The Suzuki Bandit 650 SA K6 has ticked a lot of boxes for me including comfort, price and ease of maintenance. Comfort was the main consideration. I’d been looking for a middle weight bike with a more upright riding posture than the VFRs as wrist ache has become an increasing problem.

Suzuki Bandit 650

I can see the Bandit 650 is going to be my regular ride. The performance is ok, the seat is comfortable and the riding position is good although I’d like to lean towards the front just a tad more. Perhaps slightly flatter bars might be better. The gearbox has been a pleasant surprise – its the smoothest I’ve ever had. The front brake was initially disappointing but this was short lived. An emergency stop to avoid an oncoming van partly on my side on a narrow bend sorted the braking out. There was a massive improvement after! I guess thats due to glazed or contaminated pads/discs.

I’ve always had an the impression of cheap build quality, flaking paint and general corrosion issues. Thats all based on reviews I’ve read but there’s none of that. In near standard condition its fitted with a Datatool Duo immobiliser, Acumen gear indicator, heated grips and Oberon fork preload adjusters. Having “lost” a bike in the past I’m very security conscious and the immobiliser is a welcome addition. Although I wouldn’t go to the trouble of fitting a gear indicator myself I can see it may be useful on occasions.

Bandit 650 instruments

The engine is a little noisier than I expected at tickover, nothing bad just a bit noisy. I suppose that may be in part, characteristic of an air cooled motor. Obvious things to check are the valve clearances and the cam chain tensioner which I’ll do during its winter service. I don’t think I can live with that silencer though and I’ll probably get a more compact replacement at some point.

The handling is fine but its not in the same class as the VFR750. The rear shock is the original and almost certainly well past its best. Hagon, YSS and Nitron all come to mind but I’ll have to do some research. The Suzuki Bandit Forum seems quite active and a good place to start.



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