The 2020 Suzuki GSX-R1000Armani Moffatt
GSX-R models have been cult bikes since their inception in 1985, forging a reputation as focussed sports bikes on road and race winners on track. In 2001 Suzuki launched the first 1000cc version – it was hard, fast, uncompromising and moved the benchmark for outright production bike performance. For 2017 Suzuki created an all-new GSX-R1000 and a GSX-R1000R with the intention of topping the performance sheets once more. Three years on it should have been eclipsed by the awesome power of the latest Ducati and BMW offerings, but the GSX-R remains a formidable track bike guaranteed to put a smile on your face at a price considerably lower than the exotic European models.
200hp. That figure, though unthinkable 18 years ago when the first GSX-R1000 arrived, has now become the norm for litre-class supersport bikes. In fact, now even 200hp is seen as a little low, compared to bikes like the Panigale V4 with over 220hp. When the new GSX-R was launched in 2017, 202hp and 202kg were bang on the money for a superbike, but only three years later these numbers are falling behind. What is still dominant about the Suzuki though is its price – the base model can be in your garage for £14,199. Even the ‘R’ version with uprated Showa suspension, cornering ABS, quick shifter and launch control costs only £15,999.
In terms of outright straight-line performance, the GSX-R might not be quite as fast as a 220bhp bike, but it sure isn’t slow and on all but the fastest tracks, I’d argue that most riders aren’t going to miss the 20bhp. It comes down to what you want out of a litre sports bike – if you’re looking for something to pin down the absolute lowest lap times possible, then spend the extra cash for more power and less weight. But if you want a 1000cc bike that’s still ridiculously fast and is fantastic fun to ride, then the GSX-R is perfect. Riding the GSX-R on track, the thing that stands out most is, well, nothing. In a good way, that is; everything works in a beautiful, raucous harmony, leaving you free to howl through turns, painting sticky Bridgestone rubber all over the asphalt on each corner exit. You’re never distracted by super-sharp brakes, never caught out by razor sharp steering geometry and never overwhelmed by aggressive power delivery. Even as you push harder and harder, repeatedly overstepping the limits of traction, the GSX-R just sings away beneath you shrugging off all and any excess enthusiasm. It’s a fun bike to ride fast, a forgiving chassis with enough power to be sliding and wheelying at will.
In terms of sheer riding pleasure, in terms of just getting out there for a blast and enjoying power and agility that was purely the reserve of factory superbike racers when the original GSX-R was launched, the new GSX-R1000 is hard to top. For full details and launch coverage, check out the video on Bike World’s YouTube channel.
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