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Speed steed

This Suzuki super sports bike delivers mind-numbing performance and thrill.

autos Updated: Aug 25, 2010 14:33 IST

You need little time on Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 to confirm the scope of its ambition. The bike maker is bringing superbikes to India to establish not just credibility but also superiority.

Looks
A mere glance tells you that the faired-in GSX-R1000 is a mix of sharp aggression and subtle curves. Louvred air dams flank the GSX’s broad and detailed headlight which features edgy blue-tinged pilot lamps.

Top-class mirrors with smoothly integrated turn indicators mount beside the Suzuki’s raked windscreen. Nestling under are a bold analogue tachometer and gear indicator that share space with the bike’s compact digital interface. In addition to a speedometer, odometer, twin-trip, clock and lap timer, there’s also the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector. S-DMS allows riders to alter engine mapping on the fly.

The GSX’s comprehensive switches include a hazard warning as well as toggle for the digital readout. Its clip-on handlebars end with palm-friendly grips and this superbike comes with smartly crafted buffed alloy levers.

Engine
Much of the Gixxer’s engine sits sheathed behind bodywork, some of its blue alloy frame peeping out under the tank. This GSX comes with dual exhausts on either side of its ‘banana’ swingarm.

Paint quality is top grade, while fit and finish and overall quality are good, if only a fraction behind Honda and Yamaha.

The GSX-R1000 is blindingly fast with its amazing power-to-weight ratio of 904.9 bhp per tonne. Max power of 185.5 bhp is delivered at 12000 rpm, while 11.9 kgm of peak torque is available at a lofty 10000 rpm. The Gixxer uses a smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox and a cable-operated clutch that provides direct feedback.

The GSX-R1000’s power imparts confidence to crack the throttle open. Sure, this Gixxer is rev-hungry and delivers hyper power when you pin its throttle to the stop, but it’s still tame thanks to its decent spread of mid-range power.

You experience supersports-typical adrenaline-pumping, front wheel-lifting performance in any gear after 7000 rpm, but the bike does well even when pottering around between 3000-5000 rpm on city streets.

Ride
It’s hard to resist riding this bike in anything other than full blown ‘A’ mode, right wrist hammering the gas hard and ears taking in the gruff bark. It is at this point that performance turns mind-numbing. We passed 100 kph in 3.52 seconds, 160 kph in six seconds and were still accelerating strongly at 200 kph, a mere 8.56 seconds from launch. First gear is good enough up to a true 150 kph and top speed in the vicinity of 285 kph.

Throttle response is instantaneous and the big Suzuki stays vibe-free at all times. The Gixxer engine feels strong and reliable with zero knocking or flat spots throughout its power band, despite hard riding over prolonged durations.

Handling remains predictable, with good tyre grip, and excellent straightline stability. Ride is firm but communicative and allows good control, even when you find a poor road section banked over in mid-corner.

Fuel economy should be of little consequence to buyers of a built-for-speed supersports machine. The GSX-R1000 gave us 16.6 km in the city, and 21.3 kpl when cruising at 100 kph in top gear on the highway.

Engine Layout: Four cylinders, liquid-cooled, four-stroke
Displacement: 999 cc
Max power: 185.5 bhp at 12000 rpm
Max torque: 11.9 kgm at 10000 rpm
Specific output: 185.7 bhp per litre
Power to weight: 904.9 bhp per tonne

Verdict
Don’t buy the racy looking GSX-R1000 if you want a comfortable, practical or forgiving motorcycle. This is a fiercely fast supersports machine. The Gixxer looks aggressive, provides sharp handling and has a performance that can intimidate even a seasoned rider.

There aren’t many motorcycles — or riders — in India which can keep up with Suzuki’s GSX-R1000. Its direct rivals, the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade and Yamaha YZF-R1 are available with a little more of this and a pinch less of that, but given an experienced rider, arguments will go down to the wire since each of these motorcycles is very good.

Autocar India