Life on bikes

Suzuki Recursion preview: looks like it might be happening

Marc joins some Japanese executives for a sort-of Suzuki Recursion preview. He points out the name is a bit crap but the bike itself looks a bit tasty.

Last week I received an email from my friendly local bike dealer, I’m on their mailing list, offering a free gift in return for talking to some representatives.

I don’t care about freebies but I’ve always moaned that companies never ask my opinion on the stuff they try to sell me so I said yes.

On the day myself and two other guys were ushered into a room where SEVEN Japanese guys were sitting with pads and pens.

This was to be a focus group then.

The guys were Suzuki product development types and after asking us in turn what we currently ride, what we rode previously and why we made our decisions they brought out some photos of a new bike and asked our opinions.

The going was slow as the Suzuki team only had two fluent English speakers but they were keen to hear our thoughts.

Then they brought out a book and showed us the specs and possible price and asked if we revised our opinions. They went on to get our opinions on certain different individual parts and asked us what category we thought the bike fitted into.

The whole meeting took two hours and was very thorough. The guys were listening very carefully and questioned every comment that we made.

At the end, they all said their goodbyes and we were each given a small box containing a watch. That’s a nice freebie.

What’s that you say? What about the bike?

It’s the ‘Recursion’ which is a crap name for an interesting bike. It was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013 as a concept bike with a 588cc twin cylinder and a turbocharger. It appeared again the following year at trade shows then sort of disappeared.

The specs they showed us this week were for a 700cc twin with a turbo and we were told it has new technology that removes all turbo lag. This would presumably be a modern electronically controlled turbo unlike the short-lived generation of turbo bikes from the 80s. On top of that, the engine’s tuned for lots of torque rather than top speed. LOTS of torque.

The bike was touted as having the weight and profile of a 650 but the power of a 1000. And they said that fuel economy somewhere between the two. I asked if this had actually been built yet or was just in the design stage. Hesitantly we were told that some prototypes had been built and most of the guys there had ridden them.

They told us that the bike was designed to be compact and powerful and rather surprisingly was aimed at people who had been away from motorcycling a while and were coming back. ‘Recyclers’ they called them. They quite liked my ‘born again bikers’ label, and all three of us who had been invited said the bike had a far wider appeal than just that rather niche demographic.

The photos they showed us are all on t’internet so I’m not blabbing any secrets in linking to these. The material we were shown don’t look much different to the various videos that are flying around of the concept bikes.

The bike looks to have a very unified body design, flowing lines from the half fairing and a little cafe racer-esque single seat. There’s a mahoosive space between the seat and the back wheel, with just the rear shock remote reservoir sticking out.

The spec sheet had a list of electronics longer than my gangly arm, many of which I’d never even heard of. There was traction control, cruise control, clutch assist and I had to ask what Lift Control was. It stops ‘accidental’ wheelies. All passion killers for me but very sensible for a bike designed for returning riders. Thinking about it now, an accidental wheelie on a turbo bike could be a bit of a whoopsie.

They briefly showed us a schematic of the engine that looks like a parallel twin but with a large assembly above the head. That might be an intercooler but I didn’t get a good look.

The exhaust is interesting in that it’s quite difficult to spot, but any turbo setup would have an unusual layout. There’s a single sided swing arm and surprisingly a single disk on the front.

The mirrors seem to be designed for aesthetics rather than function but I’d have to sit on it before passing judgement. They remind me slightly of the BMW K100RS mirrors.

Some of the questions we were asked regarded different possibilities for models. One possibility was removing the turbo altogether and selling the bike for the same hefty price as the turbo model at eleven, eleven and a half grand. Or, they said, some people were a bit worried about the power available from the blower and asked what we though of the possibility of having a button to turn it off and on in a Mad Max style.

We were asked what kind of power and top speed we thought the bike had just by looking at it and how much we thought it should have. We were unanimous in wanting torque and acceleration over absolute top speed.

Reading between the lines I’m wondering how this line of development got going. Ever increasing emission regulations around the world might account for the turbo in the design. If that’s the case then I wonder if we’ll be seeing more models like this in future.

If sold as a 700 twin (without a turbo) a semi-sport with a half fairing would also fill the gap left by the recently discontinued classic SV650S. Although they’d then be competing with the MT-07 and new 650 Ninja, even though it’s nothing like either. And at the prices they were talking about it might struggle against those models.

Suzuki Recursion debut
Lovely figure matched with nice numbers

The bike as shown is definitely a premium product with a price to match. It is gorgeous and just look at that speedo! It looks VERY skinny and compact.

The fact that Suzuki are holding groups like this around the UK would seem to indicate they’re fairly serious about actually manufacturing it.

Are turbos going to be a thing now?

Last time round, Honda triggered a brief manufacturer’s war by producing a bike with a turbo and all four manufacturers joined in. They lived up to their promise of power but all were expensive and complex.

Putting the word ‘turbo’ on an insurance quote made them even more expensive to own than larger capacity models. Back then turbo bikes were an exotic curiosity. Now with petrol prices generally increasing and emission regs getting tighter it might be the time for turbos to hit the mainstream.

But even if they become the norm will they be around for long? How long will it be before hybrid or all electric bikes become practical?

Get yourself sorted:

Ring up Suzuki UK and see if there’s a waiting list somewhere.

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The Author

Marc Ryan

Marc Ryan

A bike nut since he was 17, Marc was forced to lay off the bikes for over 10 years, on doctor's orders. Finally given the nod he thought he'd ease himself back in gently on an XL 250 but promptly bought an SV650 which made him shit his pants for the first month.
He also writes his own random meanderings at his own blog,