Big Twin Rumble: Suzuki 1400 Intruder VS1400

A closer look at the Suzuki 1400 Intruder VS1400

Suzuki 1400 Intruder VS1400
Suzuki 1400 Intruder VS1400Kevin Wing

More than a decade ago, the 1400 Intruder proved that the Japanese (Suzuki, at least) really could build a cruiser that could stand on the merits of its own style. The Intruder's good looks weren't just in the overall lines, but in the details, and an overall level of finish that to this day is unequaled. Now just a bit out of step with the current fat-fender rage, the Intruder nonetheless lacks some of the less-than-flattering angles on some of its competition.

Suzuki should get an award for clever packaging. The 1360cc V-twin has its cylinders splayed at a narrow (and visually appealing) 45 degrees, without a bit of clutter to distract the eye from the towering air/oil-cooled cylinders. Amazingly, engineers were able to hide a pair of 36mm Keihins—one in the V and the other behind the rear cylinder—without resorting to bogus covers or oversize air filters. They did run a little short of fuel room however, finding space for only 3.4 gallons in the skinny tank.

Suzuki 1400 Intruder VS1400
The 1360cc V-twin has its cylinders spayed at a narrow 45 degrees, without a bit of clutter to distract the eye from the towering air/oil-cooled cylinders.Kevin Wing

Along with the narrow V-angle comes a good measure of vibration, something that was neatly dispatched in the Intruder's case with an offset-pin crankshaft. Unlike the 800 Intruder, the big bike dispenses with liquid-cooling and four-valve cylinder heads, neither of which are as critical when there are plenty of cubic inches to shoulder the load. The 1400's single-cam three-valve heads have rockers with threaded adjusters. Like the big Kawasaki, the Intruder sends its power to the rear wheel through a four-speed transmission and shaft final drive.

Beauty rules in the Intruder’s chassis department, with a frame that does double duty as structure and style. Styling set the steering geometry at a rakish (literally) 36 degrees, with trail stretching out past 6.5 inches. Such super-slow steering geometry could be a real hardship at low speed, if not for the Intruder’s relatively svelte 572-pound wet weight, some 69 pounds less than the next lightest machine here. Suspension is distinctly mainstream by comparison, with a non-adjustable fork and preload-adjustable dual shocks out back.

This article was originally published in the February 1997 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.

Suzuki 1400 Intruder VS1400
Suzuki 1400 Intruder VS1400Suzuki
Specifications
Designation: VS1400GLPT (1997)
Suggested Base Price: $8,499 (1997)
Standard Colors: Dusk Blue/Milky White, Pearl Black/Candy Maroon
Extra-cost Colors: N/A
Standard Warranty: 12 mo., unlimited miles
Recommended Service Interval: 7500 miles
Engine & Drivetrain
Type: Air-cooled 45-degree tandem V-twin
Valve Arrangement: SOHC, 2 intake, 1 exhaust valve, operated by rockers, threaded adjusters
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1360cc, 94mm x 98mm
Compression Ratio: 9.3:1
Carburetion: 2, 36mm Mikuni CV
Lubrication: Wet sump, 5.3 qt
Transmission: Wet, multiplate clutch; 4 speeds
Final Drive: Shaft, 2.666:1
Chassis
Wheels: Wire-spoke, 19 x 2.15 front, 15 x 4.00 rear
Front Tire: 110/90-19 Bridgestone Excedra G307 tube-type
Rear Tire: 170/80-15 Bridgestone Excedra GS-44 tube-type
Front Brake: Double-action caliper, 11.6-in. disc
Rear Brake: Double-action caliper, 11.0-in. disc
Front Suspension: 41mm stanchions, 6.3 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Dual dampers, 4.1 in. travel, adjustable for preload
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gal. (0.8. gal. reserve)
Handlebar width: 28.5 in.
Electrical & Instrumentation
Charging Output: 300 watts
Battery: 12v, 14AH
Forward Lighting: 55/60-watt 5.5-in. headlight, position lights
Taillight: Single bulb
Instruments: Speedometer, odometer, tripmeter; warning lights for high beam, turn signals, neutral, oil pressure, low fuel
Performance
Fuel Mileage: 39 to 46 mpg, 42.6 mpg average
Average Range: 145 miles
RPM at 60mph, top gear: 3100
200 yard, top-gear acceleration from 50 mph, terminal speed: 82.2 mph
Quater-mile Acceleration: 13.71 sec. @ 93.2 mph