The Fiery-Eyed Pegdraggers Rejoice!

Coming off a fresh update in 2017, Suzuki carries its GSX-R1000R into MY18 with a new color palette, but little else in the way of changes. The next-gen “Gixxer” 1000 brings an all-new 999.8 cc powerplant to the table with a claimed 199 horsepower at the shaft and a whole passel of electronic goodies to help manage all those ponies. Traction control, lean-sensitive ABS, launch control and more, Suzuki’s flagship literbike delivers a taste of track-day fun with overlapping safety nets to help keep us mortal, non-professional riders dirty-side down as we explore our electronically augmented performance envelope. MotoGP tech influences the design to give the rider a little taste of track-day performance, or at the very least, ’performance light.’

Continue reading for my review of the GSX-R1000R.

  • 2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    1000 cc
  • Price:
    17199
  • Price:

Design

2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
- image 777344
I know you fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there are positively giddy at the prospect of dragging a knee (or elbow?).

Built for low-resistance air penetration, the Gixxer leads off with a cyclops headlight that forms the entry for the front fairing. Intake ducts on either side of the light come with small scoops that help shunt air pressure away from the front end with a bubble windscreen up top that punches a hole for the rider. Air flows into the gaping maw at the front of the cowling to flush the waste heat through a number of vents and channels where it then smoothly reintegrates with the slipstream to help minimize power-sapping drag. The full belly fairing channels cooling air over the exhaust pipe and does its bit to minimize turbulence and drag as well.

Lookin’ at the tapered bottom, upswept exhaust and jockey-mount foot controls, it’s pretty clear that this bike is built to take corners much more aggressively than my courage will allow, but I know you fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there are positively giddy at the prospect of dragging a knee (or elbow?) around a track corner.

Clip-on bars pronate the rider over the 4.2-gallon, fuel-tank hump and a flange atop the tank serves to form a pocket for the knee ahead of the narrow union of the pilot’s seat and trailing edge of the tank. Not only does the skinny waist give your legs a break when you put your feet down, but it also leaves plenty of room to throw around some body English.

The rise to the pillion pad creates a butt-retainer for the pilot, and the pad itself comes with a grabstrap and flip-up footpegs for the passenger but little in the way of comfort, I’m afraid. No biggie; it ain’t that kind of bike, is it now. An LED taillight forms the terminus of the body, and it does its bit to keep to keep the rear-end clean as it integrates the turn signals and taillight into one display. A hang-down mudguard/plateholder finishes off the gear-in-the-rear.

Chassis

2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
- image 777352
First gear is shorter this year, so you can come out of the hole with more authority than ever before.

The aluminum, twin-spar frame dropped 10-percent of its overall weight for this latest generation with a slimmer build that helps to protect the gains by the low-resistance entry. Engine position within the frame got tweaked with a 6-degree cant to the rear in order to tune the center-of-gravity and extend the aluminum, “Superbike-braced” swingarm by 1.57 inches (40 mm).

At the steering head, a race-ready tripletree mounts the inverted Showa Balance Free Forks (BFF) that are meant to inject yet another dose of racetrack performance into the mix with a Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion lite out back and full adjustability all around. This is top-shelf stuff folks, and it will get even better before we’re done.

The brakes roll with dual 320 mm discs and four-piston Brembo calipers up front and a 240 mm disc and Nissin caliper out back, and the anchors come with a very special sort of ABS on board; the Motion Track Brake System. It reads the bike’s motion and attitude as recorded by the Inertial Meaurement Unit, calculates the available traction and tailors the intervention levels to match. If you overbrake up front and start to lift the rear end, the system feathers the front brake to maintain even traction and keep the bike stable, and I have it on good authority that it works well with trail-braking, too.

Suspension, Front: Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension, Rear: Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes, Front: Brembo 4-piston, Disc, twin, ABS-equipped
Brakes, Rear: Nissin, 1-piston, Disc single, ABS-equipped
Tire, Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless
Tire, Rear: 190/55ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
- image 777342
The engine has a smooth, predictable power delivery that stays mild up until around 10k rpm, then kicks it up a notch.

The new powerplant steals the show with a power increase of 17 ponies over the previous generation for a total of 199 horsepower at the shaft and 87 pound-feet of torque. Sounds intimidating, right? Well, the factory tuned it with its user-base in mind, and gave the engine a smooth, predictable power delivery that stays mild up until around 10 grand, then kicks it up a notch. This shift in power comes courtesy of the variable cam-timing system that uses something like a centrifugal ball-and-ramp system to adjust the intake cam’s position relative to the drive sprocket’s position to expand the powerband upwards without trading off mid-range performance. The valves are all lightweight titanium — four per cylinder — with DOHC actuation and Suzuki Racing Finger Follower technology that combine forces to help the mill achieve its ridiculously high 14,500 rpm redline. Short-skirt pistons ride in Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material bores with a 76 mm bore, 55 mm stroke and a sizzling-hot, 13.2-to-1 compression ratio.

