Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycle Reviews on Cycle Insider (18)
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2007-03-31 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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I picked up a used 2002 1200S back in 2003 with only 145 miles on the odometer. I have since put 7400 aditional miles on it over the last 4 years. I am a 40+ year old rider who does no racing on the street or track, so performance wise, the Bandit exceeds all that I need. For someone who is an agressive and hopefully experienced rider, the Bandit would not be my first suggestion. Since the Bandit, I have purchased a couple of sport bikes -CBR 954RR and GSXR 1000- and the difference in handling and breaking is night and day. Then again so was the purchase price. For responsible street riding the Bandit has power-o-plenty with torque that requires less shifting than the other bikes. The riding position of the Bandit allows all day rides that would have my back aching on the other bikes. If you enjoy doing your own mechanical work, you will enjoy the easy access to the motor without plastics and radiator to deal with. Pros: Riding Comfort. Easy Engine to work on. Fewer downshifts because of high torque. Low Price. Tons of accessories avalible. Cons: Playing with choke on cold starts vs Fuel Injection that spoils you. Heavy and requires upgrading of suspension to make it more canyon carving friendly. Low Beam very poor. Engine / Mirror vibrations.
- Craig, Sumner, Washington

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2007-03-14 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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Bought a 2002 GSF1200S in 2002. Was pleased with the bike for the first month riding it up and down the coast and freeways. The Pros: Great bike for cruising, good mileage, low maintenance, and reliable. Can ride this baby for hours in comfort. The Cons: Suppressed carburetor's; could use a stage one, two or three with K&N filters and a matching exhaust system will definitely open it up. Poor suspension, not made for heavy riders like myself, needed to modify to a .95 rated spring by Progressive on the front forks, adjusted to heavier oil and a Progressive rear shock; these modifications made a difference in the canyons. Without them, the bike is hard to push through the corners; had to do a lot of trail braking, gear and weight shifting to make it do what I wanted it to do. So, if anyone wants this bike and they are less than 200 lbs, I would say go for it. It is a bike that can last a long time. Great sport tour. But if you want it to be a sport bike with comfort, expect to spend a few grand more, otherwise be happy with what it can do which it does very well.
- Steven Jetton, Petaluma, California

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2007-01-05 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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I got bike fever in the spring of '05. My 1980 Yamaha just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I made my way to the local dealer and after showing me several bikes including a r6 and a 919, he showed me a Bandit. I had been interested in one since '99 but got into a heavy and slow/limited funds funk for quite some time. I bought the Bandit two days later and have never regreted it. I have owned it for two seasons now (winter in Minnesota, though not like it used to be) and find it to be a great all around bike. Tons of power (added more this winter), great handling, and great mpg. My only complaint would be that the seat can get sore on the bottom after awile, but that might just be mine. A friend of mine bought his about a year after I got mine and likes it just as much. He was a big part of the reason I got mine. I have also had interested parties ask about the Bandit in parking lots and have highly recommended it to them as well.
- dave, rochester, Minnesota

