Suzuki GSX400X Impulse Reviews

1988 Suzuki GSX400X Impulse from Netherlands

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Acceleration marks 7 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 5 / 10
Handling marks 8 / 10
Braking marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.7 / 10
Distance when acquired40000 kilometres
Most recent distance43000 kilometres

Summary:

Great starter bike

Faults:

Works like a charm. Only needed to clean my starter button (bike wasn't used for about 3 years, and was full with spider's webs).

General Comments:

Great bike. It's my first bike. I got it from one of my uncles who didn't use the bike for about 3 years. All it needed was some fresh oil and petrol, and it started almost immediately. Mine was fitted with an aftermarket full fairing, but I removed it and replaced it with the original headlight cover.

Although my bike needs some carb synchronizing, it goes pretty fast. Lightweight, 400cc, but yet plenty of power. Although you need to rev it pretty hard, but that's one of the charming points of this bike. You don't instantly lose your drivers license when you rev it to its max.

It can be a bit wobbly when you ride it hard, but I can live with it. Brakes are also good (it's not a wheelie bike, but a stoppie bike!).

Ride comfort is also good, although the seat is a bit low and the rider's position isn't that big (I'm about 1,85 m long), some of my friends call it the "screaming Japanese moped".

I recently fitted a Micron exhaust can; now it sounds really nice (almost like a F1 car)

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th July, 2011

1987 Suzuki GSX400X Impulse from New Zealand

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1988
Most recent year of ownership1990
Acceleration marks 9 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 3 / 10
Handling marks 7 / 10
Braking marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.6 / 10
Distance when acquired20000 kilometres
Most recent distance55000 kilometres
Previous motorcycleSuzuki DR200

Summary:

Most fun bike I've ever owned

Faults:

The common problem with the coils and electrics crapping out. This resulted in it destroying a brand new battery.

Also, when the bike got to a certain temperature, it would cough and splutter, the workshop could never recreate the problem, so it was never fixed and was ultimately why I sold the bike.

Exhaust rusted out, but replaced with a cycleworks aftermarket pipe that gave it more power and a better exhaust note.

General Comments:

This was one seriously fast bike for the time period, plus it was very cheap for $4,000 brand new back in 1988. You got a lot of bike for the buck.

Never had any engine problems, only electrical.

The engine could really take a beating and thrived on revs.

I have owned 15 bikes and the Impulse was my favourite.

It was a 4 stroke that rode like a 2 stroke, redline (I think) of around 17k and had a wicked powerband that kicked in round 7-8k revs.

Some said it looked ugly and it did have rather an unusual fairing, but it looked fine to me.

I'm surprised I didn't kill myself on this, as I was only 19 and still thought I was bullet-proof.

I recall once getting it a good inch past the max speedo reading of 180kph, by my estimates, this would have put me at around 210-220kph, and this was with a pillion on the back.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th October, 2009

1986 Suzuki GSX400X Impulse from New Zealand

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1992
Most recent year of ownership1996
Acceleration marks 7 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 5 / 10
Handling marks 9 / 10
Braking marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired30000 kilometres
Most recent distance60000 kilometres

Summary:

Greate fun

Faults:

Nothing too much; fork seals needed replacing, ECU had to be replaced and starting was an issue sometimes; needed to replace battery on a regular basis.

General Comments:

One of my favourite bikes. Lightweight, high performance - spinning nearly 14,000RPM it would take off like a rocket. Handling was great; very flickable.

At high speed, being naked (and only 400cc) top speed was not great. The seat was also rock hard - and passengers certainly complained about comfort.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th July, 2009

1987 Suzuki GSX400X Impulse from New Zealand

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1988
Most recent year of ownership2007
Acceleration marks 9 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 9 / 10
Handling marks 10 / 10
Braking marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired13500 kilometres
Most recent distance280000 kilometres
Previous motorcycleKawasaki GT750

Summary:

Ahead of its time, best value for money, fun bike

Faults:

Got stolen!

Mono-shock elbow little end bearing replaced at 120000 km. OEM cost $650, so used a 25 cent nylon bush (lasted at least 160000 km without requiring replacement.

Seat wore out at 150 000, recovered.

Efficiency of engine cooling decreased with age. When near new it was seriously overcooled (unless racing). With age it tended to stall at idle while waiting for lights - diagnosed as a combination of fuel boiling in carburettor, and ignition system breaking down due to heat.

Muffler died permanently at about 170000 (6 years), but it is fair to say would have lasted longer if it hadn't been smacked by a blind tin-top.

General Comments:

My first (stolen) Impulse was user friendly, with excellent brakes, handling, and acceleration to match. The engine was brilliant, aside from regular oil and plug changes (the secret to Suzuki reliability). I was aiming for 500 000 before an engine rebuild.

Recalling my first Suzuki Impulse, I after 10 years of other bikes (Honda, Kawasaki, BMW) decided to return to the Suzuki fold and picked up a very average 20 year old (63000 km, 16 previous owners) Impulse.

The seat feels harder than I recall, but is becoming more comfortable as I begin to throw the bike around and spend less time sitting on it. A few tweaks adjusting cables, gear shifts and tyre pressures and the magic returned.

In NZ the Suzuki GSX400X Impulse was the courier riders choice for many years as it has an unbreakable engine, Full time oil pump, huge carrying capacity (I had mine loaded with over 220kg of luggage), quick and nimble both on the open road, and in town. Not only cheaper (1/2 the cost), but more reliable than its flasher, heavier, fully faired brother, the GSX400rf.

Formula three racers also liked it. In standard trim (less mirrors and indicators) it would quite happily pull 237+Km down the back straight at Pukekohe raceway, then handle the judder bars under full brakes through the hairpin... One guy I knew coaxed an additional 15 hp out of his Impulse simply by polishing his carburettors.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th May, 2007

7th Jan 2009, 17:56

I had a 1987 Impulse, a great little bike for zipping around in and doing some serious miles on. Mine always gave me issues, it overheated and more often than not it would drop to 2 cylinders. When it was going it was a very quick bike; I changed the muffler set up and the power increased dramatically. I have a Kawasaki 550 now, which is lame in comparison.

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 6 reviews