Monday, December 27, 2010

Suzuki GSX-R1000

Suzuki's new K9 R1000 struggled on the track. Ride it in isolation and it's superb; fast, stable and thanks to its new short engine - long swing arm combination, it maximizes rear tire grip too.

The engine has been totally overhauled for the first time in the GSX-R1000's eight-year history. It has a shorter stroke than before, so is eager to rev, but still has good grunt off the corners. The power delivery is smoother than the old bike.Unfortunately, although the Suzuki is lighter and more nimble than the old bike, it's still not agile enough and now it's light years behind the new Yamaha R1.

The GSX-R1000 also needed setting up. Like all GSX-Rs, the new bike sits very flat compared to the more extreme, 'nose down/tail up' set-up of the Kawasaki and Yamaha and feels more like a big sports tourer in this company.Its lack of agility means you have to be a bit steadier into the corners and have to wait longer for it to turn before you get on the power. The R1000 has good grunt, as it still has the longest stroke of any of the Japanese 1000CCs, but it still feels flat from the middle of the corner on the throttle compared to the Yamaha R1.

Every GSX from the Ks to the K5 raised the 1000cc superbike bar, but for whatever reason the 2007 K lost the plot a bit. It was too heavy and clumsy around the track. That didn't stop it selling by the bucketload, though, as it's still a great road bike. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 is a big improvement it's lighter and friendlier, but still doesn't capture the GSX-R spirit of old.


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