Suzuki GSX 650 F against Honda Gold Wing in the test

Which of these touring motorcycles is better for traveling??

It’s better to live in a villa than in a two-room apartment, that’s for sure. It is just as clear that you travel better with a Gold Wing than with a cheap 650 Suzuki. Or maybe not?

The story of a bet.

Since neighbor Krause had this box in the garage, his car has been parked outside. It has to, because it no longer fits in. The Honda Gold Wing is not only in the small car range in terms of dimensions, but also in terms of weight. With all the extras, it weighs 424 kilograms. Krause drives in forwards and patters out again in reverse. Anyone who sticks their nose just a centimeter too far into Kraus’s property, he tells how stress-free and luxurious life is in his expensive two-wheeled villa. But: is a villa really better than a two-room apartment in all respects? "Lies on hand," Krause grumbles, "Seating comfort, weather protection and’ smoothness are ’priceless." Really? In view of such statements, one fondly remembers the days of youth when less was often more. More experience. That’s why I bet with Krause. He says: “A Gold Winger experiences the same tour much more relaxed than the driver of a cheap tourer.” Great, the bet is valid. Destination: Once around Lake Constance.

D.Thursday, March 29, 2012. The Gold Wing is parked in the editorial garage. With some additional features such as airbag and navigation system, you pay 31,300 euros for the good piece. Vehicle fleet boss Rainer balances the chunk out of the parking space and crouches behind the huge pane. I take a seat as a pillion passenger. There are 150 kilometers of motorway to rasp down, because the second bike, a Suzuki GSX 650 F, is at the Suzuki importer in Bensheim. At 7790 euros, little Suzi is currently one of the cheapest touring bikes on the market.

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Suzuki GSX 650 F against Honda Gold Wing in the test
Which of these touring motorcycles is better for traveling??


Honda Gold Wing: heated seats, heated grips, foot heating, stereo sound, screen, navigation, topcase damper, cruise control, airbag.

Bensheim. The 650 is ready. The Suzuki people have lunch break and stand around it. Additional features such as an adjustable wind deflector on the windshield, main stand and a top case drive the price of the GSX-F to 8398 euros. “You can easily transport the little one in the top case of the Gold Wing,” says a Suzuki employee with a smile. Rainer, the pragmatist, explains to him: "It would be fun, but the Gold Wing can only load 177 kilograms."

Loud laughter from the Suzuki team. Because your little one can load 31 kilos more. Thanks for the clarification. Put in your earplugs, put your luggage roll on and off you go. Ludwigshafen is to be the start and finish point of our circumnavigation, until then there are still 300 kilometers, 90 percent of which will be driven on the autobahn.

The wind protection of the little tourer is not bad at all. The air flows more laminarly over the delicate pane, but the protection is low and much higher on the Gold Wing. Rest place, drink water, swap places. Wow, whoever climbs from the 247 kilogram GSX-F to the Honda is completely perplexed at first. I am only 1.67 meters tall. Nevertheless, thanks to the relatively slim waist of the Gold Wing, I can reach the ground with both feet. And that’s good. To balance this chunk you need a secure footing. We turn onto the A81. Hardly any traffic. Gas on. The fairing windshield from the 1800s creates turbulence on my back. No matter what position. Instead I experience how silky smooth the six-cylinder runs and hums. It is hardly possible to run more smoothly. Again we are at a rest area, adjust the window. This time it has to go all the way down, although due to my size I only look at the tear-off edge. It’s cautiously out on the acceleration lane. We nod to each other. Open fire! Now the fat one is left behind. The Suzuki only needs 7.4 seconds and the Honda 8.8 seconds from zero to 140 km / h. That is a 40-ton semi-trailer length difference. Even in the elasticity test up to 140 km / h in the last gear, the 86 hp Suzi dozed off her abundant competition, the Honda boxer made 118 hp. His massive torque of 167 Nm doesn’t help him either. Only above 140 km / h (in the area where it is unfortunately uncomfortable on the Gold Wing) does it give itself over to the passage.

So much for the facts. We are in Ludwigshafen, have calculated a day and a half for the round trip. From now on it’s time to slide. And travel instead of racing. The sun is set and a couple of retired people circled the wing. “How much luggage fits in there?” They want to know. “150 liters, divided into two cases and a top case,” replies Rainer. We examine the two of them. He was just under 1.90 meters, she 1.75 meters. Both neat wood in front of the hut. They easily have the 177 kilos payload without luggage. And then? "A Gold Wing is not pulled out for reweighing," says Rainer. He has to know. After all, he is a fleet manager.

We glide over the smallest of streets from Bodmann via Möggingen towards Konstanz in the no man’s land between the Boden and Untersee. The paths are narrow, full of holes and winding. I’m surprised at how much the Gold Wing’s undercarriage ironed out. The driver hardly notices anything. The fork and shock absorber are extremely comfortable, but by no means appear too soft. The opulent armchair certainly contributes to the litter behavior. The Honda saddle is like a well-padded TV chair. This comes across all the more drastic when you switch to the narrow Suzuki bench, which, in direct comparison, offers the comfort of a wooden beam. The spring elements of the 650s are also tighter and pass on uneven floors more directly to the driver. This feedback is advantageous in terms of driving dynamics. It just bothers me when sneaking along middle-class routes. Overnight in Constance and first call to Krause. "A ‘? De Wing is the best that there is! Gold?" Hopes my neighbor. “We’re not sure yet,” says Rainer, referring to the following day.


Suzuki GSX 650 F: tires, handlebars, seat bench, main stand, adjustable wind deflector, top case, ABS, headlights, on-board computer.

