Is a literbike really better than a supersport, or is it better to split the difference with a 750? We find out when we pit the GSX-R1000, GSX-R750 and GSX-R600 against one another on the track and street.
Triplets: Suzuki GSX-R600 vs. GSX-R750 vs. GSX-R1000
We’ve all been there – sitting on the side of our favorite canyon road or in the pits at a local trackday, bench racing with our buddies like we won the Mugello Grand Prix, and the seemingly ongoing debate arises: What size Inline-Four Supersport machine is the best? Is it a nimble-handling 600, Mr. Versatile 750, or an arm-wrenching 1000cc monster? Undoubtedly, everyone has their own opinion…
“My 600cc rules the tight and twisty stuff, no one can keep up with me in the corners,” says one friend.
“This 750 does it all – I’ve got power and handling, best of both worlds,” another argues back.
“This is America and bigger is better, it’s all about that 1000cc power, baby!” chimes in a third.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this… Well, I might not be rich, but I’d at least have enough to buy lunch for a few weeks.
And if you own a sportbike, and ride it where it should be ridden (twisties or the track), you know exactly what I’m talking about. But which really is the best? And does it matter one’s skill set or is there one size machine that rules the roost no matter the rider’s experience? Strangely enough, as far as we know, no one has ever done a Supersport track/street shootout judged only on motorcycle size and rider skill. Enter Motorcycle-USA.com.
Because this is more about bike/engine size and rider skill than who makes the best performing bike for each displacement, it made sense to stick with one manufacturer for all three machines. And since only Suzuki still makes all three displacement Supersport machines, the choice was easy. Not to mention, if you were to add the sales of all three GSX-Rs, Suzuki easily becomes the top-selling Supersport motorcycle producer in the world, thus more likely than not, one of your buddies in the aforementioned argument was on a Gixxer.
To cover a wide variety of skill levels, Associate Editor Adam Waheed and I took care of the intermediate and pro-level duties, respectively, while we had relatively new trackday patron and Nip/Tuck TV star John Hensley handle the more beginner duties – he’s not a complete newbie, but his amount of track experience is limited.
Equally as broad as our range of rider skill was the environment in which we tested our pack of Gixxers. For track use we spend an entire day each at both the uber-fast Willow Springs Raceway and the tight and twisty Streets of Willow, plus hundreds of miles carving SoCal canyon roads and equally as many splitting lanes through SoCal freeway traffic.
We topped things off with a pull on our dyno to see what kind of rear-wheel horsepower these rockets are putting to the ground, plus a roll across our scales to see who needs to go on Jenny Craig. All three machines were shod with the same glue-like sticky Dunlop D209GP DOT-legal race rubber for the two days of racetrack abuse, while the OE street rubber was left in place the road portion of our riding.
It’s all here, people: Three bikes, two tracks (two crashes), hundreds of street miles – but there can only be one winner.