Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2008 Suzuki B-King Comparison

Friday, March 27, 2009
S-DMS  Suzuki Drive Mode Selector  allows the rider to choose from two different engine settings depending on riding conditions or rider preferences.
The Suzuki B-King delivers sportbike performance in a naked streetfighter body.
The Suzuki B-King first teased riders back in 2001 when it debuted at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show. After much speculation the naked hyper-streetfighter hit the road as a 2008 model, with a standard and ABS version available. We sampled the $13,499 ABS model in our comparison and the King soon had us addicted.

Okay, so the B-King only turns measly 158.6 horsepower at the rear wheel. Again, these are the bizarro-world conclusions required when conducting a VMAX vs B-King comparison. The King is also down 10 lb-ft of torque too, but the usability of the higher-revving Suzuki
Inline-Four has advantages with the distinctive edge in two major performance categories – quarter-mile and top speed.

In the quarter-mile by all rights the acceleration of the VMAX should have the Zook’s number. But the Max can’t get that power to the ground, with too much wheel spin and not enough traction to unseat the B-King on the drag strip. Our performance numbers show a clear edge, with the King getting the upper hand in each pass by almost a half-second. Corrected bests give the Suzuki a 0.43 second and 6.5 mph edge

S-DMS  Suzuki Drive Mode Selector  allows the rider to choose from two different engine settings depending on riding conditions or rider preferences.
“I just couldn’t get the V-Max to hook up,” performance test-pilot Atlas said after the runs. “It should have been quicker – it feels noticeably faster. Problem is, it just spins and spins and spins the rear tire. That’s fun, but it’s not fast. On the other hand, the Suzuki launched great and hooked up the entire way. And it’s still plenty fast!”

In top speed the B-King makes a bigger disparity. The B-King is geared much lower than its Star competitor, which reaches its limits below 140 mph. Geared higher than its Hayabusa kin, the King won’t reach the manufacturer gentlemen’s agreement of 186 mph, but it climbs well beyong the VMAX. We didn’t push it during performance testing, settling for the upper 150s registered on the dyno.


With nearly 160 hp at the rear wheel, the B-King is quite often a uni-cycle.
Credit the 1340cc Four ripped out of the iconic Hayabusa hypersportbike for the King’s performance edge. The Suzuki mill, with 81 x 65mm bore and stroke revs higher and feels more refined than the rawer Max. And while a rider loses the visceral wildness of the VMAX, the power from the King is such that it seems impossible to complain.

“The power on it is super different,” notes Adam. “The B-King it wants you to rev it up, to be higher in the rpm - that's when the good, good massive power comes out.”

The feel at the throttle is less lively than the Max, but still a ferocious amount of power at the ready. Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve fuel injection is smooth and the B-King also features the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector, with A and B modes available. The B-mode further softens the power delivery, although riding a bike like the B-King, it’s difficult to imagine not having A-mode on you mind and at your right hand.

Transmitting the power to the rear wheel is a conventional chain drive with six-speed gearbox. The Suzuki’s slick-shifting transmission is precise, with no problems to report, although the well-sorted VMAX tranny is on par too. Also, similar to the Star competitor, is a slipper clutch for smooth downshifts.

The B-King is also the wheelie king. Where the Max spins the wheel, the B-King pulls wheelies in the lower three gears – making it BFF with our thrillbilly testing crew.

Oddly enough, the ABS on the Suzuki made burnouts impossible. The Suzuki’s ABS system is quite effective, less harsh than the Star’s, but it seems at cross purpose with the bike’s hooligan nature – fortunately it is available as an option on the Suzuki.

The all-new Twin-spar cast aluminum alloy frame features optimum rigidity balance and superb handling
The Suzuki B-King is a refined package compared to the raw intensity of the Yamaha Star VMAX.
“Not a super big fan of the ABS system,” laments Adam. “With a bike like the B-King especially, you want to be able to slide the back end around, do endos and be able to have that kind of fun. But with the ABS you cannot. You can’t do any rolling burnouts. You can’t do any brakes slides. You can’t do anything… so it kind of contradicts the whole point of the B-King, for me at least.”

Overall the braking split our testers. I found the King’s dual 310mm rotor with radial-mount four-piston Nissin binders up front more refined and comfortable. Others preferred the Yamaha’s firm bite. Whatever the preference, the B-King’s front configuration in tandem with the rear single-piston and 260mm rotor bring the tank-full 577 lbs to an abrupt halt without drama.

