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Racing ahead

You need to spend very little time on Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 to realise the scope of its ambition. And although there already are some impressive performance bikes on sale in India, the time is ripe for the GSX-R1000 to power in. It’s now available in India as an official CBU import, but can it live up to its awesome reputation on Indian roads? Let’s find out.

STYLE FILE

A quick look is enough to convince you that the GSX-R1000 belongs to the future. A blend of sharp aggression and subtle curves make it seem compact and racy. Louvered air dams flank the GSX’s broad and detailed headlight, which features edgy blue-tinged pilot lamps. Top-class mirrors with integrated turn indicators mount the Suzuki’s raked windscreen.

Nestled underneath are a bold analogue tachometer and a gear indicator that shares space with the bike’s compact digital interface. In addition to a speedometer, odometer, twin-trip, clock and lap timer, “S-DMS” or Suzuki Drive Mode Selector is also on the digital interface. “S-DMS” can be shifted via triggers on the left switchgear and it gives the rider the option to alter engine mapping on the fly.

There are three modes. ‘A’ mode doesn’t even try to restrain the team of 185.5 horses, while ‘B’ mode offers a little more control, restricting power delivery as long as you don’t crank the throttle open over 50 per cent. ‘C’ mode provides control at all times.

The GSX’s comprehensive switches include a hazard warning and a toggle for the digital readout. Its clip-on handlebars end with palm-friendly grips and this superbike comes with elegant buffed alloy levers. The front brake allows reach-adjustability and the clutch incorporates a cable adjuster.

Much of the Gixxer’s engine sits hidden behind the impressive bodywork, some of its smart blue alloy frame just peering out under the tank, which offers good thigh support. Both seats are the standard supersports bike fare, with the rider section rising sharply into the pillion perch — more a formality than for any real function. At the rear, a quartet of lights with two LED brake lamps and flared indicators enhance the Gixxer’s stylish looks.

This bike also comes with graceful dual exhausts on either side of its splendid blue ‘banana’ swingarm. The quality of the paint is top draw, while fit, finish and overall quality of the bike are good, if not the best. Other than the trademark Suzuki blue-and-white with black three-spoke alloy rims, there is also the option of a black and silver colour scheme for India.

UNDER THE TANK

The GSX-R1000 is blisteringly fast, with an incredible power-to-weight ratio of 904.9bhp per tonne. Thanks to its short-stroke, 999cc engine, a compact powerplant, liquid-cooled with fuel injection and four titanium valves per cylinder. The big Gixxer uses a smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox and a cable-operated clutch that provides direct feedback.

There was a time when bikes like the GSX-R1000 were designed purely for expert riders to use on a track, which meant revving really hard to extract maximum power and keeping it on the boil. That is all very well on a racetrack when you’re always riding flat out. Street riding, however, is an entirely different matter.

RIDER’S DEAL

The GSX-R1000’s relatively useable power provides a lot more confidence for the average rider. Sure, it’s rev-hungry and delivers hyper power when you pin its throttle, but this bike can still be handled thanks to its decent spread of mid-range power. You can still experience the bike’s adrenaline-pumping performance in any gear after 7000rpm, but the bike does well even when pottering on city streets at 3000-5000rpm.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to keep yourself from riding this bike in anything but full on in ‘A’ mode. At this point, performance becomes mind numbingly impressive. I passed 100kph in 3.52 seconds, 160kph in 6 seconds and continued to accelerate strongly at 200kph, a mere 8.56 seconds from launch — up to the top speed of around 285kph.

Throttle response is instantaneous and the big Suzuki stays vibe-free at all speeds. The Gixxer engine feels strong and reliable, despite hard riding over prolonged periods of time. The suspension is fully adjustable at both ends and the trick front uses inverted Showa forks with large internal pistons. While these make the front relatively firm, they do also help provide excellent front-end feedback when pushing hard. Rear suspension is via an adjustable monoshock and the bike rides on 17-in rims (front and rear).

The riding posture is radical and over long stints, it becomes painful, despite the adjustable footpegs. Riding fast and pushing the GSX-R1000 hard comes naturally around corners, with this steering-damped bike providing a stable feel, if only a shade heavier at turn in than its rivals. That said, the handling is predictable, with good tyre grip and excellent straight-line stability. Ride is firm but communicative and allows good control. The brakes are also really impressive.

Fuel consumption shouldn’t be of concern to those buying a speed machine such as this Suzuki. When put to the economy test, the GSX-R1000 returned 16.6kpl on city streets, and 21.3kpl when cruising at 100kph in top gear on the highway.

FINAL VERDICT

Don’t buy the racy GSX-R1000 if you want a comfortable, practical or forgiving motorcycle. This is a brutally fast machine made for experienced riders, the race circuit, or to carve up fast corners. The Gixxer looks aggressive, provides sharp handling and has a performance kick that can intimidate even the seasoned rider. There aren’t many motorcycles — or riders — which can keep up with Suzuki’s GSX-R1000.

Spec check

suzuki gsx-r1000

Engine: Four cylinders, liquid-cooled, four-stroke/ 999cc/ in-line four/ TCI, fuel injection
Maximum power: 185.5bhp at 12000rpm
Maximum torque: 11.9kgm at 10000rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed; 1-down, 5-up
Suspension (F/R): Upside-down telescopic forks/ monoshock, alloy swingarm
Brakes (F/R): 310mm discs/ 220mm disc

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