A raw Japanese supersport
The GSX-R’s insane throttle response allows it to accelerate like a bat out of hell no matter what gear it’s in.
As a self-proclaimed “young punk” in the riding world, it should come as no surprise that my all-time favourite motorcycle is the Suzuki Hayabusa. With its polarizing looks, its brutal insane power numbers, and swift ability to do silly things, the Hayabusa is far from the average bike. This year, Suzuki opted not to put one on the media fleet. However, to commemorate the one millionth GSX-R motorcycle being built last year, I decided to borrow the 2013 Suzuki GSX-R1000 for a week and test out a bike that is 90% of my dream bike.
Powered by a 999cc 4-cylinder engine with a redline just below the 14,000RPM mark, the Gixxer 1000 is an absolutely terrifying machine. Simply put, a novice rider going near one of these is nothing short of signing a death wish. Throttle response is perfect, responsive, and provides plenty of power throughout the entire RPM range. Suzuki has put pentagon-shaped ventilation holes in the side of the cylinder bores to reduce losses from pumping. This improves throttle response even more, allowing the big GSX-R to accelerate like a bat out of hell no matter what gear it is in.
Shifting on the GSX-R1000 is done via a six-speed close ratio transmission. The back-torque-limiting clutch helps make downshifts much smoother and means rev matching is much easier than I assumed it would be. I’d like to leave the disclaimer here that this is my first experience with the GSX-R1000 of any iteration. For 2012, the iconic Japanese supersport was given a facelift. Despite this, in the technology and features department, it seems to lag behind the benchmark supersport, the BMW S1000RR.
Rather than focus on adding the features and electronic assists, Suzuki has focused their efforts on improving on the weaknesses of the outgoing GSX-R models. While the cosmetic improvements are only minor, the new bikes have much better brakes and exceptional road manners. It may be a bit down on power when put head-to-head with the Kawasaki ZX-10, but the Suzuki’s improved midrange power is a godsend and allows it to hold its own.
The big Gixxer’s European rivals across the board are offering features such as race-spec antilock braking systems, electronic suspension toggles, and even traction control. The R1000 soldiers on with its distinctive gold-coloured Brembo monobloc front brake, lacking the modern technology of the others and clearly showing its stubborn character. Though Suzuki Canada doesn’t officially release power numbers for their motorcycles, this one is in the ballpark of 185 brake horsepower. Typically, I’m against electronic nannies and support systems. However, given the fact that this motorcycle’s horsepower-to-weight ratio isn’t far from being 1000 hp-per-ton, safety is key.
Even after riding a couple of the European supersports, I realized that the Suzuki GSX-R1000 has something a little different. The feeling I got while riding around on this motorcycle was not unlike comparing a Ferrari 575 Maranello to an Audi R8. Both cars have a ton of horsepower, a ridiculous amount of sex appeal, and are seriously good to drive. Where the Audi feels a bit artificial and overly assisted, the Ferrari is just raw, unleashed passion.
After I picked up the GSX-R1000 from Suzuki, I was enjoying myself. I found myself riding around on all my favourite driving and riding routes in southern Ontario. What I completely forgot to take into consideration was the fuel consumption. Riding in sixth gear on the highway, the R1000 can get as frugal as 3.9L/100km. The second my right hand started having some fun however; my consumption instantly took a hit. I managed to get a (relatively thirsty) 6L/100km over the course of my 460km test. It’s important to note that unless you hate your motorcycle and want it to spontaneously combust, premium fuel is needed on this model.
At just under $15,000, the 2013 Suzuki GSX-R1000 is not a cheap motorcycle. With its gearing that allows it to do over 160 km/h in first gear, it’s not a starter motorcycle either. I like the toys that its European competitors offer, but a purist like me thrives on the passion and adrenaline that the GSX-R’s raw nature creates. I unexpectedly fell in love with this bike; its track-inspired powertrain and impeccable road manners make it a seriously compelling argument for supersport-enthusiast’s garage.
2013 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Gallery