NEW SUZUKI GSX R1000
Suzuki’s GSX R1000 has been out of the spotlight, outclassed by sharper, smarter rivals. No more. Say hello to their all-new 2017 superbike
Yes, it's got traction control, modes and flashing lights. Suzuki's new flagship also brings genuine engineering and engine cunning, however. This is big.
WE DON’T HAVE things that are just ‘new’ anymore. Oh no. When something is updated it simply has to be referred to as ‘all-new’. Doesn’t matter if it’s a lightly spruced bike, a mobile phone with more functions or the next run of a television series – it’s got to have the ‘all’ prefix. In the case of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 the term is more than deserved, however. It might not be a visual revolution but it’s new from slimline nose to rocket launcher can. You can count the number of significant parts that it shares with the outgoing GSX-R1000 on the fingers of no hands. We saw it this time last year, of course. The ‘prototype’ was wheeled out at major shows, including Motorcycle Live, and there were noises about a launch. Then it all got blurred. There was confusion over a release date. It might be spring. Then it was going to be a 2017 model, released in the summer. Then it all went disappointingly quiet. The wait has been worth it, mind. The new GSX-R is not only a definite, certain, coming-soon model for next year, it’s also much changed from the concept shown last year. About the only thing the engine has in common with the outgoing bike is its inline four arrangement. There’s a wider bore, shorter stroke and 1000 more revs, finger followers rather than bucket and shims, and a heady 13.2:1 compression ratio. And, using tech from their Motogp race bike, the new GSX-R has variable valve timing too, along with ride-by-wire throttle
‘There’s much more going on here than new electronics’
control, exhaust valves in the headers’ balance pipes. No power figure yet, but we’re told to expect around 200bhp. Electronic management allows a giddying array of widgets. There’s ten-level traction control, three modes and ABS, and a widescreen digital display carrying endless data, including gear position, traction setting, fuel info and everything else. The aluminium twin-spar frame is new, with the expected ‘optimised rigidity’. However it’s also 10% lighter and 20mm slimmer. New swingarm and wheels, too. Suspension is Showa and similar to that of the departing version, with their big piston front fork. No chassis geometry info yet. Maybe they’re still riding round sucking wind, rubbing chins and arguing over last-minute tweaks. Not enough? Fear not, there’s also a GSX-R1000R. Engine spec is the same, however it uses Showa’s plush ‘balance free’ forks and shock, and adds launch control, cornering ABS and a quickshifter (for both up and down changes). Natty LED strips above the air intakes, too. It’s easy to see the new electronics and decide the GSX-R is now like a Kawasaki ZX-10R or Yamaha R1. But there’s more going on. If the variable timing delivers on its promise (see box-out, next page) this engine could mean the Suzuki has the kind of impact made by the first GSX-R1000 in 2001 and the legendary K5. Prices should be available by Motorcycle Live. Expect the GSX-R1000R to be in the ballpark of the ZX-10R, and the cheaper base version to be a serious proposition.
New large-screen dash, rather tasty Showa fork tops, GSX S switchgear
R version uses Showa’s ash ‘balance free’ suspension
R’s front fork is the same type as used on the rival ZX 10R
LED light? Of course. LEDS for the number plate too