Suzuki releases an updated GSX-R750 sportbike for ’11. Road Test Editor Adam Waheed reports from Barber Motorsports Park in the 2011 Suzuki GSX-R750 First Ride Video.
A decade ago, before liter-class sportbikes became vogue, 750s were the original Superbikes. Despite being on the verge of extinction (Suzuki is the only brand to still offer this class) there is still a need for a motorcycle that bridges the gap between the peaky, high-revving engine performance of a 600 and the front wheel in the sky bottom-end punch of a 1000. This is exactly where the new and improved 2011 Suzuki GSX-R750 is positioned. In this review we assess its racetrack capabilities from Barber Motorsports Park. Looking for more technical information? Browse through the 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 First Look
Glance at the spec chart and it’s apparent that the 750 has more in common with its little brother (see 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 First Ride
) rather than the flagship GSX-R1000. Nearly every single part with exception of a few engine internals is identical to the Gixxer 600. The seat continues to be low (31.9 in.) which makes it more accommodating for almost every rider. Physically it doesn’t feel any larger with the same narrow fuel tank and short reach to the handlebars. Wheelbase is a hair longer and the curb weight with the 4.5-gallon fuel tank topped off registers at 419 pounds—seven pounds more than the 600.
The seating position is classic GSX-R in the fact that it feels like you sit inside the motorcycle rather than atop it. Layout of the controls continues to be proportioned well offering a happy medium between hardcore track and relaxed street ergos. We liked the more open handlebar sweep which not only gives the rider a bit more room when tucked behind the tall and well-shaped windscreen but more steering leverage during turn-in as well. The position of the footpegs continues to be adjustable based on rider preference. We ran it in the high position which boosts ground clearance during cornering without excessively compromising rider comfort.
Whether you’re rolling out of the pits or tossing it through a series of quick turns it’s nearly impossible to feel the added weight of the 750. It steers with a minimal amount of control input and transitions in-and-out of corners with a trustworthy sense of feel, never turning more or less than what the rider desires. Even in corners with the engine spinning in excess of 9000 rpm it was difficult to feel the added reciprocating mass of the engine which made us wonder why anyone would want a 600 when they could have this 750 for only $400 more. High speed stability was also above average with the front end tracking straight even over bumpy pavement on the gas.
The calibration of the suspension was balanced though it felt slightly firmer than the 600 which will be preferable for faster riders and appreciated by heavier riders. The addition of the Showa Big Piston Fork does a better job of controlling the pitch of the front of the bike during braking. It also felt like it delivered more road feel at corner apex. Speaking of braking, the addition of the Brembo monoblocs front brake calipers is a tremendous improvement with it delivering a high amount of fade-free stopping power as well as feel. Perhaps the best part though is that the brakes now deliver a perfectly consistent feel regardless if you’re on Lap 1 or 20 minutes into a riding session.
The back end of the bike also worked great with the shock loading the rear tire smoothly when throttle was applied which helped achieve tremendous drives during corner exit. It was absurd how well the Gixxer drove off turns with the triple-compound rear Bridgestone BT-016 tire (purchase the Bridgestone Battlax BT-016 Front Tire
and Bridgestone Battlax BT-016 Rear Tire
) adhering to the road and resisting the urge to spin even under the extra load of the 750’s engine. Then again, the asphalt at Barber is some of the most grippy we’ve ever ridden on so that may have had something to do with it as well.
In terms of engine performance the 750 offers a significant improvement in power output at all rpm. However the biggest difference can be noticed in the mid- and top-end portions of the tachometer. Just off idle the engine delivers immediate power that’s just friendly enough that it won’t intimidate a newer rider. Power comes on smooth with no sudden spikes in acceleration. Throttle response and the engine’s fuel-injection calibration is some of the best we’ve ever experienced.
As the engine gains momentum it spools fast—more along the lines of a 600 than a 1000. By this point the induction howl from beneath the fuel tank is growing louder before transitioning to a high pitch whine as the tach needle closes in on the 14,000-plus rpm redline. Mid-range is considerably stronger than the 600 which allows the rider to short shift and use the torque of the engine through certain segments of the track. Top-end also felt more robust and over-rev is fantastic thereby giving the rider some leeway when deciding whether to up shift or hold the gear for a few more moments. Instrumentation is identical to the 600 and is very easy to read at a glance. We especially like the brighter four-stage shift light.
In terms of the drivetrain the six-speed transmission functioned perfectly offering a short shift lever throw and positive engagement feel with zero missed shifts. The mechanical slipper clutch also continues to offer near perfect performance delivering just the right amount of engine braking and freewheeling effect during corner entry. Clutch lever pull is light and delivers an elevated level of feel.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the new 750 is its price. With an MSRP of $11,999 it’s only $400 more than the GSXR-600 and most importantly—$1600 less than the ’11 GSX-R1000 ($13,599). While we enjoyed the performance of the 600, for an extra few hundred dollars it would be silly not to dish out the extra cash for the 750. With its increased power output that doesn’t comprise its handling agility, Suzuki is yet again offers riders perhaps the industry’s most well-rounded Superbike.