The Gladius is Suzuki's attempt to further develop a design language that appeals to a wider audience. You'd never never guess the bike is built with a sleek purposeful stance, as its qualities are very difficult to capture on camera, ultimately making it look bulky and overweight. These photos of the bike's details fail as well. However, in the round, the Suzuki has a dimensionality and character that is similar in feel to sparse design qualities associated with private jets. We know that sounds crazy and is contradictive with all the Gladius'
compartmentalization, but somehow it still works. >
Several of the design elements on the Gladius are sure to be controversial, and we go back and forth ourselves. While not sure of the
taillight that looks like jelly, the sculpted passenger grips feel very polished. We're also particularly fond of the organic steel swingarm and
headlight assembly, but the added plastic forms on the trellis chassis are tacky and detract from the litheness of the machine. The flowing paneled tank, while superfluous, hearkens back to the clean graphics of the Golden Era two-tone UJM.
An evolution of the direction we saw hints of in the GSX-R1000, the Gladius may not be a home run, but it has ideas that are very refreshing. Hopefully Suzuki can take some of the bike's better features and move away from the oragami-like, hard edges of the fighter plane aesthetic we're all sick of seeing.