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2008 Suzuki B-King Bike Test

Monday, June 23, 2008
Contrary to what you would eyeballs tell your brain  the B-King is rather nimble in most situations.
The highlight of the B-King is its powerful four-cylinder mill, but the Suzuki is still a capable handler - especially when you consider it's pushing 600 lbs.
It's big, it's intimidating and it turns about as many heads as an NBA player at Grandma's Bingo night. Now, we're not talking about an oversized jewelry-clad basketball player; we're talking about Suzuki's B-King. Originally debuted seven years ago at the Tokyo Motor Show, the B-King is one ultra-cool streetfighter prototype that actually made it into production.

The B-King is proof of Suzuki's unequivocal embrace of America's 'bigger is better' mantra. It is the largest, most powerful muscle bike ever manufactured, period. With this one it's hard to find anything that isn't big: big power, big brakes, big proportions and big weight.

I can't help but feel just a little bit intimidated as I gaze at its bulging body pieces and huge twin underseat exhaust canisters protruding like trapezoidal double-barrel artillery guns. Twin ram-air intakes large enough to inhale witless birds sit underneath the fashionably integrated front turn signals. Stylized pieces like the chrome bezel on the top of the fuel tank, sculpted brake and clutch master cylinders and the refined-looking instrument package give the Suzuki a high-end, premium feel. Equally impressive is the high level of overall fit and finish. Unsightly fasteners are kept to a minimum and the body components fit together as if they were crafted out of one complete piece.

Once in the saddle, there's no hiding its 578-lb mass (fully fueled, ready to ride). Due to the substantial width of the gas tank your legs are spread far apart, so riders with minimal dexterity better bring their A-game when riding the B-King. But things get better as soon as you reach out to the widely-spaced tubular handlebars. The relaxed, upright riding position and tallish bars make it a very comfortable machine. However, the high mounted foot pegs force the rider's legs into a more aggressive bend than seems necessary.

Thumb the starter and the gigantic 1340cc liquid-cooled Inline-Four comes to life emitting a quiet, sewing machine-like purr. 'Man, how much better would this thing sound with some pipes' I think to myself. The engine is almost a complete carbon copy of the one used in the new '08 Hayabusa, except for a smaller airbox and a different 4-2-1-2 exhaust system that still uses Suzuki's exhaust tuning valve (SET) inside. Pump the hydraulic-actuated clutch a few times before you drop it into gear and notice its light feel, followed by a progressive engagement. Twist the throttle and it feels as you're piloting an F-18 being flung off the end of an aircraft carrier. Wide-open acceleration from a dead stop is that intense.

Suzuki B-King dyno chart.
Not quite the hulking monster of its Hayabusa cousin, the B-King's 1340cc Four cranks out almost 160 horsepower and 96.5 lb-ft of torque.
Yet the B-King is as obedient or as wild as your right wrist commands. Feel like stunting in front of your friends? Just hammer the throttle in the first two gears and you'll look like your neighborhood's most-wanted villain. Feel like keeping the peace? Keep the revs low and ride the B-King's smooth wave of 70-plus lb-ft of twist from just 3000 rpm. Power delivery is flawless throughout the 11,000 rpm rev range and is complemented by the precise throttle response afforded by Suzuki's Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) fuel-injection system. The B-King is also outfitted with Suzuki's proprietary drive mode selector (S-DMS) which allows the rider to modify power output by choosing from one of two modes. By default the bike is in full-power 'A' mode, but all it takes is a simple push of a button mounted on top of the gas tank, (while the bike is at a stand-still, in neutral) and the rider can select 'B' mode which dramatically mellows its power delivery. The system works well and can allow a rider of less experience to have a more controllable ride. For those of us thrill junkies though, 'A' mode is all you'll ever use.

Power is transmitted to the gold-colored chain final drive via a six-speed transmission that utilizes a back-torque limiting clutch. Shifting action wasn't as smooth as other Suzuki's we've tested recently, but nonetheless engagement was precise. We never encountered any mis-shifts despite repeated full-throttle acceleration antics. Gearing is versatile for the streets, with a short first cog allowing for easy drag races, er, I mean launches from a stoplight. Yet, thankfully, top gear is tall enough for a low-rpm, buzz-free ride at freeway speeds.

But the lack of a front fairing or windscreen can impede triple-digit fun as above 120-mph it feels like the wind is trying to peel you off the bike. Suzuki realized that this might be a hitch in the equation.

Instrumentation is easy to see at a glance and consists of a swept analog tachometer flanked by a digital speedo, gear position indicator, and a multitude of warning and indicator lights. There's also a bar-style fuel gauge, coolant temperature as well as odometer, dual trip meters and clock inside of the tach. The B-King also has a cool miles until maintenance required countdown meter, so you'll always know when it's time for service.