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2006-09-21 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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My bike is a K2 built in 02. I will start by telling any potential buyer of a 01-02 Bandit 1200 to take it on a long test ride and when fully warmed up check for blue smoke from the exhaust. I myself bought this bike without a test ride as I have had a few Bandits and all were great bikes but some 01-02 models were plagued by a problem (oil burning) that stems from the manufacturing stage and if you buy one it will burn almost as much engine oil as petrol!!! It would appear (so I am told) that the oil holes in the pistons on some were drilled a fraction of an inch above the oil control rings thus allowing the oil into the combustion chambers where it was readily burnt with the fuel. Another theory I have heared is that the valve stem oil seals were at fault, which ever it was caused a lot of oil burning and if you end up with one of these it will cost a major amount of cash to remedy the problem. I was lucky, the dealer where I purchased the bike put it right for me at great cost to themselves. Right, please don't be put off by all that as the Bandit really is a great bike for the cash. I found the 600cc model runs out of steam quite easily and the new 650 model is not much better but at least it does have abs brakes. The 1200's are by far the better option, bags of grunt/torque with the standard set up, change the exhaust and fit k&n filters and it will give most sport bikes a run for their money. You only have to drop a spanner near the engine and the bhp will improve!!! It is, as most will know, an old school engine but what an engine it is. The roll on accelleration is outstanding and it wants to pull your arms out of their sockets at high revs. Be careful, it a wheelie monster as well!! I know a couple of mates who have accieved over 100,000 miles on theirs with no major probs. Bulletproof springs to mind!! Really though, they are a very tough engine which has been tried and tested and is very long lived. Standard windscreens leave a bit to be wanted, the wind buffeting above 80mph is awful, fit a taller aftermarket to this fine all round bike and the world will literally be you touring oyster. This machine is capable of doing everything well, be it solo or two up touring, commuting or taking it for a blast on the twisties you will not go far wrong with this all rounder. Try one and buy it, you WILL enjoy!!
- Tony, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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2004-03-12 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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I have been interested in the Bandit since its introduction in 1997. When the new design appeared in 2000 I really loved the halogen cat eye headlights, wide mirrors and updated half-fairing. The midrange was smoothed out as well, so I bought one. I have a 1982 GSL650 touring bike, a sort of factory custom with a trunk and full fairing, and it is quite powerful enough for freeway riding, unlike some of the 600-650 machines I'd read about which could barely keep up with traffic etc. So I wondered what a bike with twice the power could do. The Bandit delivers in the speed category: I've had it up to 135 mph and that's as fast as I dared to go, but still had power left it seemed. I think it would look good with an extended swingarm; to extend the wheelbase about 5 inches would make it look even meaner!
- robert allen, Des Moines , Iowa

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2004-01-03 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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Great bike, Great price, lot's of fun, power and looks from people wishing they were me. Giving the Suzuki 1200s a big Att-a-boy.
- jack germain, tacoma, Washington

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2003-07-03 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought a brand new 2002 about a month ago. It's a nice looking, comfortable, reliable, good handling and quite powerfull bike. Only have about 800 miles on it but enjoyed every one of them. Bought Nelson-Rigg sport saddlebags and magnetic tank bag to match. Fits my size perfect (6' tall and 185 lb.) Runs little rough between 1,000 and 2,500 RPMs but very smooth past 2,500 RPMs. I definetly recommend this motorcyle for everyone who likes coombination of fun and comfort.
- Roman Adamik, Monroe, Washington

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2003-05-04 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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97 Bandit 1200S w/ 32k miles so far, runs strong, pulls hard, 2nd gear power wheelies, very very easy 1st gear off the throttle wheelies all the time, does good stoppies as well. Awesome stunter/drag bike that looks like an old man's tour bike with the fugly fairing. As soon as possible get the Dale Walker jet kit and put a pipe on it (love my Yoshimura RS 3), you will gain at least 15 hp, maybe more. Recently stomped the crap out of a not so well ridden TL 1000 R - that guy was surprised. I am a big fat guy and am very pleased with how well this bike copes with 280 lb rider + passenger.
- Romper Stomper, mountain view, California

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2003-02-28 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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After reading the dozens of reviews on the Bandit I went for it. I could not be happier. It handles so well, it is balanced and responsive. And on top of that, the best bang for the buck deal. About the only thing I do not like is the placement of the stand since when it is up it hits the tip of my boot and I can feel it vibrating. Disturbing. Highly Recommended
- BK, Houston, Texas

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2003-01-14 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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After riding a 01 B12s, and reading all your reviews I decided to buy an 02 B12s,. Got it Sat. Cold ride home took the long way home anyway, 63 miles!! Love it!! Gave 7012.00 OTD. Think it`s a great buy at that price, will work great for myself and occasually riding the wife.
- rick bennett, Flag Pond, Tennessee

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2002-11-09 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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just ordered a new 03 1200 bandit, I am concerned about the oil burnig problems I`m reading about in some of the 01 , 02 models . does anyone know if suzuki has corrected the promblem in the 03`s. Love the bandit had a 600 last year , just can`t wait to get my 1200.
- john, tweed, Ontario

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2002-11-08 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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Ok, it's been 8+ months now and over 6000 miles. Do I feel the same? Boy do I. There are faster bikes, to be sure, there are better handling bikes, no doubt, there are more comfortable bikes, without a doubt, there are "cooler" bikes, well that's personal, but what it really boils down to is "what the heck do you really do?" I've got roughly 20+ years of riding, some "on the edge" but most within tolerable amounts. I've ridden dirt and street, two and four strokes and have torn them down to just nuts and bolts and re-assembled them with easy. Not many people fit into that mold, it's really pretty broad, excepting for the real hard cores, which maybe I am. I'm 40ish and I'm not looking back, if I do I'm afraid I'll run into something. Let's get the nits out of the way. This thing can vibrate, trust me, but when you have 1200cc's strapped between your legs, what else are you to expect? As a general rule it's pretty tame, getting worse when it's close to time to change the oil or when a tune up is due. The vibration is pretty much limited to the upper 3k in RPM's. Below 3k and in some of the higher revs this thing just purrs, and how. There was noticeable vibration coming through the fairing, and when inspecting the brackets I found one was actually bent slightly, plus some nuts required a little extra torque'ing down. The other, yes only one other nit is the valve noise. Most people think I'm nuts, and they just may be right. I haven't compared it to many bikes, but it just seems a little louder than I might expect, but you'll have to decide this one for yourself. Adjustments are not bad and the supplied tools will get you through most if not all typical adjustments, except valve adjustments. Functionally everything works excellent and everything seems to be ergonomically well thought out. One thing that would have been nice is a gear indicator, not sure why, but I grew accustomed to having one and it's a habit I probably should get over. I've performed all the oil changes myself, as for tools your local Auto Parts store should have the correct filter wrench (the Cap style that fit over the filter) which I would highly recommend. They're cheap and if the bike happens to be warm when you change the oil, can save you from some serious burns. Changing plugs is a little on the fun side, but considering it has a fairing, nothing to complain about. The valve job was really a piece of cake. Getting the fairing apart was a challenge due to the fact I was sold the wrong year Service Manual. Once I figured it out it went fairly quick. Adjusting the valves required repositioning the cams only twice, once for one set of valves, and once more for the remaining. If you don't buy the tool to hold the adjustment screw you had better have something small enough and snug enough or you will have trouble, but this applies to many engines anyway. Riding has been pure joy. When I pushed the boundries I was gently reminded to "BACK OFF!!!" One time I used bad judgement and paid for it. Damage to myself and the bike was very minor, but it was a reminder that this bike, while formidable, is NOT a sport bike. As a cruiser it's incredible. The seating position is good with the only problem coming from lack of air deflection from the fairing, which again is somewhere between sport and cruise. For my riding that's a very happy compromise. Going through twisties is the only place I can fault this bike, but really how can I fault a bike that isn't built for twisties anyway? Brakes are amazing. I've had a couple panic situations where I'm very certain I would have gone down on other bikes, but this bike was very controlable even when I temporarily lost traction in the rear during hard breaking. It's a big bike, but at under 500 #'s dry, not excessively heavy. Taking passengers on is one of the finer points. With 1200cc's on tap there is no lack of power, and with the design of the suspension and all, the ride is very nice. No complaints from anyone thus far. Tune-ups are crucial, but that really can be said of any motor vehicle. However, I have noticed quite a significant improvement after a valve adjustment, and even more so after changing plugs. The book says every 7500 miles. Do it! It's well worth the fresh rush of power. Front wheel problems? Yes I had those, but after enough riding you learn to control that tendancy. In fact I now have to *try* to get the wheel up, now that I've trained myself not to do it. don't confuse this with harder to do cause this bad boy has no trouble getting that wheel up, believe you me. All this fun, performance, handling, comfort, etc. and 39 miles to the gallon! that's a sin, it's gotta be. I do get better than 40 occasionally, but saying that was average would be a stretch. I suspect I'll have this bike for some time to come. One last note, my dealership "Aurora Suzuki" has been more than accomodating. I can't report anything negative about them and I'm guessing that is why they've done so well. Many companies talk up how good they are, Aurora delivers. Sorry for such a long post, but this bike has left me very very happy.
- Francis, Renton, Washington

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2002-09-11 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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I have had my Bandit for 5 months and put over 4K miles on it. I read all the competitive reviews, but I kept coming back to the Bandit because it seemed to feel like it "fit" and it looked the best. Mine burns no oil, is glass smooth till 4K RPM, which is 70 MPH. The slight patch of vibration above that is only noticeable cruising on the highway, stay below 70 or over 80, getting smoother with more miles. Good quality and finish. Mileage has been 42-48 MPG. Excellent power, even with passenger. Very comfortable, done 6-7 hour rides no problem. Tremendous selection of after-market options. Everyone says it because it is true, it is the best "all-arounder".
- Ed Christian, New Canaan, Connecticut

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2002-09-04 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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Bought a new 1200S in January, and it used just under 1 quart of oil per 1000 miles (which is Suzuki's "normal" limit) so a warranty fix wasn't possible. Suzuki put a run of incorrectly drilled pistons in the 01s and 02s but won't authorize repairs unless it smokes or uses more than a quart/1000 miles. I love the bike..power, comfort, handles well enough and hauls all my stuff.
- Fred Sahms, Knoxville, Tennessee

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2002-08-25 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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I have been interested in the Bandit line for about 10 years now (since I first saw the lil' 400 way back when). I wanted a bike that would fulfill all of the following: good for commuting, good for highway riding, good distance per tankful of gasoline, reliable, comfortable, good for two-up riding, FUN. This bike is all of the above. I have had my 2002 Bandit 1200S for one month and put 1700 trouble-free, smile-filled kilometers on it. It's not a perfect bike (what is?) but it is perfect *for me*. Anyhow, for that reason I gave it a 4 for the purposes of this site's stats. GOOD STUFF: The engine produces plenty of power and torque and response is instantaneous. The fairing deflects wind onto my torso and that helps take weight off my wrists. Tuck down behind the windshield and the ride is absolutely beautiful -- rest your elbows on your knees and you can ride forever. The seat is actually very comfortable (thick padding and well-shaped). Looks great. Plenty of aftermarket support -- these bikes have been around for a long time. Low maintenance & what maintenance is required is simple -- these engines have been around for a long time; any qualified motorcycle mechanic can work on them blindfolded. Excellent brakes (dual discs up front, single disc @ rear) -- not superb, but excellent. Air-oil cooled -- no radiator fan, simpler plumbing. Starts easy, first time, every time. Centre stand (such a simple thing, really, but not available for so many chain-driven bikes these days). Great on insurance since no full fairing. Rock solid transmission. More flywheel effect than inline-4 supersports or even other sport-standars such as the CB900 (aka Honda 919) but less flywheel effect than V-twins -- gives nice throttle response characteristics (quick on, quick but not instantaneous off). Holds a line in turns like it's on rails, and steering doesn't require huge inputs. Good all-purpose tires (Michelin Macadams). Adjustable preload on forks + adjustable preload and rebound damping on rear shock. "Fit-and-Finish" is excellent (paint is beautiful). Size and weight render it very comfortable and very stable even in windy conditions; ergonomics are excellent; allows plenty of options as far as adding luggage. NOT SO GOOD STUFF: Buzzy around 3800-4500 RPM (doesn't bother me, might bother you). My bike tends to surge a bit around 4000 RPM (with throttle held steady; again doesn't bother me but is noticeable and may bother you; undoubtedly can be remedied if it doesn't go away with time). Lots of heat given off by the engine and no lower fairing to protect you from it (wear pants...not that you'd consider just wearing shorts anyway, right? this is a "naked bike" (i.e. no [lower] fairing) thing and is not specific to the Bandit. Fairly heavy (485lbs dry). Fairly high seat height for the short of inseam -- really only a problem when trying to back it up while remaining seated on it. Single light low beam, dual light high beam. I've never seen so many warning/information stickers on a new bike before -- so far I've removed all but the one on the swingarm. OVERALL: This bike has done everything that I have asked it to do and it has not complained or given me any trouble whatsoever. It is excellent for everyday riding to and from work. It is very comfortable on the highway and when riding two-up. It is an absolute blast to ride. I am very happy with my decision to purchase a Bandit 1200S and, if given a chance to start over again, would purchase the same bike. This bike is perfect for me -- smooth but not too refined (i.e. it has some character and keeps things interesting). I hope to have this bike until it no longer runs. If you're looking for a bike that will serve as a jack-of-all-trades, all-purpose commuter, highway ride (sport-tourer), backroad burner, 2-up ride, hooligan bike and custom project bike then you cannot go wrong with the Bandit 1200S. It is capable of doing everything and does it all very well. No "specific bike for a specific purpose". I just pick an activity, hop on my B12 and head out. If on your way home from work you decide to go embarass some supposedly twisty roads then guess what? You can; without going home to go and get your "twisty roads bike". If you then decide to get out on the highway for a cool-down then guess what? Well, you get the idea. Great bike, great price. More than enough said.
- ZC1, Edmonton, Alberta

