Posted: 25 Mar 2013
In much the same way as Honda’s FireBlade and Yamaha’s R1 moved the superbike genre on a few hundred yards, Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 toe-punted it another 150 yards. All of a sudden Suzuki had come good and production racers and wannabe racers all wanted the latest GSX-R. With good reason: this was a brutal sledgehammer of a bike that had power and an even better chassis than the Yamaha R1.
A lightweight 989c engine proved to be devastatingly quick at any point the throttle was cracked open. But it was the midrange that was smile worthy, followed up with a manic top end thrash of engine revs. Quite how Suzuki got away with the making the engine note so raspy and loud was a mystery, but it helped spot the GSX-R at the front of the pack at a trackday.
Of course it came with the usual head down, bum up riding position but there was plenty of room in the seat area to move around in, and while the pegs were high they weren’t so uncomfortable. 120 miles to a tank was ok and the fill up served as a perfect tab and leg stretching exercise.
The GSX-R could out-jink the competition in every road situation. Tight turns, sweeping bends and flat out down the autobahn en route to the ‘Ring’, there was nowhere the GSX-R fell down. Where it did suffer was on two fronts. Dropping a GSX-R was a horrifically expensive business. Because it was pared to the bone, wheels could buckle from a botched wheelie, frames would crack all too easily in places you wouldn’t have thought possible.
The other area is definitely a grey one – grey as in alloy corrosion. For some reason the GSX-R would suffer badly at the sound of rock salt being strewn across three lanes of a motorway. Discs, brake caliper pistons, fork legs, engine block, all would wear a dusting of corrosion if an owner didn’t clean, lube and polish their GSX-R. Most owners, though, preferred blue fairing screens and other tat.
+ points – exceptional tool in its day that knocked the R1 and FireBlade back a peg or two
- points – can look mint on the outside but check under the fairing for damage and corrosion. A good all-original GSX-R1000 is a hard thing to find.
Power: 160bhp, 80.5ft lbs
Wet weight: 201kg
Seat height: 830mm