Mike Stevens | Jan 2, 2009 | 11 Comments
 

“In the four-wheeled world its performance can only be rivaled by mega-buck Supercars…”

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Suzuki Motorcycles is tight-lipped when it comes to power stats these days, but when its B-King hit the streets, bike journos were falling over themselves to grab one and race down to their nearest dyno.

When the tyre smoke had cleared, the figures spoke for themselves – we’re talking over 130kW of rear-wheel power, and something approaching 150Nm of torque, in a package with a claimed dry weight of 235kg.

Yes, make no mistake, Suzuki’s B-King is not for the faint-hearted. In the four-wheeled world its performance can only be rivaled by mega-buck Supercars, and even then the B-King will still see most off from a standing start – only succumbing when the wind’s blast threatens to morph the rider into an extra from the movie, The Incredibles

SuzukiB-King 024

CONCEPTUAL THINKING

The B-King story began back in 2001, when its striking sci-fi looks won it headlines around the world. It debuted that year at the Tokyo Motor Show, and although it was much admired, everyone thought – like just about every other concept machine – it would probably never see the light of day again.

How wrong we were. Best of all, when the production B-King finally hit the streets late last year, it not only looked the goods, it had a stonking engine and was dripping with quality gear.

At the heart of that performance package is an inline four-cylinder engine, which is also found in the latest incarnation of Suzuki’s hyper sports machine, the Hayabusa.

SuzukiB-King 048

As far as the world’s dyno readouts go, in B-King form it doesn’t seem to have lost any of its fury, but perhaps the most impressive aspect to its engine is just how manageable and useable its output really is.

Wind the throttle on from a standing start and once you’ve revelled in the awesome wave of oomph that washes over you, you’ll realise there are no nasty surprises. There are no peaks or troughs in that delivery, just smooth, linear power and a super-fat torque curve.

The fuel injection is perfect and there’s useable power right from idle. There’s so much go there’s little need to rev it past 5000rpm (5500rpm below its redline) – although you undoubtedly will, and that’s truly when the B-King’s addictive qualities will take hold.

CORNER CARVER

SuzukiB-King 067

But it’s not just some straight line rocket. The B-King will happily carve up a winding road too, thanks to a stiff twin-spar alloy frame and fully adjustable KYB suspension, which does a top job over a fairly wide variety of road surfaces.

There’s a steering damper thrown in as standard, and truly tarmac-tearing radial four-piston Nissin brakes up front, which have ample power and feel for when you’re going after unsuspecting sportsbike scalps.

As far as the ergonomics go, the bike places you in a comfy stance that pitches you forward just slightly, its wide bars placing you in perfect control of all that mechanical might.

SuzukiB-King 081

The B-King should be manageable for most courtesy of an 805mm seat height, although you do still have to wrap your legs around that massive tank before you reach terra firma, and the indicator shrouds cramp legroom if you’re on the taller side.

As far as negatives go, that’s about it – well perhaps that and the fact it only gets 12.5km/lt around town. That’s not exactly frugal for a bike, although we are talking about one here which can cover ground like an Exocet missile.

With an excellent finish, thrilling performance and striking looks, the $18,990 plus ORC B-King isn’t the cheapest of bikes, but you certainly get a lot for your money. Indeed a king is born, and ruling the road never felt so good…

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TAMING THE BEAST

Engine

To keep the acronym nuts happy, the B-King also comes with S-DMS – that’s a Suzuki Drive Mode Selector to you and me. Put simply, this system offers you a choice of either full power or ‘power down’ fuel maps, which you can select (while the bike’s in neutral) at the press of a button. The 'power down' mode slices off an appreciable amount of the bike’s grunt, which Suzuki says can be beneficial in conditions of low traction, like on a dirt road or when it’s raining.

Incidentally, the name ‘B-King’ came about because Suzuki’s marketing folk wanted to created a bike that was king of the ‘B’s – Boost (awesome acceleration), Block & Beauty (distinct, robust beauty created by blocks of components), and Brain (advanced new electronic systems).

Swingarm

They’ve succeeded on most counts, although Suzuki admits it’s still working on many of the new electronics systems, which is says will be incorporated into other motorcycles planned for release in the future.

Gallery

Specifications

Engine: 1340cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, fuel-injected, 16-valve inline four-cylinder
Power: N/A (approx. 132kW at 9000rpm)
Torque: N/A (approx. 146Nm at 7250rpm)
Transmission: six-speed
Front brake: twin 310mm discs, four-piston calipers
Rear brake: single 260mm disc, single-piston caliper
Front suspension: 43mm forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension: monoshock, fully adjustable
Seat height: 805mm
Claimed dry weight: 235kg
Fuel: 16lt
Economy: approx 8L/100km
Price: $18,990 plus ORC
Colours: Black or Grey/Silver
Warranty: 24 months/unlimited kilometres
Contact: (03) 9931 0500; www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au
Also in the ballpark: Yamaha’s MT-01 ($17,990 plus ORC)
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