What do you get for your money?
Everything you need to go fast on road or track and not a lot else. Apart from the three-way switching on K7 models and beyond, there’s nothing in the way of gizmos and rider aids (well, until ABS came along as an option in 2014). Even when BMW in particular started piling on the tech with the S1000RR, the GSX-R stuck doggedly to its analogue approach (you get the impression the designers would have used carburettors if they could have got away with it). Fortunately that’s just how owners like it — they want the purity of throttle, brake, clutch and gearbox, unfiltered by electronics. There’s also the handy bonus that there’s a lot less to go wrong...
What you do get is switchable power modes from 2007, along with adjustable footrests, a smart steering damper, gear position indicator and an unwelcome extra in the first of a series of aesthetically-disastrous exhausts. These were legislation-induced but it’s as though Suzuki’s designers gave up, saying ‘You know what, everyone’s going to change the pipes anyway, so why should we bother?’
From 2009-on, you get a big technological makeover, with a whole new chassis wrapped around an all-new engine. It looked more or less like the old bike though, so most people will only notice the Showa Big Piston Forks — and an even uglier pair of exhaust cans (designers now working notice, can’t be bothered). And from 2012, a load more tweaks and the move to one huge, single exhaust can (designers now cleared desks, tea boy in charge).
The GSX-R1000 is in the business of going fast. And business is good
If the engine on a bike you’re looking at resembles this, walk away
If you’re in any doubt as to its intentions, a redline that starts at 14k should put you straight
Smooth and aerodynamic front end helps terminal velocity
Adjustable Showa BPFS (2009-on) allow bespoke set-up for all riders