its stability and handling problems (see MOTORRAD XX / 1996) do not seem to have a negative effect, at least on the almost perfectly flat piste. Less than ten laps pass between riders
and machine has built an intimate relationship. With the front wheel slightly raised, the TL catapults her rider out of the tight bends that she had previously circled in racing-like inclines. The maneuverability in alternating bends is unparalleled, and the lean angle seems almost unlimited, because even in the good-natured border
area of the Bavarian rubber there is hardly a footrest on the ground. The lap times are getting shorter and shorter, the speed level of the 996 cubic
centimeter Vaus increases. The four-valve engine with its huge, 52-millimeter suction throat is a true all-rounder. At the bottom gentle
and jerk-free in response
, in the middle easy to dose and extremely powerful, at the top strong, low-vibration and mechanically quiet. The only drawback is the restrained revving from 9000 rpm to the red area
at 11 500 rpm. Where a 916 really takes a bite, the TL drive seems a bit listless
. In addition to the elaborate, electronically controlled injection and ignition system equipped with numerous sensors, Suzuki’s own air control in the intake tract is responsible for the smooth running of the engine at low speeds. An air flap reduces the volume of the airbox at low speeds. This increases the gas speed, which is supposed to improve the cylinder filling and the response to movements of the throttle valves. In addition to its power and good-naturedness
, the Suzuki drive in the open, 125 hp version has another highlight to offer. The clutch is lifted a little in push mode
via a release mechanism; it then works as a kind of slip clutch. The TL is therefore not familiar with a stamping rear wheel when downshifting. When you accelerate, this release mechanism works in the opposite direction and provides additional pressure
on the clutch disks. So softer springs could be used and the hand strength could be kept pleasantly low. After all the praise, however, a few less successful details should not be concealed. For example the stable upside-down fork: although fully adjustable
, it struggles with too high a breakaway force of the 43 millimeter thick sliding tubes. The result is poor responsiveness on small, short bumps. The hindquarters of the TL 1000 S, which is extremely sensitive and sensitive, are completely different. The new rotary vane damper also reacts sensitively to every change to the adjusting screws for rebound and compression. The new component only has a difficult time with a constant damping rate. After just five laps, the damper housing is so hot due to the waste heat from the rear manifold placed close below that the damping is noticeably reduced. In this condition, the hardest level still cushions sufficiently. The two four-piston brake calipers on the large 320 discs also seem
to be allergic to heat. Initially still good
in effect and dosage, the hand lever can be pulled almost to the rubber grip after several hard laps before the desired delay sets in. In order to eliminate these minor blemishes in view of an absolutely new development, the Suzuki men remain still enough time. Production of the TL 1000 S will not start until the beginning of January. The German importer is optimistic about February as the delivery date for the first units. Hopefully he is right, because no question is more urgent for an answer than that of the best two-cylinder: Ducati 916, Honda VTR 1000 or Suzuki TL 1000 S. After the more than successful debut of the TL 1000, there is no one in the MOTORRAD editorial team more, who would blindly bet his savings on Italian red.
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Suzuki TL 1000 S.
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