2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R First Ride | Fast Facts
Suzuki’s long-awaited GSX-R1000 finally breaks cover for us to actually ride, and at Phillip Island Circuit in Australia—one of the world’s fastest world-class racetracks. The new Gixxer 1000 comes in two models, and we rode the upper echelon GSX-R1000R model, which is a step up from the base GSX-R1000.
The 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R includes the uber-cool Superbike-looking Showa Balance Free Front (BFF) forks and Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion shock, plus a bi-directional quickshifter (optional for the GSXR1000). For more in-depth on the technical aspects, visit our 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 preview.
1. The 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R was well worth the wait. Suzuki has taken its time with this one, as the big Gixxer really hasn’t seen a significant redesign in a long while. After a couple of years of teasing, the GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R are here.
2. The new GSX-R1000R runs on three engineering fundamentals. Suzuki’s three fundamentals are to make the GSX-R “run, handle, and stop.” That sounds a trite, perhaps, but those demands are intertwined and interdependent. Everything the Suzuki engineers design and develop always go back to those three fundamental needs working in absolute harmony. With the new GSX-R1000R they have most certainly succeeded in that elusive combined goal.
3. The new GSX-R1000R ABS model isn’t any lighter than the last one, however it definitely feels like it is. At a curb weight of 447 pounds, the old and new GSX-R1000R ABS weigh exactly the same. Yet, the new Gixxer feels so light, agile, and precise-steering. I am amazed that the 2017 isn’t considerably lighter, because it sure feels like it. It’s a reminder that spec sheets aren’t everything.
4. The motor’s Variable Valve Timing works flawlessly. Actually, from a rider’s perspective, there’s no discernible way to tell this VVT system exists—we have to take Suzuki’s word for it! The shorter-stroke, bigger-bore motor simply produces linear, consistent, and incredibly high power throughout the entire rev range, right up to the astonishing 14,500 rev limit. The VVT takes effect around 10,000 rpm, but the motor is so on-song at that point there’s no leap in power, it just continues to pull with—the monstrous power through to the redline. The motor is always in the powerband.
5. The GSX-R is stable and yet agile. This is a bike that wants to treat you nicely. It simply doesn’t want to chuck you off and there is zero nervousness anywhere, at any time. Turn-in is faster than the old model, and that caught me out a couple of times until I got used to it. I felt so connected to the bike, that changing line—or adding or subtracting lean angle in the middle of a turn—could be done at will, without any wobbling or handlebar shaking. The GSX-R1000R is so well disciplined it simply does what you ask of it. When hard on the brakes, the chassis stays perfectly stable, with no waggling at the rear at all. Even the rear sliding when coming onto the front straight at Phillip Island in fourth gear with the speedometer well into triple digits didn’t upset the chassis.
6. Braking from the new T-Drive 330 mm rotors and Brembo calipers is exemplary. There is a relatively long pull at the handlebar pump, and throughout the range of that pull the brakes have a linear and very powerful feel. Coming on to the brakes quickly and hard at the end of Phillip Island’s main straight saw the GSX-R1000R coming down from over 180 mph to about 100; I always had total confidence in the level of braking power without worrying about a harsh initial bite.
7. The traction control works very well. The first 5 levels of TC (of 10 total) are for track use and, although it definitely took me some time to learn to trust it, once I did, it is consistent. Coming through the super-fast final corner in fourth gear and on to the straight in TC level 3, I could feel the rear Bridgestone RS10 starting to push a little (with the yellow alert flashing on the dash). Still, the rear of the GSX-R1000R stayed absolutely planted; I was able to stay in the throttle and simply let the bike do its thing.
8. The Showa suspension on the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R is exemplary. Much has been written about Showa’s BFF fork and BFRC Lite shock and, although other manufacturers use the same suspension, Suzuki has it set up to its own specifications for the GSX-R1000R.
9. To get the most of the Showa suspension, set it up properly for your riding. The front feels planted all the time, with plenty of weight on it, and as a result I felt totally confident in the front end at all times. Initially, was getting a slight shuddering through the bars at the end of the straight when I hit the brakes, but adding half a turn of compression damping to the fork fixed it completely. As I got used to the track and my entrance on to the straight got quicker, the rear started to squat a little more and cause a waggle at the bars. I added two clicks of compression damping at the rear shock and it was completely cured. That the suspension is so easily tunable and the chassis reacts well to small changes. Once I had it dialed, the suspension was perfect for my riding style and speed.
10. The new GSX-R1000R motor is surprisingly smooth. Despite losing the balancer shaft present on the previous Gixxer, somehow the new bike has very little vibration. There is definitely some buzz, of course, but it’s pleasant and not intrusive—just enough for the GSX-R to have a visceral feel. Overall, my impression is that the engine is beautifully smooth.
