Suzuki Gladius comes stateside with own soft-jazz soundtrack

Dailies -

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Suzuki_Gladius-Style-01.jpgThe 2009 Suzuki Gladius was unveiled yesterday at the Suzuki US dealer conference in conjunction with the full launch of the fashionably questionable Gladius mini-site, Gladius Style. The U.S. spec Gladius looks to be identical to the Euro version, using the SV650′s V-Twin powertrain wrapped in a steel-truss frame. The Gladius will come in at 202 kg wet, (445 lbs.), 8 kg heavier than the SV650. We don’t think that’s anything to fuss over, and are just happy to see a little diversity.
>While the Gladius looks to be a great entry-level bike for beginners as well as commuters wanting more affordable, greener transportation, the marketing Suzuki is employing for the launch of their new model is baffling. We understand the desire to market this bike to young urbanites, but bringing decade-old Gap winter layouts back from the dead? Soft-jazz for the spec section? Even more Mr. Dancypants? This time with a navigation tool for zooming on him and his hip clothes but not the point of this entire marketing exercise, the Gladius?

Suzuki_Gladius-Style-02.jpgWe really wish Suzuki would have focused more on the elegance of the machine, as these new detail shots show. Sometimes, motorcycles should just be enjoyed for what they are, without the pressures of fitting in, or wearing the right skinny silver pants, or frolicking about in backgrounds that look too much like Takashi Murakami’s Cream paintings.

Suzuki_Gladius-Style-03.jpgSuzuki_Gladius-Style-04.jpgSuzuki_Gladius-Style-05.jpgSuzuki_Gladius-Style-06.jpgSuzuki_Gladius-Style-07.jpgSuzuki_Gladius-Style-08.jpgSuzuki_Gladius-Style-09.jpgvia SuzukiScoop

  • http://www.darngooddesign.com TBS Stunta

    Marketing, which looks like the traditional asian stuff that gives scooters names like “People Fun”, aside I think its a good looking bike and with that frame feels like an updated Bandit 400.

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant

    That’s a great point, TBS. I remember when the Bandit 400 came out and everyone thought it was the coolest bike they’d ever seen.

  • Julius0377

    I think the bike looks a lot like the Ducati Monster 696. In particular the two piece trellis frame, the rearsets/passenger pegs, and headlight. Overall a pretty poor copy I feel will age poorly.

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant

    Julius, this is not a copy of Ducati design. The Gladius is a continuance, as TBS Stunta points out, of a design platform begun by Suzuki years before the advent of the Monster.

  • Remy

    @ Julius0377, I think the lines we’re seeing on the Gladius are the same lines we’ve been seeing on other models across the board. Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki, etc.
    I don’t think this is just a passing craze as it’s been years in the making.

  • Remy

    Hah, oops. Didn’t mean to step on Grants toes with the simultaneous post.

  • http://www.darngooddesign.com TBS Stunta

    Before anyone claims the whole Ducati did that frame first on the monster, lets not forget that Laverda did it back in 2001 with the Lynx, which coincidentally used the SV650 engine.

  • Jason

    Holy crap, that site is the funniest thing I’ve seen this week. I couldn’t stop laughing.

  • Transient

    Swap out that headlight and you have something a heck of a lot more interesting. It’s about time something happens with the SV-lineup – though I know it’s not a replacement.

  • http://www.robotribe.com Robotribe

    I work with the Japanese regularly. That ad campaign suffers from bad Nihongo-to-Engrish marketing group design. The “GOOD FEELING” line is the giveaway.

    I’m all for more entry-level bikes, but wish they didn’t try so hard to hit people on the nose with it. They’re pushing these things like iPods and energy drinks. The weight is bit much, too, although I know that’s what comes with a bike at this price range, but it isn’t exactly “newbie-friendly” compared to a Ninja 250 or 500 (I know, smaller bikes, but obviously Suzuki isn’s going after the seasoned sport bike/ICON gear-wearing crowd). That said, the gear indicator is useful for the customer they’re going after.

    As for the look of it, well, as already stated, it’s the direction most everyone else is going. Plus, you have to try and see this bike through the eyes of a non-rider or beginning rider. Anyone who already rides can see where they’ve cheaped out and jumped on the bandwagon. Overall, it isn’t that bad, IMO. Not perfect (I agree about the schnoz-like headlight) but at least they’re doing SOMETHING new here in the States*.

    *I’m lookin’ at YOU, Honda.

  • Jason

    I wouldnt say they are jumping on the bandwagon.. this is basially the 10 year anniversary of the SV – which this bike is, with different clothes. If anything others have jumped onto the suzuki bandwagon with a good midrange bike.

    Im just curious, since WHEN is a 400lb bike with 70+ horsepower that goes up to 130mph for beginners??

  • Jon Ramone

    Looks like Crap! Cant believe people buy that shit!

