Suzuki is back as a serious contender in the sportbike game. The all-new GSX-R1000 for 2017 confirms that. Factor in Suzuki’s commitment to MotoGP and Superbike racing, and it feels like old times for Suzuki’s loyal contingent of sportbike riders everywhere.
Three models will be offered—GSX-R1000, GSX-R1000 ABS and GSX-R1000R ABS—featuring an all-new engine and chassis. Much of the technology found in this sixth-generation GSX-R1000 has been gleaned right from the race track. Maverick Vinales’ MotoGP win last season at the British GP was worth more than just a trophy and valuable championship points, that’s for sure.
You’ll realize the fruits of Vinales’ and Suzuki’s labor after a quick walk-around of the new GSX-R1000. The sleek bodywork shows telling similarities to the racer, and the new engine is repositioned within the reconfigured chassis to enhance handling and rider feedback into, through and out of corners. Showa suspension front and rear boasts race-bred technology as well. Indeed, the R model has suspension upgrades more in tune for race track applications, including the Showa BFF (Balance Free Front) fork that features a unique damping system that Suzuki claims minimizes stiction for more positive feedback to the rider over bumps.
Rear suspension for the R model is based on Showa’s BFRC (Balance Free Rear Cushion) coil-over shock absorber that has an external oil damping circuit. Suzuki claims this design isolates the damping oil from the influence of unequal pressure, giving more positive feedback to the rider.
The standard GSX-R1000/ABS utilizes Showa’s BPF (Big Piston Front) fork that positions the springs within the fork lowers so they’re submerged in oil, reducing oil foaming for improved damping. The 1000’s rear Showa shock absorber has new progressive linkage. Spring preload and damping (compression and rebound) have external adjustments.
Larger front brake rotors incorporate a new hybrid mounting system to produce a larger contact area between the inner disc carrier and the rotor itself. The rear brake remains unchanged from 2016.
Suzuki’s mantra for its GSX-R models has always been “Run. Turn. Stop.” The new suspension and brakes help it turn and stop better, and an all-new engine that utilizes MotoGP-inspired components coupled with advanced electronics to maximize power helps it run better.
The engine is based on a liquid-cooled, in-line four-cylinder format. Suzuki decided to retain the even firing order pattern, rather than go with uneven firing sequence that’s become popular in MotoGP for two important reasons: traction and chassis feedback for the rider. Plus, according to Suzuki engineers, the screaming sound of an even-firing engine sounds so much nicer!
While displacement has pretty much remained the same—999.8cc for 2017 vs. 999.1cc for 2016—bore and stroke have been altered demonstrably. The old 74.5 x 57.3mm dimensions have been replaced with forged pistons that occupy bore and stroke area of 76.0 x 55.1mm, with compression ratio bumped from 12.9:1 to 13.2:1. Suzuki claims peak horsepower and torque have improved, with redline jumping from 13,500 rpm to 14,500 rpm.
Upstairs a new variable valve timing system that helps promote more power throughout the engine’s rev range. The new system, called Suzuki Racing WT, is based on the MotoGP engine’s design, which includes thin-wall, hollow camshafts operating lighter pivoting finger followers for the valves. The system is simple in design, yet wonderfully efficient in application. And a top-feed injector design means better fuel/air flow into the combustion chambers, plus the exhaust system uses electronically controlled valves near the header pipes to further fine-tune the engine’s performance by regulating exhaust flow.
No doubt, electronics play a key role in the engine’s new performance. That, of course, means you’ll need to bone up on the alphabet soup of acronyms associated with this technology. Start with the heart of the electronics, the 32-bit ECM (Electronic Control Module) that reads throttle position, crankshaft position, gear position and front and rear wheel speed, as well as a six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). The GSX-R1000’s electronics package includes (depending on model): the ten-mode Motion Track Traction Control System (MT-TCS), three-mode Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS), Motion Track Anti-Lock Braking System, Suzuki Launch Control System and Suzuki Bi-directional Quick-shift System. Other electronic features new to the GSX-R1000 include the Suzuki Easy Start System and the Low RPM Assist feature. It sounds complicated, but in the end those little black boxes produce magical results for a fast, yet controlled ride.
Indeed, the new GSX-R1000 has all the assets necessary to help launch it back to the forefront of the ever competitive superbike pack. The 2017 GSX-R1000 is proof that Suzuki didn’t return to MotoGP racing for the fun of the sport. Just like the original GSX-R750 that changed the superbike market 30 years ago, the new GSX-R1000 streetbike is derived from a design that has its origins on the racetrack. The phrase “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” is just as relevant today as it was back then.
Color and pricing for the GSX-R1000, GSX-R1000 ABS and GSX-R1000R are TBD, with the GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R arriving in dealerships May 2017 and the GSX-R1000 ABS arriving in June 2017.