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2003 Suzuki GSX-R600 Comparison

Thursday, July 24, 2003

The GSX-R still has plenty of life in the old girl, and it happens to be one of the most comfortable street rides of the group.
"Predictable feel and response all the way through the range of the lever, with balanced stopping power that is confidence-inspiring during trail braking," glows Buchanan about the Kawi's brakes. "It's as if you can feel the slightest increment on the pads and discs without fear of tucking it under." Both Korf and Buchanan also noted how well the thin hand levers feel in their hands.

This leaves the Ducati (Brembo, 4-piston, 4-pad, 320mm) and Yamaha (Nissin, 4-piston, 2-pad, 298mm) brakes to discuss, and they, too, were excellent. They were only 1.5 and 1.0 marks away from the Honda's 29 out of 30 score, respectively, so there's not a bad set of binders in the group. If you over-bake it into a corner, it's your fault not the brakes'.

Twists and Turns

Amongst our days hammering around all the twistiest backroads we could find, we knew that to fully explore the outer limits of these mechanical cheetahs we'd need to bring them to a track. So we joined up with our friends at Club Desmo for a scorching day at Buttonwillow Raceway Park near Bakersfield, California. We knew the stock street-compound rubber wouldn't hold up to the abuse at the 3.0-mile circuit, so we spooned on five sets of Pirelli's new Diablo Corsas. We were impressed by the regular Diablos when we tested them last December, and the new Corsa versions promised even more grip. We weren't disappointed. They offered terrific stick in the corners while not squirming around in the high-speed stuff. Just as impressive is their reluctance to wear out. And they're even suitable for street use. Highly recommended.

At a racetrack, a pecking order is clearly established there's no posturing here, as it comes down purely to lap times. As such, the fast guy gets first say.

2003 Suzuki GSX-R600 Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Stable as the pyramids.
  • Good, usable power.
  • Endless tuning options.
Lows
  • Dated appearance.
  • Sub-par fit and finish.
  • Trade-in value.
"The CBR is the best track bike of all we tested," Roberti says confidently. "I had the most confidence in the front end out of all the bikes. It feels as light as the R6 while riding (despite carrying 25 extra lbs.) and the motor feels the fastest the thing just keeps revving!"

Buchanan, a relative newcomer to track work, claims that the CBR is hands-down his favorite on the track. "I went faster, smoother and more consistently on the Honda and with not a single moment of panic, and I did it with the least amount of effort. I did two sessions back to back without a water break and didn't feel a bit tired or worn out. It's that good."

Check out the "Specs." for the 2003 Supersport Shootout.

Read the "Scorecard
" of the 2003 Supersport Shootout.

The Bottom Line
Rider:
Ken
Age:
33
Height:
5'8"
Weight:
180
Years Riding:

13
Skill Level:
 Squid

For My Money...
I had a hard time deciding whether or not to go out on a limb and buy with your heart or to take the safe route when selecting which of this bunch I would want to own. The Suzuki was out of the running first off, as was the ZX-6. I really like the Ducati and wanted to pick it, but the R6 and CBR are so sweet.

The Yamaha is just not as sharp as the Honda and I prefer the aggressive look and feel most comfortable on the RR. I would buy the Honda over the R6, just barely.

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