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2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 Comparison

Monday, August 11, 2008
The original superbike replica-- the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R750.
2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 Specifications:
Engine: 749cc Inline-Four, DOHC, 16 valves
Bore x Stroke: 70.0 x 48.7mm
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Horsepower: 122.7 hp @ 12,600 rpm
Torque: 53.6 lb-ft @ 11,200 rpm
Weight: 439 lbs. w/fuel
Power to Weight Ratio: 0.28 hp per lbs
Front Suspension: Showa 41mm fork, 4-way adj.
Rear Suspension: Showa shock, 4-way adj.
Tires: Bridgestone BT-016 120/70R17, 180/55R17 Wheelbase: 55.3-in. Rake: 23.8 deg. Trail: 96.5mm
Seat Height: 31.9-in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 Gal. Measured MPG: 34.1 mpg
Exhaust dB at 5000 rpm: 88
MSRP: $10,599
The Suzuki transfers its power to a similarly sized 180/55 rear tire via a six-speed transmission controlled via a cable-actuated slipper clutch. The transmission gets the job done but its not as precise feeling as the Duc's. However, clutch pull is lighter and there's plenty of feel which make it perfect for getting sideways under hard deceleration. On the racetrack the Suzuki's gearing felt tall, but thankfully, the Gixxer's versatile engine is up for the challenge. On the streets, however the Gixxer's gearing seemed much more sensible and allow for a smooth, buzz-free ride freeway speeds.

Instrumentation on the Suzuki doesn't look nearly as cool as the Ducati's electronic Digitek display, however at a glance it is much easier to read. A swept analog tachometer houses a gear position indicator as well as Suzuki's S-DMS setting. It's flanked by a digital LCD display that reports speed, coolant temperature, dual trip meter functions as well as an odometer and a clock. A bright, programmable shift light is located just below.

"The Suzuki is a much more refined streetbike," says Hutchison. "It's smooth on the freeway and its got a big windscreen so you can effectively tuck-in behind it. The gauges are easy to read plus the rear-view mirrors actually work. On the street it simply doesn't wear you out like the Duc."

In contrast to the Gixxer 750's high-revving Inline-Four mill is the Ducati's 848cc L-Twin. Where the Suzuki engine needs to be flogged at maximum revs for optimum acceleration, the 848 engine responds best when short-shifted and ridden in a gear higher than you would anticipate. The engine comes online much earlier than the Suzuki's and treats the rider with a strong, steady stream of power from as low as 4000 revs. You can feel each power pulse being devoured by the pavement below while the engine builds revolutions rapidly eventually spinning to 10,800 rpms before the rev-limiter steps in. And if you're not quick with the upshifts, it'll cost you precious time on the racetrack.

"The name of the game with the Duc engine is to make sure you don't wind it out," stated Hutchy. "As is the case with most Twins, it revs-out quickly and falls on its face up top compared to a Four. But the fat power pulses and the smooth delivery are what make riding a Twin so much fun."

The Duc's close ratio six-speed transmission and slightly shorter gearing were no doubt engineered to function in concert with the engine. When you're riding the Ducati, you're going to be shifting all the time. So it's a good thing that the transmission feels precise and changes cogs smoothly. Even though the 848 lacks a slipper clutch, it wasn't that much of an issue as the 848 doesn't offer a whole lot of engine braking as compared to other Twins we've tested in the past.

foot controls can be moved up and down or forward and aft in a 14mm range  allowing the rider to customize the riding position.
Both bikes feature a wide range of suspension adjustability, the Suzuki takes it one step further by introducing both high- and low-speed compression dampening on both the fork and shock. This allows the rider to tune the suspension even more precisely.
Instrumentation on the 848 is comprised of the same digital readout that graces all 1098s, and D16RRs. The very hi-tech looking computer provides a horizontal bar graph-style tachometer, digital speedo, twin trip meters, trip fuel, rev counter, clock, scheduled maintenance warning, engine cooling water temperature, air temperature, battery status (in the menu), lap timer, shift light and various warning lights. The setup is also compatible with Ducati's optional Data Analyzer accessory which stores up to 3.5 hours of riding data including lap times, throttle opening, engine temperature, etc. which the user can later download and view on their computer.

Handling braking duties on the 848 is a pair of two-piece cast radial-mount four-piston Brembo calipers that latch onto dual 320mm rotors, while a single disc brake controls rear wheel. The less expensive Brembo's are another example of how Ducati achieved the 848's more reasonable price tag. Feel is outstanding due in part to its use of stainless-steel brake lines; however, a great deal of lever pull is required to get the bike to stop quickly.

"Trail-braking into the corner seemed a bit easier on the Ducati. It's probably the combination of good feel from the brakes and its responsive front end," remarks Hutchy. "However, you really have to put in a lot of lever pressure to get it to stop."

The Gixxer goes a parallel route with its Tokico radial-mount four-piston calipers that grab onto slightly smaller 310mm rotors with a single disc brake stopping the rear tire. Although the Suzuki's binders give up just a smidge of outright feel as compared to the 848's, the amount of stopping force available at the end of the Gixxer's lever is phenomenal.

"Braking is just another category where the Gixxer shines," says Wallace. "There's really nothing to complain about. They're [front brakes] very progressive feeling, but if they had a teensie bit more feel it would really put them out of this world."

