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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SUZUKI GSX- R 1000


Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

All the bikes were fitted with a control tyre, the Pirelli Diablo Corsa III (the Gixxer comes with Bridgestone BT015 as standard) and all were tested on the dyno and then weighed. My bike (yes, it belongs to Suzuki, but humour me!) packed the biggest punch, producing 183bhp at the crank, and weighing 212.3kg with a full tank of fuel.

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

The K7’s new twin pipes look fairly tidy but sound less throaty than the 2006’s solitary exhaust. The R1 and ZX10-R’s under-seat pipes and limited bungee hooks restrict their luggage carrying capacity; the CBR-1000RR and Suzuki are more practical. However, the Gixxer’s stylish new tank is half metal, half plastic. It looks great, but magnetic tank bags now clamp onto the bike further away from the headstock. It’s no great shakes really, especially since I’ve got a neat ram mount and Garmin satellite navigation system to guide me instead.

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

Three engines in one bike

The new rocker switch located on the right handlebar is the most intriguing addition to an already outstanding bike. Suzuki’s Drive Mode Selector (DMS) offers you a choice of three different engine outputs by using the bike’s ECU to control the engine’s secondary butterfly valve, whilst the primary one is opened directly by the throttle. Imagine 183 stallions crammed into a barn that has double doors – these are the two butterfly valves. You have the ability to open one door while the stable manager (the ECU) has authority to open the other.

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

With both doors wide open, there’s room for all 183 horses to break out - that’s Mode A. In Mode B, the manager opens his door more slowly so initially, fewer horses have room to run free. But if you then open your door past 75%, so will he and once again, all 183 horses can run wild. In Mode C, no matter what you do, the manager leaves his door on the safety catch, allowing a maximum of 130 horses to squeeze through the available gap. In reality, it’s like having a 1000cc, 750cc and a 600cc bike all rolled into one.

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

Much more manageable

Suzuki has found a way of offering us a superb performance bike, with a ridiculous amount of power when you want it and a more manageable amount for when you don’t. And you can access the three different settings whilst riding, just by flicking a switch (although I would have preferred the switch to have been located on the left hand side of the bars, away from the throttle). Riding in the wet and sludge, Mode C dilutes the power ripping through the back wheel, so slides are less likely. On track, this setting makes you feel like a riding god (or goddess in my case!), you can wring the bike’s neck, knowing you’ve got ‘only’ slightly more power than the GSX-R600 offers.

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

It is an advantageous bit of technology but I wonder if Drive Mode Selector will end up like my sandwich toaster. At first, I used it non-stop to create all sorts of hot treats, now it just sits gathering dust in the cupboard until I remember it’s there. Suzuki’s DMS is undoubtedly handy and effective, but if it wasn’t there, would I really miss it? The engine feels marginally different from last year. The K6 had an adrenaline laced surge in the midrange; the K7 is smoother and has a claimed four per cent increase in peak power, with an indicated 186mph on the clock at top whack!

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

Smooth and punchy

Punching out of second gear corners, the Suzuki still picks up in an instant by comparison to the R1, which needs the revs to build a little more before it rockets you forward. The power delivery on the K7 remains faultless and the smoothness definitely contributes to the incredibly comfortable and confident feeling the bike generates. Jumping from one superbike to another, the Suzuki’s riding position feels less aggressive. That’s not to say it isn’t sporty, it’s just not cramped. And the three-way adjustable footpegs enabled me to create more space for my extra long legs without compromising ground clearance.

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © Suzuki)

Out on track, the handling wasn’t quite as sweet as I’d anticipated. Perhaps the Pirelli tyres and slightly longer wheelbase made the K7’s steering feel heavier, but by adjusting the suspension (we just lowered the front) the bike then turned in more eagerly and rode like a dream, but it still didn’t have that ‘special’ feel of last year’s bike. The brakes are more than sufficient for me, but unlike the bike’s engine, they were the least powerful of the bunch.

Jane Omorogbe and the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (image © PA)

Verdict

The K7 has an awful lot to live up too. The K6 was amazingly agile and I’d have to say, if I were looking to spend my hard earned cash, I’d be sorely tempted by a K5 or K6, it was such an outstanding model and in comparison to the K7 price, it’s even more attractive now. I’m planning on covering some serious ground on my new GSX-R1000, and I reckon it’ll be as easy as ABC.

World Superbikes winner MSMW2012