Earthmover: Suzuki Intruder Tested!
Photography: Sundeep Gajjar/Sandeep Goswami/xBhp.com using Canon 400D and Canon lenses
Text: Sundeep Gajjar and Sandeep Goswami / xBhp.com / thePhotographer.in
Riders: Sundeep Gajjar and Sandeep Goswami / xBhp.com / thePhotographer.in
Design: Sundeep Gajjar /itsAsunny.net
Riding Gear by: Draggin Jeans
Helmet (full black) and Gloves by Dream Sporting Gear
Shot using Canon cameras and lenses
Download High Res Wallpapers Here
A Message for Suzuki
At the onset of this special presentation compiled by xBhp.com to showcase the visual and all sensory delight that the behemoth of a Intruder is, we would like to thank Suzuki India for providing us with a beautiful machine to test and shoot with our in-house photography and test team. We would also like to thank Suzuki to have provided us Indian biking enthusiasts with water for the soul amidst the plethora of commuters availaible in the market. With the launch of the Intruder and Hayabusa in India, not only one can go right upto his local showroom and get one, but we can also say proudly to the rest of the world that yes, finally the two wheeler giants are realizing that India has the roads and infrastructure to support these kind of motorcycles. xBhp.com has had a big role to play in popularizing superbiking and getting the machines to the masses via the online/offline medium in India since 2006 when it first took a litre class superbike around India and will be doing it again in January 2009. This article has been kept as visual as possible.
Ride the Rumble : Ride Report by Sandeep Goswami
In my almost two-decade long innings at motorcycling, this was the first time I rode a battle-tank on two wheels. The name ‘Intruder’ is a misnomer actually. Its more like ‘The Fearless Challanger’. Rumble on the roll. Throbbing thunder. Because its huge. Because its powerful and because it has a road-presence that few other 2 wheeled stars can boast of.
Walk upto the Intruder from behind and it is mind-blowing. That massive 240 section rear tyre (the widest in any production motorcycle) is overwhelmingly huge, a feature that by itself tips the scales of street-presence heavily in favour of this big Suzuki. From up front, its ‘knitted-brow’ headlight and the deceptively ‘normal-cruiser’ look seems somehow familiar, almost intimate to the ones accustomed to large-capacity cruisers. Get closer though and those flowing lines, tons and acres of chrome, the huge tank with an equally huge seat in tandem make for an imposing yet purposeful beauty in metal. Even amongst a gaggle of cruisers that are generally indistinguishable amongst themselves, the Intruder makes for its own brand of visual and auditory signature. And a big, bold n beautiful signature at that.
If anything has ‘large’ as its existential theme, the Suzuki M1800R Intruder stands as the benchmark and the limit simultaneously. The largest pistons (almost 4 ½ inches across) amongst all V-twins and most passenger cars in production, the highest torque in its class (leaving aside the supernatural Triumph Rocket III), the ‘widest’ rear tyre as mentioned before and being most powerful cruiser ever produced by Suzuki. Hell, even a walk around the bike tires you. Weighing a tad more than a third of a ton, the Intruder is heavy and demands respect just for this. But the almost 350 kg seem non-existent to the amazing engine. The bike ‘goes like stink’ with a rider or two on top. Just roll that throttle and get to warp speeds, as if the bike has the soul of a devilish sportsbike inside its cruiser body. But the ‘go’ comes after you’ve relished starting the engine and hearing that hesitant yet strong and typically V-Twin rumble beat beneath. Switch on the ignition by turning the key in the switch under the seat, flick the red ‘engine kill’ to ‘run’, pull in the surprisingly light clutch and press the starter. A couple of seconds and the huge twin throbs to life, quickly settling to a reassuring idle. Snap the throttle and the engine response belies the presence of the heavy pistons thrashing inside.
Slot it into first, comes with a solid ‘thunk’, and you can be on the move surprisingly easily, thanks to the superbly gradable throttle and light clutch.