  • Jeff C

    What an awesome job to have. Sleep until a week before the project is due, draw up a Ducati Monster and add a little “flare” (aka Office Space) and waalaa you have job security. Note to ad agency: a helmet-less guy flying off the bike might not make a good selling point. Just an opinion.

    • Dave

      Awesome comment Jeff!

  • clint

    It’s good to see another proper useful- sized motorcycle in any manufacturer’s lineup. I see also that the US market is to get the cute little 250 standard that is popular in Japan. Perhaps the oh-so-very-tired stacked pipe V-clone cruiser era is ending.

    I only wish the Gladys had a front fork and front brakes worthy of the engine and frame.
    The same lament sung about the SV line.

    I wonder if the guy who thought up the name is the same who decided the GR650x should be named ‘Tempter’ (the Gr650 was a 650 twin sold in the us only in 1983).

  • SVNET

    I think the bike looks great and fit right in with what the competition is doing.

    The website is crap, hard to navigate, I don’t think it does well to selling the bike.

    You so call seasoned riders that complaint just about everything and who are never happy with anything, I don’t think there is a brand out there that could possible make a bike that makes you happy so the fact that you don’t like this bike, is meaningless and very predictable.

    The bike is a bold move by Suzuki and I think they are going to be very successful with it. Very Monster looking but a lot more friendly and fun looking and much more affordable and reliable, something you can’t say about the monster.

    This is not a race track bike, it is a bridge between a scooter and a motorcycle and college towns are going to get flooded with it. Students who would never thought of riding a bike will be commuting to class in one of these things. A total Home Run by Suzuki.

    Is it perfect, NO. I think it is too heavy for a small side young lady who is starting out, but it is cute, good lines, good designs, modern looking and based on a proven prior model so value for the money and reliability holds true we hope.

    From its looks and what I hear it also seems to be made to be more comfortable which is why I got rid off my last SV, so all in all, as soon as they hit the floor, I am getting one…

    Loving it! Zip in and out with STYLE…

    The only thing I wish it has is one of those automatic/standard transmission like the new Honda…

    • http://www.splitsecond.be Patrick S.

      I have actually tested this bike. As SVNET stated, it’s not a race track bike, it is a bridge between a scooter and a motorcycle. That’s everything to it!

      Pro’s:

      • It’s almost as easy to handle as a 50cc scooter, yet ever so fast!
      • It’s small and lightweight
      • It makes a nice deep noise, even at high rpm (which is handy in traffic to get noticed by cars)
      • It has a very clear dashboard (with gear indication, mostly interesting for new riders)

      Con’s:

      • At 100+ kmh (that’s 60mph), a windsheeld would bring a lot of extra comfort
      • If you go touring a lot, this bike might get boring to you after a while

      Conclusion: It is the perfect city bike, also good for occasional touring (although I would consider the optional windshield). Track racing is
      something you probably won’t do with this bike.

  • davey

    guys, the monster came out in 1997.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes

      Actually, the Monster was first released in 1993. We’re discussing the latest version, which uses a two-part cast/trellis frame design as seen here on the Gladius. The Monster 696 came out last year.

  • Dave

    I’m okay with the gladius. Maybe a little too much of the melted ice cream look for me, but that marketing is just insane. Chicks in satin blouses and skrawny dudes in silver britches do not make a bike more interesting.

    Oh yeah. WTF is “HIGH MODE”!?!?

  • Paca Nguyen

    You guys are a bunch of idiots. Has anyone even seen this bike or taken a ride on it? I’m looking to buy the SV650, but want a “smaller” bike. Who cares about the ad…what about the bike? Anyone have an opinion on the actual performance of the bike?

  • Bun

    It has a good motor, modern style, relaxed ergos, and best of all, a fair price. What’s not to like? I have one suggestion for the designers at Suzuki, “adjustable foot pegs”. (Put mine 3″ farther forward please – its an old-guy thing.) Otherwise, it’s on my short list for next season. Just for the record, I’m also considering a new Triumph Bonnieville and Moto Guzzi V7.

  • Danny

    Seems like they use the SV650 motor for everything these days (V-Strom, 650SF and the new Gladiator). But the best they’ve got (IMO) GSX-R 750 motor only sees one bike.
    Put a gixxer 750 motor in it, get rid of the ipod inspired rear pegs, black out the motor and exhaust pipe and I’m sold. You know the pipe and all the add ons (mirrors, turn signals, liscence plate bracket, etc.) are the first to go on any bike, so really, none of that matters. Add a power commander and you’re done. And one more thing, the design is not a copy, simply a much needed updated entry into the Hooligan market. I like it. Just change the name!!

  • JBIII

    I just bought one and I love it. It’s perfect for running back and forth to work and a Sunday afternoon ride in the country. It’s smooth and has a comfortable riding position. I agree, at high speeds a windshield would be nice. The blue and white color is so ugly. Mine is black and silver, way better. They should have never showed the bike in blue and white. For the price, it would be hard to beat it.