8 Most-Common Problems With Suzuki Bandit 1200 (Explained!)

The Suzuki Bandit 1200 was first released back in 1996 and enjoyed an 11-year production run finishing in 2007.

The Bandit 1200 was a 1157cc inline-four motorcycle paired with a 5-speed constant mesh transmission.

It underwent numerous changes over the years, most significantly in 2001, 2004 and 2006.

This article explains “the 8 Most-Common Problems with Suzuki Bandit 1200″…

What Are The 5 Biggest Common Bandit 1200 Problems?

The Suzuki Bandit 1200 was generally a well-received bike, but it did also have some problems.

The first was an oil-burning problem in some earlier models, especially around 2000-2001. Many owners reported oil speaking through the control rings and into the combustion chambers and being burned with fuel. This created huge amounts of blue smoke in the exhaust fumes, which is a huge problem.

Another common problem was the quality of the stock shock.

There were many complaints about the poor quality of the OEM shock that came as standard, and so it was swapped out on many bikes to improve ride quality.

The pre-2001 models suffered from below-average brakes that, like the stock shock, had to be improved on by the owner if they wanted better performance.

This was improved with new six-piston units after 2001.

Vibrations in the bike were also quite common.

From the side mirrors to the footpegs, as soon as the Bandit 1200 reached the higher range of RPMs, these shudders would come, making the ride somewhat uncomfortable and unsettling at times.

One final issue to speak of was rust in the exhaust pipe, especially on the earlier models.

Even when this was fixed, there was a similar corrosion problem on the wiring loom which was known to lead to certain electrical problems.

Most Possible Solutions?

Arguably the most serious and urgent problem that owners encountered was oil burning.

The only solution to this, in just about every case, was for the bike to be fitted with new pistons, rings, and sleeves.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it was typically covered by the warranty and carried out at proper Suzuki centers.

As for the stock shock, there was nothing to be done other than to swap it out for an alternative one.

Some kept it simple by installing stiffer springs, which they said was good for the forks, others invested in jack-up kits with longer dog bones on the back suspension.

In earlier models, the only thing to be done was to replace brake calipers and pads and hope that it would improve performance.

The good news is that in most cases it did.

The long-term solution came from Suzuki improving the brakes with new six-piston units that performed much better.

Vibrations were found to be most common to bikes that were only ridden very occasionally and not as regular rides.

The solution is typically found in balancing the carburetor and pilot screw settings.

By taking them down to three-three and three-quarters respectively, they could ensure a smoother ride.

For the issue of rust on the exhaust, the only solution was a very regular and thorough cleaning and drying job on the exhaust.

These steps were necessary to clear the exhaust of any and all contaminants that might be causing the oxidation and corrosion.

Road salt was a big culprit, but with proper washing, it could be controlled.

The 3 Minor Common Problems Reported From Owners:

One minor problem reported by some owners was that the rear-view mirrors were not effective.

Some even declared that all the mirrors could do was “give you a good view of your elbows.”

There are some owners from the late 1990s who also complained that the chains they were using were being broken too easily.

Some of these cases are people using aftermarket chains and not OEM units, however, so it’s hard to know for sure who’s to blame.

Paint chipping on the steel frame was another issue that some pointed to, which also led to rust.

Is The Bandit 1200 Reliable?

Overall, reliability in the Suzuki Bandit 1200 is rated quite highly. The engine in particular received very few complaints.

In true Suzuki fashion, the engine was simply built, but sturdy and durable.

In the area of the engine and powertrain, the only component that presented some difficulty with reliability was the carburetor.

It quite easily and quickly became gummed up with contaminants that then made it difficult to start the bike.

This meant that Bandit 1200 owners had to clean out their carburetors a little more frequently than many others.

In the worst-case scenarios, the carburetors had to be rebuilt and many parts replaced.

Aside from the carburetor, there were also some issues with corrosion and rust.

The exhaust was the most common area, but also sometimes the frame if the paint was chipped, and also in the wiring loom, which could lead to electrical issues.

Therefore, besides the carburetor issue and some other minor problems, the reliability of the Bandit 1200 is excellent.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Suzuki Bandit 1200?


The first pro of the Bandit 1200 is certainly the overall quality of its engine and power.

It offered an especially good 68lb-ft of torque and 100hp which allowed it to be a powerful bike when needed.

The engine build was solid and strong, and though not a fancy or advanced unit, did what you needed from it.

A second strong area for the Bandit 1200 is handling.

The capable engine and nimble frame allowed it to be deftly ridden even through the tightest bends with comfort and ease.

Another great advantage of the Suzuki Bandit 1200 is that there is a huge aftermarket parts market open to owners.

The Bandit 1200 is to the motorcycle world what the Android smartphone is to the software world – wide open.

The great choice of aftermarket parts and professional modding shops mean that even owners of older Bandit 1200s can easily update and upgrade their bikes to become more in line with newer models.

They can also easily improve on stock faults.


One definite problem with the Bandit 1200 was some of the stock equipment and parts in early models.

The stock shock, for example, as well as the easily-corroded exhaust, and even the brakes had to be upgraded to get to a more pleasing level for many riders.

The ease of corrosion in the exhaust and frame (when paint chipped) is also a con because it means that owners have to be constantly cleaning and caring for those surfaces to a degree that most bike owners don’t.

The final downside of the Bandit 1200, and the biggest mechanical problem, is the carburetor.

It so easily gets gummed up and needs cleaning, but even worse than that is the fact that if you don’t clean it enough, you will face the challenge and/or expense of rebuilding the carburetor.

Is The Suzuki Bandit 1200 Fast?

Yes, by almost any definition the Bandit 1200 is a fast bike. It boasts a top speed of 145mph and can cover a quarter-mile in just 11.3 seconds.

It certainly wasn’t among the fastest motorcycles, especially compared with modern alternatives, but for a bike of that time, 145mph is still an impressive rating.

What Is The Resale Price?

On average, among used models, you would likely pay between $3100 and $5200 for a good-quality Suzuki Bandit 1200.

You might expect to pay a little more than that if the bike has been upgraded or modified with newer, more modern parts.

The bike is no longer in production, with the very newest models already being 13-14 years old.

This means that almost no Suzuki Bandit 1200 that you buy will suffer from serious depreciation if you take care of it.

This also means that they are great value bikes to purchase.

Are Suzuki Still Producing The Bandit?

The Suzuki Bandit as a series is still in production and has been since 1989.

Only one model remains in production, however, which is the Suzuki Bandit 150 with its 147cc liquid-cooled engine. It was released in 2018 and is still in production today.

The Bandit 1200, on the other hand, ceased production in 2006 with the last models going into the 2007 model year.

Though seemingly early, it was not among the earliest Bandit models to cease production.

Where Was The Bandit Motorcycle Made?

The Suzuki Bandit was produced across three facilities in Japan, the first in Ryuyo where development started, the second was Takatsuka where the engines were made, and the third was Toyokawa where the bikes were assembled.

The newest bandit model is now built in a consolidated plant in Hamamatsu, where Suzuki’s corporate headquarters is located.

Does Suzuki Have A New Version Of The Bandit?

Yes, in 2018 they launched the Bandit 150, and smaller-cc bike, which is the first single-cylinder bike Suzuki has launched in this series.

It was first unveiled at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show in South Tangerang.

It was originally developed to satisfy the Indonesian market demand for comfortable commuter bikes.

Since 2019, it has also been exported from Indonesia to Thailand.