Rides

Suzuki GSX-R1000R Reviewed

Once upon a time it was the ‘King of Superbikes’. Is the sixth generation worthy of this epithet? We thrashed it around the Kari Motor Speedway to find out

Words: Aninda Sardar
Photography: Kaizad Adil Darukhanawala & Suzuki

Tucking in under the fairing of the all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000R is ridiculously easy, in spite of my six-foot tall frame. Chin on the tank I, knees and elbows tucked in, eyes fixed dead ahead at the end of the long straight, I wring the throttle as hard as I can. The engine is revvy and I go through the slick shifting six-speed ’box rather quickly as the digits on the all-digital instrumentation of the bike climb at a furious pace. Even on this 800-metre long straight, I fail to get into top gear. Fifth is as high as I can get up to before I feel the need to brake and shift back down. Back into second, I tip the bike in and turn with a wide grin splitting the face inside my helmet. Indeed 200-plus kmph on two wheels is always a rush. And there was still so much left to go. If only the straight was longer. There is no doubt, the all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000R, or Gixer, as it is fondly known worldwide, is a fabulous motorcycle. This after all is the sixth generation of the bike that ended Yamaha’s domination of the litre-class superbike market with its YZF-R1 back in 2001.

Even at standstill the Suzuki looks sharp and svelte, garbed in that bright blue livery. In fact, the livery of the R is bright enough to completely obscure the black GSX-R1000 model parked right next to it. Visually, apart from the colour schemes, the most obvious difference is in the front forks. Where the R gets the fantastic Showa Balance Free Forks (BFF) that we’ve already seen on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and fallen in love with, the regular bike gets a more pedestrian (relatively of course) Showa BPF upside down forks. The monoshock too are different on the two bikes, the R gets the balance free unit from Showa, even though the difference is less visible. Among the absolutely invisible changes are the presence of a Quick Shifter, Launch Control lightweight battery and Cornering ABS on the blue bike.

What remains common to both machines is the basic chassis and enging. Underneath the luminescent blue, white and lime green of the fairing is an all-new aluminium frame. Powering this lithe superbike is a brand new liquid-cooled 999.8cc in-line four-cylinder engine with DOHC and 16 valves. Peak output is 202PS and 117.6Nm of torque. But beyond the basic power and torque and such things, there is the cutting edge of Suzuki’s MotoGP experience at work. As a result you see an engine that benefits from Variable Valve Timing or VVT and ride-by-wire. The dimensions of the engine have also changed, which allowed Suzuki to alter the position of the engine so that it favours the bike’s dynamics. To that end, the unit is 6.6mm narrower and 22.2mm shorter than the engine of its predecessor. Suzuki has therefore been able to move the engine closer to the front tyre, thus improving front end feel.

But before we get to the bike’s handling around the tight corners of Kari, a word about its engine. This has to be one of the sweetest litre-class engines I have seen in some time. The spread of grunt is so even that you could actually contemplate using this as a daily ride. The only hindrance is the extreme riding posture. Of course, she performs best when she is on song but she doesn’t become a handful the moment speeds drop, which adds a phenomenal layer of versatility of use that will be difficult to match. And when you do cane her, boy does she leap ahead with the passion of an angry cheetah.

At the end of the straight I haul on the anchors and they feel sharp. They better be for ahead of me is a tight right hander followed by another right hander. I tip her over only to discover another facet to this machine. Thanks to that brilliant chassis working its charm in conjunction with the Showa suspension, handling is sublime. There are no nasty twitches or apprehensive skittishness. She leans in with confidence, stays the course and then comes back up as I prepare for the next turn. Most of the turns at Kari are taken at relatively slow speeds but so sweet is the bike’s dynamics that none of its 203-kilo bulk is actually felt. In fact, the 202-kilo regular GSX-R1000, which in its own right is a very accomplished motorcycle and track tool, feels less confident around the same track when ridden immediately after the R spec bike. Blame it on the absence of those BFFs on the stock bike.

Honestly, I can’t really say what the ride quality was like. It mattered not a jot out at the track. What mattered were the bike’s ability to inspire confidence, turn quickly and with authority and then deliver adequate shove to get to the next set of corners in the shortest possible time. And on these counts, the new GSX-R1000 and the GSX-R1000R distinguish themselves quite well. So which of the two should you head for then? Suzuki reckons that the regular bike is for the guy who wants to customise and needs a fabulous platform while the R spec bike is for the man who wants a factory custom. Skeptics though we are, we’d wager Suzuki is correct on this count. In any case there is only three lakh rupees standing between one and the other with the GSX-R1000 going for Rs 19 lakh and the GSX-R1000R retailing for Rs 22 lakh.

Technical Specifications

Suzuki GSX-R1000 GSX-R1000R
Price (ex-showroom) Rs 19 lakh Rs 22 lakh
POWERTRAIN
Engine type Liquid-cooled, in-line, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valves, VVT
Displacement 999.8cc
Bore x Stroke 76.0 x 55.1mm
Compression Ratio 13.2:1
Transmission 6-speed cassette type
Maximum power 202PS at 13,200rpm
Maximum torque 117.6Nm at 10,800rpm
CHASSIS
Frame Aluminium dual beam
Front suspension Showa BPF fork Showa balance free forks
Rear suspension Showa monoshock Showa balance free monoshock
Front brakes 320mm discs with Brembo Monobloc radial callipers
Rear brake 220mm disc Nissin single piston calliper
Front tyre Bridgestone Battlax RS10

120/70 ZR17

Rear tyre Bridgestone Battlaz RS10

190/55 ZR17

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
L x W x H 2075 x 705 x 1145mm
Wheelbase 1420mm
Ground clearance 130mm
Saddle height 825mm
Fuel tank capacity 16 litres
Kerb weight 202kg 203kg

About the author

Aninda



There’s no better way to light up our Assistant Ed’s face than suggest a nice ride to nowhere. A genuine fan of music he truly believes in Aerosmith’s line – life’s a journey, not a destination, and it’s best journeyed on two wheels. Oh! And don’t say anything nasty about Barry Sheene (or Mick Doohan or Wayne Rainey or Rossi) to him.

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