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SUZUKI GSX-R1000R (2017-on) Review

Published: 20 February 2017

Updated: 12 December 2019

It’s been a long time coming but the 2017 GSX-R1000R is worth the wait

SUZUKI GSX-R1000R  (2017-on)

It’s been a long time coming but the 2017 GSX-R1000R is worth the wait

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

It’s been a long time coming but the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R is worth the wait. The VVT motor is packed with grunt and the 200bhp top end it needs to battle with the best.

Superb electronics offer another exciting new chapter in the Suzuki GSX-R1000’s story. It might need a bit of a heave to make high-speed direction changes and the standard tyres aren’t up to hard track work, but the new Suzuki is fast, fun, refined and thanks to its new electronics safer and easier to ride than ever. 

Watch: Suzuki GSX-R1000 video review

Handling was never a GSX-R1000 weak point, but Suzuki has gifted their new machine a compact new aluminium beam frame and longer swingarm to sharpen things up. 

New Showa ‘Balance Free’ forks and ‘Balance Free Cushion lite’ rear shock (similar to the ZX-10R’s) give a plush ride and lots of feeling for grip. But the standard set-up is road-soft and needs tweaking for the circuit. 

Low speed agility is superb, but it takes effort to make quick direction changes at speed and hold a line in faster corners. It’s here where the stiffer-set, pointier superbikes, like the Ducati 1299 Panigale, Aprilia RSV4 RF and Yamaha R1 are crisper on track. 

With revised Brembo caliper settings and bigger discs (up 10mm to 320mm) the stopping power is strong, but there’s a little bit of feel missing and some fade after a handful of hard laps, which seems to be the hallmark of the latest Japanese braking systems. But the GSX-R’s brakes have more bite than those on the R1 and ZX-10R.

Furthermore, we’ve also ridden the Suzuki GSX-R1000 on Bridgestone S22 tyres.

Watch: lap of Brands Hatch on Suzuki GSX-R1000

Engine 5 out of 5

Stab the one-touch starter (and no need to pull the clutch in now) and the over-square 999cc inline four-cylinder motor barks into life. It’s as gloriously raw and angry as ever, snorting and growling through airbox and titanium pipe (let’s not mention the end can).

The Suzuki is fast. It’s not just a bit quicker than the trusty old bike, it’s ZX-10R-R1-1299 Panigale quick, as it would be with a claimed 199bhp oozing from its shrunken new engine cases.  

But more impressively there’s a torrent of power right through the rev range, thanks to Suzuki’s ‘Broad Power System’ which includes new exhaust valves, secondary injectors, dual stage inlet trumpets and of course the eagerly anticipated new Variable Valve Timing.

The new motor combines old-school GSX-R1000 grunt, with a modern superbike top end rush, a flawless power curve and an accurate throttle. Think svelte ZX-10R with added midrange punch. 

There’s so much grunt you can go a gear higher through corners and still be rapid, which is good news on the road where you surf grunt, away from the upper reaches of the rev range.

A new six-speed, close ratio cassette gearbox slices through cogs with blade-like precision and is ably assisted by a super-slick electronic quickshifter and autoblipper system.

How does the VVT system work?

Suzuki engineers have developed a variable valve timing set-up that skirts around the rules banning the systems in MotoGP, and the very same design will feature on the new GSX-R1000.

During the GSX-R’s unveiling at the Milan motorcycle show late last year, Suzuki announced that it ‘takes in technologies developed in MotoGP such as intake VVT’ – which raised some eyebrows since MotoGP rules specify that: ‘Variable valve timing and variable valve lift systems, driven by hydraulic and/or electric/electronic systems, are not permitted.’

Suzuki VVT

The implication is that the GSX-RR MotoGP racer features a VVT system that circumvents that rule by using neither electronics nor hydraulics, and that the same design is used in the GSX-R1000. Now patent drawings have revealed how the Suzuki system works and how it’s legal in MotoGP.

Most simple variable valve timing set-ups including the only two variable valve systems currently offered on large production bikes – Ducati’s DVT system and Kawasaki’s GTR1400 – are based on hydraulic cam phasers. These allow the camshaft to rotate a few degrees in relation to its drive sprocket, either advancing or retarding the valve timing in the process.

Oil is forced into chambers inside the phaser to move and lock the camshaft into its advanced or retarded position. An electronic valve and control system directs the oil, making such set-ups fall foul of MotoGP regulations on both the ‘electronic’ and ‘hydraulic’ fronts.

Like most cam phasers, the Suzuki design splits the cam sprocket into two halves. One half carries the sprocket itself, the other attaches to the camshaft, and there’s scope for a few degrees of rotation between the two.

On Suzuki’s design, there are no hydraulics or electronics. Instead, radial grooves are machined onto the inner faces of the phaser’s halves, into which steel balls fit. Those balls move outwards under centrifugal force as revs increase.

Suzuki VVT ball-bearings

The phasing happens because the grooves on the two surfaces don’t exactly line up; those on the sprocket side of the phaser are slightly curved while the camshaft-side ones are straight. As the balls move towards the outer edge, the fact that the grooves on one half are curved means it must rotate in relation to the other, retarding the valve timing.

But how does the engine control it without electronics? The trick is that the radial grooves get shallower towards the outer edge, so as the balls move outward they also need to force the two halves of the phaser apart. The camshaft half of the phaser is attached via a spline, so it can slide in and out while keeping the shaft turning, while a spring pushes the halves together.

At low revs the spring overcomes the centrifugal force acting on the steel balls, pushing them back towards the centre of the phaser so the timing is shifted to its ‘advanced’ position, boosting low-end torque and improving throttle response.

