A revised, compact combination of chassis and engine, fitted with advanced electronics, effective suspension and radial-mount brakes to not only make more power and accelerate harder but also to handle better, with the goal being a quicker lap time around a racetrack. Ignore the lights and mirrors and the fact that this is also the cleanest running four-cylinder 600cc motorcycle that Suzuki has ever built, and it is easy to imagine the GSX-R600 rolling directly out of a race shop.
Fresh out of Suzuki’s is the 2008 GSX-R600. It is the GSX-R of middleweight class, a product of Suzuki’s legendary Integrated Design approach. A machine designed and refined by a team of talented engineers working together to build a motorcycle that delivers Balanced Performance.
Suzuki launched the first GSX-R in 1992 as a sportbike featuring a water-cooled 599cc inline-four, DOHC, 16-valves engine developing 106 hp (79 KW) @ 12,600 rpm. This first model had the same body specifications as the ’92 GSX-R 750W, but given to the smaller engine, it wasn’t that fast.
The future year, 1993, brought visual upgrade consisting in new graphics and red wheels.
1996 saw a more refined engine featuring the same characteristics but which produced that same power of 106 hp (78 KW) @ 12,000 rpm and 66 Nm @ 10,000 rpm. Let’s say that this was just a preview of the evolutionary steps that Suzuki had prepared for its GSX-R600.
Suzuki engineers considered that their middleweight representative should be lighter and, although featuring a smaller amount of horsepower, it would be easier to handle and to control it over the powerband. The idea was applied on the 1997 model year which now weight 174 kg (384 lbs) instead of 208 kg (459 lbs) and developed 97 hp @ 12,100 rpm. 1997 stood for a great evolutionary step so the bike was blue/white or red/black pained.
Suzuki enjoyed its success for a year further but it didn’t plan to rest on its laurels and it didn’t.
In 1999, the Suzuki GSX-R600 was presented as the motorcycle now featuring a water-cooled 600cc inline-four, DOHC, 16-valves developing now a more easy to control 110 hp (80,9 KW) @ 11,800 rpm and 67,6 Nm @ 10,000 rpm. It became very successful and desired all over the world. Graphics were also new so it could enjoy its success completely.
It did it for a couple of years (1999 and 2000) but they first had to line up to Suzuki’s line of GSX-R’s.
Suzuki kept doing what it new best and that was to reduce weight and increase power. As a result of that, the 2001 model year suffered a significant weight reduction and it now weight 163 kg (359 lbs) along with the 115 hp (85 KW) @ 13,000 and 69.0 Nm @ 10,500 rpm increase of power. That model year could be bought Blue/White or Black/Yellow painted. The new Suzuki had followed the evolution of its bigger brother, the GSX-R750 and the influence proved to be benefic.
You probably suppose that the 2002 model remained the same but it did feature a new 67.6 Nm @ 10,800 rpm. Suzuki extracted the best out of its engine and it wasn’t supposed to miss even a step that small. This model year also brought the Telefonica Movistar Replica offered by Suzuki.
2003 saw the introduction of Black/Yellow, Black/Gray paint schemes and a new special Z Alstare version, apart from the usual Black/White.
For 2004 the GSX-R600 is practically a new bike, there’s that much new goodies on it. The list begins with an all-new twin-spar black-coated frame that’s 15mm narrower, continues with a fuel tank that’s 20mm narrower at the knees, footpegs that are 100mm closer together, new rear shock and fully adjustable inverted 43mm front forks, and finishes with an all-new four-piston radial-mount front brake caliper, operated by a radial-piston master cylinder, a unique feature of the GSX-R600. The 599cc, four-stroke, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve engine developed an awesome 126 bhp (92.7 KW) @ 13,000 rpm and 69.6 Nm @ 10,800 rpm. It could be bought featuring Black/Red, Blue/White or Yellow paint schemes.
Practically the same bike as the previous model, apart for the new graphics, the 2005 Suzuki GSX-R600 only introduced a headlight that switched off during startup in order to reduce load on the battery.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the GSX-R models, Suzuki presented a limited Anniversary edition of the GSX-R600 (GSX-R600X). It was still the same bike but it had special 20th anniversary colors and graphics with numbered emblem and special ignition key, a black muffler with racing style end cap and 20th Anniversary logo, GSX-R750-style trapezoidal radiator, special designed brake discs, tinted windscreen, racing-style sliders, Iridium spark plugs and blue colored chain. This proves that Suzuki knows to celebrate in style and set up a great background for future generations.
In 2006, the GSX-R600 was all-new. The engine was new and the chassis was new. They were both lighter and more powerful so they made this bike faster than any of the previous models. Scaled down in size but with a significant increase in power, the 2006 Suzuki GSX-R600 was now 15mm shorter in overall length, and 25mm shorter in overall height. The seat was also 15mm lower, and the footpegs could be moved into three different positions within a 14 mm horizontal and vertical angle.
