The Suzuki GSX-R1000 – Can it Match Up to the Competition?
Motorcycle manufacturer Suzuki has been out of the title picture for “King of the Superbikes” for quite some time now. While they deliver the perfect goods year after year, they lose out to rival Japanese manufacturers Yamaha and Honda. For motorcycle enthusiasts, every bit is important – whether it be better electronics, better traction control, more horsepower or even a revamped look. The last time Suzuki updated the GSX-R1000 was back in 2012, with changes in the exhaust, suspension and brakes. For this particular workhorse, Suzuki made major changes way back in 2009. Come 2017, Suzuki is again set to scorch the tarmac with this brand new beast, the 2017 edition of the GSX-R1000.
Performance – The beast under the fairing
The GSX-R1000 is a complete roadster, meant for the roads more than the track. Its higher-spec version, the Suzuki GSX-R1000R is a pure track thoroughbred racing bike. Both the models share the engine, frame and bodywork, with the updated version getting a better suspension.
The engine of the GSX-R1000 has been upgraded significantly, with an increased bore of 76.0mm x 55.1mm, up from the previous 74.5mm x 57.2mm, providing better top-end performance, as well as shorter pistons for lighter weight and a better compression ratio. The entire valve train has been upgraded, with bigger cam lobes and high-performance titanium exhaust valves replacing the steel valves. The resultant loss of weight has let the designers take up the rev limit up to 14500 RPM, a huge increase by an astounding 1000 RPM. A variable valve timing system takes the bike at par with its MotoGP counterparts, resulting in a good mid-range power delivery with a smoother bottom end.
The frame has been made slimmer by 20mm at its widest point, and 60mm wider at the rear engine mount, which the company states would absorb all vibrations, with longer swingarms on both sides for superior rigidity. All these help to provide improved mechanical rear tyre traction; although, on litre-class bikes, electronics are the only answer for complete traction control and the company has equipped the GSX-R1000 with an IMU-based 10-step traction control system. In addition, the smart ABS uses the roll data from the IMU to provide a cornering ABS for greater stability.
The bike packs in a lot of stopping power with 10mm larger Brembo disc braking system, and monoblock front callipers. The Showa Big Piston front forks and Showa Balance Free Rear Lite Cushion shock complete the suspension package.
Design – Racing all the way
The Suzuki GSX-R1000 has taken cues directly from its MotoGP racing bikes, with a narrower front fairing, featuring a dual intake valve, with smoother lines forming lower drag. The instrument cluster is completely revamped, with a full LCD cluster with a fuel indicator – a first in a Suzuki litre-class bike. On the streets, the bike is sure to let people take a look at it, with its racing-inspired design.
Ride – The thoroughbred on the streets
Suzuki did not make this bike to dominate the dyno tests at the pit but built it to be a thoroughbred racer on the track as well as the street. The power delivery has been on the smoother side, with corner exits bordering smooth due to the changes made in the variable valve timing system. Past the 10000 RPM mark, the bike starts to rev more freely, giving enough steam to get past the traffic with ease. The engine is more punchy, with greater vibrations, but is compensated by a smooth transmission system. The engineers at Suzuki has perfected the Traction Control system, with 10 settings meant for riding on the track, the street and wet riding conditions. The new chassis gives the bike better contact with the tarmac, minimising impractical riding when leaning over onto the side.
Suzuki has finally delivered a bike that lived up to the hype the company had in its heyday in the early 2000s. It is a clear-cut street machine built like a track rider and has improved upon the feel of erstwhile GSX-R series machines. In a class where every millisecond in performance changes buyer opinion, the bike has presented tough competition to the likes of Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and Aprilia.