If it’s competition that drives motorcycle development, then why does Suzuki continue to develop the GSX-R750? After all, it’s been years since Kawasaki and Yamaha gracefully bowed out of the three-quarter-liter class, leaving Suzuki as the sole survivor. And aside from a few regional organizations, most racing bodies have dropped their 750cc classes altogether. That said, we figured Suzuki would slowly let the GSX-R750 fall by the wayside, or at least limit the updates to “bold new graphics.” For 2011, that clearly wasn’t Suzuki’s intentions though. Instead, the manufacturer went forward with a rather in-depth revamp, cutting overall weight, refining the power delivery and improving handling.
During a recent trip to Barber Motorsports Park for the GSX-R750 press launch—which was held in conjunction with the GSX-R600 press launch—we found the all-new GSX-R750 to be quite capable on the track (“Don’t Call it a Comeback”, June ’11). However, when ridden back-to-back against the lithe-handling 600, we found the GSX-R750 to steer just a bit slower, making it slightly more of a challenge to hustle around Barber’s tight, technical layout. Plus, given the format of the press launch we were unable to spend any time with the GSX-R750 on the street, which is where most owners will inevitably spend much of their time. More one-on-one time with the bike was a must.
Revised and Ready
While it was revamped alongside the all-new GSX-R600, the 2011 GSX-R750 admittedly doesn’t feature all the same updates as its smaller displacement sibling. Even still, the revamped three-quarter-liter machine features—among other small changes—an all-new chassis, Showa BPF front suspension and Brembo front brakes.
In the engine department, changes for 2011 are limited to reshaped intake valves and new pentagonal-shaped cutouts between each cylinder in the crankcase, which replace the conventional round ventilation holes and are intended to reduce mechanical pumping losses.
More heavily revised is the chassis. Tilting the engine rearward three degrees around the countershaft sprocket allowed Suzuki engineers to shorten the wheelbase of the 750, which at 54.7 inches is 15mm shorter than the previous model. Further revisions to the 750’s frame and swingarm resulted in increased rigidity and a five-pound weight reduction (three pounds from the frame and two from the swingarm).
And while the all-new GSX-R is easily recognizable as a Suzuki, the bike is noticeably diminutive in stature. That is a characteristic attributed to the altered front and rear cowlings, which were both trimmed to match the bike’s shorter wheelbase—the front some 55mm, and the rear a generous 35mm. Fitted to the reshaped front fairing is an early-2000-esque vertically stacked dual headlight that we aren’t sold on, but is said to be a full pound lighter than that of last year’s model. All said, an additional seven pounds were cut by revising the body panels alone—a significant change.
Throw a leg over the 750 and there is absolutely no denying this is a Suzuki. As we have come to expect from Suzuki motorcycles, the feel from the saddle is best compared to sitting in your La-Z-Boy at home; it just puts you in a happy place. For 2011, this exceptional feel has been enhanced thanks to a redesigned seat, reshaped fuel tank and increased handlebar angle—all of which were incorporated with the hope of increasing not only comfort on longer rides, but also the rider’s ability to move about the saddle on the racetrack.
Needless to say, based on the exceptional experience we had with our 2011 GSX-R600 test unit and brief experience with the 750 at Barber, we were ecstatic to see a test unit show up at the office for further evaluation. No sooner than the bike arrived, we grabbed the keys and hit the road.
Turn the key on the sleek-looking 2011 GSX-R750 and you will see the dash (pulled from the GSX-R1000) come to life. In typical Suzuki fashion, the instrument cluster is well laid out, with all the pertinent information clearly visible. Getting accustomed to the unit is as easy as thumbing the meter switch on the right handlebar, which cycles through the different readouts, including the dual trip meters, odometer and lap timer/stopwatch—a new feature for 2011. Also a new feature for the 750 is the programmable engine RPM indicators located in the lower right-hand corner of the cluster. Within minutes we were able to set the indicator lights to go off at the RPM we desired, proving the system is as easy to use as it is convenient on the road.
The GSX-R1000-inspired instrument...
The GSX-R1000-inspired instrument cluster offers up all the pertinent information. New for 2011 is a lap timer/stopwatch feature plus programmable rpm indicator that we rarely used on the track.
Just two modes are available...
Just two modes are available on this 2011 model. The rider can switch from full-power A mode to restricted B mode via the switch that has been moved to the left handlebar –this means no longer are you forced to use your throttle hand when looking to make the change.
Tuning the Showa BPF is surprisingly...
Tuning the Showa BPF is surprisingly easy; a mere half-turn of compression was the answer to our setup issues at the track.
Noticeably missing is the indicator for the Suzuki Drive Mode’s C setting. That’s because for 2011, Suzuki has ditched the third, more restrictive mode and opted to go with just a full-power A mode and restricted B mode. Based on the fact that the bike’s Bridgestone BT-016 tires were fresh from the mold, we toggled over to B mode before taking off to see how the 750 would handle some of LA’s ...err... finest roads.
It wasn’t more than a few...
It wasn’t more than a few miles down the road that we realized adjusting the three-way adjustable rearsets to their lowest position would be a must. The change took just minutes and made the ride that much more comfortable.
Not to our surprise, the bike doesn’t disappoint on the road. Almost instantly we felt at home with the 750, slicing through traffic as if it was our own bike we had been riding for years. And after adjusting the rearsets to their lowest position (this is almost a must—especially for riders long in the inseam), we grew even more comfortable, finding the revised ergos, reshaped tank and short 31.8-inch seat height to play a big role in overall comfort.
With the tires adequately scuffed and up to temperature, we opted to switch out of B mode, which admittedly did its job, but got rather boring after some time in part to its extremely flat power curve (the only time we would go back would be later in the week, when carving along some of Southern California’s coastline, where the roads were soaked and we needed the softer power delivery of the more restrictive B mode).
In full-power A mode the GSX-R750 gets you to ticket-worthy speeds surprisingly quick thanks to its meaty midrange and the roughly 20-percent more horsepower it has on the 600. Throttle delivery is crisp and the bike’s power delivery is especially smooth too, meaning you can expect a completely hiccup-free ride whether you are taking off from a stop, accelerating at city-street speeds or cruising at highway pace. This is a testament to the work of the Suzuki engineers, who for 2011 diligently went about revising the bike’s ECM (which has been relocated from under the seat to in front of the airbox for weight savings within the wire harness) and dual throttle valve fuel injection system.