“Where the two bikes get separated is in the handling department,” says Steve, summing up the Suzuki’s biggest edge. “The B-King is a lot more nimble, supple, turns better… just handles better all around.”

“The B-King is much more sporty,” agrees Adam, “it handles really quick, turns really sharp, it’s significantly more nimble than the V-Max.”

The B-King weighs over 100lbs less than the VMAX
A quick glance at the spec sheet hints at the Suzuki’s obvious advantage. The five-foot wheelbase is almost seven inches shorter and there’s a huge weight differential of 115 lbs. And, yes, the difference is quite dramatic, with the B-King an effortless handler. The wide upright bar provides ample leverage and leaned over the ground clearance far exceeds the peg-dragging Star.

Aiding the B-King’s nimble nature is the cast aluminum frame chassis, with three-way adjustable 43mm KYB fork and rear shock bringing GSX-R performance to the naked streetfighter world. Suspension is reliable, feeling firm and planted in the corner. In fact, the B-King’s sleek handling capabilities are reminiscent its stable yet flickable Hayabusa cousin. And while sporting 1-inch smaller 17-inch wheels, some of the handling credit should be given to the Suzuki’s Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier rubber too, which exhibited more feel and stick than the higher-mileage Bridgestones adorning the VMAX.
The 2008 B-King utlizes a slick shifting 6 speed transmission working in conjunction with an innovative back torque limiting clutch for smooth and controlled downshifts
Bruce Wayne would dig the B-King's undertail pipes.

Although the VMAX is wider (32.5 to 31.5 inches), the B-King feels wider in the saddle with the standard riding position exhibiting slight forward pitch. Handlebar placement and 31.7-inch seat height fit my 6’1” frame and while the Max’s riding position is more relaxed, the B-King’s is a great deal better than the merciless bar position on it Busa brother.

It’s hard to find fault with the B-King. The Suzuki does everything well and nothing bad. Even places where it falls short, a good argument can be made. For example in the looks department, while the VMAX gathered the most attention, the B-King wasn’t without its supporters - the make or break styling component being its 4-2-1-2 undertail exhaust. True, the obscene thrill of VMAX acceleration is impossible to compete with, but the King’s rapid velocity is still heart-pounding and, as shown on the drag strip, more effective. Fit and finish may not be on par with the hand-polished Yamaha either, but the B-King is a well-made mount to be sure.

And then there is the little question of price, where the ABS B-King rings in at $4500 less than its rival. Combined with its superior handling, the horsepower and smiles per dollar of the B-King will prove hard to beat.

VideosOur Sponsor
2008 Suzuki B-King vs. 2009 Star VMAX
Click to view video
Suzuki B-King Photo Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
Suzuki Street Bike Motorcycle Reviews
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 Second Ride
The 2014 V-Strom 1000 received a host of upgrades for the coming model year, so MotoUSA joined in for a second ride in Southern California.
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 First Ride
Suzuki has revamped and redesigned the 2014 V-Strom 1000. We journeyed to Spain to test Suzuki's first traction control equipped motorcycle.
2013 Suzuki DR-Z400SM First Ride
Suzuki's DR-Z400SM Supermoto is back for 2013. We put this affordable single to the test with slides, stoppies and wheelies.
Suzuki Motorcycles Dealer Locator

Login or sign up to comment.

