Review Suzuki TL 1000 S
After years of explosive four-cylinder violence, Suzuki has now also discovered the controllable power of the sporty big twin.
Enough can never be enough. For years the motto for Suzuki’s marketing team when it came to equipping their supersport range with maximum values. The last milestone in the unbridled designer’s rage: the GSX-R 750 with a real 128 hp and a feather-light 206 kilograms live weight. An angry beast that even gave fearless stokers a hard time with its aggressive power delivery. Bert Poensgen, weighty motorcyclist and head of marketing, it was then who persistently pleaded for the change: away from the stressful barrel organ to the brawny, gentle thrust in all positions. No less sporty, but with a much higher recreational value. The result: the Suzuki TL 1000 S..
The high-tech TL 1000 stages its premiere with an acoustically rather shy appearance. The chains and gears chirp and whistle and drown out the eagerly awaited clap of thunder from the two beer mug-sized pots that immediately start their work even after the freezing cold night. Best manners for slow rolling in the rush hour: a somewhat gnarled, but precisely shiftable gearbox, no jerking and jerking during load changes, no nagging with the idle search and at the slightest throttle command with gentle thrust from 2000 rpm on the spot – wonderful.
Now let’s get out of here. Blue signs, Autobahn – full Lotte. A bang out of the speed limit – only the new Triumph Daytona T 595 has something similar to offer. Forget the switch shop of the four-cylinder bikes, everything here works by itself. The low-vibration twin willingly and spontaneously hangs on the gas, does what you want. Only on the upper floor, so from 9000 / min it gets a bit tough, although here a throttled 98-PS version is driven, which is exceptionally good in the feed with measured 111 PS and a brisk 244 km / h top.
It is well known that athletes have to drink a lot to avoid dehydration. That can’t happen to the Suzuki because it drinks enough. At a constant 100 km / h, the injector pours 6.4 liters of unleaded fuel between the 52 throttle valves, and the consumption values on country roads and autobahns are anything but suspect – despite electronic injection. In return, it has reduced the problem of constant travel jerking, which is often annoying with large-volume two-cylinder engines – what a word – to a tolerable level.
There were small problems with the electronics at 1025 km: jerking, with slight misfires and the engine suddenly dying when idling, the Suzuki had to go to the workshop for a check. Diagnosis: Contact problems at the plug connection of a sensor on the camshaft.
Back to the full-throttle torture tour on the autobahn, which the TL 1000 S does not have to worry about as long as no rough patches and lateral grooves cross its path. Then it can happen that she starts to hit the handlebars at a jagged pace. This is less due to a shock-sensitive telescopic fork than to the unusually low front wheel load. Just under 48 percent of the total weight of 216 kilograms keep the Suzuki front on the ground, for good athletes the value is a balanced 50 percent. It is incomprehensible why under such circumstances the heavy battery was assigned its place above the rear wheel and not in the front area.
A very pleasant side on the other hand: the seat. A slim tank without edges, a clear cockpit with highly functional switches and instruments as well as a neat arrangement of notches, handlebars and wide seat cushions. Only tall tourists grumble about notches that are too high and the handlebar halves attached to the fork bridge. But if you like athletes, it suits you very well. Not least because the half-fairing with the windshield pulled far back guarantees an unexpectedly good wind protection for young and old without annoying turbulence and noise.
The two slit-eyed double headlights are not so perfect, they give late returnees day-bright illumination on the straight, but in sloping positions they shorten the lane illumination so much through the diagonally cut headlight contour that the inside edge of the lane is difficult to see.
And if you intend to move your TL 1000 not only day and night, but also in any weather, you should be prepared for the fact that the matt black exhaust manifolds require careful treatment with a fine root brush and anti-corrosion oil when driving in the rain. Like the oil cooler, they are located directly in the spray of water on the front wheel. The side fastening of the half-shell directly to the water tank of the cooler is not the last word. If you dig a little deeper into the technical underworld, the Suzuki shows an excellent price / performance ratio in terms of finesse and detailed solutions. As with the GSX-R models, sturdy, hollow-bored axles are stuck in the wheel and swing arm bearings, and wide, double-clamped triple clamps grip the fork tubes.