Take it easy on the throttle as you shift through the 5-speed gearbox and you’ll find yourself cruising effortlessly at a 100 kmph. Straight-line stability is phenomenal…I felt I could rest my head on the vast tank and go to sleep while the bike chugged along unwavering at a 100+ kph. But twist that throttle hard in any gear and you rouse the sleeping giant. The GXS-R series derived twin throttle butterflies coupled with the spot-on EFI fuels, nay actually instigates the big engine to give you a speed rush that you least expect, from a cruiser at least. The Intruder gathers speed at an astonishing, even frightening rate and any rushed twist of the right wrist demands focus and reflexes as sharp as those for a speeding crotch-rocket. Seriously, going by the astounding torque the engine makes, downshifts for overtaking become redundant. Just roll the throttle and shoot past.
In the real world though, what goes must come to a stop too. And the Intruder again demonstrates its phenomenal finesse as a motorcycle. The inverted forks and those twin disc four-piston calipers (trace their origins to the GSX-R1000 too) allied with the single rear disc just need a good squeeze from the lever and sanity prevails instantly. Even mid-turn scrubbing off of speed is no big issue, surprising for a heavy, long wheelbase large-capacity cruiser. The exceptional straight-line stability at first seems to be making quick maneuvers difficult. But it actually is just a matter of getting used to the handling. The leverage provided by those w-i-d-e handlebars coupled with a gentle touch of brakes makes turn-ins surprisingly easy. Both balance and steering at crawl speeds are great, the full lock turning circle being unexpectedly small for a bike this long.
Any peeves? Yes, a couple at most. The foot-pegs are placed too far up front. Anywhere above a 150 kph, the on-rushing wind almost lifts off one’s feet from the pegs. And this extreme feet-forward position puts a strain on the back – tiring the rider inspite of the comfy and wide seat. Second, the very-limited ground clearance denies this bike the potential lean angles its superlative rubber, suspension componentry and geometry can allow. Metal starts grinding at moderate speeds through round-abouts and sharp turns.
The Intruder is a very quick motorcycle, if need be that is. Otherwise it is a superb sedate cruiser. The 19 ltr tank provides acceptable range, the monster low-end torque is eternal fun on tap, the solid thrum of the V-twin sheer music and the devastating street-presence guarantees you enough attention to make the snazziest perkiest movie star go green with envy. And at 12.5 lacs ex-showroom, it’s a LOT of motorcycle for that money.
The Verdict by Sundeep Gajjar (Sunny)
Before I sound the hammer real hard let me put in a few facts to put the verdict to be in perspective. I am a thoroughly Superbike guy, the one who usually wouldn’t be allowed seen riding a sedate low hung stretched our motorcycle called a Cruiser. I have ridden Fireblade 1000RR once around India, the magnificent Kwasaki Concours around New Zealand, a peppy enough Hyosung GT650R around Australia, and am about the ride the fabled R1 around India in 2009.
Never have I yearned for a cruiser, no matter it has twice the cubic capacity and dimensions that the unassuming and almost invisible Superbikes. But after three days of riding the Intruder over 600kms in all sorts of terrain, I am hooked, addicted and a big sucker for its narcissism inducing physical assets and an all devouring street presence with power of an earthmover at my right wrist. The moment I fling my leg over this damn of a motorcycle I feel a surge of to-hell-with-everyone attitude. I am a part of it at the same time not shy of announcing our combined presence on the road, and anyways, I cannot hide this tank masquerading as a motorcycle. Never before I have felt that I need to have a motorcycle really this bad, except maybe the Fireblade. But then I could always carry it on the back seat of the Intruder just for keep sakes…
Now the photos:
First Impression: Victory Vision
TEXT AND PHOTOS: Sundeep Gajjar (Sunny)
Often companies try too hard to incorporate a design element that is off norms in a bid to get labelled as radical and trendsetting, sometimes creating a product which fails to appeal in the market despite being very good. Stark examples are the Yamaha MT01, the Suzuki BKing and the Ducati 999 which were not well received primarily because of the styling aspect.
The Vision is one such effort, but one which has succeeded in creating a new object of desire amongst the rich and the famous, and cross continental motorheads as well. It takes a lot of dare to style a bike this radical and force into its elements to look like a ‘V’. The styling is certainly futuristic and might be a hint of things to come in the future, today.
Living in India, you see machines like the Fireblade and R1 once in a blue moon. And then this behemoth comes along. Combining curves of a princess in distress on the shoulders of a bodywork and engine so massive that it will outclass the current breed of tanks on the roads of Iraq.
The first look at it was from upfront, and it had me literally searching for the rider behind its all encompassing frame and the painfully bright headlights which could have probably woken up the pale winter sun to compete for its throne.
It has enough techno-wizadry too: Electronically controlled windscreen and side fin deflectors for better airflow. Satellite Radio, GPS Navigation MP3 ability and more.
Frankly I hadn’t been consciously aware of the bike until I actually knew it was possible to see it in flesh in Delhi. Having ridden some of the good Japanese bikes like the Concours 14 and the Blackbird for considerable distances, my ultimate dream always has been a Goldwing, especially if I was riding it across a country with roads and infrastructure supporting it.
But this one actually has that exotic feeling to it. The one which you probably get when you own a MV or a Benelli. You know that the Japs are equals, if not better, and they cost less too. However this one will help your status go north, even if your wallet balance goes south. And you ask the owners and they will sing out in perfect harmony – it is a different experience to own something so exotic and less common.
People here might be forgiven to think that the bike is manufactured by Harley or a Japanese company. In fact the company is called Victory Motorcycles and it is an American company. The company is based in Minnesota, US and is just 10 years old, while the parent company, Polaris Industries, was founded in 1954. They are better known to make ATVs and Snowmobiles.
The Victory lineup was developed to be in direct competition with the big motorcycles produced by the All American bigwig – Harley Davidson. They wanted it to be the epitome of American motorcycles – larger and louder.
Larger the Victory maybe, but louder, I am not sure. At times I wasn’t even sure the bike was running on wheels because the massive extending bodywork used to curtain them. It used to come across almost as a hovercraft due to the lack of serious nasty noise work.
The Victory was introduced in February 2007 as additions to the 2008 line up, the Vision is a touring configuration. It comes in two versions, the Street, which includes a full fairing and hard saddle bags; and the Tour, which also has a hard trunk with a wide range of luxury electronics.
To most people in India, it was a shock when they saw the Victory running on dried river beds in Lansdowne. In fact I was circling around the Victory on my R1 when it was being ridden on the narrow roads to the small hill station in Uttranchal, India. The rider has to be appreciated for he has shown that no machine is incapable of handling the Indian roads if you know the way to handle them. One of the reason probably was the 5.1 inches of travel in the front telescopic suspension. And the 26” inches low seat height. The Victory indeed commands all the eyes on the road to stare at it. In fact I call it the ‘Mothership’ because it used to come at the end of the fleet in the trip generating gasps and other elements of pure bedazzlement from the onlookers. And we mere mortals used to take sigh of relief as all the poky crowd was drawn to it and away from us!
Engine Type: Victory Freedom™ V-Twin
Cooling System: Air and Oil-Cooled
Displacement: 106 ci / 1,731 cc
Bore and Stroke: 101 x 108 mm
Maximum Torque: 109 ft.-lbs.
Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Fuel Injection: Closed Loop
Transmission: 6 Speed with True Overdrive
Final Drive: Carbon Reinforced Belt
Rake/Trail: 29 Degrees/5.4 inches
Front Tire Size: 130/70-18 radial
Rear Tire Size: 180/60-16 radial
Wheelbase: 65.7 inches
Width: 44.9 inches
Length: 103.5 inches (Street) / 104.9 inches (Tour)
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: Conventional telescopic fork / 5.1 in / 130 mm
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Adjustable / 4.7 in / 120 mm
Front Brake Type: Dual 300mm floating rotor with 3-piston calipers
Rear Brake Type: 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
Fuel Tank Capacity: 26 litres
Total Storage Volume: 3370 Cubic Inches (Street) / 6750 Cubic Inches (Tour)
Seat Height: 26.5 Inches
Dry Weight: 365 kg (Street) / 325 kg (Tour)
Colors: Black, Super Steel Gray, Midnight Cherry
Pricing Starting At: (Street) $18,999 US (Tour) $19,999 US
A 360 degrees spin can be seen here: Vision : 360 Spin : Touring
See the Victory Vision in action here: http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/5…-escapade.html