New Bikes, Same Slogan
For 2011, American Suzuki treated press to a day at Barber Motorsports Park, a 2.3-mile tight, technical track that would ultimately test both machines. And while there are few long straights at Barber to really stretch the legs of either GSX-R (especially the 750), the elevation changes, sweeping corners and hard braking zones are great areas to analyze the handling, braking and midrange improvements.
Before you even roll onto the track, one change is instantly noticeable and that is the weight—or lack thereof. Both the GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 are featherweights in comparison to previous models and the revised ergonomics and fuel tank shape make the already-comfortable bikes even more hospitable. And despite the available adjustment in the footrests, seemingly no changes are needed. On the track, the shorter tank matches with the low 31.9-inch seat height, allowing you to tuck in more comfortably and the bars’ wider angle offers just enough additional room to allow a larger rider such as myself to move around.
As per the objectives, Suzuki has made the GSX-R600 accelerate better than ever before. The improved low-end and midrange torque is extremely noticeable the moment you crack the throttle open and the drive out of the corner greatly benefits. Even at as low as 8000 rpm, the little GSX-R is able to drive exceptionally well out of the corners, something earlier Suzuki models could hardly lay claim to. But like all other 600s, nearly all of the bike’s power is attained between 12,000 rpm and the 15,500-rpm redline; a zone the quick-revving, screamer of an engine reaches extremely fast.
The vertically stacked headlight...
The vertically stacked headlight design of the all-new 2011 GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 is just over a pound lighter than that of its forerunner.
Aside from offering all the...
Aside from offering all the pertinent information, the gauge cluster of the new GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 comes with a built-in lap timer/stopwatch and programmable engine rpm indicators.
For 2011, the GSX-R600 will...
For 2011, the GSX-R600 will be available in blue/white or white/black color options.
For 2011, Suzuki has relocated...
For 2011, Suzuki has relocated the mode selector to the left-side switch. Not having to change riding modes with your throttle hand while at speed is much appreciated.
A quick look at the analog tachometer and LCD readout (pulled from the GSX-R1000) endorses that claim and before long, the programmable staged shift lights are lit indicating that it’s time to grab the next gear. Matched with the close-ratio transmission, the GSX-R600’s improved power characteristics are quite exciting on a track like Barber.
Complementing the revised engine characteristics is the superior handling of the 600, which is now aided by the Showa BPF front fork and shorter wheelbase. And not only does the 600 steer on a dime, but it goes seemingly wherever you ask it to go. Upon corner entry, the front fork provides a surreal amount of feedback and exceptional damping. Even better, baseline settings are more than tolerable and mid-corner feel from the front is truly confidence-inspiring.
The real charm of the Showa BPF front fork however is how well it works with the Brembo monobloc calipers, which provide an unbelievable initial bite and tons of stopping power. Even under extreme braking, the 600 fails to unsettle and there is very little divea benefit the BPFs have displayed to since their inception.
As expected, the GSX-R750 is just as strong as previous models. Unlike the 600, it wasn’t revised for more midrange, but that’s not to say that the 750 even needed it, as over the years, the larger displacement GSX-R has shown no lack of midrange power. Per the norm, the 750 has greater acceleration out of corners and an extremely linear power delivery that eats up the better part of the speedometer rather quick.
As with the 600, the 750 has greatly benefited from the addition of a Showa BPF front fork and Brembo monobloc calipers. And just as with the 600, the setup provides a surreal amount of confidence midcorner. Unlike its middleweight sibling however, as tested the GSX-R750 had a tendency to steer rather slow and typically you found yourself a foot or so off the apex. This is most likely attributed to the extra weight and slightly different suspension settings that didn’t allow the 750 to turn quite as quick as the 600.