Suzuki zooms past ri­vals

NT News - Motoring - - CRAIG DUFF CARS GUIDE - SUZUKI GSX-R600 Price: En­gine: Trans­mis­sion: Seat height: Fuel tank: Brakes: Sus­pen­sion: Weight: War­ranty:

A DIET to make a supermodel proud and looks to match have made Suzuki’s race-ready GSX-R600 the pick of the su­per­sports crop.

The 2011 model has shed 9kg to be the most ride­able bike in the field — the ‘‘on­the-fly’’ ad­justable en­gine maps just give it the edge over the Honda— and is still more of a track weapon than most rid­ers can cope with. VALUE: The 600cc Suzuki sits near the top of the Su­per­sports price tree — and with good rea­son. Its $15,690 price is $300 cheaper than Yamaha’s track-fo­cused R6, $200 dearer than Honda’s CBR 600RR and $700 up on the Ninja ZX-6R from Kawasaki.

That puts it pretty much in per­spec­tive and buy­ers have de­cided the same way, mak­ing the GSX-600 R the best-sell­ing bike in the field with 235 sales to date against 186 for the Tri­umph Day­tona 675 and 180 for the Honda.

Tri­umph has two mod­els here, though — the race- ready Day­tona R at $15,880 and the Day­tona 675 A1 at $13,890. STYLING: The ver­ti­cally stacked head­lights and mir­ror-mounted in­di­ca­tors are the big­gest vis­ual changes to the 2011 model. The weight-loss pro­gram ex­tended to the body­work, with a 35 per cent cut in the weight of the plas­tic panels.

That was helped by short­en­ing the wheel­base 15mm — one of the rea­sons the Gixxer drops in faster than a nosy next-door neigh­bour — wind-tun­nel work to hone the shape and iden­tify which panels could be light­ened. The dash lay­out has ana­logue tacho

dig­i­tal speedo.

The pick of the su­per­sports crop

an with TECH­NOL­OGY: The Showa Big Pis­ton Forks are an in- verted tele­scopic sys­tem that uses the en­tire fork leg to con­tain the spring.

As a re­sult the pis­ton sur­face area is about four times larger than a com­pa­ra­ble car­tridge type shot, mean­ing the oil doesn’t travel as fast dur­ing com­pres­sion or re­bound. They’ve been around for a while and re­sist div­ing, even with a hefty pull on the front brakes. SAFETY: The en­gine-map mode switch — and in­tel­li­gent use of the right wrist — helps rein in the Suzuki in the wet or heavy traf­fic. It is a bit like dop­ing Usain Bolt, but if it gets you to your desti­na­tion, who cares. The Brembo monoblock brakes are new for 2011, too.

Suzuki has been a pioneer with bike-mounted ABS sys­tems but re­sists the move to use it on sports­bikes. The Brem­bos prob­a­bly show why — the bite’s as vi­cious as a pit bull but you al­ways get a warn­ing be­fore it locks on and bowls you over. RID­ING: There’s a whiff of testos­terone be­tween the su­per­sports bikes on the track— but 99 per cent of the 600cc cat­e­gory sales are rid­den on the road.

And it’s here the Suzuki has the bat­tle won. It is the equal light­weight with the Yamaha but the ex­tra midrange grunt and less re­lent­less rid­ing po­si­tion makes it a bet­ter bike on week­end runs. Wind the Suzuki up $15,690

599cc in-line four­cylin­der, 92.5kw/70nm

Six-speed,

chain-drive

810mm 17 litres Dual 310mm front dics with Brembo fourpis­ton calipers, rear 220mm disc with Nissin sin­glepis­ton caliper

41mm Showa BPF front forks with preload, re­bound and com­pres­sion damp­ing, rear Showa monoshock­with preload, re­bound and high/ low speed com­pres­sion ad­just­ment 187kg

Two years, un­lim­ited km to­wards the 15,500rpm red­line and it still has that manic, ride-me-on-ther­ims rush that makes su­per­sports spe­cial. VER­DICT: Shav­ing ki­los has made it an eas­ier ma­chine to ma­noeu­vre on the road or track and that’s been boosted with the Showa/ Brembo duo keep­ing the front end tidy and com­mu­nica­tive. For now, it’s the su­per­sports to buy.

Get the Suzuki GSX-R600 for just $15,690

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