In terms of current American roadracing rules these two bikes don t directly compete against each other  although on the spec charts  streets and sales floor they do  with only  2896 separating their respective MSRP s.
In terms of current American roadracing rules these two bikes don't directly compete against each other, although on the spec charts, streets and sales floor they do.

Okay, okay-so you're still wondering which one is best? Without a doubt these two machines are equally matched. But it all comes down to where you like to ride. If trackdays at tight and technical racetracks are your idea of fun then without a doubt the 848 is hard to beat. Its racy ergos, solid chassis and rider-friendly engine make it almost impossible not to have a good time aboard. However if you're planning on riding at faster circuits like Willow Springs big track, then the more Suzuki's forgiving chassis, extra bit of power, along with the gear ratios might suit you better.

As for which one is king on the street again, that depends on where you are riding. If you're just going to be running around town and looking for something different that will standout in a sea of Japanese sportbikes and American cruisers than by all means the 848 it is. However, if you need a fast, comfortable commuter that's easy to live with everyday and flat out eats up roads then the GSX-R's hard to beat.

2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 Gallery
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Other Suzuki Sportbike Reviews
Suzuki gets another crack at the competition from Europe, this time on the road, with its proven and well-refined GSX-R750.
When it comes to heavyweight sportbikes no one does it better than Suzuki and its GSX-R750… or do they? Find out now in our review from the racetrack.
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2008 Ducati 848 vs GSX-R750 4MM
Joe Wallace
MCUSA Software Engineer

"With its styling, handling and killer motor it's really hard to beat the 848. Even though it's almost 3k more you're getting a lot more bike... Especially when you consider all the things the Ducati comes with: Brembo brakes, incredible instrument panel--which shows you everything from diagnostics to the air temperature. And the ability to plug in Ducati's Data Analyser. Then there's the two year warranty and two years of Ducati Card Assistance with emergency road side assistance."

Ken Hutchison
MCUSA Editorial Director

"Oh how I love to make these imaginary fiscal decisions... Well imagining if I had any extra money to spend after my three kids suck it all up, I would buy the Ducati. Why you ask? Well it isn't because I went fastest on it at both racetracks. Or the fact that when I'm riding it I feel like I can do nothing wrong. It's because chicks dig loud, sleek Italian sportbikes. 'Nuff said."

Adam Waheed
MCUSA Associate Editor

"If all I was ever going to do was do trackdays then for sure I'd buy the Ducati. However, living within the paved confines of Southern California means that you're going to need a fast, comfortable and skinny bike so you can zip right through late afternoon gridlock and the Gixxer 750 is it. I've owned four of them and wouldn't hesitate to buy another one."

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Tina -malfunction  December 13, 2009 11:35 PM
My suzuki is 3 months old i have a red light indicate tempreture control system,steering damper,solenoid,battery,voltage and speed sensor when i look at the manual. My battery is fine it looks like my fan is not kicking in the bike starts then just cuts out at 180F. Can it only be the fan or the sensor on the fan.
Michael Weyant -848 all the way  October 22, 2009 10:30 AM
I have ridden GSXRs since the late 80's. I picked up the 848 in 2008 and will never go back to an I4 again. The power is more usable on the street, and on my home track NHMS the 848 shines. Pure confidence, pure fun.

You cant beat the sound, the feel, or the joy of riding one of these if you havent taken one out for yourself. The GSXR is a great bike for sure, but hands down it is the 848 for me.

A side note: The old ideas that Ducati are more maintenance intensive are no longer true. The Testastretta powerplant purrs along with all that italian style, gobs more torque for more usable street power, and does it all with a very modest maintenance schedule.
David Newman -k9 gsxr 750  July 1, 2009 01:47 PM
Awsome everday riding machine. I live in one of the busiest city centers in (Toronto) north America, and this bike just takes me where i want to go in style and comfort. The bike is easy to ride with plenty of power to spare. The fit and finish is up their with all the Japanese supersport bikes. The 848 is an exotic bike that is expensive to maintaine, and does not have the comfort of the gsxr. Oh, and the price difference is also one to consider, and not to mention the insurance.
mike colbert -750  April 26, 2009 02:45 PM
I have a 2006 750 and have owned the bike since it was new. Yes the bike is a few years old but the engine has not been changed in and up to 2009 to the best of my knowledge. I LOVE THIS BIKE! The power is quite impressive for a "kids" bike, as my friends used to call it. Those guys believe that bigger is better and I was quick to prove them wrong. The 750 does everything I need or want it to do for the type of riding I do, commuting, cruising and of course the weekend ride in the hills! Up to this point I haven't even considered getting a bike to replace my gsxr...but I have been looking at the 848. I think its coming soon,so I can post an unbiased opinion...hopefully.
marcus reed -848  April 15, 2009 03:01 PM
I recently bought the 848. I am 6 ft tall. I use the bike as a commuter as well as a future track bike. I find around town for me its fine. The clutch is much better then the other bikes I have ridden and the components that come stock on the bike make up most of the mods I would look to do on another bike. As far as the aggressive position, I find it very confidence building, seeing that I am never in a position that I cant maneuver the bike confidently. Plus you cant beat the one sided swing arm and a 2 cyl. rumble. I have the termi exhaust and it makes me giggle every time I start it up. I have gone on 140 mi. trips so far no problem. The air flow off the windscreen makes me float on my hands rather then me holding myself up. I am sure the GSXR is a great bike but my favor lies in the Duc.