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1998 Suzuki Intruder 1400
- Road Test -

BUILT FOR THE BOULEVARD

If you haven't been paying attention, cruisers have been changing their form. Today few cruisers offer swept out front ends and high pullback bars. Sure these traits exist, but not in the way that you would refer to a bike as having "chopper like styling". Many current cruisers, regardless of their visual styling, are patterned more like older Indian Scouts with more upright seating, lower and much wider bars, and flatter seats. Japanese cruisers certainly had little to do with creating the chopper look, but the 1400 Intruder is one of few bikes keeping this styling alternative alive.

You can't help but refer to the Intruder as "chopper like", as it has a 36 degree raked out front end that flops to the side when you park the bike, high pullback bars and a teardrop tank resting atop a beautiful color matched frame. If your craving a bit of that chopper mystique with proven engineering and reliability, the Suzuki Intruder may be for you.

Clearly designed for cruising the boulevard, the Intruder begs to be seen by displaying it's beautiful tall v-twin cylinders for all to see. Once onlookers gaze past this centerpiece, they'll notice the raked front end and the attractive fuel tank perched high above the painted and highly exposed frame.

Though the bike was intended, for the most part, to cruise your favorite city streets, we at MN are focused on riding and that's just what we did with the big Suzuki. Around town, the 1400 is very civil, easy to ride and comfortable - just as it should be. Out on the highway, however, you pay the price for the bike's styling as the bars relegate you to doing pull-ups in the wind, and the comfortable seat offers little room for changing positions. We made up a bed-roll and bungeed it on the back seat for added back support. While this helped a bit, it won't transform the bike for long trips or commuting.

Aside from the styling induced discomfort on open roads, we were surprised at how well the rest of the bike worked. The big twin, though not a powerhouse, is both smooth and quiet and loves to be rolled on in the lower RPM range. In fact, half the fun of riding this bike is screwing on the throttle and letting the bike pull. Up top the power curve falls off quickly, so you'll want to short-shift and take advantage of the bottom and mid-range power surge. Many of today's cruisers are either too quiet or too loud to the riders ears. This Suzuki is just right, with a very pleasant, and never disturbing, pulse finding it's way to the rider.

When parked or at slow parking lot speeds the Intruder's bars want to flop to one side or the other as a result of the raked front end. To the bike's credit, this sensation goes away quickly as speeds rise and the big Suzuki's steering is quite good under just about all conditions. On the highway the bike goes straight and true, and when you reach your favorite twisties you'll find surprisingly light and fairly quick steering on tap. On mountain roads, for example, you can ride at a very good clip with little chance of ever touching the pegs in corners. Only when really pushed at high speeds will the front end act up, and even then it warns you by feeling a bit vague rather than scaring you.

Shifting the intruder requires a bit of a heavy foot. Shift firmly and the bike complies, shift with a light foot and you'll miss a shift. The center mounted speedo is plain and easy to read. Idiot lights are placed above the headlight where the turn signal and neutral lights are difficult if not impossible to see in bright daylight.

If you crave a bike with this type of styling or want a large bore cruiser offering a more compact package that's far less intimidating to ride or push around the garage, you should check out the Suzuki Intruder. It offers a unique package for unique riders.

Editors Note: The Suzuki 1400 Intruder continues for 1999. The engine receives a slightly different look with black between the cylinder fins. Aside from that, the bike is the same as the 1998 model.

Suzuki: 1998 VS1400GLPW - Intruder
Quick Specs: Ratings:  Poor Fair Good V/Good Excellent
Displacement: 1360cc Air Cooled, SOHC Acceleration           6        
Drive:   5-speed, Shaft Brakes       4            
Fuel Capacity:   3.4 Gal. (.8 reserve) Carburetion             7      
Fuel Mileage: 42 - 46 mpg Comfort (overall)       4            
Fuel Range:  140 miles Comfort (touring)     3              
Suspension Front: Telescopic, oil damped Finish (quality)               8    
Suspension Back: Twin Shock Handling (overall)             7      
Tire Front: 110/90 - 19 Stability (handling)             7      
Tire Back: 170/80 - 15 Suspension (overall)             7      
Weight:   Dry - 533 lbs.

Fun Factor

            7      
Retail (US): $8,549

Overall Rating

            7      

 

Ups Downs
Small package for a 1400 Poor comfort for the open road
Easy to handle for a 1400 Not the strongest running 1400
Fun around town Exhaust burns loose clothing
Good headlight Weak front brake
Powerful rear brake Mirror adjustments requires wrenches

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