Suzuki GSR 600

17 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Suzuki GSR 600

As I struggled to find the correct headline for this article, I also struggled to see where the new Suzuki naked would fit in the model range. GSR 600 is the perfect answer to Honda Hornet, Yamaha FZ6 and even Kawasaki Z750. However in Suzuki’s own model range there’s a GSF 650 and SV650 already and that would seem to be enough middleweights for any manufacturer.

It is therefore expected that GSR 600 is the Bandit 650 replacement, but Suzuki just forgot to remove the long serving Bandit from its model range.

Words: Tor Sagen /Photography: Claire McHugh

GSR 600 feels nimble and light with a soundtrack slightly better than the K5 GSX-R600, at least when standing still. Before the fuel injection started to annoy me, I noticed how brilliant the handling is on this new middleweight from Suzuki. The swing-arm is based on that of the new GSX-R 600.

However it is built specially for the GSR as it’s got a cut out where the exhaust tubes are heading up beneath the pillion seat. It’s still really rigid and far superior to that offered by the Japanese competition. GSR 600 really handles so well that it surprised me as being the most entertaining bike this year on my usual route home.

Certainly more entertaining than Yamaha’s new R6 that I rode on these very roads only two weeks before. With the 98bhp engine it is never going to generate any top spe eds remotely close to a full on supersport. But everywhere else the performance is perfectly suited for the roads you’d spend most of the time on.

The engine still needs plenty of revs, but less than a supersport. Just around 10,000 rpm is where the engine is at its most lively and also where the power and torque peaks within 1,000 rpm from each other. This is where you want to be when going fast for good drive out of the corners.

As soon as you let the revs settle down too much that fuel injectio n starts annoying with a jerk that is just too much to forgive easily. Particularly for town riding, filtering and generally where you want to use the smooth lower end of the power band it is a problem. Not a problem bigger than a dash of clutch can’t fix, but still annoying.

For this reason I preferred to use the engine a bit more on high revs than I at first intended. Since the GSR handles so well this was not a problem and I was happy tackling the tightest hair-bend corners quicker than anything else this year. The very steady and grippy Bridgestone BT014’s helps a lot-particularly as the suspension is in perfect tune with the tyres and balanced chassis.

The styling and mass centralisation has dictated how the bike looks at the front end with a wide front part of the petrol tank where the blinkers are integrated nicely. This gives the MV Brutale look where Mr Tamburini has made this look so natural. On quite a few naked bikes the radiator sticks out and just looks out of place.

The GSR looks right, maybe slightly too perfect which can make it loo k a bit bland after you have seen a few. For me the swing arm is the highlight, whilst for others the rear end with the exhaust and rear lights does the trick. Word is that Suzuki GB and other subsidiaries almost had to force through the idea of such a heavily braced swing arm. GSR 600 would not have been as good as it is without it.

The front headlight/instrument console design is another obvious MV Agusta rip-off. But it’s a better rip off than Yamaha’s FZ6. And make sure you study those rear blinkers too. Nice!

Whilst waiting for a bigger GSR from Suzuki there’s bound to be a few hooligans out there considering the GSR 600. I can tell you it is easier than the Hornet, FZ6 and Z750 to ride on one wheel. The fact it is light with better handling than the competition with its aluminium frame and swing-arm, perfect tyres and overall balance makes naughty easy.

Even though both the conventional front fork and brakes look less flashy than the rest of the design, you can still rest assured these are quality components from the previous generation sports bikes. It is not that many years ago that the best sports bikes featured the very same items. Four pot Tokico’s and 43mm telescopic fork with adjustable preload is good enough on the GSR 600.


There is never a lack of power in the brakes and since the dry weight has been kept down both suspension and brakes works effortlessly as they should.

On the motorway a few high frequency vibrations can be noticed which again blurs the mirrors. Every bloody car in the mirrors looks like they have got flashing blue lights. This is definitely a problem and the best would probably be to get rid of the mirrors and at the same time the paranoia. The vibrations can mostly be felt at the handlebars and almost nothing at the well padded foot pegs. Luggage space is a bit of a problem on the GSR 600.

Suzuki DR 600 R

Even GSX-R1000 has got more room for tools and maybe a raincoat under the pillion seat than GSR 600. It is something as unusual as a Japanese middleweight with very few compromises. Styling and aesthetics is in abundance, even though Suzuki has not gone absolutely as far as they could have with this machine.

I’ll give it a satisfactory though.

Conclusion

Apart from a very disappointing fuel injection jerkiness and high frequency vibrations to the handlebars and mirrors GSR 600 is a great middleweight in-line four. It is such good fun to trash around and weighs less than its strongest competitor, Kawasaki Z750. Imagine how a GSR 750 would be… At the same time it has got more power and better chassis than the two other Japanese in-line fours.

Great job Suzuki, but better fix that fuelling as soon as possible!

Handling (in particular that swing-arm)

Engine

Styling

Fuel injection not finely tuned enough

Suzuki DR 600 R
Suzuki DR 600 R

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