In 2012, motorcyclists will cherish the GSF1200s even more than they do now. Falling squarely in no one marketing niche, it essentially created it's own category. For someone who can only justify owning one street bike, it has scant competition. I'd just come off an FJ1200, so the smaller bikes just wouldn't do it, and I refuse to pay the 50% insurance surcharge on most sport bikes (including the ZRX). Most new sport-tourers have the ergos of a repli-racer, the weight of a big cruiser, and/or cost over five figures. I LOVE MY BANDIT!
I found a '97 w/ 1400mi in '99, paid 50% off list (due to sun-ruined paint/tires and improper storage), and proceeded to put the money I saved into: the complete Holeshot Stage One Kit (slip-on, filter, jets, advancer), 117 litres of removable Givi bags, the Suzuki gelsaddle (which is quite plush, yet still slopes too far forward for my taste; I'm negotiating with Sargent for some alterations), new Michelin radials, case-guards w/ pegs, a taller Cheetah SST windscreen, bar-end mirrors, etc, etc. I highly recommend the Holeshot treatment -- it makes the bike perform as it should; at least 30% better than stock. She pulls hard from under 3 K rpm, lofts the front at anything over 1/3 throttle in low gear, and tops out 20mph faster than stock (maybe even faster if I'd take the bags off), all while staying close to the stock 34 mpg. This is some motor - it's no accident that so many Pro-stock dragsters start w/ GSX1100R power plants. Even stock, the Bandit could almost take my 14-yr.-old FJ (which was somewhere around Stage 2.5 in the hop-up spectrum). Now it's much happier not being strangled by the factory settings (in case you're curious, it still passes emissions by a healthy margin), and it'd have my old FJ for lunch!
Complaints are few: it's true that the Bandit has some apparent cost-saving measures, particularly in the cockpit -- I'd like to see an integrated dash like the new models. On the other hand, the separate gauges make it easier on the owners who like to remove the fairing and sub-frame, then stuff the wires into an aftermarket headlight (Holeshot makes a good kit for the naked look). The suspension has received some criticism, but for a 120 lb. rider w/ preload maxed at each end, it's pretty compliant. The frame is also not as rigid as a sport bike's, and combined w/ the short wheel base and tallish center-of-gravity, handling can be "exciting" on the most technical roads, but that just ensures that I realize when I'm riding near my limits ;~} It used to be that a standard would do everything well, albeit doing little superlatively well. The Bandit does nothing poorly, and is superlative in so many categories, especially in bang-for-the-buck and grin-factor! They're gaining a well-deserved following, some even as vocal as me.