Fuel efficiency has also benefited from the work done to both the fuel injection system and eight-hole fine-spray injectors. In fact, according to Suzuki fuel efficiency has received a healthy 10-percent bump for 2011. Our test unit backed up that claim by consistently getting an average 44 mpg; impressive, especially for a sportbike.
Nothing is perfect though, and we will admit that the ride on the counterbalancer-equipped Suzuki is plagued by a significant amount of vibes felt through the footrests—although that’s one of our only complaints with the 750 on the street. The other complaint isn’t much of a gripe, depending on personal opinion, but has to do with the howl from the bike’s intake. Obnoxious? Cool? The answer seems to depend on the rider. Although we will say most of our test riders were not exactly enamored with it, especially when cruising down the freeway at 6000 rpm—where you often find yourself when putting along in high gear.
In regards to the 750’s new Showa BPF suspension and Brembo monobloc brakes though, there is certainly no hemming and hawing. Both are hands down the greatest addition for 2011 and work exceptionally well, both during freeway rides and stints through the canyons. On the rough LA roads, the Showa front fork provides a feel that walks the fine line between harsh and compliant, but falls on the side of compliant. When the road tightens the bike feels even more at home, carving the corners with racebike-like finesse. Grab the brakes and prepare to be impressed, too. The Brembo monoblocs clamped to the dual 310mm front rotors are good for an extremely crisp initial bite, plus provide extremely great power all the way through the pull.
While the bike obviously excels on the street, the 750—with its race lineage—certainly has a soft spot for racetrack speeds, which is why we arranged to spend a day at the track as soon as we could.
Located just a few hours north of our humble abode in Southern California, Buttonwillow Raceway’s full layout features a number of hard braking areas that would test the new Brembo brakes, rough sections that would be the ultimate test for the Showa BPF suspension and technical sections that would allow us to see if the GSX-R750 was equally as strong a performer as its nimble 600cc sibling.
During the first few laps on track, we scrubbed in the new Bridgestone R10 rubber we had mounted up, and then worked on getting our heads up to speed. As speeds increased though, we noted a vague feeling from the front and were slightly taken aback by the bike’s tendency to squat in the rear mid-corner, which forced us to run wide on corner exit. Knowing the problem could be easily fixed with a few minor suspension adjustments, we headed back to the pits and grabbed a screwdriver. A half-turn of compression was removed from the Showa BPF up front and a full turn added to the Showa rear shock.
Amazingly, even with such a minor change the GSX-R750 came to life, which says a thing or two about the bike’s superb factory settings. As our speeds—and comfort level—increased on the track, what we began to appreciate more and more was the power of the 750. Similar to the GSX-Rs of yesteryear, the 2011 model’s inline-four engine pulls hard from 6000 rpm upward and corner exits are met by a healthy roar from the GSX-R’s all-new, 2.4-pound-lighter exhaust. Stand the bike up onto the fatter part of the tire, grab a gear from the just-slightly notchy six-speed gearbox and hold on; this is no measly 100-horsepower 600. Although the dyno shows little change in power compared with the previous model, the new 750 feels slightly stronger than last year’s model thanks in part to a better power-to-weight ratio and straights are eaten up relatively quickly. Plus, with the bike’s smooth power delivery and revised ergos, the 2011 750 is surprisingly easy to hustle around at speed too.
With its decent power and relatively light stature (the 2011 model is in total 18 pounds lighter than the 2010 model) it goes without saying that you are sure to get into a few corners with a little more steam than you would normally like. Not to worry though, because the new Brembo monobloc calipers up front are up to the task of getting things slowed down. Similar to what we experienced on the street, the more rigid calipers provide a strong initial bite, even lifting the rear tire on occasion when grabbed with “uh-oh, I’m in too hot” force, and consistent power.
The 2011 GSX-R750 is the first...
The 2011 GSX-R750 is the first Suzuki sportbike to feature Brembo monobloc calipers. The remarkable feel from the brakes is matched only by the communicative feel of the well-damped Showa BPF front suspension. Note the early-2000-esque dual vertically stacked headlight.
The real treat on the track though is the Showa BPF-equipped front end. What really impresses us with this fork is not only its exceptional performance when hard on the brakes, but also its feel upon corner entry and in mid-corner. Thanks to new damping rates, the fork almost perfectly translates what the bike is doing underneath you, providing feedback that gives you utmost confidence in the front end; few forks have given us the confidence of the Suzuki’s BPF setup. Additionally responsible for our comfort on the track was the 750’s electronically controlled steering damper, which adapts to the higher speeds and only slightly allows the bars to twitch before gathering things back up.
A Lonely King
While we can’t speak for Suzuki and answer why the company continues to develop the GSX-R750, we can step up and say that we are glad it does. It would be a shame to see the Japanese manufacturer let this model fall by the wayside. For those who are looking for the nimble feel of a 600, but power of a larger displacement machine, the 2011 GSX-R750 is the bike to have. And at $11,999, the GSX-R750 is only $400 more than the GSX-R600. Can you say ultimate upgrade? SR