Feature article

Best Suzuki Motorcycles Available in NZ: Buying Guide

Suzuki is one of the big four motorcycle manufacturers from Japan, the others being Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Last updated: 3 July 2024

Suzuki is one of the big four motorcycle manufacturers from Japan, the others being Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki. In New Zealand it consistently vies with Honda for market leadership. Last year, for example, Honda sold 1204 new motorcycles, followed by Suzuki on 1061 units.

Hayabusa Hyperbike

The brand name Suzuki is intimately associated with the model name Hayabusa, one of the fastest motorcycles ever produced. Embracing aerodynamics, it was the first production bike with a top speed of over 300km/h. Hayabusa blazed onto the global stage in 1999 and was wildly popular, selling in excess of 100,000 units by the time the second generation emerged in 2008. The third generation dropped in 2021, the update mandated by Euro5 emissions regulations. 

The look of the latest model continued with the aero-inspired theme. New electronics included ride modes, corner braking and corner traction control systems, a quickshifter, cruise control, and LED lights. There was no extra power from the 1340cc engine - 140kW and 150Nm - and at 262kg it was hardly a lightweight. That didn’t prevent it from becoming the fastest accelerating bike New Zealand Autocar had ever tested, posting a best 0-100km/h figure of 2.7sec. It remains unsurpassed. The fastest accelerating car ever tested by the magazine, the Taycan Turbo S, was just 0.03 sec quicker to the open road speed limit. And the Hayabusa was well under one-tenth of the price at $29,990 new. It is no sport bike on the handling front but feels planted in corners and ride comfort is outstanding.

Browse Suzuki Hayabusa listings on Trade Me

GSX-8S value allrounder

More recently Suzuki joined the increasingly popular middleweight parallel twin-cylinder set with its GSX-8S and GSX-8R streetfighter-style standard and faired machines. We rode the GSX-8S and were astounded by its overall competence and value pricing. At $13,500, it undercuts its rivals like Honda CB750 and Yamaha MT-07. With 62kW of power and 78Nm of torque this is Euro5 compliant but not learner legal. As standard, it comes with ride modes, traction control, a quickshifter, TFT screen and twin radial-mount disc brakes. Relatively light kerb weight of 200kg helps make it quick and easy to ride. It changes direction effortlessly and holds a cornering line doggedly. Make use of the generous midrange and you can expect fuel use to average 4L/100km. It slows convincingly too, always reassuring on a quick machine. We initially found ride comfort firm but decreasing rear preload improved this. At the price, there’s little that can touch this attractive and competent middleweight road bike. The faired R variant costs $2600 more.

Browse Suzuki GSX-8S listings on Trade Me

VStrom for adventure

Suzuki’s VStrom 800 adventure bikes use the same 776cc parallel twin-cylinder engine and pricing starts at $18,499. However, the previous generation VStrom with the bulletproof 650cc V-twin engine is also available from $14,500. 

Suzuki makes larger inline four-cylinder GSX-S1000 motorcycles that are somewhat faster than the GSX-8 models but cost considerably more, kicking off from $18,999.  

Suzuki VStrom listings


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.