Contrary to what some might presume, Suzuki is not going out of business. The Japanese firm is still fully committed to producing industry-leading motorcycles and ATVs. To prove this it is offering updated Suzuki GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 sportbikes for 2011. Both of these bikes along with Suzuki’s other popular street bikes including the GSX-R1000 and Hayabusa will all be offered for sale in the U.S. as 2011 models.
Based on the appearance of the two new Gixxers one could assume that the ’11 bikes are basically the same machine with updated bodywork. This can’t be further from the truth as both bikes utilize a entirely new chassis and updated engine, ergonomics, and of course styling. As of right now, Suzuki has yet to release any official specs on the bikes but here is what we know after seeing both machines at Suzuki’s dealer meeting this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although it may appear the same both GSX-Rs use an entirely new frame. The frame is shorter which reduces wheelbase by 15mm. To compensate, the position of the engine had to be tilted up by three degrees. Both the frame and swingarm are still manufactured from aluminum but a new manufacturing process allows these components to be lighter without compromising structural rigidity.
In terms of suspension a Showa Big-Piston Fork (BPF) replaces the conventional cartridge type fork. The BPF offers better pitch control during braking and improved feel when cornering. At the other end a gas-charged Showa shock absorber is used but is slightly shorter in overall length yet offers a tiny increase in suspension travel. Both suspension components continue to offer spring preload, compression, and rebound damping adjustment.
In addition to major chassis changes the ergonomics as well as the instrument display have been upgraded as well.
Also new are the wheels which feature new hubs, bearings and axles. Wheel sizes remain the same as do the Bridgestone Battlax BT-016 tires it rolls on. The new wheel set-up isn’t compatible with prior GSX-R models (including the recently redesigned 1000) which make it more difficult for those who race Suzuki sportbikes.
In the stopping department Suzuki is the first Japanese OE to source Brembo’s top-shelf monobloc front brake calipers on a production sportbike. Each caliper is machined from a solid police of aluminum and features four 32mm pistons (compared to the 32/30 set-up used on the old bike). The calipers squeeze larger diameter brake discs. The rear brake has been pulled from the Gixxer 1000 and controls a slightly smaller (and lighter) diameter disc. Both brakes are still manipulated hydraulically through rubber brake lines without any type of ABS or linked braking function.
The ergonomics have been modified too. The shape of the fuel tank has been tailored so has the position of the handlebar moved 1-degree outward. Seat height is unchanged and is still the lowest in its class at 31.9 inches. Both machines also continue to offer adjustable rider foot controls.
The bodywork is also new and uses eight fewer pieces than before. Not only does it make the bike appear more svelte it is said to be more aerodynamically efficient at speed. Suzuki has also continued to use a relatively large windscreen which will be appreciated by riders of all sizes on the street and racetrack.
When viewed on the computer screen we weren’t impressed by its appearance but when seen in the flesh the new GSX-Rs are much better looking than before. We especially like the new front end with its stacked headlight (also lighter) and four smaller air intake slits. The instrument display is also new and sourced from the 1000 it features a variety of features including a lap timer and new programmable multi-stage shift light.
Rather than completely revamping the layout of the engine, engineers instead focused on reducing weight and improving the efficiency of the existing mill by fitting new internal components and modifying both the intake and exhaust systems. The basic configuration of both engines, including bore/stroke (67.0 x 42.5mm for the 600 and 70.0 x 48.7mm for the 750) measurements and compression ratio (12.8:1 for 600 and 12.5:1 for 750), remain the same. What is new however are the pistons, which are lighter and feature a reshaped crown for improved combustion efficiency. The pistons are attached to lighter connecting rods while new camshafts continue to operate titanium intake and exhaust valves.
The position of the primary fuel injector has been modified as has the entire airbox. On the back end the Gixxers use a lighter and more compact exhaust system that still employs an electronically controlled exhaust valve. Suzuki claims that these changes have made the engine spin up faster as well as increasing outright fuel efficiency by 10%.
The six-speed transmission features new gear ratios. First gear is taller than before and each cog has been synced closer to the remaining gears (with exception of fifth which is the same as before) that should improve acceleration.
The cable-actuated slipper clutch has also been updated, though no specifics were revealed. Outright power is claimed to be roughly the same, however, it is important to note that reduced reciprocating engine mass along with updated transmission ratios, not to mention the 20-odd pound total weight reduction should allow it to accelerate faster than before.
The 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and 750 are the first Japanese sportbikes to offer Brembo monobloc brake calipers.
Once again the bikes will continue to employ its S-DMS adjustable engine map feature, though only two maps will be offered (A/B). By default the bike runs in A-mode which allows for 100% engine power whenever the throttle is twisted. By pushing a handlebar-mounted button the rider can select B-mode which reduces engine power and makes the bike easier to ride in the hands of a novice or when the bike is being operated on treacherous surfaces.
Both Gixxers will be available in two colors, blue/white and white for the 600, and blue/white and black for the 750. Price will be $11,599 for the 600 and $11,999 for the 750 with bikes beginning to roll into dealerships in February or March. Expect at Motorcycle-USA First Ride report around the same time as well.