You all know the saying, “You get what you pay for.” It’s an important life lesson that rings true for many aspects of life. Like cheap tools, the pleasure we get for the minimal cost outlay quickly evaporates as soon as it breaks much sooner than it should. Shoulda bought the good one is what we inevitably say to ourselves every time.
Here we are with another year coming to an end. It was another great year in motorcycling for 2017. Yes, even with all the doom and gloom from “industry insiders” tirelessly trying to understand why don’t millennials like motorcycles, and low sales numbers from some of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, it was still a great time to be a motorcyclist.
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.
It’s been eight long years since Suzuki last updated its GSX-R1000, and the time they spent creating the new one has been well worth it. Everything from the engine to the frame to the electronics and suspension has been given a ground-up redo, creating the best Gixxer Thou ever. Now boasting as much power as BMW’s ferocious S1000RR, Suzuki is ready to take the fight to the top rivals in the class.
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.
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.