Comments
Rideon   August 6, 2012 04:16 PM
After riding both bikes, i chose the Vmax. It looks more unique, feels faster and is the most bad ass looking bike on the planet.
fidelCatstro -Happy with what i have...  September 7, 2010 03:37 AM
Im still happy with my 100ps,little kitty bandit 1200s
H. Anglin -Love em both.  July 29, 2010 05:19 AM
I love both of these bikes. They are hard to compare because they each have unique strengths and weaknesses. I didn't like the BK at first because of the back end. Two brothers sells a kit that replaces the stock exhaust and tailpiece and sheds about 30 pounds in the process. I saw one on the showroom floor that had been done by the the dealer and what a difference! Bought it right away and what a blast!! Now I just need to stay away from the Yamaha dealer because I better not come home with a VMAX or I might have to go to divorce court!! Seriously, I love everything with 2 wheels -- kind of a motorcycle nymphomaniac :-)
Roman -Z1B  July 6, 2010 09:19 PM
Everyone is saying how the Suzuki outhandles, outbrakes, out this and out thats. Your comparing a Z-06 with a big block nova, the V-Max is a 1/4 mile missile that just wants to peel-out the whole way.! Your not buying the V-Max to outhandle anybody, this is a hot-Rod on 2 wheels. Compare that ugly B-King with a Naked 1400 Kawi then write a nice article.
JAYALLAN -V-MAX NEEDS  November 23, 2009 06:20 AM
I HOPE THE 2011 V-MAX INCREASES THE GAS TANK A GALLON, AND HAS A 6TH GEAR FOR CRUISING...
vmax01 -i think both r cool  June 16, 2009 04:03 PM
i currently have an 01 max. i've had several sportbikes and wanted something that had comfort for longer rides, had unique looks, and still had good power. the thing about the max in comparison to the bking is that it does have the more unique and hotrod looks. the test results sound very minimal to me for the max weighing 115 lbs more. when you get numbers that close it's all about who's the better rider down the stretch. the other thing is about aftermarket and custom part availability. you'll be able to find all kinds of things for the max. i'd like to have both but would chose the max. everyone has thier own prospective.
Habechian -ETs  May 5, 2009 05:58 AM
Jimbolaya....are you from another planet or you dont know ....a car is a car, and what is WR250R ?......a LCD tv model or a cellphone?
Steve Groben -muflers  April 14, 2009 04:09 PM
the bike looks cool but the pipes look ass
Jorge -old Vmax owner  April 14, 2009 03:31 PM
I like both bikes. I think that when somebody decides to buy one of these bikes, he doesn't give a damn about fuel saving and such issues. His point of view is completely different from a rider who goes for a WR250R and we have to respect it aswell. I think that these bikes are efforts made of these companies in order to bring the motorcyclism a step further and thank God they do so!!! It is miserable to look at these bikes as two monsters with no reason of existence. These bikes are made for no ordinary "wallets" and no ordinary riders aswell. The truth is that I am a Vmax fan (since 1988 when I first looked at the first one) and I think that the new one should be much faster then every other production bike at least for a couple of years. I don't think that it is able to be the new King of the acceleration like the old Vmax was long time ago. Anyway, I do like both bikes, but if I bought the B-King, I would replace the exhaust pipes and the tail light with the Yoshimura KIT. The stock pipes are just VERY UGLY!!!!! (name me bat mobile) Ride safe
N_Mik -Excess is its own asthetic  March 29, 2009 01:50 PM
Jimolaya, you are technically right about one thing. Functionally, these bikes are absurd. People dont NEED bikes that fast. However, you are missing the point. These motorcycles are for people who want something over-the-top. Fuel savings aren't even a factor here. Its a non-issue. And frankly, there ARE riders who are physically big enough that these motorcycles fit them well, people who would look like circus bears on your little 250, and probably burn the clutch out in about a week. "Better" is a subjective term. If a 250 works for you, congrats. For me, not so much. To each his own. The V-Max is a work of art IMO... if I had the money to collect things in my garage I would buy one and put it in there! The looks of the King rule it out for me. The Max looks like a hot-rod motorcycle, the King looks weirdly cartoonish. They should sell it with a cape, so you can wear it while you ride around.
jimbolaya -Dislike both bikes  March 28, 2009 03:26 PM
The form & size of the exit hole of the BKing exhaust is the pinnacle of grotesque overdone tasteless ugliness; reminiscent of the US auto industry era of wings & fins but worse. Overall I have absolutely no interest in either bike, though it's easy to see how pro test riders might justify the bike's existence. I've stradled bikes weighing as much as the Max & would rather drive a car w/ its obvious benefits than lug so much performance-robbing mass around. Though gas/oil cost is temporarily depressed we all know the future prices when the economy recovers. The WR250R is a far better Yamaha than either of these pigs. Bikes like these serve no purpose other than to generate buzz; offering little to no usefulness to most bike fans. If the current economy was foreseen neither would have seen the light of day. Yamaha is the only Japanese maker offering a worthwhile dual sport (WR250R). Much too much R&D time was wasted on the two bikes in this article that could rather have went into something riders might actually want to purchase, something useful, cost-efficient, energy efficient & attractive. That makes me sad & angry.
J. Quadri -There goes my summer bike  March 27, 2009 10:35 AM
Disappointing to say the least, in the end VMAX fails to reach the manufacturer gentlemen’s agreement.