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2002-08-17 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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My wife and I bought our 2002 Bandit 1200S a little over 6 weeks ago. It had 1 mile on it when we took delivery, and it is just about to break the 3000 mile mark now. We have been on several 200-300+ mile rides with it and we love it more with each mile. The bike has great roll on acceleration and handles like a sport bike doesn't punish you or your passenger in the process. Plus, we have been experiencing milage in the 42-44 MPG range following the break in. So far the only mod we have done is the Suzuki Gel seat. This has been an excellent mod for both rider and passenger. We are planning on adding Corbin Beetle bags for sport touring. So far, I am not feeling the need for performance mods. We ride in groups with bikes ranging from Mille's and CBR1100's to VTX1800's and Goldwings. We haven't had any problems hanging with any of the faster machines at a real world pace. Basically what I am saying is that stats aren't everything. Sure there are quicker and faster bikes out there, but how often does a few tenths of a second in the quarter mile or 160+ MPH top speeds come into play in the real world on the street. This bike does everything well and can be had for a buck under $7,000.00 from many dealers. It has good looks, excellent street performance, decent comfort and handles very well both at parking lot and highway speeds. What else could you as for.
- Dave Lankford, Richmond, Virginia

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2002-08-17 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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I've owned and ridden several bikes; most recently: my bandit, an R1, Hayabusa, F4-i, vulcan. The bandit's only real competition is the FZ1. There is always something compromised with those other bikes. A bike faster than a B12 is too rough riding and uncomfortable. Any other bike that rides and handles as well is either too slow or too expensive. I've ridden 5,000 miles in the last three months. If you want a bike that is capable around town and on the highway, good for daily duty and fun for weekend jaunts, I don't think you'll find a better bike for the buck. You get fit, sporty styling, and performance at a bargain price. The added bonus is the bike is engineered well allowing easy maintenance so you can enjoy this aspect of motorcycling as well.
- J.Ayarza, Boise, Idaho

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2002-08-09 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Motorcycles View Listings

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Possibly, but definitely the best bike I've owned in my 34 years. My last 3 bikes including this one have consisted of a 1989 Suzuki Katana 1100, and a 1999 Kawasaki ZRX-1100. Many comparisons have been drawn between the ZRX and the Bandit. I've now owned both, and can honestly say I like the Bandit better. It's a little rougher around the edges, but seems like it has more torque and horsepower than the Kawasaki had. It's definitely more comfortable with a much better seat and the half-fairing does a decent job of cutting the wind. The big Bandit has tremendous roll-on power, handles well, and has very good brakes. I added a Scorpion exhaust can which seemed to bump horsepower slightly. Very happy with the Bandito and can see myself riding it for several years. Best part of the whole Bandit experience is price. You can get a 1200S with the fairing for about $6500 from almost any Suzuki dealer. What a steal!!
- Todd Hinkle, Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma

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