If at first glance the 2011 GSX-R600 looks exactly the same as the outgoing model, it isn't actually the case. These past two years, Suzuki's engineers have made every possible effort to make sure the Gixxer is the very best bike in the current catalogue. Lighter, wickeder, boasting more efficient suspensions and brakes, it's raring to go and ready take on its main rivals, the CBR600RR, R6 and ZX-6R.
In the looks department, a little more flair would have been nice, as well as some contemporary or at the very least aggressive touches. But maybe this is a sales tactic, as if Suzuki wanted to bring back the style of the previous models, returning to the simple triangular headlamp and curvy bodywork evoking the 2004-2005 vintage.
And we all know you can't judge a book by its cover. To formulate a proper opinion, you have to take the time to get to know the GSX-R, to get a feel for the improvements and experience the thrill behind its handlebars. And what better way to do that than on a tight and exacting track like the one at Autodrome St-Eustache (http://www.autodrome.ca)? That's where Suzuki's latest crotch rocket shows its true colours.
Heart of a racer
The race-bred architecture of the GSX-R made for a lighter package offering quicker access to the engine. The noticeable screws, thin plastics and fewer parts highlight the bike's serious intentions. This one is all about dominating the track.
The same can be said for the ergonomics. From the high, two-way adjustable footpegs, to the shorter distance between the seat and handlebars that straightens the rider's chest a little, to the open hand position reducing steering effort, everything was designed to increase your comfort on the road and the track without sacrificing efficiency.
Based on the previous version, the 599-cc mill has been significantly improved to keep up with the times. Shedding 2 kilos, it helped in the big overall weight reduction of the GSX-R (totalling 9 kilos). Thanks to optimized fuel efficiency and antipollution measures, the 600 meets upcoming American and European noise and pollution standards.
Based on the previous version, the 599-cc mill has been significantly improved to keep up with the times. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/Moto123.com)