Suzuki GSX-R750 Test Notes...
Comfortable and familiar ergos+
Great midrange power+
Confidence-inspiring chassis and suspension-
Brakes a little too progressive for some-
Lacks a little top-end steamx
We sure wish the other OEMs would bring back their 750sSUGGESTED SUSPENSION SETTINGSFRONT
Spring preload: 9 turns out from full stiff; rebound damping: 0.5 turns out from full stiff; high-speed compression damping: 2 turns out from full stiff; low-speed compression damping: 2.5 turns out from full stiff; ride height: 10mm fork tube showing above triple clampREAR
Spring preload: 8mm thread showing from top of spring collar; rebound damping: 1.5 turns out from full stiff; high-speed compression damping: 3 turns out from full stiff; low-speed compression damping: 4 turns out from full stiff
Tale of the Tape
The obvious differences between the two are the engines-an inline-four versus a V-twin. The GSX-R's 749cc inline-four features Suzuki's dual throttle-valve system (SDTV) and dual injectors per cylinder. These injectors now feature eight holes instead of four for improved fuel atomization and more efficient combustion. Other updates for 2008 include the addition of S-DMS, a more powerful ECU and a larger exhaust system.
The 848 actually has 100 more cubic centimeters than its Japanese counterpart, and the Testastretta Evoluzione L-twin layout is the most advanced design to date. Like its 1098 older brother, the 848 feeds air through elliptical throttle bodies. But unlike the Suzuki (and 1098R), fuel is only fed through a single injector.
Both bikes feature radial brakes and fully adjustable suspensions fore and aft, though the Ducati's rear linkage is not adjustable for ride height; we noted this as unusual and an obvious cost-cutting method in our full test.
Middleweight bikes have always had a place in our hearts for their perfect balance of power and handling, both on the track and on the street. These two contenders are no exception. The Ducati's racetrack pedigree is evident-the solid chassis is at home in the twisty bits and flicks from side to side with ease. Enginewise the 848 pulls strong out of corners; however, gear selection is important because a gear too low causes the engine to bog considerably on corner exits. Brakes on the Ducati are excellent as well. The Brembo four-piston calipers give great bite, and the steel-braided lines provide a positive feeling at the lever. On the downside, the Ducati's rear suspension is rather stiff on the street, its setup more suited to racetrack use. Also, the 848 seats the rider high with a long reach to the bars. Many of our testers felt this seating position to be unnatural, and sometimes painful, in everyday riding situations. Then there's the trademark Ducati underseat exhaust. Sure, it keeps the classic Italian look, but it roasts a rider's backside in no time.
Ducati 848 Test Notes +...
Much easier than 1098 to ride fast-
Vague front-end feel-
Racer-like ergos are torture on the streetx
Wonder if an 848R would be the magic ticket?SUGGESTED SUSPENSION SETTINGSFRONT
Spring preload: 3 lines showing; rebound damping: 7 clicks out from full stiff; compression damping: 1.5 turns out from full stiff; ride height: 10mm fork tube showing above top triple clamp REAR
Spring preload: 10mm thread showing above collar; rebound damping: 5 turns out from full stiff; compression damping: 4 turns out from full stiff
While we started to form a hate-it-or-love-it relationship with the 848, all of us felt right at home on the GSX-R750 during our street ride. The bike is 600-like in its willingness to turn and rock-solid while on its side. Figuring there was no use in increasing peak horsepower, Suzuki engineers decided to focus their attention on the middle Gixxer's midrange. The result is an engine that's perfect for street use. Crack open the throttle once you round a bend and the power is immediately there-unlike a 600 where you're sometimes waiting for the power to come on. Another trait the 750 shares with the rest of the GSX-R lineup is near-seamless fueling. Throttle lag is all but nil, and that translates into an almost telepathic bond between your throttle hand and the engine. The suspension negotiates the bumps nicely, too. However, our riders were split on the brakes. Some preferred the soft initial bite that became progressively firmer, while others couldn't get comfortable with the lever feeling "spongy" compared with the Ducati's. Unlike the 848, there were no complaints about the ergonomics on the GSX-R750. When riding, the pilot feels like he's sitting in the bike rather than on it. Reach to the bars feels natural, and even our tall guy Holst liked the position of the pegs.
With that, round one goes to the Suzuki. The Ducati has the edge on the brakes and scores points based on its strong chassis, but our judges didn't like the suspension and the uncomfortable seating position on long rides. By contrast, where the 848 is so focused, the GSX-R750 is utilitarian. Its engine is more versatile than the Duc's, the suspension is better calibrated, and the ergonomic package doesn't leave you searching for a chiropractor after each ride.