There we are at the Swiss border, and a customs officer asks Rainer, who is sitting on the Gold Wing: “Do you carry goods with you?” Rainer understands the car and says: “No, this is not a car, but a motorcycle.” Welcome to Country in which you can drive a maximum of 80 km / h – basically the optimal touring speed. With the fat one that’s no problem at all. Sixth gear, 1700 turns – only driving ICE is even more relaxed. Only the somewhat stiff throttle grip stands in the way of the absolute ease of being. However, if you now believe that such easy gliding would be impossible with two cylinders and 1176 cubic meters less, the GSX-F teaches you better. Despite their displacement handicap, the perceived optimal shift point is 4000 rpm. When cruising, the display usually shows between 3500 and 4500 rpm. On the GSX, too, you often find yourself rolling through town in sixth gear at just 2000 rpm. You only notice it when you have to click back down the aisles before the traffic lights.

It’s raining. In Uttwill we park the bikes in front of a café and enjoy a deep black. A fifty-year-old customer who could successfully take part in the media top model search comes up to us with a smile. She wants to know who of us drives the white machine. Rainer raises his hand and lets the ignition key dangle. "If it didn’t rain," the lady hums, "I would go around the world with you." Damn it, I think, this point goes to Krause. And nothing can beat it.

Back in the saddle. Photographer Arturo, a native of Mexico, sends us in search of bizarre landscapes through the Rhine Delta nature reserve near Bregenz. I’m sitting on the Gold Wing. For little ones, visibility in the rain is fatal. Drops on the helmet visor, droplets on the windshield, tear-off edge in front of the nose – only flying blind is even more modest. We poke around dirt-smeared streets. In this situation you feel safer on the Suzuki. It is more manageable and the chassis feedback is more direct. We follow a path that is getting narrower and narrower. You can already guess where this is going. Correct. Farm, dead end, dog running free. Thank God I’m sitting on the Suzuki. Brake hard, slide around, turn 180 degrees march. The fact that Rainer is not torn and mangled by the Gold Wing is primarily due to the master who whistles his dog back. Otherwise, because turning maneuvers in the smallest of spaces are a horror with the fat one. The mix of large play in the drive train and stiff throttle, and above all the peculiarities of the composite braking system, make turning at the steering angle an action that requires incredible experience. And yet often curses.

Hardly back on German soil, sunshine welcomes us. We enjoy the curves between Lindau, Tettnang and Markdorf in a vehicle-specific way. The fat one is certainly not a sports machine, but it surprises with steering precision and entertains with confident, beautiful curve swing that never lets stress arise. Driving the Gold Wing is like taking an annual vacation. The Suzuki, on the other hand, only conveys fun in the here and now. It is generated more from dynamism and sportiness, but does not limit the touring suitability. Krause wants to know when I look over his fence again. "With the fat girl you experience things that are not affordable." Krause grins broadly: "I do."

MOTORCYCLE conclusion


Suzuki GSX 650 F and Honda Gold Wing.

With a Gold Wing you not only buy a prestige object suitable for touring, which is subject to relatively little decline in value, but also an attitude towards life. These things alone make a technical and driving dynamics comparison with a cheap tourer ad absurdum. The smooth running of the six-cylinder boxer is still state of the art today, and apart from the turbulence, the comfort is hard to beat. With the 650, Suzuki has put together a convincing overall package with a very good price-performance ratio that even novice drivers can handle.

Technical specifications


Suzuki GSX 650 F and Honda Gold Wing at Lake Constance.

Honda Gold Wing Suzuki GSX 650 F engine
type design Six-cylinder, four-stroke boxer engine Four-cylinder, four-stroke in-line engine
injection Ø 40 mm Ø 36 mm
coupling Multi-disc oil bath clutch  Multi-disc oil bath clutch 
Boron x stroke 74.0 x 71.0 mm 65.5 x 48.7 mm
Displacement 1832 cm3 656 cm3
compression 9.8: 1 11.5: 1
power 87.0 kW (118 hp) at 5500 rpm 63.0 kW (86 PS) at 10500 rpm
Torque 167 Nm at 4000 rpm 62 Nm at 8900 rpm
landing gear
frame Bridge frame made of aluminum Double loop frame made of steel
fork Telescopic fork, Ø 45 mm Telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm
Brakes v / h Ø 296/316 mm Ø 310/240 mm
Systems assistance Fully integral braking system with ABS SECTION
bikes 3.50 x 18; 5.00 x 16 3.50 x 17; 5.00 x 17
tires 130/70 R 18; 180/60 R 16 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17
Tires Bridgestone front G 709, rear G 704 Bridgestone vo. BT 011 "N", hi. BT 020 "G"
Dimensions + weights
wheelbase 1690 mm  1470 mm 
Steering head angle 61.0 degrees 64.0 degrees
trailing 109 mm 108 mm
Suspension travel v / h 140/105 mm 130/128 mm
Seat height ** 750 mm 800 mm
Weight with full tank ** 424 kg 247 kg
Payload ** 177 kg 208 kg
Tank capacity 25 liters 19 liters
Service intervals  12,000 km 6000 km
price 28,300 euros 7.790 euros
Price test motorcycle 31,300 euros *** 8398 euros ***
Additional costs around 355 euros around 135 euros
top speed * 200 km / h 205 km / h
0-100 km / h 4.2 sec 4.2 sec
0-140 km / h 8.8 sec 7.4 sec
0-200 km / h 21.2 sec
60-100 km / h 5.5 sec 5.0 sec
100-140 km / h 6.5 sec 5.6 sec
140-180 km / h 9.9 sec 7.4 sec
Consumption highway 6.8 liters / normal 5.6 liters / normal
Reach country road 368 km 339 km

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