11. If the motor is smooth, the gearbox is even smoother. The R model has the bi-directional (up and down) quickshifter as standard. In combination with the cassette-style gearbox, the new GSXR-1000 shifting system is flawless. Pressure at the lever is changeable. However, in the default setting, I found it to have the perfect level of feel. Despite being a little vague with my foot a couple of times, the gear ratios always fully engaged with no clunking or missed shifts. Likewise, downshifts don’t clunk or upset the chassis when I was leaned over. When upright and coming off the straight, even downshifting a little early didn’t faze the chassis. Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of quickshifters, and Suzuki have taken it to the next level. If you buy the standard GSX-R1000, please buy the optional quickshifter as well.
12. The GSX-R100R’s electronic rider-aids deliver as promised. Suzuki’s power selection (three levels that change the level of power delivery aggression), traction control (10 levels), and Motion Track ABS (rear-wheel lift mitigation) all work very, very well. The TC is easily adjustable on-the-fly, and I tried various settings just to test the difference. Although the TC does allow some rear-wheel slide, it holds the rear nicely on line so you never get to that “oh no” highside moment. The rear-wheel lift mitigation works and is aided by an amazing chassis the Suzuki stayed straight and true no matter how hard I grabbed the brakes—it simply slowed down. The ABS also uses data from the six-direction, three-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and can modulate the brakes in a corner. I never felt the ABS pumping at any point in the day; perhaps it is subtle enough that I wasn’t aware of it.
13. Instrumentation on the R model has a black background. The LCD panel is not a color display like some rival machines, but overall the large digits and clearly laid out format with a sweep rpm indicator across the top, make it super-easy to read. It’s not as pretty as some, but it is certainly as functional as any I’ve seen. The thin green shift lights at the top of the panel come on at 10,000 rpm, the larger amber ones above them joins in at 12,000 rpm, and then the white shift light in the middle of those comes on at 14,000 rpm—there is plenty of warning. Hitting the rev-limiter is soft, though you can definitely feel it.
14. Comfort and ergonomics-wise the GSX-R1000 is a typical Suzuki, and plenty comfortable for a superbike. The riding position is of course, committed, but this bike isn’t a shoulder- or neck-breaker. The footpegs are high, but not unusually so; I rarely touched the pegs down through Phillip Island’s tighter corners and I was certainly carrying a lot of lean angle. Overall, I would describe the bike as being as comfortable as a superbike can be. The new GSX-R1000 family is three-quarters of an inch narrower than its predecessor. While that may not sound like much, it is a noticeable difference that helps aid the feeling of agility with this machine.
15. The aerodynamic treatments work very well. The fuel tank has been redesigned to make it easier to get into a full tuck, and the bodywork in general has been exhaustively wind-tunnel tested to make the new GSX-R1000 family slippery through the air. Phillip Island Circuit is notoriously windy, and even a strong-ish side-wind along the straight at around 180 mph didn’t upset the handling at all. Also, it was easy to stay out of the considerable wind blast.
16. The GSX-R1000R’s price is competitive at $16,999 and that includes ABS. The standard GSX-R1000 runs $14,599, and the GSX-R1000 ABS is $14,999.
Overall my first impression is that Suzuki has regained its “King of Sportbikes” crown. There are several outstandingly capable machines with which it has to compete, but with the Suzuki GSX-R1000R I felt incredibly connected on every level, and with every part of the machine, that it bewitched me. The combination of outstanding class-leading horsepower harnessed in one of the most agile-yet-stable chassis’ I’ve ever experienced, will undoubtedly make this bike a winner.
- Helmet: Arai Corsair-X Vinales
- Suit: Spidi Warrior Pro Wind
- Gloves: Spidi Carbo Track
- Boots: Sidi Mag-1
2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R Specs
- Engine: DOHC inline-4
- Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55.1mm
- Displacement: 999.8cc
- Compression ratio: 13.2:1
- Maximum power: 199 horsepower
- Maximum torque: 87 ft/lbs
- Redline: 14,500 rpm
- Cooling: Twin-fan aluminum radiator; aluminum oil cooler
- Valve train: Finger follower, 16-valve; variable timing
- Valve diameter: 31.5mm (intake) / 24.0mm (exhaust)
- Valve material: Titanium
- Crankshaft timing: 180 degrees
- Fuel delivery: Ride-by-wire; electronic throttle bodies
- Exhaust: Titanium
- Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh w/ quickshift
- Clutch: Wet multi-plate slip-and-assist
- Final drive: 525 chain
- Frame and swingarm: Aluminum
- Front suspension: Showa Balance Free Fork
- Rear suspension: Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion
- Front brakes: Radial mount Brembo Monoblock calipers w/ four 32mm pistons; Brembo T-drive 320mm floating disc
- Rear brake: Single piston Nissin w/ 220mm disc
- ABS: Standard
- Front tire: 120/70-17; Bridgestone Battlax Racing Street RS10
- Rear tire: 190/55-17; Bridgestone Battlax Racing Street RS10
IMU: Six direction, three axis
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 55.5 inches
- Rake: 23.2 degrees
- Trail: 3.7 inches
- Seat height: 32.5 inches
- Lean angle l & r: 56 degrees
- Fuel capacity: 4.2 gallons
- Curb weight: 448 pounds
2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R Colors:
- Metallic Triton Blue
- Glass Sparkle Black