How to un­lock this unloved litre bike’s awe­some po­ten­tial...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - Contents -

How to im­prove Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 K7-8.

Words Jon Urry | Photography Suzuki & Bauer Ar­chive

TEPPING OUT of the shadow of a suc­cess­ful sib­ling is never easy, and the the suc­ces­sor is of­ten un­favourably com­pared to its fore­run­ner. That’s ex­actly what hap­pened with the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7 – and to com­pound mat­ters, this gen­er­a­tion was also the first to be sad­dled by strin­gent emis­sions laws.

Launched in 2007, the K7 was al­ways go­ing to face an up­hill strug­gle. Not only was the K5/6 gen­er­a­tion it re­placed sim­ply sublime, but the K7/8 was also forced to carry un­sightly, and heavy, twin si­lencers to con­form with new leg­is­la­tion. It was the up­date that failed to move the GSX-R1000 for­ward and as a re­sult was one of the more un­pop­u­lar gen­er­a­tions. How­ever it doesn’t take much to trans­form this slug­gish snail into a full-on rac­ing snake... Strip off those ugly, and heavy, ex­hausts and al­low the up­dated 999cc mo­tor to breath prop­erly and the K7 will re­ward you with a boost of midrange as well as lighter han­dling. Al­low it to fuel as Suzuki in­tended and that midrange grows even big­ger bi­ceps. Throw in a new set of cams and you are talk­ing Arnie-sized mus­cles be­ing flexed! This is a bike that re­wards min­i­mal in­vest­ment with max­i­mum gains and for less than £7000 you can eas­ily buy one and turn it into a 190bhp mis­sile. Have we got your at­ten­tion now? Well let our ex­perts guide you on how to trans­form this hugely un­der­rated ma­chine into a bike that does its dis­tin­guished GSX-R her­itage proud...

CHAS­SIS Dar­ren Wnukoski

“Ah, the wheel­bar­row GSX-R1000, which is a cruel nick­name be­cause this model is a fun­da­men­tally good bike; it’s just ham­pered by some ter­ri­ble stan­dard sus­pen­sion that makes it un­sta­ble, un­for­giv­ing and harsh. But hap­pily, it’s eas­ily sorted and for min­i­mal money these can be trans­formed into lovely bikes.

“The K7/8 has a high-speed com­pres­sion ad­juster which ba­si­cally does noth­ing at all – se­ri­ously, it’s use­less, and when you take the forks apart you can’t even work out how it is meant to work, it’s that bad! We put a softer set of springs in the forks along­side a qual­ity fork oil and then tweak this part and change the valv­ing. These mod­i­fi­ca­tions al­low the oil to flow mer­rily around the sys­tem whereas be­fore it would get choked up, con­tribut­ing to the harsh ride.

“The stan­dard shock is pretty good, but it does need ei­ther set­ting up or a re-valve. I’d rec­om­mend a re-valve as the OE oil is crap and by now the rear shock will be well due a ser­vice any­way, so you might as well get it re­built to fu­ture-proof the bike.

“You don’t need to spend a for­tune on the K7/8 to make them work prop­erly. In ad­di­tion to the nor­mal ser­vic­ing costs, which are £150 for the forks and £106 for a shock, you are talk­ing £90 to re-valve the forks plus £85 for a pair of springs and £54 to sort the shock. That’s a bar­gain con­sid­er­ing the trans­for­ma­tion you will get in the bike’s sus­pen­sion and its in­creased sta­bil­ity at speed.”