Induction control falls to the RbW throttle bodies that draw ram-compressed air from the scoops up front to increase volumetric efficiency beyond normal aspiration, even if it falls short of the roughly 300-percent VE a turbocharger can deliver. Staggered intake-funnel lengths help spread the love throughout the rev range with Suzuki’s Idle Speed Control system that helps get the fire lit in cold conditions and stabilizes the idle to keep it from dying at a light. To further improve the powerband, the exhaust runs the Suzuki Exhaust Tuning system that delivers variable backpressure to further deepen the powerband. All this power generates some considerable waste heat, so in addition to the ultra-efficient water-cooling system, it also uses an oil cooler to protect the engine’s lifeblood for double thermal protection.

While there are literbikes out there with more power and a more aggressive personality, the Gixxer 1000R tempers the delivery for a user-friendly ride that is easy to manage, even when you unleash the top-end performance. In keeping with the race-style theme of the bike, the six-speed tranny comes in the cassette style that allows for quick gear-set changes, just like the circuit bikes. First gear is shorter this year, so you can come out of the hole with more authority than ever before, and the Clutch Assist System works like a slipper clutch for an easy lever pull when you want to shift, and an up/down quickshifter feature that shifts for you when you want to shift really fast sans clutch action.

Engine: 999.8 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder, DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 76.0 x 55.1 mm (2.992 x 2.169 in.)
Compression Ratio: 13.2: 1
Fuel System: Suzuki Fuel Injection with Ride-by-Wire throttle bodies
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate type
Final Drive: Chain, RK525GSH

Pricing

2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
- image 777345
Considering what you get, the $17k price tag isn't so bad.

All of this can be had for well under the $20k mark at only $17,199 base MSRP. This year, customers can choose between the sinister Metallic Mat Black No. 2, the race-tastic Metallic Triton Blue, and my favorite, the Pearl Glacier White. This price gets you a 12-month, unlimited-mileage warranty.

Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty
Color:
2017: Glass Sparkle Black, Metallic Triton Blue
2018: Metallic Triton Blue, Pearl Glacier White or Metallic Mat Black No. 2
Price: $17,199

Competitors

2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
- image 777355
2017 - 2018 Honda CBR1000RR
- image 773929
The electronic fandanglery is strong with the CBR, but each have their own charms, and it will come down to personal taste on that point.

It’s hard to think about Japanese literbikes without Honda’s CBR1000RR also coming to mind, so I’m going to hit up the Red Riders for their flagship liter for my head-to-head. Right off, the Honda’s Hondaness makes itself apparent in the somewhat boxy visage typical of the brand. The front fairing comes with a similar shape that shunts air pressure aside for better penetration and a bubble fairing for the rider’s pocket. Other than that somewhat-angular quality I mentioned before, the two share a very similar shape. Let’s face it; there’s only so many ways to build an efficient bike.

Honda runs Showa components front and rear, but opts for the BPF system rather than the BFF on the Gixxer. Brakes are similar though, and Honda even manages to get a cornering-ABS feature to match Suzuki’s MTB system that also prevents rear-end lift. Samey-same. Engine size clocks in a tad smaller at 998 cc, but the power difference is quite disproportional to that size offset with 189 horsepower and 84 pounds o’ grunt. The electronic fandanglery is strong with the CBR, but each have their own charms, and it will come down to personal taste on that point.

Regardless of taste, I think everyone can agree that paying less is better, and the CBR’s $16,499 sticker will certainly win it some friends at the end of the day.

He Said

“Loving the revamp. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Gixxers ever since I nearly scared the water out of myself on an 1100 back in the day, and it’s nice to see the family is still around after three decades of production.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “You know, as a street bike, this GSX-R1000R really isn’t a bad ride. The seat is surprisingly comfortable for a sportbike and I could see myself putting state lines behind me on it, though the foot position is a bit higher than I’d like for long-distance. The new engine gives plenty of torque at low revs and the new electronic aids really make the bike more street-friendly. Comparing this to the plain GSX-R1000, I think the steering is a bit more on point with the R1000, but you get a much better overall ride on the R1000R.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 999.8 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder, DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 76.0 x 55.1 mm (2.992 x 2.169 in.)
Compression Ratio: 13.2: 1
Fuel System: Suzuki Fuel Injection with Ride-by-Wire throttle bodies
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate type
Final Drive: Chain, RK525GSH
Chassis:
Suspension, Front: Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension, Rear: Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes, Front: Brembo 4-piston, Disc, twin, ABS-equipped
Brakes, Rear: Nissin, 1-piston, Disc single, ABS-equipped
Tire, Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless
Tire, Rear: 190/55ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 2075 mm (81.7 in.)
Overall Width: 705 mm (27.8 in.)
Overall Height: 1145 mm (45.1 in.)
Ground Clearance: 130 mm (5.1 in.)
Seat Height: 825 mm (32.5 in.)
Curb Weight: 203 kg (448 lbs.)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 16.0 L (4.2 US gallons)
Details:
Electricals: Headlight: LED, Tail Light: LED
Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty
Color:
2017: Glass Sparkle Black, Metallic Triton Blue
2018: Metallic Triton Blue, Pearl Glacier White or Metallic Mat Black No. 2
Price: $17,199

References

Honda CBR1000RR

2017 - 2018 Honda CBR1000RR
- image 773928

See our review of the Honda CBR1000RR.

Suzuki GSX-R1000

no article
- image 777262

See our review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: suzukicycles.com, powersports.honda.com

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