So the new GSXR is here….. Love it or leave it? Let’s see those comments below and remember you must register to comment.
2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000: It’s Real…and It’s Spectacular! (with apologies to Seinfeld)Suzuki has finalized the long-awaited new GSX-R1000, and it will be a 2017 model available in the States, although no specific release date or pricing has yet been announced. I visited the Hamamatsu factory in Japan for a sneak peek and, although I wasn’t allowed to ride it, I can tell you why I believe this machine is likely to be the motorcycle to beat for 2017, and maybe beyond.Although most of the upgrades are somewhat predictable and merely bring the flagship Suzuki up to date, overall the claimed specifications tell us that the new GSX-R1000 will be more compact, more agile, and more powerful than its competitors in the inline-4 class.The 2017 Suzuki flagship will be available in three versions—a standard GSX-R1000 model with and without ABS, plus the GSX-R1000R with ABS. The top-of-the-line R version is aimed at Superstock racers, track day junkies, and the hardest-core street riders. “R” upgrades from the standard models include Showa Balance Free forks and shock, a quickshifter, launch control, a lightweight top triple clamp, and a lightweight battery. All models will have the same completely redesigned 1000cc engine.It’s in that motor where the GSX-R’s game-changing secret can be found. A new proprietary variable cam-timing system allows Suzuki engineers to tune for monster top-end power and maximum revs, without losing any low- or mid-range power. Until now, this simply wasn’t possible.They say the best ideas are the simple ones and, without wanting to diminish the brilliance of what the Suzuki engineers have accomplished, it seems the SR-VVT (Suzuki Racing-Variable Valve Timing) is so elegantly simple, I’m amazed someone hasn’t thought of it before.At any rate, it’s clearly an idea that is long overdue; Suzuki has been using it in its MotoGP engines since 2008 (including the previous V4 GSV-R motor)—and there have been zero failures according to Suzuki.Essentially, it’s a mechanical system that uses centrifugal force operating on ball-bearings moving in angled slots to vary the cam timing. As the camshaft spins faster, centrifugal force slides each ball outwards in its slot, which in turn rotates the piece of the sprocket attached to the camshaft a few degrees.Because the process happens in a subtle and infinitely smooth way, there is no step in the powerband, and I was told the system is completely undetectable by the rider. I spoke to a couple of the factory testers at the Suzuki track, and they both affirmed that the power delivery feels absolutely linear from idle onwards.Think about this for a moment. Normally, engineers have to choose between a motor that produces big horsepower, but it’s only available at very high revs (racebikes), or they have to sacrifice top-end power for manageable power on the street. In each case, the camshaft timing is completely different.Because of this technology from Suzuki, it now means that in a racing situation, the GSX-R1000 will have competitive top speed on the straights, as well as loads of power coming out of the corners as well. Of course, this is purely conjecture at this point, but I think it’s looking more than good for any riders that will be on Suzuki in 2017.The new motor is the familiar ‘screamer’ configuration that we’re used to in the current GSX-R. Suzuki opted to stay with it rather than go to the uneven firing order motor it uses in MotoGP because, although those engines—Yamaha’s Crossplane concept, for example—have superior traction feel at extreme (MotoGP-level) power outputs, they have other challenges.Drawbacks to uneven firing order motors include being harder to make low- and mid-range power; more vibration (a balancer shaft is needed); and increased frictional heat that requires higher cooling capacity. The latter two add complexity and a fair bit of weight. Considering all that, Suzuki opted to go with the standard firing order configuration.For me, there’s nothing like the sound of a howling inline-4 at full chat, followed by the popping and banging through the pipe on deceleration, so I’m delighted they kept the screamer. Beyond that, everything else with the motor has changed.With monster peak power as one of the goals, the Suzuki engineers have now raised the motor’s redline to an amazing 14,500 rpm (up 1000 rpm from 2016). This has been accomplished by major internal changes that include reducing the stroke to 55.1mm (from 57.3), and increasing the bore to 76mm (from 74.5).Power production is also helped by significantly reducing the engine internals’ weight, as the valve train goes to a significantly lighter (0.2 ounces) finger-follower system from the present bucket/shim. The balancer shaft has gone away completely, and the 1.5mm-bigger intake valves are now titanium.Fueling will now be ride-by-wire, and still features the three power modes. All three modes deliver full power in decreasing levels of aggression, with C mode recommended for city