The Suzuki GSX-R 1000 needs no introduction in any conversation about motorcycles. Once feared on the track, the GSX-R lost its way somewhat over the last few years. Suzuki are out to reassert their position as the king of sportbikes with the brand new, 6th generation, GSX-R. The new GSX- already chalked up a win in Isle of Man TT with Michael Dunlop on board.
At the recent launch at Red Star raceway, we were taken through some of the improvements on the new bike, and Suzuki also used this opportunity to show off three other models heading to our shores, namely the GSX 250, the SV 650 and the all-new DL 650 V-Strom. All were available to sample, but our main focus was the GSX-R.
The goal was simple: Regain the King of Sportbikes crown. To do that, Suzuki trimmed what needed to be trimmed, and added where the GSX-R was lacking. The result, according to Suzuki, is their most powerful, hardest-accelerating, cleanest-running GSX-R ever. They could add best looking too.
The engine now produces a claimed 202hp, and is narrower and shorter. By raising the angle at which the cylinders are inclined, the engineers could move the engine further forward to improve front-end feel. The frame is 20mm narrower and the new GSX-R feels noticeably smaller. They even lowered the fuel tank to help you tuck in better behind the aerodynamically shaped screen. Suzuki were so serious about reducing drag, that they even flattened the screws holding the fairing in place.
After the short briefing, we were ushered to the track, where we were shown to our steeds. All of them were decked out in Suzuki racing colours. The GSX-R features their new Easy Start System. You press the button once and the bike starts. No need to hold the button down. I leant forward, kicked it into gear, and ventured onto the track. In front of me is an LCD screen that contains a wealth of information. Rider modes are plentiful, and would give a broad range of riders peace of mind out here on the twisty Red Star.
As I got onto the first bit of straight track I gave it a handful of throttle. The Suzuki flung me effortlessly down the straight. Just shy of 200, I got on the uprated brakes, and again, the bike stopped with a minimum of fuss. Leaning into the corners, it felt just as planted. Every action felt controlled and did not instill fear or doubt. Later, as the track cleared, I took the GSX-R out again, but this time on a gentle cruise. Even that felt good.
The Suzuki GSX-R has all the makings of a good all-round sport-bike: Docile when you want to be and savage in a track battle. The King of Sportbikes is back and the world is a better place because of it! – Brian Cheyne