The iconic GSX-R1000 gets a MotoGP makeover in a bid to regain the 1000cc sportsbike crown.
Suzuki's GSX-R models have been cult bikes since their inception in 1985, forging a reputation as focused sports bikes on road and race winners on track. In 2001 Suzuki launched the first 1000cc version – it was hard, fast, uncompromising and moved the benchmark for outright production bike performance. For 2017 Suzuki has created an all-new GSX-R1000 and a GSX-R1000R with the intention of topping the performance sheets once more.
200hp - that figure, though unthinkable 15 years ago when the first GSX-R1000 arrived, has now become the norm for litre-class supersport bikes. And the outgoing GSX-R, while still a brilliant bike, was a long way shy of that benchmark, leaving it lagging behind its competitors. With this new model, Suzuki made their target clear – to build the best performing 1000cc supersport bike.
A target like that requires some serious numbers on the spec sheet and the GSX-R doesn’t disappoint, claiming 202hp and 202 – 203 kg depending on the exact model. The standard version with ABS comes in at £13,249, while the ‘R’ version with uprated Showa suspension, cornering ABS, quickshifter and launch control costs £16,099, so both models are good value compared to the competition.
In terms of outright straight-line performance, Suzuki has certainly put the GSX-R right back in contention. A clever variable valve timing system straight from the MotoGP bike helps the 1000 pull strongly and smoothly from low rpm. Losing all that speed in time for the next turn is helped by a slick ABS system that intervenes and assists when things get out of shape, without hampering aggressive braking and corner entry.
Riding the GSX-R on track, aside from the immense straight line speed, the thing that stands out most is, well, nothing. In a good way, that is; everything works in a beautiful, raucous harmony, leaving you free to howl through turns, painting sticky Bridgestone rubber all over the asphalt on each corner exit.
You’re never distracted by super-sharp brakes, never caught out by razor sharp steering geometry and never overwhelmed by aggressive power delivery. Even as you push harder and harder, repeatedly overstepping the limits of traction, the GSX-R just sings away beneath you shrugging off all and any excess enthusiasm.
Pilot: Chris Northover @superbikechaos. Pictures courtesy of Suzuki.