Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

CarLifeNation Motorcycle of the Nation Banner.

Introducing the 2023 Motorcycle of the Nation

Every year, we see plenty of all-new and redesigned motorcycles, but only one can be our Motorcycle of the Nation. How do we decide which one has earned that title? I’ll begin by telling you what the Motorcycle of the Nation is not. It’s not a reward for the fastest motorcycle or even the most groundbreaking design of the year. Otherwise, we’d only have bikes most people have never heard of or will never own. Instead, the Motorcycle of the Nation is the new or redesigned bike that brings the most to the most riders––the people’s bike, if you would. It’s a motorcycle that a wide variety of individuals can afford and the one that has the best chance of giving a rider exactly what they want out of riding. This is why our pick for 2023 is none other than the all-new Suzuki GSX-8S!

A close-up of the front of a blue 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S is shown.

A New Bike With a New Niche

When Suzuki revealed the new GSX-8S, many assumed that it marked the end of the over 20-year run of the noble Suzuki SV650. I mean, it makes sense––the GSX-8S (Jix-eight-es?) is another middleweight two-cylinder naked bike, but it has far more advanced electronics and more power. It is only logical that Suzuki was finally planning on letting the reliable old SV650 rest. But that was apparently not the case, as the SV650 and the GSX-8S can both be found in the 2023 lineup for Suzuki.

The truth is that the GSX-8S and the SV650 are simply not made with the same goal in mind. The SV650 is the barebones standard bike with minimal bells and whistles and the perfect amount of power for commuting. It’s nothing fancy but gets the job done with no fuss whatsoever and plenty of charm. In contrast, the GSX-8S was made using everything Suzuki has learned over the years when it comes to what makes an excellent urban motorcycle, and the new bike brings plenty of flair to the table. The 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S features all of the latest tech that riders are coming to expect on a modern motorcycle, minus the eye-watering price tag that usually accompanies most of this modern tech.

Not Your Father’s Parallel-Twin

The heart of the 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S is a 776cc parallel-twin engine that features a 270-degree crank, giving it a fantastic exhaust note that is not characteristic of your average parallel-twin. It has an almost V-twin thump as it goes down the road. The new mill offers a healthy 82 hp and 58 lb-ft of torque. The 84 mm bore and 70 mm stroke are not exactly what you’d call short stroke, which means the GSX-8S may lack the peak power of some of its competitors, but that power hits nice and low in the RPM range, making it easily accessible and usable in daily situations. The motor also features a patented Suzuki Cross Balancer, which uses separate balancing shafts to cancel the primary imbalance of each cylinder, keeping the twin vibration-free and silky smooth.

A black soft side case is shown on a blue 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S.

Full-Size Tech in a Midsize Bike

The 2023 GSX-8S is packed to the brim with modern tech that will put anything other than literbikes or euro models to shame (we’re still talking about a Suzuki, right?). One of the most surprising features of the GSX-8S is the addition of a ride-by-wire throttle system, giving the rider precise control of fueling, a feature that was previously reserved for Suzuki’s larger displacement motorcycles. Another unexpected feature is a standard bi-directional quick shifter that makes switching gears up or down lightning fast and smooth by eliminating the need to work the throttle and clutch.

Keeping in line with Suzuki’s new GSX-S1000, the GSX-8S offers dual-stack LED headlights that are sure to keep the road ahead well-illuminated. The often-overlooked Suzuki Low Throttle Assist is a little trick that makes the bike extremely hard to stall. As you release the clutch slowly, it will open the throttle slightly to keep the bike running. It is even possible to start moving without ever touching the throttle, making stop-and-go traffic a breeze. The bike also comes with a four-mode traction control system that can be completely disabled and ABS to help out in low-grip situations.

Three ride modes allow you to customize the way your bike reacts with the touch of a button. Mode A (Active) provides the most aggressive experience with quick throttle response to make sure the GSX-8S is fun and engaging to ride on the street or track. Mode B (Basic) delivers a commuter-friendly throttle response while still providing plenty of power for passing. Mode C (Comfort) is the tamest mode offered by the bike, and it is great for rain or other slippery conditions. All of these settings are controlled through a respectably large five-inch TFT dash.

A Balanced Platform

Suzuki made sure to give the new GSX-8S a chassis that is easy to maneuver while still maintaining a high degree of stability. The steel backbone frame may not be the lightest, falling in between the SV650 and GSX-S750 in terms of weight, but it is rigid and rugged. The GSX-8S also has a slightly longer wheelbase than the average naked bike, so even though it only weighs 445 lbs, it remains planted and stable at highway speeds and maneuverable in urban streets.

The suspension uses a fairly standard but high-quality inverted 41mm front fork and monoshock rear, both from KYB, with 5.1 inches of front and rear wheel travel for a comfortable ride. Dual 310mm front disc brakes with four-piston Nissan calipers provide plenty of stopping power and are paired with a typical 240mm rear disc with a single-piston Nissan caliper. Altogether, the chassis, suspension, and brakes of the 2023 GSX-8S are a well-rounded package that supplies a solid foundation for its more advanced features.

A close-up of the front for and wheel of a 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S is shown.

The People’s Bike

For a base MSRP of just $8,949, Suzuki has put together what could be called the perfect urban bike by modern standards. The GSX-8S gives riders everything they need to experience what a truly modern motorcycle should be like without breaking the bank or compromising. It’s a well-rounded machine that is up to any task on the street, and it is truly a bike that could fit the needs of just about anyone. Making an affordable motorcycle this versatile and feature-rich is no easy task, but Suzuki came out and proved once again that it has still got it when it comes to naked bikes.

The 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S is a true jack of all trades, and while it may not be a replacement for the SV650, it is a much-needed evolution of the Suzuki middleweight options. While there were certainly faster and flashier motorcycles that have come out this year, there are none that can claim they appeal to as broad of an audience as the GSX-8S. Few riders could throw a leg over Suzuki’s new streetfighter and not be satisfied after a short ride, and that’s what makes the 2023 GSX-8S our Motorcycle of the Nation!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *