Bandits That Stole Hearts

suzuki hit gold when they introduced the GSF600-N Bandit in 1995. The formula was simple and effective. Hamamatsu engineers took a GSX600 engine retuning it for more mid-range. Brakes, wheels and suspension were drawn from other bikes in the suzuki stable mounted in a colour-coded chassis featuring an RF900 style rear, moulded fuel tank and simple chrome instruments. Roughly half the price of a Honda CBR600 the “naked” Bandit became an instant hit harnessing a trend for “streetfighter” style motorcycles.

A year later an S model appeared with the addition of a sleek upper cowl while the standard 600 ran until 2000 with only minor changes. New millennium upgrades included new rear bodywork, electronic meters, carburettors and brake calipers plus frame updates. With yearly tweaks the “original style” Bandit 600 lasted until 2007 when water-cooling took over.

While 250, 400 and even 750cc Bandits were variously available, the other famous horse in the air-cooled Bandit stable was the 1200 introduced in 2007, a year after its 600 sibling. Boasting an engine developed from an enlarged GSXR1100 mill retuned to spotlight torque over outright speed and power.

Riders soon realised just how interchangeable suzuki parts are (including high lift camshafts and higher compression pistons) and how easy it was to increase Bandit performance for a moderate outlay.
Like the 600, an S version was quickly introduced but the 1200 basic-Bandit remained unchanged for the next three years other than colours showing just how right and popular the original concept was. 2006 was the swansong of the SACS (suzuki Advanced Cooling System) engine which directed oil jets at key components for cooling and reliability.

There are thousands of air-cooled Bandits still in daily use and a pre-owned machine (either 600 or 1200) is a direct route to cheap thrills. At CMS we have Bandit parts stretching into the distance. So don’t wait, view our inventory and let a Bandit steal your heart!

issued: Tuesday, August 29, 2023
updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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