The big news in the sportbike world for 2017 was the introduction of not one, but two heavily revised iconic literbikes – the Honda CBR1000RR (and CBR1000RR SP) and Suzuki GSX-R1000R (and GSX-R1000). The previous versions of both models had languished for a number of years without any major updates, most notably in the electronics department, but also in the engine bay. Meanwhile, their competitors, both in Japan and abroad, had made significant gains with their flagship liter-class sportbikes, producing some of the fastest, most powerful, and advanced motorcycles we’ve ever piloted.

For 2017 however, both Honda and Suzuki have finally joined the rest of the sportbike pack, introducing models with sophisticated electronics and powerful engines. In the case of the Honda, engineers opted to focus on handling, nimbleness, and weight while the rest of the competition focused on big horsepower numbers. The resulting 2017 CBR1000RR is a motorcycle that feels narrow between the knees, while also being agile and sure-footed. Of course engine power gets a slight bump thanks to increased compression ratio, revised cams, and a host of other changes mainly within the cylinder head. On track, there’s no question the new ‘Blade is faster and more powerful than its predecessor.

On the electronics front, the CBR receives a full suite of rider aids anchored by a five-axis IMU. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the First Ride Review above, there are aspects of the suite that don’t function as well as they do on some of the competition.

In the case of the Suzuki, it too receives a full electronics suite, anchored by a six-axis IMU. Other goodies include ride-by-wire throttle, a finger-follower valvetrain, Brembo monoblock brakes, and variable valve timing. Spring for an additional R and you get Showa Balance Free suspension, quickshifter with auto-blipping downshifts, cornering ABS and launch control.

In his First Ride Review, E-i-C Duke praised Suzuki for the power the new GSX-R1000R delivers, noting how simple yet effective the variable valve system works. Handling seemed on par with the rest of the (stiff) competition, while, just like the Honda, there were some oddities with the electronics. Though overall, both bikes have more performance (and performance potential) than most mere mortals will ever get the chance to exploit.

Prices are nearly identical too, between the standard CBR ($16,499, add $300 for ABS) and (up-spec) GSX-RR, which drains the wallet of $16,999 ($14,599 for the single R, add $400 for ABS). Which raises the question: which of the two would YOU rather own? Let us know in the poll below.

  • Jason Channell

    Keep in mind the 17K figure is for the base CBR and the up spec Gixxer.
    The base Gixxer should be around 14.5 US.

  • Old MOron

    GSXR all the way. Go, Rog and Toni!
    Honda still hasn’t gotten the CBR right. Sorry, Nicky. 🙁

  • Gil Holland

    Suzuki GSXR. I was briefly thinking of trading my Busa for one but just thinking out loud until I get it back from a sprocket change. Chain let go and well…Trying 18/40 to see how she handles turns while staying below the Oh Shit range and if that does not make me happy then maybe a little lower seat and some suspension tuning. I know these two would spank me on the track but the light weight for me is too tempting on the street while my favorite rides tend to be a bit rough for anything track minded.

    Now if Honda did the smart thing and brought back Blackbird… maybe then i would jump but Suzuki has a really nice platform to work with so it would have to be great

    • Gil Holland

      FYI.. sprocket change on the Busa for Gen2 stock 18/40 wakes up some really nice riding. Calms it down in the twisties and gives a very smooth gear range, plus i cannot seem to pop the rev limiter! Above redline it still pulls hard. Just did mine and wow!..

  • Vrooom

    I’d probably pick the Honda to live with, but the Zook to take to the track. Since that was the question, Zook.

    • Jon Jones

      Good call.

  • Chris Noblett

    Why would you go Honda with that price difference?
    Gixxer all the way for me.

  • AlaskanLaw

    Casting my vote for the Honda.

    I commute and canyon-carve on a ’14 CBR600RR. Trying out the different sportbikes before I bought this one, the Honda had better ergos, and I’ve read all over the place that it’s a more forgiving bike on the back and wrists for around-town cruising than a GSXR, an R6, or Ninja.

    I couldn’t be happier with the Honda. Its comfortable, has a manageable powerband, and the reliability and build quality are top-notch.

    If and when I do upgrade, I’ll probably go with a CBR1000RR, hopefully for the same reasons as above.

    Honda isn’t the sexiest brand out there making bikes, but they are workhorses that are also a lot of fun. They’re the working mans racer, and that will keep me loyal as long as they keep building them this way.

    Although, after a few beers, you might get me to admit I like the MotoGP-inspired looks of the Suzuki better…

  • Born to Ride

    Both bikes have far more power than any reasonable person could ever need. I’ll take the one that is 20-30lbs lighter and has been refined over the course of a decade to a zenith.

  • Beju

    Suzuki, because the GSX-Rs felt better ergonomics wise when I sat on them at the IMS show, and I have a soft spot for Suzuki since my first bike was a 1978 Suzuki GS550.

    Realistically, both are far more bike than I’ll ever fully exploit.

  • Roy Bentz

    the gsxr because of revolutionary engine design.
    gsxr is going to beat even the s1000rr on the dyno. its already making +10-15 more bhp than the new zx10r and r1. making a ton more bhp everywhere on the rev range.

    • Kevin Duke

      Impressive! However, Euro tuning is different than what we get here in America. The R1 supposedly made 184 hp there in the UK. Ours was about 20 horses less.


    I’ll take the Honda please.