The 2006 model also implemented better aerodynamics (5% better to be precise), with a better power-to-weight ratio, wide powerband, and instant throttle response. The instrument cluster featured now a gear position indicator. Colors were White/Blue, Red/Black, Black/Gray, and Silver/White.
2007 surprised the GSX-R600 without any changes as the bike featured the 2006 frame and the same engine construction leading to the development of 125 bhp @ 13,500 rpm and 67.7 Nm @ 11,500 rpm. Waiting for the arrival of an even greater version, Suzuki introduced the Red/White and Black color schemes. Also, the White/Blue was complemented by a darker version with Black instead of White.
On a very competitive market, every single manufacturer produces its best for the 600cc class in order to gain notoriety and satisfy customers with their middleweight category products.
If 2007 gave any clue, the Honda CBR600RR has only just begun to write its legacy in the annals of 600-class performance. What makes the 600RR so good are the systems that fit it and these are: Dual Stage Fuel Injection, Pro-Link rear suspension, HESD electronic steering damper. What complete the bike are the new colors for 2008. This determines Honda to claim that there’s no other 600cc like it, and there never will be.
Almost anywhere you look on the 2008 R6 you’ll find something new, including YCC-I, Yamaha Chip Control Intake. It’s bristling with loads of refinements and knowledge gained from years of racing. You can confidently say the YZF-R6 is one of the most advanced production 600cc motorcycle Yamaha has ever built.
A true race winner, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R sportbike captured a 1-2 finish in the 2007 Daytona 200 and placed 1-2 in the 2007 AMA Supersport championship, thanks to a merger of 600-class power and Grand Prix handling. The result is an exciting racetrack weapon capable of cornering speeds previously unknown to the middleweight class while retaining the wide spread of power that is pure Ninja.
Suzuki designers took care of the GSX-R600’s look and the motorcycle features a totally different appearance for 2008. Did you expect at something else? I certainly didn’t! Packed with exciting new styling and increased lighting and aerodynamics, the middleweight class has a true sharp-looking opponent to fight against.
A very cool and aggressive note is given by the new exhaust system that is as massive as it could get and still maintains a discrete note.
Impressive for this model year, is the White/Silver color scheme followed by the Blue/White, Silver/Yellow, and Black/Matte Black.
I have a special, relaxed attitude before jumping on a GSX-R and the 600 version made no exception. I it’s was the calm before the storm.
I quickly found myself properly accommodated and ready to go so I start the engine and let it worm a little bit. I immediately noticed how the bike smoothly operates at idle and seems ready to go and do whatever it takes to provide the best feelings ever on a 600cc motorcycle.
Trying to obtain the best out of that lightweight 599cc four-stroke, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine, I maintained it into first and saw what a great performer it is under hard acceleration. Also, when exiting a corner, responsiveness coming from that very same engine makes sure to meet all the requests possible without surprising the rider.
I quickly got used to the new bike as it is a true confidence-provider and I wanted to further test it for engine possibilities, maneuverability, and feedback.
While I was widely opening the throttle and changing long gear after even longer gear, I noticed that the engine relies on its wide rpm range in order to keep the speed growing on and on forever. In fact, this is the feeling I obtained: infinity. The wonderfully-tuned engine in collaboration with a gearbox featuring close-ratios, are suitable for adrenaline junkies and experts in the class.
I don’t consider myself an expert but I did managed to get the best out of it on the track and the decent lap times, even though due to the bike’s performance and aerodynamic features, couldn’t be obtained without a medium rider. This proves that Suzuki had a clear thought while designing the GSX-R600: race-inspired features will result into a great performing motorcycle which will be still enough user-friendly and comfortable for the average sports rider.
Handling this 600cc machine is an absolute dream because Suzuki took care of the rider’s demands and needs and presented an easy to master machine with a bit of exercise. This is due to the bike’s aluminum-alloy frame that implements five cast sections and delivers an ideal expected balance of rigidity for improved maneuverability and weight losses.
The redesigned front and rear suspension system in collaboration with the tires provide excellent feedback and practically establish the needed communion between rider and machine. In my chase, this leaded to great overall feel of the bike and confidence even in the most aggressive-approached corners. This is no recommendation for you to go out there and start leaning as much as you can if you just bought the bike. I did that when I felt confident and after the communion was established.
I do recommend you to easily pull the lever that actions the radial mount four piston front brake calipers working together with the new lightweight 310mm front brake rotors and the revised front brake master cylinder. You will immediately feel speed reduction and ground underneath your feet.
I must say that the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R600 left me with the best impression possible and I can’t wait for another go with it. It simply makes sure that its rider’s commands are obediently followed and it never ever sends complains. It is that great!
Imagine a performance package that would provide you with all the necessary and more while still featuring extraordinarily beautiful lines on a great retail price. That package is now known as the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R600, a supersport motorcycle offered for an MSRP of $9,399.