As engine speeds increase, the centrifugal force pushes the balls outwards, retarding the timing and boosting peak power. While there’s no easily-tweakable electronics system to govern it, changing the tension on the spring will alter the revs that the timing changes at, allowing the system to be tuned, if required.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Suzukis never go bang so you’ll have no problem with reliability. Built quality is decent, but not quite at the level of its rivals.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

This R model is cheaper than a top spec S1000RR, R1M, Blade SP, RSV4 RF and ZX-10RR, but slightly more than the R1, base Blade, S1000RR and ZX-10R. The base model GSX-R1000 is the best value and costs less than all its superbike rivals. 

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

As well as fully-adjustable suspension, a multi-function LCD dash, quickshifter and autoblipper, this is the first GSX-R1000 to come with a full suit of electronic ride aids including ride-by-wire, a choice of three riding modes and anti-stall (rpm is monitored and adjusted when you pull away or ride slowly). 

Wheelie, launch and a 10-stage traction control are all controlled by a six axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which is right up there with the best systems found on the R1, ZX-10R, RSV4 RF and 1299 Panigale. 

Traction control holds you safely into a spin or slide when you crack the gas. Open the throttle more and you drive forward smoothly with no electronic cuts or splutters. It’s a piece of cake to get used to and lean on within a few laps.

It’s the same story with the wheelie control. It softly retards power as the front lifts under hard acceleration, saving you the effort of having to climb over the front wheel trying to control all that power. And if you don’t believe in electronics you can turn the traction and wheelie control off.  

Lean-sensitive cornering ABS is a no-brainer for the road, but it intrudes slightly on the track under very heavy braking and can’t be switched off. 

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £16,099
Used price £9,300 to £15,000
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 199 bhp
Max torque 87 ft-lb
Top speed 180 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 999cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 203kg
Front suspension 43mm Showa Big Piston forks fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single Showa rear shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with Brembo four-piston radial caliper.
Rear brake 220mm single disc with single-piston caliper.
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2001: GSX-R1000 K1 launched and begins its reign at the top for the next five years.

2003: The K3 was a complete mechanical and cosmetic overhaul with more power, torque and less weight.

2005: The iconic K5 was born and was the lightest, gruntiest GSX-R1000 to date.

2007: The K7 came with a more powerful engine, but less low down oomph. It spouted twin pipes, gained more weight and lost its crown to the new 16 valve R1.

2009: K9 was a complete overhaul and came with a new short-stroke motor, but didn’t feel too different to the previous model. It also had Showa Big Piston Forks, a banana-shaped swingarm, a cable clutch and monobloc four-piston calipers.

2012 – Minor update and facelift.

2017 – All-singing, electronics-packed 199bhp GSX-R1000 hits showrooms…at last.

2019 - Each version of the GSX-R1000 gets a light dusting of useful upgrades. The GSX-R1000R gets stainless steel braided brake hoses for greater consistency under hard braking over a longer period of time, and now also boasts an adjustable swingarm pivot for race use only, allowing track addicts another dimension to their set-up.

The plainer sibling now gets the R’s quickshifter/auto-blipper system as standard fitment, rather than being a paid option, and both will arrive in dealers wearing Bridgestone’s new RS11s, replacing the aging RS10s. Finally, both bikes will come with black exhausts that sport new heatshields, along with revised paint schemes for the new riding season.

Other versions

Base model: Lower spec suspension and standard ABS. It does without R’s quickshifter/autoblipper, lightweight top yoke, LED position lights and black-faced dash layout. 

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GSX-R1000R (2017-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your SUZUKI GSX-R1000R (2017-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Not what I expected

01 May 2018 by Andy

Great engine is a peach and the suspension is good for the track and road. Perfect size for small riders. The electrics are good but not compared to the Kawasaki or Aprilia, the results of lowering the traction control go from a misfire effect on 10 to huge wheelies on 4. Not had the brake fade others have had even on track.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Pillion comfort is poor it should be on a sports bike. The suspension is easily as good as my 2018 ZX-10R most riders say the same. I find the brakes good never faded even on track if it went for a full day without breaking down who knows.
Engine
5 out of 5
That engine is strong good power everywhere when it's used hard nothing else in standard trim will touch it, I have been told this by others behind me pity I can't do the corners, it's an age thing I think.
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
I use my bike on the road and track it has never made a full track day yet, 2 melted catalytic converters, 1 melted reed valve, 1 fire resulting in a melted wiring loom replaced by Suzuki but not tested so didn't work when replaced problem ongoing, Dashboard goes haywire and turns traction control off on its own and twice accelerated on its own has now had 3 ECM units fitted. Valve stem seals also appear to be weeping oil. 2000 miles at present the 1200 running in were good.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Can't comment as yet. First service was very good, hasn't made it to the second one yet other costs are no more than any other.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The dash is clear and easy to read, the can is super ugly but easy to change. Nothing makes it stand out but it's a GSXR, normally they just work I just have a bad one.
Buying experience

Brought from a dealer a good one too (Redcar) and they were the best, very honest and helpful – can't say the same for Suzuki UK all promises, no substance standard answers nothing in writing definitely cost before safety, riders beware. It's not really fair to comment any more, I hope to amend this part of my review if possible pending the results of an ongoing repair.

5 out of 5

L7 GSXR1000R

17 January 2018 by Mike

Fantastic machine, the engine is a masterpiece.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Pretty comfortable for a sportbike. Brakes good enough for most road riding but need a little work I.e braided lines, different pads for track work or really fast road riding.
Engine
5 out of 5
Absolute monster mid range and screaming top, actually a bit scary when you hit 10k revs
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
All the toys you need, love the quick shifter and auto blooper.
Buying experience

Bought from Bolton motorcycles, got a £1000 off so paid £15,099. Highly recommend the shops, the guys in there are really helpful.

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  • SUZUKI GSX-R1000R  (2017-on)
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