2011 Supersport Shootout - Street [Video]
Honda CBR600RR vs. Kawasaki ZX-6R vs. Suzuki GSX-R600 vs. Yamaha R6
2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 $11,599
Revamps to the 2011 GSX-R600 are many, but key among them is the addition of Showa’s BPF, Brembo front brakes and a weight reduction of 20 pounds. These upgrades were significant enough in enhancing the Gixxer Sixxer’s overall performance that we selected it this year as our top 600cc supersport for track duty.
With the most time in the Suzuki’s saddle during street riding, Kevin notes say that the Gixxer’s fueling has a propensity to exhibit a slight lean bog at low revs. And during freeway stints he observed the engine produces “notable vibrations in certain rpm zones, making it the buzziest of this group.” KD suggests that replacing the GSX-R’s small bar-end weights with larger ones would calm down the tingles at the grips, thereby potentially reducing vibration-induced numbness during longer rides.
Beyond improved power characteristics, the GSX-R600 has one more trick on tap: a snarling growl emanating from the airbox.
“The Gixxer’s ripping intake roar creates a visceral feeling as the twistgrip is yanked, even at just a quarter turn,” states Kevin with a devilish grin. “It never fails to make each ride more stimulating and is a simple yet effective asset to its sporty personality.”
An interesting aspect of this exciting noise is that despite sounding quite loud to the rider, almost seeming like some sort of aftermarket work goodie was bolted on, the intake snort isn’t noticeable whatsoever to everyone else. When the GSX-R600 pulls away from a stop the only discernable sound is an emissions-friendly exhaust note. Way to slip one past the EPA, Suzuki!
“The Suzuki’s chassis is very neutral across its entire lean axis,” says Troy. “Some bikes require more effort to initiate turn-in. Others require more effort to reach max lean. The GSX-R is completely neutral from vertical to horizontal.”
Indeed, each of the four tester riders found a way to use the word neutral when describing the GSX-R’s handling qualities. The Suzuki’s low-effort steering and perfect composure in any situation we encountered (thanks in big part to the BPF front-end) create the overwhelming sensation that the Gixxer has the user-friendliest chassis here. “The Suzuki felt as if I'd already owned a 2011 GSX-R600 for a few months,” says FNG Tom.
So friendly is the Gixxer that Tom felt as though the bike communicated to him complete confidence in its abilities – to the point he thought he heard the bike whispering in his ear, "It's okay to go faster, I won't hurt you. Together we can catch that guy in front of us."
The Suzuki claims the lowest seat height at 31.9 inches and second lightest curb weight of 412 pounds – both factors that contribute to its excellent handling and easy-going ergos. “Setting its adjustable pegs in their low position delivers more seat-to-peg room than the others,” notes Kevin, “and I expect to see this feature on most future sportbike models.”
The GSX-R look is as familiar as is the name, and the 2011 Sixxer, while restyled, continues the iconic Suzuki supersport appearance. New, lighter bodywork, and stacked headlamp assembly, a la the GSX-R1000, keep the supersport looking lean and angry.
Kevin says the metallic-y blue anodizing on Suzi’s frame and swingarm “is especially appealing in warm light.” Additional subtle touches also caught his eye. “The GSX-R boasts a list of features – adjustable pegs, gear-position indicator, fuel gauge, helmet lock, mirror-integrated turn signals – that is unmatched in this class.”
We’ve heaped praise on the GSX-R600 in the past, and the new bike, while improving across many categories, retains everything we’ve liked about this supersport machine from previous model years.
“I already liked the chassis and brakes on the outgoing Gixxer, but the improvements in both areas that Suzuki made on the new one takes it to another level” notes Troy. “I'm a little surprised it didn't do better on the dyno - it sure feels stronger from the saddle than the numbers imply.”