All join in, you know the song, or should? If not fill your cerebral matter with Tina Turner’s greatest hits and you’ll enjoy that iconic song. But what in our galaxy has that to do with the Suzuki GSX-R 1000R, you ask and justifiably so?
Well I’m not necessarily saying that the 2018 GSX-R ‘R’ model is the greatest superbike ever made but it is most certainly the most expensive, advanced and best Suzuki 1000cc superbike ever, ever made. Now that deserves everyone to sit up and take notice right away, right?The latest GSX-R 1000 arrived last year and even won the Isle of Man TT race first time out, not to mention how good the factory Yoshimura version is doing in the USA. So there’s no doubt the new GSX-R is one complete track machine, but… Now here’s my chafe because this is primarily a road bike with indicators, mirrors and lights, designed to be ridden on the roads. So when all the ‘wannabes’ take it to the track and pretend to be factory Suzuki riders who can’t even get within 50% of this bike’s ability, it makes me want to melt my Tina Turner LP. Nothing to do with Tina though, just those sorts of ‘riders’, and I’m sure you’ll agree?
Anyway melted vinyl rage aside, what about this absolutely fantastic, best ever, GSX-R 1000R you say? If you haven’t realised yet this is the absolutely top-of-the-range model wearing, proudly, the ‘R’ badge. Same engine as the basic model (200hp) but with stunning Showa ‘full-spec’ suspension, different coloured clocks, quickshifter (up and down) and a few more electronics for those closet racers to absorb. But isn’t this just the best Suzuki track bike you can buy and therefore why would I want, or need, one for the road? That’s exactly what I though and I was totally wrong after my hyper-enjoyable week with the ‘R’ model.
Let’s get this outstanding engine out of the way first. 200hp is a lot, especially when you combine it with 200kg (wet), which includes 16-litres of fuel, all other fluids and battery and stuff to make it work. Not forgetting the first production superbike with variable cam timing that retards at the top end to deliver more power, lots of power! Once the digital display sweeps over 10,000 rpm all hell is let loose and I’ve not ridden anything, in this class, that has a more dramatic power delivery. But isn’t that sort of power terrifying on the road you ask? Well yes and no is the answer. This fancy cam timing lets the rider cruise around with only 3,000rpm showing (14,500 red-line), in sixth gear all day long. Wind open the throttle and the bike pulls perfectly and cleanly with no hesitation as the air-box growls into life on the way to ‘hell-mode’ above 10,000rpm, fan-bloody-tastic I say! And if you’re wondering how fast the bike will go, 300 plus because the numbers stop there and just flicker, so I’m told, officer sir honest.So the engine is near perfect for a 1,000cc modern superbike but equally impressive is that very, very expensive and sophisticated Showa suspension, with no electronic interference, hurrah! Just a wealth of mechanical adjustment, which strangely I never touched or wanted to. Firm damping at high speeds and quite plush around town, especially those BFF (Balance Free Forks) at the nose end. Basically they’re the same as the one’s used in World Superbike, so there.
In fact the whole chassis, suspension, electronic KYB steering –damper set up produces a train like stability in a straight line and this GSX-R also turns quicker than anything else in this highly competitive class. I’m sure some of the ‘closet’ riders will disagree but do they ever ride these on the road, I think not!Now to my favourite part, the quickshifter and gearbox. Simply the best, end of story! I’ve never had so much fun going up and down the gears and not once did this bike miss one. The gear lever is cleverly spring loaded and instantly returns to the central position and just a small movement of the foot selects the next gear, up or down with auto-blip function…tremendous. All very well and good this race stuff I hear you say but can I ride it everyday to work and back? Yes is the answer because I did everywhere and loved every moment. The riding stance isn’t too aggressive like the ‘others’ and the seat is well soft even for my aged arse. This really is a bike you can ride all the time and it does induce a dose of arrogance because you’re on the most expensive and exciting Suzuki ever made, in fact it makes you feel quite special on all counts. Even to the point of becoming quite naughty chasing down posh cars and the like.
So would I buy one and keep it forever? Yes I would and wouldn’t even care if I never went to a racetrack, even though it obviously belongs there some of the time. And at the moment it costs R277,000 with R28,000 cash back, so that’s 250k then for my favourite GSX-R of all time and I’ve ridden them all. A bargain I think.
Are you also a big fan of the Suzuki GSX-R? If so sell everything and get one of these immediately, the ‘R’ version that is. You WILL shake my hand if ever we meet believe me and I’ll even make you a copy of my treasured Tina Turner cassette, how’s that?
Go to www.suzukimotorcycle.co.za to locate a dealer right now.