Tune-up: Suzuki Bandit 1200 S, part 2

Table of contents

Tune-up: Suzuki Bandit 1200 S, part 2


landing gear & Spring elements

Tune-up: Suzuki Bandit 1200 S, part 2

Tune-up: Suzuki Bandit 1200 S, part 2
At the stop: spring elements

Content of

With a new muffler and different brake pads, the Bandit starts the second part of the tune-up. It goes to the weakest link of the bandit: The chassis does not withstand bad-guilty country road burning and goes on the block. How much can you get out of the old bandit with other fork springs and accessory dampers??

Sebastian Lang


At the stop

You could do it? Target group? call: Equipping a semi-faired, large-volume tourer with long-distance geometry and comfortable suspension elements makes perfect sense. Those responsible meant it a little too well about Suzuki’s bestseller Bandit 1200 S, however: While the fork cuts a particularly good figure on touristy mogul slopes, appeals cleanly and smooths out even rough wrinkles without twitching the handlebars, it comes off quickly in brisk country road speeds to its limits and gently hits the stop during sporty braking maneuvers. Sofa instead of athletes.

The big Bandit’s shock absorber struggles with similar problems: It is more on the soft side, pampers with a moderate driving style with decent comfort and can withstand some hard hits, but holds for cubic capacity-appropriate smoke out of the corners Not enough reserves available even when all spring base variations are used. Fortunately, the aftermarket offers enough options to give the bandit chassis more sporty qualities.

Fork springs

Tune-up: Suzuki Bandit 1200 S, part 2


PS test winner: The forks from WP achieve five points in the rating. Also test winner: the forks from Ohlins.

When it comes to fork springs, every manufacturer has its own philosophy. While Ohlins uses linear springs and a rather small air cushion of 105 millimeters, SO-Suspension offers both linear and progressive springs. Wilbers, WP and Hyperpro, on the other hand, consistently use progressive springs for the Bandit fork, but with different windings and spring rates as well as oil with a different viscosity. The size of the air cushion also varies greatly: from 100 millimeters for WP to 160 mm for Hyperpro. If you prefer to stick to series components out of sheer confusion about this variety and still want to pack a little more reserves into your fork, you will find your happiness in a slightly higher oil level or a slightly lower air cushion. A test increase in the oil level by 10 mm per fork leg already brought noticeable progress. The front of the Bandit felt much tighter overall, induced less movement into the vehicle and offered a little more reserves when braking hard on undulating ground ?? small cause, big effect.

For reasons of comparability, the fork was only rated with the oil level specified by the manufacturer, the PS version with more oil was left out. Now is the time to check out the accessory springs. So remove the bars, remove the springs, remove all oil, fill in new oil, vent the system, measure and adjust the air cushion, insert new fork springs and reassemble everything. The whole thing six times. Uff. Careful venting and precise measurement of the air cushion are particularly important in this complex procedure. If you have done everything correctly, you will be happy: All test candidates offer more punch reserves when braking with motivated maneuvers than the soft series? but to a different extent. While Wilbers and SO-Suspension with their progressive springs tend to be on the soft side, Ohlins goes much more sporty ways. The Swedish springs can only be noticeably compressed under great stress and keep the front very stable. It’s great how safely and hard the old bandit suddenly lets herself be delayed. The ambitious banditist is happy to accept that the Ohlins springs cannot quite maintain the comfort of the series.

If, on the other hand, you want to make speedy progress on second-class mogul slopes without shaking your Swatch off your arm, the WP solution is very good for you. With a small air cushion and relatively thick oil, WP achieves a good compromise between comfort and sportiness. Ultimately, personal preferences decide whether you prefer to use WP or Ohlins on the accessory shelf. If you are still bothered by the lack of adjustment options on the bandit fork, you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket: For 525 euros, Hubert Hofmann takes the standard fork to his chest and pampers the discerning banditist with a compression and rebound adjustment that is separate from the spar. Which spar is mounted on which side is irrelevant: Markings with ?? D ?? and Z?? make it clear which spar houses the compression and which the rebound damping. The adjustment range of the fork is very large and a big gain compared to the non-adjustable standard part, but the springs used in the test were a bit too soft.


Tune-up: Suzuki Bandit 1200 S, part 2


PS test winner: The Ohlins shock absorber has a proud price at 1149 euros, but it was able to convince with 14 points and was chosen as the test winner.

