2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 – Motorcyclist magazine

16 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 – Motorcyclist magazine
Suzuki GSX 1200

Light makes right

They say: “Own the racetrack.”

We say: “Time for a new tagline, Suzuki—that one’s been used since ’04!”

They say: “Own the racetrack.” We say: “Time for a new tagline, Suzuki—that one’s been u

GSX-R is synonymous with sportbike in America. Over 360,000 Gixxers have been sold here since 1986, out-selling the competition by as much as 25 percent for the past 15 years. So when Suzuki acted to unclog its constipated inventory channel by withholding all its streetbikes—including the iconic GSX-Rs—from the USA last year, the absence was acutely felt.

Now the reset button has been pushed and the company is back to business, leading off with this substantially revised GSX-R600.

One figure, however, practically leaps off the page. Claimed curb weight is 412 pounds, 20 pounds less than before. The familiar façade and similar specifications conceal the fact that the new GSX-R has been painstakingly pared down, with every component scrutinized to shave excess ounces.

Examples are almost ridiculous: New starter windings save 1 oz. A reshaped airbox shell is 1.2 oz. lighter than before. Smaller-diameter axles trim another 1.6 oz.

Tedious, but this emphasizes the extreme measures taken to cut the GSX-R600 down to fighting weight.

Suzuki made no specific claims regarding power output, though a comparative dyno chart shown during the tech briefing implied horsepower and torque peaks identical to the last generation, with modest midrange increases. Bore and stroke remain unchanged, though a slight compression bump, milder cam profiles that reduce valve overlap and more efficient pentagonal crankcase vents are said to enhance midrange torque. Titanium valves have been re-angled for improved gas flow and secondary injectors now spray further down Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV), for quicker throttle response.

Bodywork is all new, but aside from the vertically stacked headlamp it looks almost indistinguishable from the last generation. It’s time for something more original or distinctive.

Suzuki GSX 1200
Suzuki GSX 1200

Bodywork is all new, but aside from the vertically stacked headlamp it looks almost indist

The new bike feels more different than it looks. Like previous GSX-Rs the cockpit is tight, with scant legroom and a short reach to the bars. Even with three-way-adjustable footrests and new clip-ons angled outward an extra degree, tall or big-footed riders still feel cramped.

A slimmer seat pan and 10mm-shorter fuel tank make the already compact bike look and feel smaller than it is. Average-sized riders will find it easy to move around at speed.

The GSX-R600 was introduced at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, a technically demanding circuit that rewards the quick directional changes this featherweight machine excels at. Rotating the engine upward three degrees allowed engineers to pull the headtube back and decrease wheelbase without changing the front-end geometry or swingarm length, so neutral steering and high-speed stability are maintained. Blitzing the 100-mph chicane just past Museum Corner the bike snaps side-to-side like a proper racebike, and carves the line like a Samurai sword thanks to increased forward weight bias.

Barber’s multiple downhill corner entries demand a high degree of front-end feedback—another attribute of the new bike. The Big Piston Fork’s oversized, 39.6mm pistons move more fluid at a faster rate for improved compliance and stability, especially apparent during deep trail braking. The new fork dominated Barber’s famous “Alabama Coaster,” where the fast line runs over the curbing on entry.

Even hitting the curb hard enough to lift the front tire off the ground, the BPF absorbed the input without upsetting the chassis or glancing off-line.

Suzuki GSX 1200
Suzuki GSX 1200
Suzuki GSX 1200
Suzuki GSX 1200
Suzuki GSX 1200
Suzuki GSX 1200

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