A larger than life streetbike with more power and performance then necessary  the mighty B-King is tailor made for the American marketplace.
A larger than life streetbike with more power and performance then necessary, the mighty B-King is tailor made for the American marketplace.
With just shy of 160 horsepower at your disposal, you'd hope that the engineers would have endowed the B-King with a chassis stout enough to handle all that muscle. And we're pleased to report that they have. A clean looking twin-spar cast aluminum frame and matching three-piece cast aluminum swingarm is paired to a fully adjustable (preload, compression, and rebound) KYB 43mm inverted fork and equally adjustable rear shock. Suzuki claims that suspension damping characteristics are similar to that of their GSX-R sportbike line and after repeated "cloverleaf exploring" on the seemingly infinite freeway interchanges Southern California has, we're believers.

While cornering, suspension feels both firm and responsive with plenty of ground clearance, yet cruising down a pothole-laden L.A. street reveals a far plusher ride than that of a GSX-R sportbike. Despite the suspension's full range of adjustability, we didn't feel the need to change the settings as the stock setup is a good compromise between cruising the block and spirited canyon blasts.

Contrary to what your eyeballs tell your brain, the B-King is rather nimble in most situations. Sure it's not as flickable as a 1000cc sportbike, but it still maintains a reasonable degree of maneuverability considering its 5-foot wheelbase. It readily changes direction with just a light tug of the wide bars and once a turn has been initiated, subtle line changes can be made without drama. Simply look where you want the bike to go and it's there. Also impressive is its stability at any speed. No matter how hard we tried we couldn't get the front end to wiggle around or get out of shape. However, at slower speeds-especially in parking lots, there's no masking the B-King's girth. That, coupled with its non-adjustable steering damper, can make it rather cumbersome when you're crawling around.

Stopping is achieved via a pair of radial-mount Nissin front brake calipers that grab onto 310mm diameter rotors. A radial-pump brake master cylinder pushes brake fluid through rubber lines and there isn't a hint of fade, even during extra aggressive, repeated use. Considering that the brakes are stopping almost 600 lbs, there is a good amount of power and plenty of feel at the end of the adjustable brake lever. Out back a 260mm disc and single piston caliper helps keep control while you're riding around on the fat back tire. ABS is also available for $600 to help ensure stability during braking regardless of road or weather conditions.

Beefy braking components complement a high-performance package that B-King owners will enjoy whether a hard-core stunter or a weekend canyon warrior.
Beefy braking components complement a high-performance package that B-King owners will enjoy whether they're a hard-core stunter or a weekend canyon warrior.
The B-King rolls on a set of 3.5 x 17 inch front and wide 6 x 17 inch rear three spoke aluminum wheels shod in Dunlop's Sportmax Qualifier rubber (120/70R17 front, 200/50R17 rear). We've always been a fan of the Qualifier's due to their mild steering manners, quick warm-up times and gum-on-shoe levels of adhesion, but the B-King's OE rear tire lacked the same amount of outright grip that we've become accustomed to with the Qualifier. Maybe it's the extra weight or the immense amount of power that the 200mm wide tire has to deal with, but it's possible to spin up the rear tire on command during hard corner exit. Fortunately the tire has great feel so when it does spin it doesn't catch you off guard.

At the end of the day, the B-King really surprised us. It's a big, burly streetfighter that for the right rider could be the total package. It's got a fresh, futuristic look like nothing else on the street backed up with a powerful yet refined powerplant mated to a chassis that is both composed and agile. And while it may not ever fit in with Grandma and her crew, the B-King has us shouting BINGO!

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2008 Suzuki B-King Technical Specs
2008 Suzuki B-King
1340cc Inline-Four, DOHC, 16-valves
Bore x Stroke:
81 x 65mm
Compression Ratio:
159.4 hp @ 9200 rpm
96.5 lb-ft @ 7300 rpm
578 lbs w/ fuel
Quarter Mile Time:
10.23 sec. @ 138.2 mph
Power to Weight Ratio:
0.28 hp per lbs
60.0 in
25.5 deg
4.2 in.
Seat Height:
31.7 in.
Fuel Tank Size:
4.4 gal
Average MPG:
$12,899 ($13,499 w/ ABS)
Adam's Suzuki B-King Gear Bag
Yet the B-King is as obedient or as wild as your right wrist commands
Affliction Shredded Jacket

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EVETS   May 23, 2011 04:44 PM
Hey people, Just bought a used B KING K8 with 1600 mls on it. Had many makes and styles in 38 yrs of riding and this machine beats them all.Its awesome too ride and has turned many heads when parked up. Hats off too Suzuki for the ultimate muscle bike experiance. Steve, Norfolk, United Kingdom...
Eric Weaver -B king owner  January 13, 2011 09:09 AM
Put on 2-Brothers carbon (slip on) w/ k&n filter & computer program. 171 at the wheel & 103 tourqe. Comfy and handles, talk about fast. What more could you ask for ?
Karl Gauthier Jr -The Beast  May 9, 2010 06:38 PM
I have owned spotbikes for over 10 years now and I am blown away with this Beast.
The bike handles well and is super powerfull.
I bought the yoshi slip ons but I wish I had went with the full system. Reason being is because I want to get rid of even more weight and pointless emissions parts- carbon canister- exhaust flap and the cat.Don't know if I will throw a code though?
After that I want to add a PC and a K+N filter., for better performance and ride ability.Should produce some great numbers!
But the bike is awesome, I love it, and I love that alot of people think it is ugly because it helps make mine unique.

