THE ARCTIC RIDER STORY

"Gordon Stuart (AKA The Arctic Rider) is on a mission to ride his motorbike across the Arctic Circle in every country possible, while raising money and awareness for causes close to his heart."

“It started in 2011 as a charity ride to the Arctic Circle that didn’t really go to plan, and has become a near obsession with the Arctic, an obsession with riding a motorbike, and an obsession helping organisations who help others” - Traverse Magazine, November 2017.

To date, Gordon has raised over £13,000 for charities, ridden over 14,000 miles as part of the challenges.

Gordon is an Ambassador UK-brain injury charity Cerebra and global youth leader forum One Young World, and fundraiser for special care babies charity Tiny Lives. He is keen motorcyclist, writer, and film maker.

Suzuki GSX650F review

Hello there,

And welcome to another edition of the Arctic Ride blog! My trip might be a distant memory (last year in fact) but there is still plenty to come from me both for Arctic Ride 2014 post trip (like this blog) and future adventures.

I'm pleased to announce that earlier this week my blog reached 45,000 views which I am both pleased and humbled about.

So with this blog I wanted to share my thoughts on the bike I rode on my ride to the Arctic this year, the Suzuki GSX650F. I've had many people ask me to review the bike and, well, here it is.

My GSX 650F and I at the Arctic Circle in Norway


As a background in my 9 years of riding I've ridden a smallish cross section of bikes, but I feel it has been enough for me to put some context behind my views on the GSX650F. An example of some of the bikes I have ridden include my first bike, Suzuki Marauder 125, a Yamaha Virago 535, Kawasaki ER5, SV650S, BMW LT 1200, Harley Davidson Street Glide 1800, and a Kawasaki KX125.

On to the GSX650F, I made some slight modifications for my trip. I fitted the bike with 2 Givi MonoKey sideboxes, and a 46lt Givi MonoKey topbox. As well I had a gel touring seat and a tankbag.

Lift off: The Suzuki at my starting point, St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay


I had an overriding memory of riding in the arctic on my bike and that was "This bike must be the best 'mid range' touring bike there is" and this is why:

Comfort

I rode just over 6,000 miles in 3 weeks, and did some days in excess of 600 miles and not once did I feel uncomfortable to the point where I had to pull over, which I've had on other bikes I've ridden in the past. The bike is easy on the wrists when gripping the bars, the seat and leg position allows an upright body position, and fairing keeps the most of the wind off you.

Speed and Power

With 85bhp with a weight of around 216kgs this bike has plenty of power to deal with all real world situations on the road. Ok, it can't do 180mph like its big cousin the GSX-R 1000 but its got everything you could ask for on the road. On the autobahn it easily kept up with the traffic doing 100+mph. On the Norwegian country roads, even fully loaded with 3 touring boxes, power to nip past camper vans and Volvo estates was no problem at all. It was so easy in fact I started calling 3rd and 4th gears 'The sling shot' as a drop down of the gear and a twist of the throttle and I was past anything that was in my way.

Fuel Economy and Range

The bike more than matched my expectations of a 650 and was surprisingly good on fuel both on the motorways and on the twisty country roads of Scandinavia. It cost me around £18 to fill the tank in the UK (at 125p p/l at the time of the trip) and this would see my through 150 good paced motorway miles and around 180-190 on the twisty slower roads, which certainly helped when putting 6,000 miles worth of fuel in the tank over 3 weeks.

Price and ££££

I was a lucky biker when I picked up my GSX650F for sub £2,500 for a bike with less than 10k miles on the clock and only just needing an MOT. Even from new the price compared to other bikes used for touring its very very cheap. It also benefits from a moderate insurance group and a wide range of cheap parts, which are readily available due to it having the same engine and frame as the new Suzuki bandit 650.

A factory Spec Suzuki GSX650F


I would highly recommend any tourers or weekend riders looking for a good priced bike to take a look at the 650F. I've been nothing but impressed with this machine and love to see more of them taking the adventures they deserve. All specs from the bike included below.

If you have any questions you would like to ask me about the bike that isn't cover please comment below.

Ride safe.

Gordon

---------

SPECS

Engine: 656cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16 valve, four cylinder, four-stroke 
Power: 85bhp @ 8,900rpm 
Front suspension: 41mm Kayaba forks, adj for preload 
Rear suspension: Kayaba shock, link type, adj for preload and rebound damping 
Front brake: 310mm discs, four-piston calipers 
Rear brake: 240mm disc, two-piston caliper 
Dry weight: 216kg (claimed) 
Seat height: 770mm 
Fuel capacity: 19l 
Top speed: 130mph (est) (I've tested it to 115mph on the autobahn)

Comments

  1. Would this bike be good enough for two up 10 day's to Italy , thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as your passenger doesn't have long legs.
      The passenger pegs are quite high up.

      Delete
  2. Hi, Gordon.
    I am a photographer and long distance Suzuki rider, and live in southwest Norway.
    Do you plan to come over here this year? I have plans to go to UK to meet other fellow Suzuki riders (a couple of vloggers in youtube with great garage tips).
    Please check my homepage/blog and drop a message. Let's exchange some ideas and maybe meet for a good ride this year.
    Ride safe, Saulo

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm a 67 year old in British Columbia. I have been riding since 1966. My previous bike was a 2004 CBR954rr. I currently have a 2004 vfr800 set up for touring. Before that I had a Gsx120f set up for touring that I had a 2011 Gsx650f with the fairings off and engine guard and foot pegs long distance. I went on a 6 week trip up to White Horse in the Yukon on it. Tomorrow I am taking a ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island and hope to buy a 2013 Gsx650f with 11,000 Kms on it. It is set up with 3 Givi bags, heated seat. I plan to go to Alberta's Fort MacMurry to see the devastation of the Tar Sands. I figure since I use petrochemicals I should see the destruction Fracking does to the environment since I am part of the problem. I used to be a vegan. Before I went back to eating dead meat I did a shift in a slaughter house so that I would vividly know just what I was paying other people to do on my behalf.
    At any rate GSX650F is a great real world UJM bike. Easy to manage, comfortable, easy to service. It is not a SuperBike but it is faster than 95% of the cars on the road. It has more than enough grunt for any one riding on public roads. That does not mean it can't go really fast, It just means that you have to MAKE it go fast, it doesn't do it when you are not paying attention, like the CBR954 or the Gsx1250f or any of the many other overpowered (for public roads) bikes that testosterone laden squid endangering themselves and other road users.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice article, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

Post a comment

Popular posts