SUZUKI GSX-R600 (2011 - 2018) Review
- Suzuki's 600cc supersport screamer
- Ace handling on road and track
- Among the best value bikes in its class
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Suzuki GSX-R600 never fails to surprise and impress. It’s nothing special on paper compared to its rivals and it’s even down on power compared to most of them (except the Honda CBR600RR), but it manages to deliver such easy grunt you honestly have to keep checking you haven’t jumped on a 750 by mistake.
Suzuki slashed an incredible 9kg from the 2011 GSX-R600. The engine had more midrange, a close ratio gearbox and for the first time, Showa Big Piston Forks and Brembo monobloc radial front brakes.
- Related: Best 600cc sports bikes
Aside from a handful of components, the 2011 GSX-R600 was completely new. The easy-going nature of the bike was still there, but it was sharper, more agile and there’s more punch out of the corners. If only it looked a bit special and not look just like any other GSX-R to be made over the past decade.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The GSX-R600 got a new twin spar aluminium frame with more built-in flex, which was lighter, shorter and narrower around the seat area. The new swingarm was lighter, too.
The overall chassis set-up was typical GSX-R: pliable and friendly, but with a tougher edge. It was not as stiff as a Yamaha R6, Kawasaki ZX-6R or Triumph Daytona 675, but it gave masses of feedback and you felt very comfortable pushing to your limit straight away. That said, in stock trim it sits much flatter on its wheels than its rivals, which slows the steering but boosts stability.
For the first time the GSX-R600 was fitted with lighter-weight Showa Big Piston Forks (BPF). Unlike the old units the new forks had lots of adjustment in them for hard track riding and gave a good solid feel into the corners. The harder you used them the better they were. The new brakes were a revelation too and faded very little on track.
Three-way adjustable footpegs guarantee generous legroom, the clip-ons aren’t too much of a stretch and the seat isn’t a pain in the rear. It’s just as adept at summer touring through Europe as it is hooning around a track.
And talking of which, practicalities aside, this is still a supersport brawler. It begs to be abused and shrieks with delight when you dip the rev needle into the red. It’s completely stable and even on track you’d be hard-pushed to get it anywhere near out of shape.
There’s nothing like hammering a 600, but when you’re not in the mood the GSX-R600 is your flexible friend.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Whilst the 2011-on GSX-R600 made around the same power as before, there was now more midrange torque - something lacking in the old machine. The result is a sportsbike that's sheer bliss to pilot between 70 and 110mph, dancing between 4th and 5th gears.
There was such a noticeable increase in the middle that it pulled almost as hard as the larger capacity GSX-R750, yet still loved to scream to the redline. You can’t ride a 1000cc superbike to the limit on the road, but you can make a 600 howl in the right conditions.
So how did they do it? Well, the inline four-cylinder motor had the same basic architecture as before, with the same 599cc and 67 x 42.5mm bore and stroke. However, it had new cams, new pistons and new pentagonal ventilation holes in the block.
Compression was up and each piston assembly was 78 grams lighter. A new lighter, close-ratio gearbox had a taller first gear and shorter ratios for second, third, fourth and sixth. The final drive was changed from a 17/45 to a 16/43.
A new four-into-one exhaust had stainless steel down pipes, a butterfly valve to improve low and midrange power and a titanium end can. The whole system was l.7kg lighter.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The paint was quite thin when new and liable to stone chips. Unless you kept it in sparkling condition, some components could lose their shine.
Our Suzuki GSX-R600 owners' reviews echo the above comment about thin paint, but there's nothing else to concern you about the reliability of this bike.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
With sales dwindling by 2016, supersport racing was the reason the Suzuki GSX-R600 existed in its later life. But it’s never been a serial track headbanger like the R6, ZX-6R, CBR600RR or Daytona 675, despite winning the 2011 BSS title.
So unless you were going to race, it made much more sense to buy the GSX-R750 for just a few quid more. It’s basically the same bike with an extra 150cc, so it corners, steers, brakes and screams like a 600, but it has a nice dollop of extra grunt so you’re not up and down the gearbox.
Group test: Suzuki GSX-R600 vs Triumph Daytona 675 vs Honda CBR600RR vs Kawasaki ZX-6R vs Yamaha R6
First published in MCN 2 September 2015 by Adam Child
During 2015 MCN's Adam Child put the best of the 600cc supersport bunch against one another to see which one was best. The test saw the Suzuki GSX-R600 line up against the Honda CBR600RR, the Triumph Daytona 675, Kawasaki's ZX-6R and the Yamaha R6. Here's his verdict:
"My love for the supersport 600 class has been rekindled. They’re not as uncompromising as you’d think, so if you’re considering a superbike, why not take a look at a 600 instead? The Kawasaki and Triumph are much more road-focused than you’d think.
"Yes, there are some compromises to take into consideration – town work is tough, pillions are a no-no and touring is questionable – but if you’re lucky enough to have brilliant roads on your doorstep, you can’t go wrong with either. I might even go for the Suzuki, which is nearly as accomplished on the road and is the cheapest too."
Group test: 2017 Suzuki GSX-R600 vs Yamaha R6
First published in MCN 13 September 2017 by Adam Child
My arse has gone numb, and I’m in agony. The Yamaha R6’s suspension has minimal travel, especially the rear, and it’s punishing my spine. The screen is much wider and taller than before, but the fairing is tiny. I’m stuck behind a long trail of holiday traffic and wishing I was on anything but a new R6 because a broken rocking horse would be more comfortable.
