We had absolutely no complaints with regard to the GSX-R's overall handling and, despite the minor increase in trail, we found the steering through fast switchbacks at Phillip Island to actually feel a bit quicker than with the old Suzuki. We were worried the electronic steering damper stiffening up at high speeds would make for high-effort steering as well, but thankfully that wasn't the case at all; steering was crisp and precise in all situations, and the front end actually wiggled slightly a few times while accelerating flat out in fourth gear over a rise in the track. We prefer the steering characteristics of the new Bridgestone BT015 rubber over the previous BT014s, with the newer 'Stones offering quicker handling, better manners while trail-braking and slightly better edge grip.
The addition of high-speed compression-damping adjustment to the suspension is a welcome aid to dialing in the handling of the big GSX-R, easing the task of smoothing out some minor handling anomalies we were experiencing out on the track. Especially with the deceleration-as well as acceleration-capabilities of the new Suzuki: Although engineers claimed there were no changes to the brakes/calipers themselves, we found the power and feel of the brakes to be slightly improved over the previous model. The '07 units have a more progressive action, requiring less lever effort for the same power, which is a good thing when you're trying to brace your body from the braking force, blip the throttle on downshifts and steer at the same time. Speaking of which, the revamped slipper clutch provided excellent insurance against sloppy downshifts, working even better and smoother than the old version, which was one of the better units to begin with.
Come On, Bring It
As difficult as it is to believe, Suzuki has upped the ante once again with the new GSX-R1000. Despite the added weight, the new GSX-R appears poised and ready to defend Suzuki's literbike-class crown against threats like Yamaha's latest R1 as well as the already capable Kawasaki ZX-10R and Honda CBR1000RR. And now that Ducati's superb new 1098 is taking direct aim at the Big Four literbikes, we have the makings of a battle the likes of which haven't been seen in years. We'll see you next issue.