With its compact new cast ali frame and longer swingarm the Suzuki is easily one of the sweetest steering and neutral handling superbikes you can buy. It’s one of the most comfortable, too. It comes on lower spec (but still fully adjustable) Showa suspension than the R, which is slightly firmer and doesn’t offer such a plush ride.
That extra stiffness actually gives the base GSX-R1000 a sportier feel on the road and even crisper steering. In fact, it helps the stock machine accelerate quicker (there’s less wheelie-inducing rear squat) and stop sooner (more support from forks/less prone to stoppie).
Brakes are a weak point, not so much on the road where they’re safe, powerful and reassuring, but on the track, where they’re prone to fade. Its cornering ABS system is overly conservative, too and releases the brakes at the slightest hint of rear wheel lift.
The base model GSX-R1000 uses the same 199bhp, liquid cooled 999cc inline four-cylinder engine as the more expensive GSX-R1000R.
New from the crankcases up, it runs a shorter stroke than the previous model’s and features VVT (Variable Valve Timing), which along with new exhaust valves, secondary injectors and dual stage inlet trumpets gives a less peaky, wider spread of power. It also has a slick new six speed close ratio gearbox, but unlike the R model, has no quickshifter or autoblipper.
It makes around 185bhp on a dyno, which is less than its rivals (bar the pre-2020 Blade), but with so much grunt on tap you never feel short-changed on the road or track.
And in any case, it’s easy to get blasé about big power figures – in the real world the GSX-R1000 is seriously potent with a wide spread of power that’s perfectly suited to the road.
Paint finishes aren’t the deepest, but general mechanicals are generally robust. There have been reports of wayward electronics/exhaust valve catalytic converter issues.
Not only is the base model GSX-R1000 significantly cheaper than the R model, it’s an absolute steal compared to its German, Italian and Japanese rivals. It’s still a powerful superbike and isn’t cheap to insure, but servicing costs aren’t overly expensive and it’ll even return 47mpg on the road.
Aside from lower spec suspension, the lack of up/down quickshifter and painted air scoops the base GSX-R1000 is identical to the R, so you get ride-by-wire, IMU-controlled electronic rider aids and power modes.
It also has a multi-function monochrome LCD dash (black on white for the base model, reverse for the R), which, even when it was new looked dated next to the colour TFTs of its rivals.