Eight kilograms lighter than its predecessor, a stronger engine, reduced inertia, equipped with a beefier Showa suspension, and powerful Brembo brakes: The engineers at Suzuki gave it their all when designing the new GSX-R600, allowing it to reclaim its rightful place on the highest step of the podium without sacrificing the driveability that we've come to expect from this model.
This newest model embodies the Gixxer
philosophy, which offers ease of ride and comfort on both road and track. This versatility is made possible by the comfortable ride position of the 2012 Suzuki GSX-R600, one that is easy on the wrists, with optimal leg positioning.
Precise and stable
The ''bike'' part of the 2012 Suzuki GSX-R600 deal is quite reassuring, stable and precise -- like a bigger ride -- without turning into a bucking bronco at the first sign of trouble. The new Showa fork deserves our gratitude. It is firm but supple, under all conditions; the perfect compromise for those looking for a friendly road and track ride.
The Suzuki GSX-R600 also has its practical side thanks to a well equipped instrument cluster, handlebar controls and programmable rpm redline and gear-position indicator. All that's missing is a fuel-level indicator, which is offered by virtually every competitor. There is even a high-security U-lock stowed beneath the seat.
The GSX-R600's sportier design has a ''lighter'' overall visual impact, which provides easier access to the mechanical components. The ergonomics of the bike follow the same pattern: The higher foot pegs on the Suzuki GSX-R600 provide better ground clearance for aggressive cornering; the shortened distance between the seat and the handlebars provide a lower centre of gravity; and the redesigned handlebars reduce steering effort thanks to a more open-handed grip.
|The GSX-R600's sportier design has a ''lighter'' overall visual impact, which provides easier access to the mechanical components. (Photo: France Ouellet)
The engine on the 2012 Suzuki GSX-R600 has shed two kilograms, burns less fuel and is friendlier for the environment. It offers more oomph at higher revs than most of the competition, literally exploding out of turns if you manage to maintain the engine speed above 10,000 rpm. The only caveat: an extremely noisy intake (way noisier than its competitors). Exhilarating on the racetrack, but extremely annoying on long hauls.
In the heat of action, you feather the throttle while entering a turn, then correct your trajectory and gun it, braking as late and hard as possible before the next turn. Like my buddy says: “On racetrack days you're like a convenience store: you open it up early, and you shut it down late.” This axiom truly applies to this latest version of the GSX-R600. What's more, the Suzuki GSX-R600's back-torque-limiting clutch makes cornering a breeze as it maintains rear-wheel grip while down-shifting aggressively at the end of a long straightaway. Pure joy!
|In the heat of action, you feather the throttle while entering a turn, then correct your trajectory and gun it, braking as late and hard as possible before the next turn. (Photo: France Ouellet)
Cosmetically, the GSX-R600 is quite similar to many bikes on the road today. However, on all other fronts, the GSX-R600 has revolutionized its behaviour so as to surpass many of its competitors, even matching the performance of the best of last year's offering, the 2009-2012 generation Kawasaki ZX-6R
. This Gixxer
is a versatile and loveable racetrack beast. Handsdown, the best 600 supersport offering for the road.
Very engaging ''bike'' characteristics
Versatile ergonomics (road and track)
Powerful yet linear brakes
Conservative front-end styling