Suzuki gained great heritage through its more than two decades of producing the GSX-R series and it shows on the new GSX-R600. The fact that the recipe combining great power in a light and maneuverable package is best applied by this manufacturer is a real proof of strong development, accuracy and an eye towards the future.
Engine and Transmission
Type: 4-stroke, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 42.5mm
Compression Ratio: 12.8:1
Fuel System: Fuel Injection
Lubrication: Wet Sump
Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh
Final Drive: #525 chain
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension Front: Cartridge-type, coil spring, fully adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping.
Suspension Rear: Link-type, gas/oil damped, fully adjustable spring preload, 2-way adjustable compression and rebound damping.
Brakes Front: Dual hydraulic disc
Brakes Rear: Single hydraulic disc
Tires Front: 120/70-ZR-17
Tires Rear: 180/55-ZR-17
Overall Length: 2040mm (80.3 in.)
Overall Width: 715mm (28.1 in.)
Overall Height: 1125mm (44.3 in.)
Seat Height: 810mm (31.9 in.)
Ground Clearance: 130mm (5.1 in.)
Wheelbase: 1400mm (55.1 in.)
Dry Weight: 163 kg (539 lbs)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.0 liter
Color: Blue/White, Silver/Yellow, White/Silver, Black/Matte Black
Updated compact and lightweight 599cc 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine designed with increased performance and responsiveness in mind.
New electronic fuel injection system features Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) system – with dual fuel injectors per cylinder and new compact 8-hole, fine spray injectors for improved fuel atomization.
Combustion chamber shape is new and features an increased compression ratio of 12.8:1 for maximum performance.
New forged aluminum alloy pistons are designed to work with increased compression ratio, new iridium spark plugs and updated combustion chamber shape.
New exhaust cam tappets diameters are now larger at 25.0mm for increased flexibility cam profile design.
New larger ventilation holes located between the cylinder bores are increased to 41mm for reduced internal pumping pressure and reduced mechanical losses.
New Idle Speed Control (ISC) system for improved cold starting, consistent idle quality and reduced emissions.
New S-DMS engine management system allows the rider to choose from three engine settings to match riding conditions with a handlebar mounted switch.
New high volume Suzuki Advanced Exhaust System (SAES) with an innovative under engine chamber leading to a new large volume muffler with a new distinctly shaped triangular silencer.
Under deceleration the back torque limiting clutch reduces pressure on the clutch plates for smoother downshifting and corner entry.
New hydraulic cam chain tensioner automatically adjusts while reducing noise and mechanical losses.
New clutch cover and oil pan feature new internal ribs for increased rigidity and reduced engine noise.
Suzuki Exhaust Tuning system is built into the mid-pipe using a servo-controlled butterfly valve to tune the exhaust system to match engine rpm and improving low end torque.
New ignition coil outer diameter is smaller for reduced weight and the starter motor uses new rare earth magnets for a compact lightweight design.
New 32 bit ECM features 1024 kilobytes of ROM for maximum engine performance working in conjunction with the new S-DMS engine management system.
Sharp new bodywork design features an aggressive new look featuring a bold new headlight design and a new angular tail section for the new GSX-R600.
New electronically controlled steering damper uses a solenoid valve to move a tapered needle reducing or increasing oil flow to adjust damping force.
New three headlight layout features a projector low beam and multi-reflector headlamps for left and right beams creating improved light distribution.
New lightweight cast aluminum wheels featuring a new angled spoke design for improved rigidity, reduced unsprung weight and improved acceleration.
New diecast aluminum seat rail features an updated two piece design for reduced weight.
Lightweight Tokico single piston rear brake caliper is mounted on a new rear caliper bracket for ease of maintenance when removing the rear wheel or working on the rear brake.
New fuel tank features a GSX-R1000 inspired design and fuel capacity is increased to 17 liters.
Aggressive new overall design features a well balanced combination of compactness with high performance look of a GSX-R.
An aluminum-alloy frame utilizing five cast sections is engineered to deliver the ideal balance of rigidity for improved handling and less weight.
Braced aluminum alloy swingarm is rigid with a large swingarm pivot and the swingarm assembly is designed for optimum suspension feedback and the rear wheel traction.
Innovative rear suspension linkage features a forged aluminum alloy link and one piece forged aluminum alloy link rod designed to increase traction and reduce side loads.
Inverted 41mm Showa front forks are fully adjustable for rebound, compression and preload settings with optimum rake and trail dimensions for incredible cornering performance.
Showa 46mm aluminum alloy rear shock features a 16mm rod is completely adjustable for rebound, high and low speed compression and preload damping.
Radial mount four piston front brake calipers works with new lightweight 310mm front brake rotors and a revised front brake master cylinder.
New three way adjustable footpegs now feature die-cast construction and can be moved into three different positions with a 14mm horizontal and vertical range.
The compact lightweight instrument cluster features a step motor controlled analog tach, LCD speedometer, dual tripmeters, clock, fuel reserve and a gear position indicator.