Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Suzuki Bandit 400

Fri, April 16th, 2010

1991–93 Suzuki GSF400 Bandit
The 4-cylinder, GSXR600-based Bandit made remarkable power for a 400cc bike. Unfortunately, Suzuki's approach to mitigating the displacement deficit was tuning the Bandit 400 for maximum power at the very highest reaches of its rev range. This bike has a wonderful wail, thanks to its 14K redline, but it unfortunately needs to be pushed to five-digit engine speeds before it comes alive. The result is was a very peaky motor that required lots of work to keep on the boil, which got old quickly in real-world riding.
The Bandit's quality suspension pieces and stiff, 'almost-a-trellis' perimeter frame gave it real sporting prowess, especially when compared to the rest of the 400/450cc class.
Stunning, yet not gaudy. Suzuki knocked this one out of the park; from the shape to the colors and finishes, one of my all time favorite fours.
A tough bike. Point deductions are taken only for time, and potential rarity of parts.
Laborious to ride fast, boring to ride at lower RPMs. Nice riding position, but for riders anywhere close to six feet tall, the frame tubes wrap around the outside of the engine exactly where your knees need to go.
Emotionally, I want to give this bike all the points possible. But then I sit on one. After being reminded of that sky-high redline on the tach and banging my knees against the frame, I'm forced to face the fact that it's not as wonderful in reality as it is in my fantasies.
The Bandit is a great playtoy and a beautiful piece of sculpture, but not the most practical choice of transport.