When Suzuki launched the latest incarnation of the GSX-R 1000, they did so knowing it had been the king of the litre class since 2001. The K6 is unchanged from its huge update in 2005. That supremely powerful and smooth engine is the very best engine there is. Is all that power overkill on a dirty B-road (or mind)?
It is early spring and it has been raining for ever. I am on the wrong bike now I think to myself, but get on with it anyway. I get to sample all that power straight away on a motorway with not too much congestion on it. It is incredible how quickly the engine spins up through a super strong midrange. Due to the smooth delivery it just feels as if you can accelerate forever to 400mph or something. There is a limit though that you really need to be on a roadracing track to explore. On a straight I easily achieve 180mph quicker than you can reach the 150mph mark on a supersport 600. This is where you could say the GSX-R 1000 is just too much. However I found that immensely strong engine so useful on the narrow B-roads that I spend loads of time riding on. Double semi trailers and long queues of cars can be overtaken in a whoosh just by mentally telling the throttle to move slightly towards me. Whilst you nervously sit and wait for a mile long straight on a 50bhp bike, you can just concentrate on riding on clear roads with the big Gixxer. Should you ever misjudge a overtaking opportunity those brilliant radial brakes is capable of saving you back to where you were in no time.
The big thou’ feels very light and compact and the seating position is humane enough for many entertaining miles. It is true though, that with an engine like this it doesn’t really matter whether the seat is comfortable or not. You have travelled from A to B so effortlessly and entertaining that time and miles is forgotten. GSX-R 1000 is that sort of motorcycle that makes you leave your mates to fly over to France for your holiday whilst you happily ride all the way. It is also true that the GSX-R removes the link between your brain and right hand, just like having sex, and the only danger your single minded brain is able to process is the fear of getting caught. Not caught wanking over Jenna Jameson, but caught speeding. GSX-R 1000 is so forgiving to mistakes, but really to cope you need a faster processor installed into the brain. Something like a Pentium one trillion would do. People that own GSX-R 1000’s probably think they are God’s chosen knights on two wheels, but fact is that the GSX-R is one of the easiest motorcycles out there to ride. Even when riding fast because the chassis is so light and suspension truly top notch. You need a different sort of intelligence to stop yourself from going fast all the time. This is where the clue lies to using the big Suzuki as a street bike. The fantastic midrange is fun enough and perfect for the roads. Traction is so important on a bike with this much horsepower and Suzuki has got it all sorted. The Bridgestone BT-014’s is the perfect match for this bike with this suspension. It is not as easy to spin it up as you think which is all due to brilliant handling. One of the first things that I did after picking up the bike was to drop down from third to first gear with high revs to see how the slipper clutch handled the stress. And as everything else on this bike the slipper clutch works brilliantly and with the ultra stable chassis and steering damper there’s not a worry in the world. There is one part of this bike that can’t really be tested to the fullest on normal roads and that’s the brakes. To really test brakes you need several rounds around a race track where braking is hard all the time for a long period of time. So for a roadbike it is more important that the front tyre sticks and heats up quickly. Otherwise you can’t use all that power available from the four pot Tokico’s anyway. The Bridgestone front tyre does heat up quickly and is the ideal road tyre. I still think the GSX-R 1000 looks bigger than it is. A huge air-box and a very aerodynamic fairing make it look that way. But it’s an absolute featherweight with a claimed dry weight of only 166 kilos. The power to weight ratio is just stunning. The extremely low weight makes every single component on the motorcycle work so much better than on any other bike.
For such a common motorcycle to be so good is a marvel. Suzuki really has got the top end of the sportsbike market sorted. Every single thing about this motorcycle can be recommended. There is not one thing to put the finger on. Apart from the fact it will soon be updated again. Treat yourself to one if you can.
Low dry weight
Common on the roads
Might be the last motorcycle you ride before they lock you away and throw away the key.