FIRST TEST G SX-R1000
Track blast suggests new GSX-R1000R could be the top dog
‘There’s a torrent of power through the rev range thanks to Suzuki’s new tech’
They’ve taken their time, but Suzuki’s new GSX-R1000R is finally here – and it’s a cracker.
At the launch of the sixthgeneration GSX-R at Phillip Island, the engine rightly takes centre stage. It’s smaller, lighter and loaded with the oomph needed to compete with the current crop of superbikes.
Stab the one-touch starter and the over-square 999cc inline four-cylinder motor barks into life. It’s as raw and angry as ever, snorting and growling through its airbox and titanium pipe.
At full noise around this Motogp circuit it’s clear the new Suzuki is fast – Zx-10r/r1/panigale quick – as it should be with a claimed 199bhp. But, more impressively, there’s a torrent of power through the rev range, thanks to Suzuki’s Broad Power System which includes new exhaust valves, secondary injectors, dual stage inlet trumpets and the new VVT system.
The new motor combines old-school GSX-R1000 grunt with a modern superbike top end rush, a flawless power curve and an accurate throttle. There’s so much grunt you can go a gear higher through corners and still be rapid, which is good news on the road.
A new six-speed, close-ratio cassette gearbox precisely slices through cogs and is ably assisted by a super-slick quickshifter and autoblipper system.
Electric dreams realised
The GSX-R now has every silicone bell and whistle available. Wheelie, launch and a 10-stage traction control are all controlled by a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which is right up there with the best systems around. Crack the gas and the traction control holds you safely in a spin or slide. Open the throttle a bit more and you drive forward smoothly with no electronic cuts or splutters.
It’s the same story with the wheelie control, which softly retards power as the front lifts under hard acceleration, saving you the effort of having to climb over the front wheel. And if you don’t believe in electronics you can turn the traction and wheelie control off.
Lean-sensitive cornering ABS is a no-brainer for the road, but it intrudes slightly on the track under very heavy braking. It can’t be switched off, but we tried it disconnected...
On point chassis
With revised Brembo caliper settings and bigger discs (up 10mm to 320mm) the stopping power is strong, but there’s a little bit of feel missing and some fade after a handful of hard laps. But the GSX-R’S brakes have more bite than those on the R1 and ZX-10R.
Handling was never a GSX-R1000 weak point, but Suzuki have gifted their new machine a compact new aluminium beam frame and longer swingarm to sharpen things up.
New Showa suspension gives a plush ride and lots of feeling for grip. But the standard set-up is road-soft and needs tweaking for the circuit.
Low speed agility is superb, but it takes effort to make quick direction changes at speed and hold a line in faster corners. It’s here where the stiffer-set, pointier superbikes could be crisper on track.
With its tiny chassis and slinky bodywork the new 1000 feels spookily similar to a GSX-R600/750 to sit on. The riding position is typical GSX-R: short, stubby, but there’s plenty of legroom for taller riders and the seat is comfy.
A true contender
The new GSX-R1000R has the power, straight-line speed, grunt off the corners and riding aids to keep up with its rivals. But it’s got its work cut out.
We only have to wait a few weeks to find out when we test them all together. However, for the first time since the iconic K5 the Suzuki is now going to be in the running for honour of being top dog.