The Long-Needed Update Makes A Big Impact

Suzuki gave its iconic sportbike an overhaul for 2017 with a new liquid-cooled engine, a new frame, new ECM, new ride-by-wire throttle bodies and a host of other goodies to keep this ride current and relevant in its sixth generation. The engineers at the factory show their love for the GSX-R1000 by making it the most powerful and hardest accelerating Gixxer-with-a-single-R to date with a horsepower boost that pushes the claimed figure up to 199 ponies at the shaft. Simultaneously, the engineers made the foundation both lighter and stronger so even more of the available power makes it to pavement. End result; more of what we expect from the Gixxer family.

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

  • 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    1000 cc
  • Price:
    14699
  • Price:

Design

2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
- image 777414
This is the first major update the liter Gixxer has seen in 9 long years and it is kind of a big deal for the model.

You could call 2012 an update year, but realistically, this is the first major update the liter Gixxer has seen in 9 long years. In short, the 2017 update for the GSX-R1000 and its ABS-equipped sibling are kind of a big deal. This dynamic duo leads the way with a barely-there fairing that sports two ginormous intake ducts on either side of the cyclops headlight that are part of Suzuki’s Ram Air Direct feature. The RAD utilizes pressurized air at the entry to slightly increase the volumetric efficiency of the engine. Since the frame was narrowed a bit for this gen, overall penetration is up as well and acts as a sort of force-multiplyer that helps the bike hold onto the gains garnered by the more powerful engine.

A bubble screen tops the fairing with the typical superbike engine cowling that serves as both housing and scoop for the radiator with ample vents in the panels to re-incorporate the cooling air with the sliptream in order to reduce drag. Not only does this pull heat from the radiator, but it also flushes the BTUs from beneath the cowl for greater rider comfort.

Clip-on bars pull the rider forward and down into the pocket make by the clear screen, and over the 4.2-gallon fuel tank into the Superman position. I’ll go ahead and point out that while this is all great and fine for trackday fun, it gets wearisome when puttering around town as your wrists and shoulders bear the brunt of your upper-body weight. That’s OK if that’s what you’re into, I suppose, but if you’re not, I’d like to take this opportunity to direct your attention to the GSX-S1000 instead for a more commute-friendly machine.

The tank tapers off at the trailing edge where it meets the narrow waist to make room for body English and to give your inner thighs a break if you’re somewhat vertically challenged and need to tip-toe the bike. It comes with a generous rise to the pillion pad that serves to cup and retain the pilot’s tokas when you decide to avail yourself of the available horsepower. A recessed taillight forms the trailing edge of the subframe, and the rest of the rearward lighting and tagholder come mounted on the stick-out mudguard with LED yummy-goodness all around. A kicked-up exhaust and narrow belly fairing leaves plenty of room for leaning in as far as your courage will allow.

Chassis

2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
- image 777409
Lots of improvements here that make the Gixxer even more eager in the corners than ever before.

A twin-spar aluminum frame comes with a handful of tweaks for the new generation. First off, the factory sent the structure to fat camp where it dropped 10-percent from the total weight of the main frame and 38-percent from the subframe. Next, it shaved just over three-quarters of an inch (20 mm) off the width of the bones, stretched the swingarm and doubled the bracing on same for greater rigidity. The steering head comes set for 23.2 degrees of rake with 3.74 inches of trail over a 55.9-inch wheelbase that makes the Gixxer even more eager in the corners than ever before.

Suzuki boosted the front discs by 10 mm up to a total of 320 mm and went with premium Brembo components for both discs and calipers at both ends. Like the “R” models, the base 1000 comes with an Inertial Measurement Unit that, as its devilishly ingenious name suggests, gauges the forces at work on the machine to help refine the responses of the traction control. Unlike that higher-tier model, the GSX-R1000 ABS doesn’t get the sexy, corner-sensitive brake control feature, but it does use the axis-force readings to prevent rear-wheel lift when you grab a fistful of the front brake and interventions are subtle with little pulsing in evidence and only under the firmest braking pressures.

A pair of four-pot Brembo calipers bite the front discs while a single-piston Nissin anchor slows the rear for a combined effort that can quickly haul it down from flight speeds. Symmetrical, 17-inch wheels are the norm in this realm, and the Gixxer 1000 is no exception here with lightweight, six-spoke cast wheels that mount ZR/W- rated Bridgestones with a 120/70 up front and 190/55 out back to round out the rolling 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
Brakes Rear: Nissin, 1-piston, Disc single
Tires Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless
Tires Rear: 190/55ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless

Drivetrain

2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
- image 777414
If you want that track-day Quick-Shift system or Launch Control, you're going to have to raise your sights by one tier and look at the “R” instead.