EN­GINE Mark Brewin

“Sort­ing a GSX-R1000 K7/8 is re­ally sim­ple and there are re­ally good gains to be had with min­i­mal work. The twin pipes aren’t that re­stric­tive, but the left-hand one has a pro­tracted route and the gasses get a bit nipped up, which means the pipes aren’t flow­ing evenly. My ad­vice would be to whip them off and stick a 4-2-1 sys­tem on in­stead and you should see a nice healthy 172bhp or 174bhp with a re-map on the ECU. Con­sid­er­ing they gen­er­ally start life at 160bhp, that’s an easy 10bhp gain for min­i­mal ef­fort. Stick some open cans on and you can get 167bhp, but I’d al­ways rec­om­mend an ECU re-flash. “The ECU has some restric­tion built into it, which we re­move dur­ing the re-flash, and we can also get the top-speed re­stric­tor dis­abled. From this point we sort the sec­ondary throt­tle but­ter­flies, which are al­ways the root of the is­sues, and give it more power and a far sweeter throt­tle re­sponse that doesn’t care about EU drive-by noise tests... “The mo­tor on the K7/8 is a re­ally beau­ti­ful bit of kit and if you want 190bhp, it’s very eas­ily achieved for just a few grand. You can leave the bot­tom end alone, just swap the cams and do a bit of light head work and you will have

190bhp with a thump­ing midrange that would em­bar­rass some mod­ern litre bikes. At that point you would need to look at its sus­pen­sion, in which case I’d give MCT a bell; Dar­ren’s a ge­nius.”

BOLT-ONS Giles Har­wood

“We have seen a big in­crease in the num­ber of bolt-on ac­ces­sories that we sell for this era of sports­bike. A lot of our cus­tomers have bought later, and sup­pos­edly greater, mod­els and then re­turned to a mid-2000s litre bike as they are nicer to ride, with a far bet­ter midrange. They are some­thing of a sweet spot when it comes to litre bikes.

“Just to let you know how pop­u­lar the K7/8 still is, we have sets of BST car­bon wheels ready to go on our shelves for this ma­chine, which make a huge dif­fer­ence to its han­dling. But you don’t need to go that far, and per­son­ally, I’d start at the brakes. “We sell a lot of brake disc and brake pad up­grades for the K7/8 as this is one area where they are lack­ing when com­pared to a mod­ern bike. The best in terms of qual­ity and value are the Brembo Serie Oro discs, which are about £200 each. At 5mm, they are thicker than OE discs and their high car­bon-steel con­struc­tion gives them re­ally high fric­tion. They can go a bit rusty if left in the rain, but hav­ing sold thou­sands of these discs, we’ve never had a sin­gle one re­turned. They are bril­liant, es­pe­cially when com­bined with a Brembo SC pad for road use or an EBC GPFAX for track. And I’d also add in a set of braided lines.

“Gen­er­ally, I wouldn’t ad­vise any­one changes their calipers on a K7/8, and on most bikes I wouldn’t say swap the mas­ter cylin­der ei­ther, but on this gen­er­a­tion of GSX-R it makes a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence. The Suzuki unit isn’t bril­liant and Brembo have cut the price of their RCS ra­dial mas­ter cylin­der to just over £200, which is great value and a worth­while ad­di­tion. The Corta Corsa RCS of­fers a few ex­tra fea­tures, but it is more ex­pen­sive.

“Once the brakes are sorted, the rest is fine-tuning. A new shock makes a big dif­fer­ence and you can fit a Bazzaz fu­elling mod­ule if you want mod­ern elec­tronic as­sists such as trac­tion con­trol and a quick­shifter. These bikes re­spond re­ally well to sen­si­ble per­for­mance ac­ces­sories and can be trans­formed into a bril­liant ma­chine for very lit­tle in­vest­ment.” Next month: Get the most from KTM’s naked mad­man, the 1290 Su­per Duke R

Yes, these ex­hausts were con­sid­ered mas­sive in 2007. Com­pared to the 2018 model, they’re not so big...

High-speed comp ad­juster in the forks is next to use­less; both shock and forks could use a re-valve

BST car­bon wheels will make a huge dif­fer­ence, but a mas­sive dent in your wal­let

Brembo RCS mas­ter cy­clin­der can boost brak­ing

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