2011 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout - Street [Video]
Ducati 848 EVO vs. Suzuki GSX-R750 vs. Triumph Daytona 675R
2011 Suzuki GSX-R750 $11,999
Let’s see. Most of the handling agility of the GSX-R600, the same BPF front end as the 600, compact overall size, some of the best sportbike ergos available today and an extra 18 horsepower to boot, all for $11,999 – a paltry $400 more than the GSX-R600’s price tag. Can we end the GSX-R750 section right here?
“The Gixxer has many more street-biased features than the others in this group, giving it a definite leg up as a versatile streetbike,” say the words in Kevin’s notebook.
Forgetting about the GSX-R750’s best-in-our-made-up-class engine for a moment, there are a number of qualities that back up KD’s opinion. For instance, neither the 675R nor 848 EVO offer adjustable foot pegs; the Gixxer pegs move up and down, fore and aft. And with its pegs in the low position, the GSX-R has the greatest amount of legroom while maintaining enough ground clearance for street lean angles.
The Trumpet and Ducati don’t have the most comfortable seat or the same level of upper-body wind protection like the GSX-R does, and we were pleased to find dual helmet locks under its seat cowl. These various traits, in addition to a fully adjustable, highly compliant Showa BPF and broad spread of tractable power make the Suzuki GSX-R750 a compelling package as a streetable bike carved from a remarkable race-winning heritage.
As undeniably cozy as the Gixxer is, Troy astutely notes that, since it’s an inline-Four, the width of the gas tank doesn’t allow him to squeeze the center of the bike with his legs as easily as he can the narrower Duc or Trumpet. This seemingly minor detail leads to a greater issue over the miles, as Troy says that instead of relying on his legs to take off some of the pressure from his wrists he needs to source other ways to relax while riding this bike.
Duke notes the Gixxer “slices up a canyon with far less effort than required on the Ducati,” but he added its turn-in response isn’t nearly as brisk as the Triumph.
Despite the extra energy the 750 requires to initiate a turn when compared to the Gixxer Sixxer (an effect due largely to the increased rotational mass of the 750’s heavier flywheel and reciprocating weight), Troy was spot on when he comments that, “the 750’s chassis is as neutral and linear-feeling as the Suzuki 600’s chassis.”
Additional highpoints on the 750 include the only slipper clutch in the group, the slickest gearbox, and thoughtfully laid out gauge package that includes a clearly displayed GPI in its LCD window.
Styling notes find the Suzuki floating somewhere in the middle. The 750’s updated appearance is appreciated – like its new, stacked headlight that Kevin says throws out a wide and bright low beam with a piercing high beam that’s significantly better than the Triumph, or the Ducati’s surprisingly ineffective projector-style eyes – during a night ride I couldn’t tell the difference between low beam and high beam brightness.
Fresh face aside, the GSX-R’s appearance is kind of the same ol’ same ol’. The Suzi’s looks failed to generate glowing opinions like those noted for the svelte 675R and one-step-ahead-of-the-law, criminally inclined dark Ducati.
“I almost always recommend a smaller bike than a larger one,” says Kev, “and despite how well we like the GSX-R600, in this case, the GSX-R750 makes for a more usable streetbike. With its torquier, more potent engine, handling that’s nearly as adept, identically comfortable ergos and same superlative brakes and suspension, the GSX-R750 merits lots of consideration on the buyer’s part before he or she pulls the trigger on a 600cc bike.”