Of the four Japanese brands, Suzuki were the ones hit hardest by the recession, which is why they’ve been the slowest to update or release new models. But, they’re back with a bang with the all-new GSX-R1000—the first superbike to use variable valve timing technology.
This was one of those rumors I was afraid to say out loud. It’s really hard for a brand to keep a big new model a secret and the internet has been mostly void of new gixxer talk the past week or two, so when I heard a rumor it was coming today I was afraid to jinx it by repeating the rumor or writing about it. I’ve always had a special place in my heart of Suzuki, because they have several simply excellent models that stand alone unchallenged (DR-Z400 and GSX-R750) and because their stuff always just seems to work really well despite being about as basic as it gets (all other GSX-Rs, Hayabusa, V-Stroms, SFV650).
So, you can bet the first thing I did when my alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. this morning was to google “new gsx-r1000” and I’m incredibly stoked to say they’ve come through.
This new GSX-R, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7 (L7 denotes the generation) will actually be released mid next year as a 2017 model. It features an all-new 999 cc motor producing 200 horsepower and 82 foot-pounds of torque which, if accurate (it likely isn’t), would put it second in torque under just the Ducati 1299 Panigale.
The big news here engine wise is variable valve timing which, until now, has never been used in a superbike (although I called it back in April). Basically, different amounts of valve overlap (the amount of time both the intake and exhaust valves are open) are better for different types of engine performance. On one end of the spectrum, you have configurations that are better for smooth, low rpm performance and on the other end, top rpm power. For more info, David Tracy wrote a lovely little explainer, which you can read here.
This Suzuki system places steel balls in the grooves of the intake cam sprocket and its guide plate that move outward via centrifugal force, which causes them to stack in different grooves at different RPMs. This rotates the intake cam at high RPM, which delays intake cam timing. TL;DR: you have optimised cam timing all at RPMs, which means more torque and smoother fueling low without sacrificing top end horsepower.
It will also get a host of electronic aids, including ten level traction control, selectable fuel maps, a bi-directional quick shifter, and launch control. Suzuki claim they’ve opted not to include an IMU, because they claim the rider simply won’t need it.
The 2017 GSX-R1000 will also get Showa’s Balance Free Front (BFF) fork and Balance Free Rear Cushion (BFRC) shock , which are the same units appearing on the new 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R. They’re about as good as it gets in the suspension world, both of which are fully adjustable and more capable of handling various surface conditions.
Suzuki have yet to release pricing, but they do say that price consideration was a big factor with this bike. It will come in two versions, and they’ve indicated that both will be far more affordable than other current offerings. They pulled off some real magic getting their GSX-S1000 naked sportbike down to $10,ooo, and that’s a lovely bike.
They’ve always made the best headlight in the game (seriously, the current GSX-R is the only sportbike that lights the road so you can actually see) and I hope the new design doesn’t impact that. I love the shape of the tail
(assuming you get a tail tidy), and it appears Suzuki intend to keep their “most comfortable sportbike” role - which I’m incredibly pleased to see.I actually love the looks of the new GSX-R1000, although that livery is definitely pretty polarizing. I’d love it in that paint on the track, but they’ll offer it in something a little less smurf-blue for you street guys.
For what it’s worth, if I could own any sportbike in the world it would be the current Suzuki GSX-R750, so I’m definitely rooting for this to be a great bike so Suzuki can keep it up. The new R1 is simply phenomenal, the upcoming ZX-10R looks amazing, and now this. With Honda likely also releasing a new CBR1000RR next year, it’s a great time to ride sportbikes and this level of competition benefits us all.
Keep up to date on all of our EICMA 2015 coverage here.