Electronic guardian angel
The test included a track day at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, near Montreal, under the auspices of the Tremblant_SBK Club. After watching Canadian Superbike Championship racer Érik Beauséjour get his jollies on the bike, it was my turn in the saddle, on a track that I know well, but aboard a bike for the first time here, and with 180 hp just waiting to scare me.
|The GSX-R1000 remains a physical machine to ride on track, despite its lower weight for 2009.
One thing’s for sure: it would take every ounce of my limited courage to attack corners with the inside knee on the ground and twist the throttle early on exit. Fortunately, the electronic steering damper helped keep the bike stable, while I selected the weakest C Mode setting (closest to my personal GSX-R600
) -- at least until I built up my courage.
The GSX-R1000 remains a physical machine to ride on track, despite its lower weight for 2009. On the plus side, it remains perfectly stable and composed as you lean into corners. In addition to being both smooth and sharp at low and high speeds, the big Suzuki remains rock-solid during the most intense braking maneuvers, including a 100-km/h deceleration at the end of the back straightaway at Tremblant. The electronic one-way clutch allows you to downshift without locking the rear wheel or over-revving the engine. On the street, it limits rear wheel lock up on bumpy or slippery surfaces, a guardian angel I no longer want to do without.
Straight up into the stratosphere
The new engine of the 2009 GSX-R1000 is impressive: 60-millimeter narrower cases, increased bore and compression ratio, a shorter stroke and larger intake valves for optimum breathing, etc. The benefits are a fatter, flatter torque curve across the rev range (great for city riding) along with more power at higher revs (for a total of 185 ponies at the crankshaft according to the manufacturer). What a delight!
The only downside is the amount of engine vibrations felt through the footpegs and handlebars at legal highway speeds (from 5,000 to 6,000 rpm). My feet and hands quickly got numb as a result.
Bound to shine in Superbike races and dealer showrooms, the new 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the most powerful, most agile and, above all, the most refined GSX-R since the inception of the GSX-R family in 1985.
|A true tuner’s bike, the 2009 GSX-R1000 is now more track-ready than ever.
Easy to ride
Powerful, torquey engine
Much-appreciated Drive Mode Selector
Powerful yet progressive brakes
Firm suspension on the road
Unpleasant vibrations between 5,000 and 6,000 rpm
Photo Credit : Philippe Champoux, Matthieu Lambert