The 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000
may not have received a complete overhaul, but the evolution of its powerplant and chassis is undeniable. In fact, the new one-litre Gixxer behaves so differently that you'll forget all the weak points of the 2009 design.
Unchanged? Guess again!
The main improvements to the GSX-R1000 work toward handling, throttle response at medium revs, fuel economy, and emission control. Visible highlights include a 4-2-1 exhaust system with single muffler, Brembo monoblock calipers, lighter front discs, and grippier Bridgestone S20 tires.
Aesthetically, nothing really changes except for a new colour option – Metallic Mat Black No.2/Glass Sparkle Black. And that's a good thing. The 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 still looks modern, racy and aggressive, with an ergonomically shaped fuel tank and tail-integrated turn signals.
One quick glance under the fairing reveals a different story. First of all, there's a shorter, leaner fork with revised settings that slightly tweaks the machine's geometry in favour of the front wheel. Moving over to the engine, you'll find lighter pistons and revised cam profiles that contribute to less friction and a higher compression ratio (from 12.8:1 to 12,9:1). The ECU has been reprogrammed as well.
Smoother and more efficient
|The main improvements to the GSX-R1000 work toward handling, throttle response at medium revs, fuel economy, and emission control. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)
Moto123.com had the opportunity to test the new 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Autodrome St. Eustache, Quebec to assess these various upgrades. Riding dynamics are as friendly as always, comfort is pretty decent, and you immediately feel at ease despite the larger-than-average size.
With a smoother, slightly less explosive engine that prefers to make a bigger statement at medium revs, the GSX-R1000 becomes easier to handle and push around. Revs build up quickly, though, courtesy of the engine's reduced weight and friction. Its superior flexibility means that you can open up the throttle earlier upon exiting corners, which results in a higher top speed at the end of the ensuing straightaway. Of course, the excellent rear tire has to be commended as well for delivering confident traction throughout the process.
The transmission is precise and perfectly calibrated, even for a tight track like St. Eustache, which translates into fewer shifts. Mid-range torque will get you out of a hairpin turn in eloquent fashion, almost as if you were riding a twin-cylinder. There's plenty of meat to chew on starting at 8,500 rpm, and from there the Suzuki GSX-R1000 steadily climbs toward the redline. Awesome work!
Nimble yet stable like few others
|With a smoother, slightly less explosive engine that prefers to make a bigger statement at medium revs, the GSX-R1000 becomes easier to handle and push around. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)
The significantly improved chassis also provides its fair share of thrills. And it will only take you a few laps to notice the changes. The new GSX-R1000 is easier to throw into corners, livelier when switching directions, and yet just as stable in sharp corners, over bumps and when braking hard. I was quite surprised to see such an improvement from a machine that looks relatively unchanged at first glance.
The razor-sharp nose is equally amazing. You get clear feedback and an accurate sense of the front tire's grip allowing you to push the bike to the limit. Speaking of grip, the new S20s are impressive for road-oriented OEM tires. Actually, they stick to the pavement almost as ferociously as DOT-type race tires. All that work in MotoGP finally seems to pay off for Bridgestone.
The other major improvement is found in the brakes. With more bite, more power, and more endurance, the Brembo setup delivers flawless braking performance. It also proves quite forgiving, like when I tried to find the ideal braking point before attacking the carousel.
Even though the 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 looks bulkier than most rivals and still lacks electronic aids for non-seasoned riders, its latest upgrades prove that this Japanese superbike is always up for a fight. More powerful, more agile and more stable, it's one of the summer's biggest surprises.
|With more bite, more power, and more endurance, the Brembo setup delivers flawless braking performance. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)
Efficient, flexible engine
Flawless gearbox and brakes
Superb agility and stability
Friendly riding dynamics
Lack of electronic aids for non-seasoned riders