Hofmann also offers a conversion for the shock absorber. In contrast to the fork, it uses a very tight spring. The GSX-R experienced bandit driver is happy: No other shock absorber in the test offers so many reserves and is as sporty as this conversion. Level 2 of the pre-tensioning detent is sufficient to push unrestrained out of the corners with a whimpering rear tire. In addition to the spring, HH-Racetech also tightened the rebound and compression stage damping, which is why level 1 of the rebound stage is sufficient for appropriate damping. The rear of the bandit is also higher due to the 5 mm longer distance between the holes in the strut, which underlines the sporty character of the conversion. At 325 euros, the pepped up series part is a real alternative to the more expensive accessory struts. An even cheaper way to achieve more sportiness is to replace the soft standard spring with a harder counterpart. The tested Hyperpro spring does its job very well. Significantly tighter than the standard part, it gives the aging bandit unexpected sportiness, without hiding its origin. The damping and response behavior of the series harmonize very well with the harder spring, the response behavior remains at the series level.

This is where the great moment of the Wilbers damper strikes. Similar to the fork springs, Benny Wilbers also trusts the tourist intentions of his Bandit customers with the shock absorber and puts a lot of comfort in his damper. The Wilbers part cleanly swallows even bad potholes and Eastern European back roads. This soft design has its price, of course: The spring base has to be exhausted far (66 mm from the upper edge of the preload lock nut to the end of the thread with a rider weight of 80 kg) in order not to go too tight when gas is being fired, the rebound stage should be closed with 2 clicks being. The outrageously expensive luxury damper from Ohlins offers similar comfort with more damping reserves. In any case, the Swedish leg has everything that the noble bandit could wish for: hydraulically adjustable spring base, plus rebound and compression damping with plenty of reserves and height adjustment. It enables the rear of the Suzuki to be raised by a few millimeters, which made the fat black one much more corner-friendly in the test.

The preset damping with a tension stage opened by 14 clicks and a compression stage opened by 12 clicks fit perfectly in the test. Only the spring of the Ohlins is a bit too soft; with particularly thick asphalt pimples, the shock absorber hit. The Asian newcomer from YSS is struggling with teething problems at its PS premiere. He doesn’t like uneven stretches, which is why he defiantly acknowledges bumps and edges in the road surface with a stubborn response. But the reserves of the YSS are slightly larger than those of the standard damper, and the Asian has a manually adjustable rebound stage ?? with an infinite number of clicks. The 28 clicks to open the cushioning on the country road are somewhere in the middle. In order to increase the reserves of the YSS, it is recommended to raise the spring base by a few threads, to a distance of 23 mm between the upper edge of the lock nut and the thread end ?? set before installing the damper. Changing the shock absorber is surprisingly easy. Only space had to be created for the Ohlins expansion tank by removing the reversing lever.

For the other candidates, it is sufficient to remove the screw connections of the tension struts and the shock absorber and lift the rear wheel slightly ?? one of the bandit stunner falls into the hands. In any case, the Bandit is an easy-care motorcycle in almost every respect, in which all the main weak points in both parts of the tune-up could be significantly reduced with relatively little financial means. Not enough power? Mount another Entopf, and there is already 10 HP more on the rear wheel. Not enough delay? Invest 100 euros in accessory brake pads and the old fat man won’t break a sweat, even when the brakes are hot. Even with the chassis, the bandit driver, who is eager to improve, can get much sportier suspension elements for 200 to 300 euros: different fork springs are mounted at the front, the right oil is filled in, and the Bandit drives like a completely different motorcycle. For the bargain hunters among the bandits, it is even sufficient to slightly increase the oil level in the standard fork. On the rear damper, the options are between 98 and 1149 euros, depending on your wallet? Even the cheapest variant in the form of the Hyperpro replacement spring conjures up significantly more reserves in the inconspicuous series spring strut. The next few weeks will show whether the optics and ergonomics can be improved just as cost-effectively: The plan includes footrest adapter plates, another handlebar and a few other add-on parts. PS will report regularly on the current status.


Tune-up: Suzuki Bandit 1200 S, part 2


Funbike Bandit 1200? Here you go! Scrap iron looks different.

The Bandit’s chassis can be significantly improved with little effort: a little more oil here, a different spring there, and it drives much better. Fortunately, the level continues to rise with more complex solutions. In the coming weeks, other useful add-on and conversion parts are waiting for the old bandit. More on this in the next few issues.

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