REVIEW RIDE: Suzuki GSX-R1000

As the trend goes, whenever the manufacturer has 2 models of the same motorcycle available, a standard unit and a racer replica version, the idea is to have a go at the former first, then only the latter. However, I get to taste it the other way for Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 (standard) and GSX-R1000R (replica) superbikes recently. The former came later while the latter was first. 

Suzuki GSX-R1000 Gixxer

Anyway, I couldn’t be bothered with reverse format of reviewing both motorcycles.   

Like the GSX-RR replica, the standard GSX-R1000 is also known as the Gixxer, from its GSX-R namesake. While I had the RR version in its MotoGP-inspired livery, the standard Gixxer comes with its Matte Black livery, which looks a solid black from a distance but gray (matte) on closer inspection. 

Just like the GSX-RR, the same 2 aspects which I wasn’t keen on – the bike’s front heavy when at idle phase; and being factory-fitted with super sticky Bridgestone Battlax RS11 Racing Street tyres, as Suzuki is expecting the same types of owners would take it to the track than weekend riding. 

As outlined in my review of the GSX-R1000R, the Battlax RS11 tyres are designed for super grippy performance, not just on the straights but also at the corners, but the tarmac must be dry. At this period (Oct to Dec) of the year, wet weather conditions are the norm. And that’s a big risk trying to ride the Gixxer fast on RS11 rubber during wet weathers. 

Unlike the period when the RR was with me, the weather was perfectly great when reviewing the standard Gixxer. I had 2.5-day of exploring its performance and handling as compared to its racer replica sibling, which had a single day of good weather. 

The TFT speedometer of the Suzuki GSX-R1000

Regarding the Gixxer’s front end being heavy, it has to be noted that this feeling only applies when the bike is idle and any effort to push it out of tight/narrow situations using leg power instead of throttle, is a hassle. 

The test ride took the Gixxer to The Gap, foothill of Fraser's

And, like the RR, the bike feels featherweight when it’s powered on, and flicking the standard Gixxer left/right when cutting thru traffic or winding roads didn’t slow me one bit. In fact, the Gixxer handles most situations the rider throws at it very well, and is more agile and swifter in its handling than many smaller capacity bikes. 

Brief stopover for the Gixxer at iconic sculpture of Kampung Sang Lee

For the record, unlike the GSX-R1000R, which uses Showa BFF (Balance Free Fork) as front suspension, the standard Gixxer comes fitted with Showa’s BPF (Big Piston Fork) suspension instead. The difference in the type of front suspension is the most obvious between the two Gixxers.  

When it comes to Traction Control (TC), the Suzuki GSX-R1000 has the same 13 different steps as the RR’s to choose from. The TC is also divided into 2 parts; Part 1 has 3 steps while Part 2 has 10. Sounds intimidating? Not this time as I had already mastered the settings while reviewing the GSX-RR previously.  

Part 1 is divided into alphabet steps – which are A, B and C. A is for track, B is city ride and C for wet & slippery conditions. Part 2 is listed as 1-10, of which steps 1-4 are for the track, 5-8 are city ride, winding roads & highways and 9-10 are for when it’s raining or slippery surfaces. 

In practise, it doesn’t matter if Part 1 settings do not match those in Part 2, as those in the latter have more intrusion on the TC. For example, I can leave Part 1 on B but switch to either step 9 or 10 for Part 2 when the weather gets wet. 

The ultimate question is which of the 2 Gixxers should one choose? The price difference between both is approximately RM10,000. I will go for the GSX-R1000R than the standard GSX-R1000 Gixxer.

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