Suzuki's Recursion – a Buell by any other name


November 21, 2013

The Suzuki Recursion prototype (Photo: Mike Hanlon /

The Suzuki Recursion prototype (Photo: Mike Hanlon /

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Suzuki's Recursion concept shown at the Tokyo Motor Show yesterday looks very much like it has taken a leaf from the Erik Buell book of motorcycle design – light weight, mass centralization, broad usable power, and minimalism.

While the underslung muffler is reminiscent, you might be excused in missing other similarities, as the forced induction 600cc parallel-twin engine is at first glance quite different to the big 1200cc V-twin of a Buell.

In actual fact, it's not. Read the figures and you get a very similar powerband to the Buell of yore with its Harley Davidson motor. It is the common philosophy which is most obvious. All the mass centralization hallmarks are there, but motor is the most interesting parallel. The turbo-charged middleweight-sized engine produces 74 kW (99 hp) at 8,000 rpm, but it's the meaty midrange which you might miss if you're not reading carefully – it boasts a hefty 100 Nm (74 ft-lb) of torque at just 4,500 rpm.

Now let's compare that to the 1200cc Buell Lightning I tested back in 2004, which had 100 hp, a dry weight of 175 kg/386 lb (compared to the Suzuki's 174 kg/384 lb), and peak torque of 114 Nm (84 ft-lb) at 6,000 rpm, compared to the Suzuki's 100 Nm (74 ft-lb) at 4,500 rpm.

The Suzuki produces slightly less torque, but it delivers it much earlier. If you were one of those people like myself who got a bit disenchanted with the lag then rush of turbocharged motorcycles in their first coming, (Honda's CX500, Yamaha XJ650, Kawasaki's GPZ750 and Suzuki XN85), things have come a long way in three decades, and the Recursion is likely to have a more refined throttle response and wider powerband than the Lightning.

The Recursion prototype also sports some interesting tech and design ideas in the form of a space-age dash, a newly designed switchgear designed to make it easier to thumb through the bike's functions and a "haptic feedback pad" in the sides of the seat which combine with the front-mounted camera to alert the rider when there is a high risk of collision.

It looks a treat, it won't hunt and splutter on a hot day, and will make for a very sweet ride with none of the Harley's eccentricities ... if it ever sees production.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

I think it will be produced, as Suzuki needs to play catch-up to the Yamaha's FZ-9, which a turbo 600 twin looks to be capable of doing. It may even look much like the show bike. Suzuki badly needs to get back into the mid-sized arena with a do-it-all bike such as the iconic SV650 but packing more punch. Just make sure the suspension is up to the task; Suzuki should consider offering a higher tier model with upgraded suspension bits for more $$$ for the few who value good handling along with the engine "boost". The electronics look interesting; hopefully the info it contains is easily accessible. I'm not so sure about the switchgear, but I see where they need to make the new electronically available info easy to get at. Plus they need to incorporate traction control, power control, etc. into the mix as well. I do think this is a nice package, and eagerly await the final product.


Behold, the Suzuki SnowMoBuel! I just cannot get over the looks of this bike and not in a good way. A trim, light, and sporty back end and then there's that whole snowmobile looking fairing thing that throws out both the baby and the bathwater. It almost looks like someone just jammed on a bulky and cheap fairing from some sketchy aftermarket website. So much so that it makes me almost think that unintentional and terrifying front wheel stoppies would be an all too common occurrence when grabbing some front shoe.

And please don't take my aesthetic criticisms as being anti-Suzuki. They have released some incredible beasts into the wild like the 'Busas and Gixers that will always hold their well deserved spots in two-wheeled history. There are some other very good concepts here and I say go fearlessly into the lag reduced turbo territory, but maybe rethink some of the styling considerations here.


"it won't hunt and splutter on a hot day, and will make for a very sweet ride with none of the Harley's eccentricities ... if it ever sees production."

Why do you say that? Do you think Suzukis don't have eccentricities? You are not very experienced if you say that. And you think a turbo on a bike engine will work perfectly now that Suzuki says so? Biased much? As much as I'd like to see this bike work well, the anti-Buell language puts a sour taste in my mouth. A worthy site publishes unbiased information - and not the way Fox News claims to.

Mark in MI

Mark, to be fair, Mike is VERY experienced, having been the editor and publisher of Australian Motorcycle News when it was a great mag. And it Suzuki hasn't leant something over the past 30 years about EFI turbos then it shouldn't be offering it. And yes, a number of Buell's suffered from rideability glitches, particularly the EFI models. And I agree that the front end styling leaves a bit to be desired, but I guess it has to cover up the ugly turbo. I should add that in standard trim Buell's never made 100 hp, but that never made them less of a joy to ride. My own modified M2 Cyclone has a genuine 100 hp at the rear wheels, and is a blast !

Martin Hone
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