I wanted to get my motorcycle license as soon as I turned 16. My parents were forced to deal with the fact that their son would be acquiring his driving and motorcycling licenses at the same time. Every guy in my class wanted a bike; it was “the” cool thing to do. There was a distinct separation of these kids though; half of them wanted supersport bikes and the other half wanted Harley-Davidsons. Not cruisers as a whole, just Harleys. I was part of the supersport clique, but unlike my peers, I didn’t want a Hayabusa or a CBR1000. Even at 16, I had the maturity to know that starting on such a powerful bike is an easy way to end up a permanent mark on the pavement. This 2013 Suzuki GSX-R600 is pretty much the closest thing to my ideal bike that’s currently on the market.
To add some context; I jumped onto the GSX-R600 seconds after returning a V-Strom 650 to Suzuki. The first thing I noticed is how small the bike is. At six-feet tall, I’m not a short guy. This Gixxer is definitely a bit too small for me to comfortably ride for long distances. I recommend taller and bigger-framed riders to take a proper test ride and be absolutely sure that you will be comfortable on this bike before putting down the money. In many ways, the Gixxer 600 is very similar to its sibling, the GSX-R750 (which, might I mention, fits me much better).
Suzuki has implemented Brembo Monobloc calipers onto the GSX-R600, making it incredibly easy to ride this motorcycle fast. The forks are Showa’s Big Piston design, which actually uses damper pistons that are substantially larger than in other conventional bikes. This significantly reduces dive from the bike when decelerating as well as inspiring much more confidence around corners. The R600 is a bit lighter on its feet than the R750 due to its shorter wheelbase. I personally found it significantly more agile when running a slalom as well as on some curvy escarpment roads. The GSX-R600 has a ramp and cam system on the clutch to allow more control under deceleration and braking; the bike slides through its six-speed constant mesh transmission seamlessly.
The GSX-R600 is far and away the leader of the supersport 600cc class of motorcycles. It makes peak horsepower at 13,500 rpm and makes a glorious noise when it does. My personal favourite part of this bike is the sound it makes. Not only is it loud and authoritative, the GSX-R600 sounds absolutely mesmerizing. Typically I see the appeal in modifying a motorcycle exhaust to produce a throatier sound, but in the case of this GSX-R, I would buy one in a heartbeat and would leave the exhaust completely stock.
Suzuki’s weight reduction campaign on the GSX-R line over the past few years is especially evident. The bodywork on the GSX-R600 looks very similar to that of previous models, but now feels more flexible and thinner. While the flexibility is nice, I can’t help but feel as though the material just feels cheaper overall.
The main thing that pleasantly surprised me about the 2013 GSX-R600 is something that I had hoped never to test out. An exceptionally thoughtful taxi driver in Toronto decided to cut across three lanes without signaling and subsequently slam on his brakes right in front of me. I had a few options: 1) Dart into the next lane and get run over by the car in my blind spot 2) Drive into the taxicab and get thrown off the bike or 3) Aim for the curb on my right side and prepare to dump the bike. Following the instructions in the motorcycle safety course I took years ago, I picked the third option.
The fairing design on this Gixxer potentially saved my leg from having more damage done to it. I walked away from this accident with just cuts and bruises, and I have this phenomenal Suzuki to thank for it. The most incredible thing about the whole thing is not only how unharmed I was, but how unharmed the bike was too. There were a few light scrapes on the fairing (nothing that wouldn’t buff out in minutes), and the clutch handle lost its edge. A heads-up to new riders: Please don’t take motorcycle safety for granted; always wear gear. I had only gone out for a quick jaunt by the lake, but luckily I had my helmet, gloves, boots, and a proper riding jacket on. It’s not an “if you go down”, it’s a “when”. I have yet to meet an experienced rider who has never gone down over the years.
GSX-Rs are known around the motorcycling world as awesome bikes, and rightfully so. Over the course of my test week with the 2013 Suzuki GSX-R600, I got a ton of attention. The bright graphics and sleek design make the bike stand out from the rest of the pack, and to most supersport riders, that’s a good thing.
2013 Suzuki GSX-R600 Gallery