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2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Review – First Ride!

Thu, 09 Apr 2009

UPDATE: Review is now on

Coming to you live from the U.S. press launch of the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA!

In many ways you can call the Gixxer Thou “all-new.” The venerable AMA Superbike multi-time championship-winning machine has received numerous updates to the engine, chassis, brakes, bodywork, etc, etc.

The new mill has revised cases, now two-piece instead of three from ’08; bore and stroke is now more oversquare (74.5 x 57.3mm from 73.4 x 59.0mm) for higher-revving performance and is joined by bigger pistons; the cylinder head is new and joined by larger Ti valves and new and improved camshafts; the pistons are now larger; new crankshaft has new crankshaft-end oiling system; airbox is new. This is just a smattering of the many changes to the new and very powerful liter engine.

Changes to the chassis include a shorter wheelbase (now 1405mm), but a longer swingarm improves stability while providing better drive out of corners. Showa’s new BPF (Big Piston Fork) handles suspension duties up front while a Showa shock with improved linkage works out back. The exhaust is all new with lots of Titanium bits; the Tokico brakes are now monoblock style.

Additionally, bodywork has been updated for improved aero performance; all-new instrument cluster includes new programmable sequential 3-light system shift light; mirrors have been improved for better visibility via less vibration.

Lastly, Suzuki reps say the all-new Gixxer has lost approximately 6 lbs over 2008 model wet weight. The bike will have an MSRP of $12,899, and is making its way to dealers now.

The bottom line

Right out of the gate first impressions reveal a strong, grunty motor. Fueling is excellent, power builds in a very linear manner and never seems to stop pulling all the way to redline. But more importantly, all the incredible force that you’ve harnessed at your right wrist is very accessible and manageable; no surprising, unpredictable smacks of power, just smoothness.

The new monoblock caliper brakes have heaps of power and feel: top notch stuff here.

But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the new GSX-R for me, beyond the motor, is how friendly, predictable and compliant the chassis is. Steering is traditionally light and quick, but more than that, the bike leans into turns in a very linear manner, only doing what you ask of it. However, the chassis will respond very quickly, say, during increased lean angle or mid-corner line changes. Be careful where you look, ‘cause that’s where the bike is headed! That is to say, that’s just how responsive steering is on the new GSX-R1000.

We’ll have more details and updates on the bike in a few days, so stay tuned. For now, know that this Gixxer is like a well-trained pit-bull: tame and obedient, but full of incredible power and ready to strike at a moment’s notice!

By Pete Brissette

See also: Craigslist Motorcycle Rip-Off, A Different Bike Magazine, Electric Motorcycle Conversion.