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"Fast Bikes", January 1, 2013

Suzuki GSX-R1000

Say it loud – the GSX-R1000 is back and it’s proud!

JOHNNY ‘THE GAWLER’ GAWLER

Riding the GSX-R1000 and reading about the GSX-R1000 seem to be two very different experiences. Reading, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the Suzuki was the leper in the litre class family. To castigate the Gixer in the terms that the Mamba has read about is dramatically unfair – because this is a bike of outstanding ability.

On track, you just need a set of sticky tyres on to turn it into a competitor once more. Given the likes of the BMW come on gummy rubber as standard, this is only levelling the playing field. And then you start the process of bolting on components to give you the bits other bikes already boast. And the end result is this; a bike that suggests that A-Force should not be stuck in FB Towers, but be seconded to Suzuki’s design office.

The turnaround is all spawned from an innocuous black box that makes this machine ride on time. The Nemesis traction control system is nothing short of genius, surpassing the stock system of the BMW, and even edging ahead of the likes of Aprilia’s home brewed traction control. The calculations done within give you as much grip as the tyre can give, so in the challenging conditions around Llandow it was crunching some serious numbers. But it never halts the charge, it’s always taking you to the edge, then responsibly pulling you back. It really seems to be idiot proof, and Al and the Mamba should know…

Then you’ve got the chassis changes, the BST wheels and Maxton shock all unleashing the GSX-R’s true potential. The excellent BPF’s need an ally at the rear too, and this is where the purple spring comes in. A set-up, especially for this track in these conditions, is a million miles away, but at least you can get a grip on what the damping is doing at both ends. As it was, the bike was wheelieing out of a turn, but not cranked over enough to let the rear’s profile finish the steering off, but this can all be dialled out.

Power-wise, we’re about on the money, too. The Yoshi system lops a lot of weight off and is fuelled well to bring the bike roughly in line with what the BMW can offer. The sonic boom behind every gear change or roll off is like a scene from the Somme, with these aural shells going off as you go through your braking marker towards your entry.

This bike is in dire need of a quickshifter to really mix it with the rest of the crew, and something, anything, just to make it look a bit different. Blindfold the Mamba and plonk me on the top and you can really jive, but non-dynamic judgement enters my consciousness as soon as I see the overly familiar lines and same old colour combinations. Even a puncture in the new generation Michelin Power Ones couldn’t stop the fun, and their ability with just 7psi in after one session speaks volumes.

In terms of improvement, the Gixer has jumped ahead of its modded mates. But like the CBR600RR, this means that it only just achieves parity against the latest and greatest. The game moves on so quickly, but these mods prove that you needn’t spend life chasing your mates. Money invested in the right area can pay rich rewards…

PRICE NEW: £10,999

MOD’S: £7,135

MODS/PRICE RATIO: 64.8%

ENGINE

The 999cc motor has seen subtle changes. Pistons now use FEA design to be made 11 per cent lighter while retaining strength. Piston skirts are also new. The top end has been lightly revised while cylinder bores are now plated with Suzuki’s own SCEM to reduce friction. Ventilation holes are now pentagonal to reduce pumping loses. Tappet skirt material changes lose 2.5g per tappet, enabling higher valve lift. Compression is now 12.9:1.

CHASSIS

Suzuki retains the five piece twin spar frame. Changes elsewhere are similarly minimal. The front callipers are now Brembo Monoblocs, that also enable disc width to shrink 0.5mm to 5.5mm. Showa’s Big Piston Forks are retained at the front, albeit with a 5mm shorter stroke. Settings have been made softer, accommodating the change in centre of gravity from the exhaust change. Total weight is shaved by two kilos.

Highlights

Nemesis TCS

BST carbon wheels

Yoshi R-77 system

Maxton shock

167bhp

203kg (wet)

TRACK 9

Needs some serious set-up

FAST ROAD 9

Loves life in the fast lane

HOOLIGAN 9

It’s a Gixer, after all

NEW RIDER 3

Not in this guise

DESIRABILITY 7

Look beyond the lines…

DON’T BE FOOLED BY Rankings. Just because a bike comes last in a test, it doesn’t automatically make it a bad ‘un...

Verdict 9/10

Dear Suzuki, please could you fix it for Al to spend a day with Suzuki. Whaddya mean he was a peado… Oh.

+ TRACTION CONTROL, REAR CONTROL, PRICE

- LOOKS, NO QUICKSHIFTER, NO SET-UP

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