A hinged tank, clear on-board electronics and well thought-out add-on parts make maintenance and repairs easier. The list of classy accessories is completed by the bolted, lightweight frame rear made of aluminum tubes.
But back on the road, on the winding asphalt strips of the Black Forest and Vosges. Here the twin is king when he catapults horse and rider – whoops – from one serpentine to the next. Brake, flip and straight out of the corner again. Velvety soft performance and only a rudimentary brake stamping that does not degenerate even if the rear brake is trampled without feeling when downshifting. Sporty driving has never been as easy as it is today – at least when it comes to this fantastic engine. When it comes to the chassis, the grippy but extra-wide 190 Metzeler ME Z1 slipper in a racing mix turns out to be a spoilsport again and again. High steering force in large lean angles, wobbly on bumps and longitudinal grooves and generally as unnecessary as anything else. He is supported in his moody game by his Metzeler colleague at the front, who vehemently opposes the desired change of direction when braking in an inclined position. If the difficult-to-adjust rotary vane damper on the rear wheel is still sufficiently sensitive to absorb small bumps, it becomes stubborn in the event of hard, short impacts. Smoothly ironed roads, on the other hand, give the Suzuki driver a sheer unadulterated driving pleasure. Not exactly the feather of lightness, but the Twin sails precisely around bends of all kinds. The higher the speed, the stiffer, but also more stable, the TL 1000 leans in inclines, which enjoy unlimited ground clearance on the road.
When it comes to the brakes, there is no racing bite; the four-piston calipers only deliver good deceleration values with predictable controllability when you have a powerful grip. The softly tuned fork, which was stubborn and wobbly in the first test drives (MOTORRAD 26/1996), collapses on the current test machine without great resistance and sometimes pushes itself against the hydraulic end stop on bumpy asphalt. So: the spring is pre-tensioned to the maximum and the pressure stage valve is screwed up to half a turn. This helps when braking, but makes the front wheel even lighter and more nervous when accelerating. Wheelies in the first two gears are part of the standard equipment of the TL 1000. No extra charge. If someone should sit down on the pillion seat, which is placed high up in the air, the single-wheel hustle and bustle intensifies, but the TL 1000 surprises even with passengers with its acceptable cornering stability.
KThe lightness of the front section causes real problems with the sniffling racetrack heaters. The Suzuki clearly understeers at sporty racetrack speed in long curves, pushes over the front wheel towards the outer edge as soon as the rider hurries on the gas. Raising the rear end by increasing the preload on the hidden suspension strut can no more iron out the unfavorable weight distribution than lowering the fork. As heard from a German Suzuki technician, very hard-nosed people counter this mishap with a full slide over the rear wheel, which life-affirming people should respectfully refrain from. Anyone who expects the high-flyer in terms of handling will be disappointed. Only after the trial-mounted 180 mm Metzeler rubber, which still has an effective 190 millimeter span on the 6-inch rim, does the Twin approach the handling qualities of a GSX-R 750, which was available as a comparison machine. No, when working out the standard tires and chassis tuning for the new Suzuki TL 1000 S, the Japanese technicians had far less instinct than with the brilliant implementation of the brand new V2 engine, which exceeded all expectations.
