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Motorcycles & ATVs

Test Ride: 2014 GSX-R 1000

History

The Suzuki GSX-R is the quintessential superbike. It was born in an era of large-displacement race replicas whose genesis was the Japanese assault on the sports bike genre. The Suzuki GSX-R 750 debuted in 2014 and was the first of the aluminum-box–framed race replicas – bikes that were built for the track but sold on the street.

Its racer-crouch position, low weight and powerful engine are now the hallmarks of the supersport biking niche and the GSX-R retains a position near the top of the food train.

In 2001 Suzuki launched the GSX-R1000to replace its aging 1100. The in-line four, fully faired race replica was an instant success. Now, for 2014 the same basic architecture remains – a tilted, inline four-cylinder engine with just under 1,000cc of capacity, mated to a twin-sparframe with compact wheelbase, razor-sharp handling and massive disc brakes.

Styling

The 2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000is inherently aggressive, with a head-down, back up stance that invokes speed even at a standstill. Trapezoidal cut-outs in the fairings assist with cooling while the functional ram-air intakes in the nose scream hostility.

Available in traditional blue and silver or in graphite on black, the GSX-R1000is a muscular motoring sculpture.

Engine and Transmission

Suzuki won’t publish their power figures, but the GSX-R produces about 185 hp and about 80 lb-ft of torque somewhere before its 13,500 rpm red line. All that from a machine with a 203 kg curb weight and a 999c, four-valve-per-cylinder, four-cylinder DOHC engine.

The result is visceral, brutal acceleration that shunts the rider from 0-100 km/h in about three seconds. The throttle response is smooth and linear, but blindingly fast as the engine spools rapidly through its rev range. There are three modes for power delivery with the two softest tuned to make the bike more accessible for newer riders and in challenging conditions.

The engine maps can be selected with S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) buttons on the left handlebar.

Engine note is a clean, high-pitched snarl that is well-disguised by the enormous factory muffler. The aftermarket has those looking for more volume and pitch well and truly covered.

The ubiquitous six-speed sequential gearbox with close ratio gears is under-used on the street, especially given that the GSX-R1000 will clear 130 km/h in first gear alone. However, the close ratios and strong low-end response mean all six gears can be utilized to extract good fuel economy, with a quick downchange rapidly opening up the rest of the engine’s potential.

Clutchless upshifts are a breeze, and Suzuki’s back-torque limiting clutch helps keep the bike stable under aggressive down shifts – handy when hit a highway off ramp a little too hot. Ram-air intakes help feed the pressurized air box with the sophisticated EFI system making the most of the available air.

We were also impressed with the 6.4 L/100 km fuel economy we achieved on our test and sore more than 200 km range before the fuel light warned us to refill the 17 L tank.

Chassis and Suspension

The twin-spar frame is mated to an arched swing arm which is mounted close to the front of the bike thanks to the compact engine. The longer swingarm and short wheelbase gives the GSX-R excellent maneuverability while also maintaining high-speed stability and keeping the front tyre on the ground where it belongs. That front tyre is a 120/70ZR17 from Bridgestone and sits at the end of fully adjustable, inverted, 43mm Showa Big Piston Front forks (BPF). The range of compression and rebound control gives the rider supreme confidence that the bike suits their own riding style and body type, while the standard electric steering dampener keeps the front wheel tracking true and eliminates head shake.

The rear shock absorber is also fully adjustable with high- and low-speed dampening to help cope with a variety of road conditions. It too has a range of adjustments including pre-load, compression and rebound damping. The 190-secion 17-inch rear tyre provides an excellent range of grip but on our tester couldn’t be fully exploited as the tires were not yet scrubbed in.

Still, the only time your tester experienced any unwanted feedback from the bike was when a car rapidly slowed on a slow sweeping bend. Hitting the brakes hard caused the bike to stand up, but simply releasing the bike and turning in again was all it took to return to the previously selected course.

The 2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000is more forgiving than its predecessors.

Front braking power is courtesy of Brembo four-piston calipers and twin 300 mm discs while the rear’s single-piston Nissin unit is sufficient for braking support and low-speed control without adding unwanted unsprung weight.

Rider Comfort and Amenities

The GSX-R1000has a surprisingly comfortable riding position for this class. There is very little wind buffeting thanks to the well-designed fairing shape and crouched-down position.

At 810 mm the seat was adequately low for your tester who stands at 168 cm (5’6”). The foot pegs can be adjusted within three presets of vertical and horizontal range which span 14 mm in each direction. The rear brake pedal is locked in position but the shift lever on the left can be further adjusted to rider taste. The leather seat yields surprising levels of grip further improving rider confidence in corners.

Under-seat storage is sufficient for the factory toolkit, vehicle insurance package and manual but not much else – but this class of bike is not designed to be practical.

A stylish instrument cluster includes a clock, two trip meters, fuel economy, odometer, engine temp and a large digital speedo in the right hand binnacle. The large analogue tach on the left is wrapped around a digital gear indicator – which is handier than many of us would like to admit.

Pass lights, engine mode, high beam, horn and indicators are all well-positioned on the left handlebar and the right has the start button and trip computer controls.

High-mounted indicators embedded in back of the well-sized–and–positioned rear-view mirrors enhance visibility in city traffic and help keep the side fairings clean and drag-free.

Pricing

The GSX-R1000 is available from an MSRP of $14,999.