Track blast sug­gests new GSX-R1000R could be the top dog

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - MICHAEL NEEVES SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER michael.neeves@mo­tor­cy­cle­

‘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.

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