After too many years playing second fiddle to rivals Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki, Suzuki decided enough was enough and completely re-engineered the iconic GSX-R1000 to take it back to the top of the sports bike tree. A new chassis, a new engine, and revised electronics brought the Gixxer right up to date and able to challenge the likes of Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha both in the showrooms and on the race track. This is the best GSX-R1000 yet, and here’s all you need to know about it.
10. A Rich History
In the early 1980s, sports bikes were big and heavy, and, yes, fast, but a little lacking in the chassis and handling departments. Then came the Suzuki GSX-R750, a thinly-disguised race bike for the road that changed the whole concept of sports bikes for the road. Then followed the GSX-R1100 in 1986, born by lightening the GS1100 naked road bikes and adding a fairing, but the handling still left a lot to be desired, largely still because of excess weight. Fast-forward to 2001 and the way forward had been shown by 1994’s Honda CBR900RR Fireblade and Yamaha’s 1998 YZF-R1. Suzuki responded with the GSX-R1000, with an engine that boasted 160 horsepower and 80 pound-feet of torque pulling along 374 pounds of all-in weight. Between 2001 and 2016, there were eight developments of the GSX-R1000, with updates to the chassis and engine along the way.
9. 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7
By 2017, Suzuki was again being left behind in the liter sports bike class, with Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki all outstripping the Suzuki in terms of horsepower and electronics. Suzuki had to go back to the drawing board if they were to keep up with what might have been a dying breed of the motorcycle, but was still important in terms of having a flagship model; not to mention a base for production-based racing. Sales were down in the face of ever-more popular adventure bikes but the Japanese big four manufacturers still held faith in liter sports bikes. It is this model that is still being built today.
8. Two Models in the Lineup
You can buy the ‘standard’ GSX-R1000, and the more sophisticated GSX-R1000R, which comes with Showa BFF and BFRC-Lite suspension, which is lighter than the units on the standard bike. You also get a bidirectional quick shifter on the gearbox and launch control. Interestingly, you have to go for the ‘R’ version to get ABS as standard. Both models have the same engine.
7. New Engine
The 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 got its first new engine since the 2009 update. A higher rev limit was one thing, but a surprising omission was a balancer shaft, as it was thought that an inline four-cylinder engine had decent primary balance without the need for extra complexity. Having said that, Suzuki employed variable valve timing for the first time via a centrifugal ball-and-plate system which altered the timing of the camshafts. Revised fuelling allows the engine to produce 199 horsepower at 13,000rpm and 87 pound-feet of torque at 10,800rpm.
No surprises here with the GSX-R1000 being the flagship of the Suzuki sports bike range. The standard model makes do with a basic electronics package which many riders like as there is less to interfere with the experience. Three riding modes which alter power delivery is about it. On the ‘R’ model, however, things ramp up a lot. A six-axis IMU provides lean-sensitive traction control (10 levels) and ABS. The ABS is very clever. Called Motion Track Anti-Lock Braking System, when the IMU detects the rear wheel lifting under extreme braking forces, the control module reduces brake pressure minutely to bring the wheel back down and aid stability. Suzuki Easy Start system means you only have to press the starter button momentarily and the electronics will keep the engine cranking until it fires. Also, there is Suzuki Low-RPM assist, which prevents the engine from stalling when moving off. Finally, there’s the bi-directional quick-shifter and launch control, for the quickest starts possible.
The chassis frame on the 2022 GSX-R1000 is all new, made from aluminum, and not only has a longer swing arm to aid stability, but also has sharper steering geometry and a re-located engine, which has been rotated backward by six degrees to alter the weight distribution slightly. An electronically-controlled steering damper to calm things down under heavy acceleration and new, lighter six-spoke cast alloy wheels wearing super sticky (but perhaps not the longest-lasting) Bridgestone RS10 tires. Curb weight is down by a claimed seven pounds, from 448 pounds to 441 pounds.
What else but Brembo’s finest Monobloc calipers to rein in all that performance? Twin 320mm discs up front offer huge stopping power, but with plenty of feel at the lever to give you maximum retardation with the least possibility of locking everything up and sliding into the tire barriers at the end of the straight.
3. Why Is It The Best Liter Superbike?
Suzuki is well known for its bulletproof engineering in its engines and the 2022 GSX-R1000 is no different. The reliability, durability, and mountains of usable power are all characteristics of the engine, and it is married to a chassis that forms the lightest, most compact, most aerodynamic, best-handling and hardest accelerating GSX-R1000 ever built by Suzuki. While rivals are chasing ultimate horsepower figures, Suzuki concentrates on being able to use all the power the engine produces in a fine-handling chassis.
Take your pick! The Japanese perfected the art of the liter superbike and still pour millions of Yen into the development of these models, even if the market for them is shrinking! Honda’s CBR1000-RR Fireblade, priced at $16,499 underwent a similar program of development to the GSX-R1000 when the buying public demanded at least 200 horsepower. This now has a chassis that rivals the Suzuki for compactness. Indeed, some riders feel it is a little too small but, for user-friendliness, the Honda is hard to beat.
Kawasaki and Yamaha have been making hay in the last decade in World Superbike racing with the ZX-10R ($18,199) and YZF-R1 ($17,599) respectively. Both are incredible machines with far more performance than any mere mortal can fully exploit and, with their extensive electronics packages, make the Suzuki look positively analog but that is a factor in the Suzuki’s favor for many riders.
In Europe, there is the Ducati Panigale V4S, priced at $29,995, which has a larger engine than the Suzuki, more power, and insanely complex electronics, but also costs a whole lot more, while the Aprilia RSV4 ($18,999) is one of the best handling bikes money can buy but can’t hold a candle to the Suzuki in terms of reliability.
The standard Suzuki GSX-R1000 retails for $15,849, while the GSX-R1000R retails for $24,250. We don’t know about you, but nearly $10,000 for a slightly lighter suspension, a quick-shifter, and launch control seems a bit steep, especially when the standard GSX-R1000 is so good already.
Q: How much does a GSX-R1000 cost?
The Suzuki GSX-R1000 costs $15,849, while the GSX-R1000R costs $24,250
Q: What is the top speed of a Suzuki GSX-R1000?
The Suzuki GSX-R1000’s top speed is in the region of 186mph
Q: How much horsepower does a Suzuki GSX-R1000 have?
The Suzuki GSX-R1000’s engine produces 199 horsepower