Technology: engine – masterpiece delivered
Almost a year ago, the Suzuki engine designers set a new benchmark for four-cylinder engines with the GSX-R: Your 750 cc drive is more compact, lighter and less compromising than anything that has come before. But only now did the resourceful engineers deliver their true masterpiece: the 90-degree V-Two in the TL 1000, peppered with many tricky details. So that the high-displacement twin spontaneously accepts gas at all speeds despite its large intake cross-section of 52 millimeters For the first time in a Suzuki, an intake manifold injection was used instead of the constant pressure carburetor that was previously used. There is only one injection valve in each intake manifold, but this injects the fuel into the intake ports of the two intake valves via two nozzle bores. At low speeds and low load, the on-board computer calculates the opening time of the valves and thus the amount of fuel injected, as with the Bosch D-Jetronic from the prevailing negative pressure in the intake manifold and the engine speed. As soon as higher load and engine speeds are required, the amount of fuel depends primarily on the opening angle of the throttle valve and the engine speed. Both the injection and the ignition maps for the two cylinders differ from one another in order to prevent the annoying constant speed jolting. In order to also achieve high air speeds in the airbox at low speeds and thus further improve the response of the engine when the gas is opened up quickly, a Flap the cross-section of the inlet opening to the airbox below 4000 rpm. This flap is opened by a vacuum unit as soon as a solenoid valve switched by the on-board computer releases the connection between the intake manifold and the vacuum unit. The Japanese also took an unfamiliar approach when driving the camshafts: the crankshaft drives an intermediate shaft located at the angle of the cylinder via gears. This intermediate shaft in turn drives intermediate gears in the cylinder heads via toothed chains, into which the gears of the camshafts then engage. The lower overall height of the engine propagated by Suzuki due to this complicated combination of toothed and chain drive cannot be identified with the best will in the world, but a trick has made the engine narrower in the area of the crankshaft, as the gear on the crankshaft is both the primary drive and the drive the intermediate shaft takes over. The camshaft drive does not cost any additional construction width, as would be the case with a separate drive of the timing chain directly from the crankshaft. Another advantage of this complex design are the short timing chains, which reduces the risk of chain whipping and the associated noise development. All gears and sprockets have different numbers of teeth, so that the transmission ratio of 2: 1 is only achieved through the entire drive between the crankshaft and camshaft. This prevents the same teeth or chain links from ever meeting each other and thus excessive wear and noise development over time. Last but not least, the gear-driven camshafts can be removed quickly and easily to adjust the valves. In order to further reduce the mechanical noise of the engine, the gears on the camshafts and the primary drive gear on the crankshaft are designed as so-called zero-backlash gears. In the system known from the Honda VFR engines, the gears, which are divided into two halves, are braced against each other by spring force. This reduces the tooth flank backlash to zero, and the rattling noises caused by torque fluctuations on the crankshaft and camshaft between the driving and driven gear are compensated. To make the starter easy when starting the engine, the TL 1000 has been given an automatic decompression system, like the one in Suzuki Some single-cylinder models have been in use since 1993: A pin, the so-called valve lifter, is rotatably mounted in a centrifugal governor fixed on the outlet camshaft. This pin, which is flattened on one side, presses on a bucket tappet when starting, thereby opening an outlet valve in the compression cycle. Only at idle speed does the centrifugal governor stop the valve lifter by twisting the pin and the flattened side of the pin now faces the bucket tappet. The anti-hopping clutch, which prevents the rear wheel from punching when downshifting, is also in a similar form Some of the Suzuki chopper models have been tried and tested: A sliding ring, which holds the five clutch studs for tensioning the clutch springs, is axially displaceable on the transmission input shaft. Only when the motor transmits power to the gearbox is this link ring tightened and the clutch springs are further pretensioned, as a result of which the clutch linings are pressed more strongly against one another via the pressure plate. When idling and coasting, the clutch springs are only about 40 percent preloaded compared to operation under load. On the one hand, this reduces the operating forces, and on the other hand, the clutch can slip as soon as load peaks occur due to overly insensitive downshifts. The coated aluminum cylinder liners or the bronze liners in the plain bearings of the upper connecting rod eyes and the idler gears are by no means part of the Japanese motorcycle standard. Since the introduction of the new GSX-R models, it has been good form among Suzuki athletes that the gear shafts are not arranged on one level, but offset from one another in order to make the engine as compact as possible. Just like the spray oil-cooled stator windings, which allow a compact and powerful alternator. rb
Bravo, a two-cylinder made of real shot and grain, with lots of power and torque, which it playfully converts into stress-free and fun motorcycling, even if the big twin lacks the rustic roar of Italian engines. The chassis and equipment are equally suitable for sporty road use. Only the extra wide tires and the fuel consumption of the injection engine are too high. In contrast, the Suzuki lacks the radically sporty set-up for the real opponent of the Ducati 916. But if the sparrows on the roofs are not wrong, the fully clad Supersport version of the TL1000 will be in the sales rooms of Suzuki dealers at the beginning of next year.
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