Thanks, Karl Any thoughts hit me up- jrsicklids@yahoo.com
Scott Hayward -B-KING  December 18, 2009 06:04 AM
Pornogrind - I lost my mind and taste!  November 30, 2009 09:32 AM
out of control i lost taste of speed.Greece is small for us.I should go Austria to get realy tired.
Joyce -B-KING  November 21, 2009 04:56 PM
I bought my husband the grey two tone ABS for our 10th anniversary gift! He absolutely LOVES it. We have a garage full of bikes, but this is his ALL time favorite. It was a "DREAM BIKE" and I made the dream come true! Road it from Orlando, Florida home (Spartanburg, SC) in one day! Smoothest ride ever! IF YOU LOVE YOUR HUBBY, BUY HIM ONE!!!!
B king -Brock's pipe PC3 186 BHP  September 7, 2009 02:20 AM
My friend has a B king and he put a brocks full shorty system on it with a power commander and it dyno'd at 186 and 104 ft*lbs after tuning the PC. It is amazingly fast and has never been beat by anything in our area, even busa's and ZX14's can't beat it to the speed limiter!
Jack -B-King  July 3, 2009 06:35 PM
Bought one. Hugely discounted in Florida. Drove it home over 500 miles. Everything they say is true: great handling, brakes, suspension, comfort and POWER. Everyone should experience cracking the throttle on one of these. Words don't do it justice - you gotta be there. Big surprise was how nimble this monster is in town. Hats off to Suzuki, this bike is the total package.
franky -b king  May 3, 2009 01:39 PM
I had one of that b king here in Hungary.best bike what I have ever had or ride.powerfull and the torque as like a boeing/the big one/nobody think the handling like 600 sportbike.
Brian -B-King is incredible  April 16, 2009 05:33 AM
I have owned many bikes over the years and I have had my B-King for just over a week. I can honestly say this is the absolute best bike I have ever owned - by a long shot. The biggest surprise is the handling. You simply have to ride it to believe it. The B-King really feels like it's on rails - at all speeds. Do I need to mention the power? "Take her to warp seven Scotty" Just incredible. Brian bc24@mweb.co.za
Chris -King Kong  April 11, 2009 04:45 PM
I've got one. It is the shizzle. All other bikes should bow on one knee...
shaun evans -b king  March 22, 2009 01:49 PM
I,ve had the lot, R1,s, GSXR,s the suzuki b king is so so underated, huge torque, fantastic and nimble in traffic, just point and squirt. for such a big bike it handles really well. As long as you remember this is a muscle bike and not a sports bike. Although this will destroy everything in a straight line up to 140mph, and with a good rider on board in the bends aswell. Mines running scorpian ends cans with pc111 and making 172bhp at the back wheel......awesome.
Andre Fourie -B-King  March 17, 2009 05:27 AM
I have a ZX14,a Triumph Tiger 1050, and have just bought a B-King. I have never been a fan of Susuki's, but I took my bike for it's first ride on Sunday (21/03/09), and i am CONVERTED. This is by far the best bike I have ever had. I am fitting a pair of Yoshi slipon pipes tonight. Cannot wait to heat the sound Never thought I would ever have so much fun on a bike as this one E-mail me : andref23@mwweb.co.za
Carlos Gonzalez -BEST RIDE TEST AND ARTICLE ABOUT suzuki B KING  January 25, 2009 08:35 AM
Great ride test and article. Best ever about Suzuki B King. Thanks Adam. Carlos Gonzalez MEXICO CITY
Maxster -2009 VMax  December 2, 2008 09:51 AM
WVBking -B-king  December 1, 2008 05:33 PM
I went with the yoshimura carbon slip-ons and fender eliminator kit. I liked the stock pipes, but these look and sound better. The king is the best bike I've owned. I had an R1 previously and loved the power but the thing punished me on long rides. This bike is more powerful( unbelievable torque) and very comfortable to ride. You would think that the R1 would handle better but I feel faster on the King through the turns. Great bike, I can't believe there not more popular. Shoot, they will outrun a Hayabusa through the quarter. Check out motoaus.com for the proof.
John -vague  November 29, 2008 06:03 PM
Give us some NUMBERS!
Rowan -B-King  November 10, 2008 10:31 PM
The B-King is an awsome bike, it handles great. I have one myself here in South Africa. E-mail me rowan400@webmail.co.za