Most of the yummy-goodness on this ride is concentrated around the engine compartment, as well it should be. Barrel diameter increases while stroke decreases to land at 76 mm and 55.1 mm, respectively, to give it the new 999.8 cc displacement. Compression also got a boost up to 13.2-to-1, up from 12.9-to-1 due to the new short-skirt (no giggety), dome-top pistons. Dual over-head cams time the titanium valves via a finger-follower system with a very special feature in the cam drive system itself. Namely, the Suzuki Racing-Variable Valve Timing system that uses the centrifugal forces from a dozen steel balls to retard intake timing and increase valve overlap at the top end where it’s most useful. Induction management falls to the RbW control and 46 mm throttle bodies (up from 44 mm) with a “dual-stage funnel” on the two outboard cylinders that varies the stack height depending on demand to further tailor power delivery.

Suzuki’s Motion Track Traction Control system makes the most use of the data from the IMU by considering the available traction based on the metrics as it makes its corrections to maintain chassis stability. It also sports a new Drive Mode Selector feature that gives the engine three distinct personalities, but if you want that track-day Quick-Shift system or Launch Control, you’re going to have to raise your sights by one tier and look at the “R” instead.

A race-style cassette transmission crunches the ratios with six-speeds on board to keep the engine in its useable power range, a range that peaks much higher than your garden-variety streetbike. You get the full 87 pound-feet of torque out of the in-line four at a relatively low 10,800 rpm, but if you want the full 199 horsepower, be prepared to wind it up to an impressive 13,200 rpm. Yikes!

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
Starter: Electric
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Lubrication: Wet sump
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate type
Final Drive: Chain, RK525GSH

Pricing

2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
- image 777412
MSRP is about $15k for the ABS model and a few bills less for the non-ABS version.

You can score a base-model MY18 GSX-R1000 for $14,699, or go for the optional ABS model for $15,099. They roll with a 12-month factory warranty, and come in Pearl Glacier White or Metallic Mat Black No. 2 for 2018, both with a fetching blue trim.

Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty
Color:
2017: Metallic Matte Black No. 2/Glass Sparkle Black, Pearl Mira Red, Metallic Triton Blue (non-ABS only)
2018: Pearl Glacier White, Metallic Mat Black No. 2
Price: $14,699 (ABS model: $15,099)

Competitors

2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
- image 777263
2016 - 2017 Yamaha YZF-R1 / YZF-R1S / YZF-R1M
- image 777408
The YZF-R1S poses a serious threat to the GSX-R1000 ABS with its comparable power and superior gadgetry that is sure to appeal to the real race-geeks out there.

As race-tastic as it looks, the GSX-R1000 is really meant for people who want to spice up their commute/canyon-carving time without ever actually getting on a racetrack proper, so with that in mind, it seems that the YZF-R1S from Yamaha is my Huckleberry as it is targeting the exact same slice of the market. In the looks department, the two are just variations on a theme with all the same high points represented and just a bit of brand flavor such as the larger vent cutouts in Yamaha’s cowling that gives us a tantalizing glimpse of the engine cases, and the chin fairing that abruptly stops before it becomes a belly enclosure as well. Something they both have in common is a clear message to any potential passengers that you’d really prefer to be riding alone; something to bear in mind if you want to share the experience with a friend.

Yamaha uses KYB stems against the Showa components favored by Suzuki, but both end up neck-and-neck in quality and control, and the YZF’s ABS feature comes with a combined-brake element that shares some of the front-brake pressure with the rear for more stability under heavy front braking forces. Brake hardware is a wash.

The Tuning Fork Company powers its entry with a 998 cc Crossplane Crankshaft engine that delivers a claimed 200 ponies at 13,500 rpm and 82.6 pound o’ grunt against 199/87 from the Gixxer. While that’s close enough for government work, Yamaha goes much further with its electronics suite. It shares a lean-sensitive traction control system and variable power-delivery modes, but adds a Slide Control System, Lift Control System and Race Start Control, things you’d have to go to the GSX-R1000R to get from Suzuki. At $14,999, the YZF-R1S poses a serious threat to the GSX-R1000 ABS with its comparable power and superior gadgetry that is sure to appeal to the real race-geeks out there.

He Said

“No matter how it stacks up, the Gixxers have a special place in my heart, and it’s good to see the family going stronger than ever. This ride doesn’t disappoint, and is a good example of what folks want in their street-supers; just enough racing stuff to make it fun while hopefully staying within your skillset.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “You’d think that putting an additional letter in the model designation would mean it is something better, but that isn’t always the case. In comparing the GSX-R1000 to the GSX-R1000R, I think the ride quality is better on the R1000R, but the steering is more on point on the R1000.”

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
Starter: Electric
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
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
Brakes Rear: Nissin, 1-piston, Disc single
Tires Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless
Tires 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: 200 kg (441 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: Metallic Matte Black No. 2/Glass Sparkle Black, Pearl Mira Red, Metallic Triton Blue (non-ABS only)
2018: Pearl Glacier White, Metallic Mat Black No. 2
Price: $14,699 (ABS model: $15,099)

References

Yamaha YZF-R1S

2016 - 2017 Yamaha YZF-R1 / YZF-R1S / YZF-R1M
- image 777407

See our review of the Yamaha YZF-R1S.

Suzuki GSX-R1000R

2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
- image 777344

See our review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000R.

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

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