By Troy Siahaan and Suzuki are reaching for with the Z800 ABS and GSX-S750 – unless you live in California. Neither bike is currently being offered for sale in the People’s Republic. Intended for the sportbike rider who may be more, ah, mature these days with things adults call, um, responsibilities, the two still offer middleweight performance without the supersport ergonomic commitment. They are also more affordable, at $7,999 for the Suzuki and $8,399 for the Kawi.
With the commuter/weekend warrior in mind, resident shark diving editor Tom Roderick and I set out to experience what life is like for the rest of you, incorporating freeway stints and city riding to mimic the daily grind, while playing in the local twisties to simulate your escape come the weekend.
Nine To Five
Once underway, the Zed emits just a touch more vibration than the Suzuki, especially at 6000 rpm, but both bikes are surprisingly smooth overall. The Kawasaki, and its 57cc displacement advantage (806cc vs. 749cc) makes more power (103.2 hp vs 98.6 hp), but from the saddle this advantage is barely noticeable when riding both bikes back-to-back. The Suzuki’s massive 70-pound weight advantage (436 lbs. vs. 506 lbs., ready-to-ride) gives it a better power-to-weight ratio (4.4 pounds per hp, vs. 4.9 pounds per hp for the Z) and nearly erases this power deficit.
Unsurprisingly, the Kawasaki’s displacement advantage gives it more power throughout the rev range. More disappointing is the Suzuki’s GSX-R-based engine not even cranking out 100 ponies in Gixxus guise.
Perched atop the Zed, the 800 rider has a commanding view of the road ahead, but it doesn’t take long before the board-like seat starts getting uncomfortable, bordering on painful – a major turnoff. Meanwhile, the Suzuki rider settles “into” the Gixxus, a trait common among Suzukis. At 5-foot, 11-inches, Tom notes a slightly …read more