The art of balance

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 is a beauty that balances its performance to accommodate both new and experienced riders.

Vikrant Singh        Print Edition: April 17, 2011

The moment the new Suzuki GSX R-1000 rolled into our garage, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the best 'show off' superbike one can buy (apart from the gorgeous and stratospherically priced Ducati 1198). Viewing the bike in its traditional Suzuki blue-and-white livery (it also comes in black), highlights every sexy cut and edge.

My heart almost stopped the first time I whacked open the throttle. The GSX isn't a gentle beast like the relatively sedate Honda Fireblade, and you get a hint of that when you first mount it. The handlebars are set really low and the seat feels high. The footpegs are pretty high-set even though these are well placed on the X-axis. Overall the bike has demanding ergonomics.

The engine though fires up without drama; it has the typical four cylinder starting sound followed by a hum that misses a
Engine: 999cc
Max power: 191 bhp @12,000 rpm
Max torque: 118 Nm @10,000 rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed
Chassis: Twin spar diamond frame
Wheebase: 1405 mm
LXWXH: 2045x720x1130 mm
Kerb weight: 205 kg
Fuel tank: 17.5 litres
beat once in a while as it idles in anticipation. Slot into first and begin rolling and suddenly, the GSX feels very alive indeed. One might be pottering about in 6th gear with the revs barely above 3000rpm, but get too excited with the throttle and it simply lurches ahead with an impressive engine snarl.

There's so much bite, feel and progression about the bike.
As the engine revs keep piling, the world turns into a blur, and more often than not one ends up looking skywards, if one is man enough to hold the throttle at full clip, that is. With such manic acceleration we were however on the brake more often than the throttle, and the front brake itself was quite a revelation. There's so much bite, feel and progression, it really needs to be felt to be believed.

The most intoxicating bit about the GSX, as you'd expect, is its handling. When riding fast in a straight line, one does need some effort to get the motorcycle to change lanes in a hurry. But, around a bend it magically transforms into a lighter, much easier bike that seems to read your mind! The turn inwards is precise and predictable, and it goes about attacking corners like a point and shoot. The beautiful bit is, the GSX also changes lines mid corner without complaint; it's ideal if you regularly make the mistake of spotting the apex late and need to tighten your line.

GSXis can accommodate a range of riders.
GSXis can accommodate a range of riders.
The seating position, cumbersome in a straight line and in traffic, feels a lot more natural around corners; it feels as if one is sitting inside the bike than on it. The seating also allows you to hang on to the bike in any which way you desire, accommodating your natural riding style instead of expecting the perfect technique.

Most superbikes are bought for showing off and get the heart racing both in a straight line and around bends. The GSX R-1000 is perfect for both. But what's special about the GSXis its ability to accommodate a range of riders. Thanks to its drive mode selector, S-DMS, it is well suited for new riders as well as for veterans.

It is one superbike you can grow with; one that will never cease to satisfy.

(The author is Associate Editor, Auto Bild India)

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