2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R vs. 2012 Suzuki GSX-R750 vs. 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R - Video
Kawasaki is back in the oddball middleweight sportbike wars
2012 Suzuki GSX-R750
Our oddball sportbike winner in 2011, the Suzuki GSX-R750 mystified us this time. While unchanged from the 2011 version, which stole the show both objectively on our ScoreCards and subjectively in our hearts, our 2012 test unit didn’t produce that same level of excitement for us.
Maybe it’s because of the different venues we rode, the stock Bridgestone BT016 tires we used this time versus the B-Stone R10 race tires used before, or simply a change in our tastes, but the 750 didn’t leave us salivating as it did before.
However, that’s not to say the granddaddy of sportbikes doesn’t still have some redeeming qualities. Most obvious of which is its engine. As Duke notes, “any meaningful straightaway demonstrates the Gixxer’s clear superiority in terms of maximum power. Its smooth throttle response and wide powerband makes up for its lack of TC.”
At the track, mistakes were easier to mask with the power advantage, helping the Gixxer rider exert less effort to reach a particular lap time. The extra grunt also proved helpful on corner exits, especially when chasing literbike riders hesitant to open the throttle. Against the Triumph and Kawi, this extra edge allowed the Suzi to simply walk away.
However, on the street Tom found the Zook’s power perplexing. “Surprisingly, on the tight canyon roads we were riding, I found the Suzuki to be the most difficult to ride fast due its power delivery in second gear. Where the Triumph was in the meat of its torque curve, the Gixxer was revving low in the powerband. But downshifting to first meant having it closer to redline, making power delivery too frantic to easily control.”
Tight roads aside, the 750’s flexibility on the street trumps that of the Triumph and Kawasaki, allowing it to maintain a gear longer, which lets the rider be lazy with shifts.
We’ve always been fans of the Suzuki’s riding position, where the rider feels like they’re sitting as part of the motorcycle rather than on top of it, so it’s no surprise the Suzuki won the ergonomic/comfort category of our ScoreCards. With the simple adjustment of its three-way adjustable footpegs, the GSX-R can accommodate street riders in the low setting, or track riding in its highest setting. One in which Kevin says provides “plenty of ground clearance.”
With the most powerful engine of the bunch, a strong set of brakes is a necessity, and the 750’s Brembo monoblocs don’t disappoint. We’ve rambled over and over about Brembos and how awesome they are, but these are especially impressive when you consider it still features rubber lines.
Unfortunately we found the Suzuki lacking in the handling department, where it scored last in our rankings due to its slower steering mannerisms. Despite weighing in slightly less than the ZX-6R (419 lbs. vs. 423 lbs.), the Gixxer requires more effort when tackling a twisty road.
Where the Kawi and Triumph feel light on their feet, the 750 requires more effort to turn, especially when transitioning from full lean on one side to the other. In actuality, the GSX-R is quite the performer. Despite our gripes, it’s important to remember the differences are relatively minor – the 750 feels like a 600 compared to a Gixxer 1000.
“While the 750cc Gixxer resides in the shadows of literbikes, it offers a performance/value proposition that is unmatched in the sportbike world,” Kevin notes. “If TC isn’t a prerequisite for your needs, the GSX-R750 is an incredible bargain. It sits near the top of the list of sportbikes I’d consider permanently parking in my garage.”