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.