Suzuki zooms past rivals
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
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
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