The launch of the all-new GSX-R1000 is critical to Suzuki, as the GSX-R line has been emblematic of the engineering might at the Japanese company since the game-changing original GSX-R750 in 1985 – and more than 1 million GSX-Rs have been produced since. So, prior to us sampling the wicked new Gixxer Thou in Australia, Suzuki flew us to Japan to give us insight into the facilities and processes required to develop a production superbike competitive with the best in the world.
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.
Ah, the legendary Phillip Island circuit, the scene of many epic battles among two-wheel gladiators like Gardner, Rainey, Schwantz, Corser, Stoner, Rossi and Iannone, which has long been on my bucket list of racetracks to ride before I die. With significant elevation changes along 2.76 miles of twisting tarmac on the shores of the Indian Ocean and an average GP speed of more than 110 mph, it would be a challenge to learn on any bike, let alone on Suzuki’s most powerful literbike ever.
In a few day’s time you’ll get to read all about the brand new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000, Suzuki’s most advanced GSX-R to date. Penning the story will be none other than MO‘s E-i-C Kevin Duke, who did his best to tame the beast around one of the most loved racetracks in the world: Phillip Island in Australia. But before we talk about the new bike, let’s go back to the GSX-R1000’s roots; 2000 in this case. For this week’s Church feature we’re bringing you the First Ride review of the 2001 Suzuki GSX-R1000 – Suzuki’s answer to the liter-class sportbike wars started by Yamaha’s YZF-R1 a couple years prior.
The latest trend among in motorcycling is introducing a new superbike alongside a higher-spec premium versions. European manufacturers like Ducati and MV Agusta had been doing this for a while but the Big Four Japanese OEMs are now joining in, first with Yamaha and its YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M. Earlier, Tom Roderick gave us a look at Honda’s CBR1000RR SP and SP2 and now he takes us through Suzuki’s new 2017 GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R.
Well, we knew a new Suzuki GSX-R1000 was on the way, but I don’t know if we were expecting two of them? The one with one “R” is for riding, the one with two – GSX-R1000R – is for racing and packed with lots of things Suzuki says make it ready for Superstock competition right out of the box, oh drool… Both bikes of course are lighter, more powerful and meaner than any GSX-R heretofore. And it’s about time, because it’s been since 2009.
When it comes to liter-class sportbikes, technology has become the name of the game. There’s an alphabet soup of acronyms out there to describe the many number of ways you, the rider, can lap a racetrack as fast as you can with far fewer consequences for a mistake than ever before. Yamaha, Ducati, Kawasaki, BMW, Aprilia are just a few of the manufacturers offering top-level sportbikes with sophisticated levels of electronics.
Each year around this time the MO staff gathers to contemplate the new breed of tasty two-wheelers coming our way. This is also when each editor begins positioning himself for a particular press launch. Last year, Preemptive Editor, Troy Siahaan made it abundantly clear that only an act of God would keep him from the R1 launch. This year he’s communicated the same thing about the new Suzuki SV650, a bike that, democratically, didn’t even make this list (Ouch. -TS).
In preparation of our upcoming 2015 Superbike Shootout we came across this similar gem posted a decade ago. From then to now we find similarities in the entrants as well as the editors, such as Yamaha’s R1 and Sean Alexander. In terms of performance, things have, of course, progressed far beyond what these four machines possessed – mostly in the realm of electronics. “You don’t have a 6-axis gyro, TC, slide, lift and launch control,” asks the 2015 of its predecessor.
With a brand new Inline-Four MotoGP race bike set to debut later this year, you’d think Suzuki would choose this moment to update its GSX-R1000 as well. You’d be thinking wrong however, as the GSX-R1000 returns for 2015 with just ABS as standard equipment and bold new graphics.