But then the road opens out. I tap back to second gear, the tacho darts up to 10,000rpm and the R6 is transformed. The noise from the inline-four is intoxicating as it approaches the 16,500rpm redline. Sacrificing all mechanical sympathy, I don’t even want to imagine how fast the titanium valves are moving as I ask the quickshifter for another gear. I’m in heaven as the needle heads towards the redline once more; I’m 25 years old again with all those aches and pains miraculously cured.
The GSX-R600 on the other hand offers the thrill of the R6 but with more comfort. The lower seat is softer, the suspension is plush, there’s more travel, and it’s much more suited to the road. The riding position isn’t as radical and I’m no longer perched over the front. Over distance the GSX-R is more accommodating and makes for an easier companion.
The GSX-R600 was as well equipped as any other supersport machine, but electronics were restricted to a two-mode power map and an electronically adjustable, speed-sensitive steering damper. There was no traction control, quickshifter, or ABS.
The lower of the two power maps had so little power you’d barely use it and the steering damper wasn’t as good as a manually-adjustable aftermarket item.
|Engine type||16v, inline-four-cylinder|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||17 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm Big Piston Forks forks, fully-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single shock, fully adjustable|
|Front brake||2 x 310mm discs with Brembo monobloc four-piston radial calipers|
|Rear brake||220mm single disc with single-piston caliper.|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£69|
|Annual service cost||-|
|Used price||£5,000 - £8,200|
15 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||126 bhp|
|Max torque||51.4 ft-lb|
|Top speed||165 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||159 miles|
Model history & versions
- 1996: First GSX-R600 introduced.
- 2001: Bike revised with more power.
- 2004: Further facelift.
- 2006: Best value bike in the 600cc supersport class.
- 2008: More user-friendly engine introduced.
- 2011: Last generation of GSX-R600 launched.
- 2014: MotoGP special edition launched.
- 2014: TYCO limited edition revealed.
- 2015: GSX-R600 30th Anniversary Edition launched.
- 2018: Model finally goes off sale in the UK.
Although there are no other versions of the GSX-R600 to consider, Suzuki did also produce both a GSX-R750 and GSX-R1000 at the time. The 750 disappeared from the UK market in 2018 and only the 1000 superbike remains - updated in 2017 to be more competitive in its class.
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI GSX-R600 (2011 - 2018)
6 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GSX-R600 (2011 - 2018) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
I love this bike, turns head, especially with a full Yoshimura system on it, fast enough to keep up with the big boys to an extent, tame enough to get out of trouble easily should you go into a corner a bit too hot! All round great bike, riding position is a bit full on and long rides tend to leave you with sore wrists and an aching back but it's not designed for long distance touring so for short little blasts it's perfect! Bridgestone tyres it comes with aren't very good and don't offer much feel so I changed them to Dunlops and it sticks like glue into corners now.
Servicing is a bit pricey
I've changed the standard Bridgestone tyres for Dunlop Q3's and they're so much better, never had faith in the bridgestone whilst cornering but on the dunlops you can throw it into any corner and it just sticks!
I have been a gixxer fan for a long time and have only just got my licence and decided why ponce around, lets get one as my first bike! What a great idea that was, I absolutely love this bike, it's amazing. After running it in as it was new, it now performs amazingly. It's comfortable to ride and goes beautifully. I'm 6ft 2 and sit comfortably on the bike although very long motorway journey's which I have only done a couple of times will hurt your backside and legs. Other than that, it handles corners amazingly and is rapid and sounds AMAZING!!! If you like gixxer's and want a 600, don't think, just buy, you will not be disappointed. Amazing machine!!
I have now had my 'little cracker' for a year, and I absolutely love it. Maybe it is just me but I always seem to have more fun on a 600 than a 1000. This bike handles fantastic, sounds fantastic - especially with the yoshimura end can. I also think that the blue and white with white wheels looks great - especially with the black yoshimura. Have now done 5k miles - keep the chain adjusted and lubed and the gearchange quality is superb - I love to snick snick up through the box with the revs approaching the red line. The close ratio box is great fun when you are gunning it. Have recently fitted Michelin 'Power Pures' as they seem to fit in with the whole light as a feather theme that this bike has got! - I do keep it nice and clean and I think the build quality is pretty good - Try one - they sound fantastic, even with the standard can, and I am sure that this is a bike that you can hone your skills on in relative safety.
I traded in an 11 reg blade (11000 miles) for a pre reg 600 gsxr, the blade was great bike - loads of grunt, but I fancied a change, and fancied another revvy 600, as I have had several R6s and loved them all. I had a test ride on the GSXR and I had to have one - incredibly light, lovely handling and a fantastic noise. I bought mine from Wheels in Peterborough, £7000 for a pre reg with a reasonable px on the blade. I have the R&G Tail Tidy, DB screen and Yoshimura R77j can. Had 1 week - 650 miles, can now take up to 11000 rpm. First service booked for tuesday. As well as being fun to ride It is also one of the most comfortable. I accept that the finish on Suzukis is not quite as tough as on Honda or Yamaha, but I wipe down and polish my bike after every ride anyway. I have a lot of experience - been riding 25 yrs, nearly all sports bikes, and I reckon that this bike can really be enjoyed by experienced and novice riders - cracking little bike
One year after buying the bike and I still love it.Very hard to fault and if there is anything to fault its the paintwork.Very minor signs of ageing so it is looking for faults rather than there being any.
Overall: It's the best bike I've ever had, everything hoped for. Ride & Handling: It handles perfectly, it seems to have been built for me personally. Not one moment where it's even started to give the impression, "I didn't expect that!" On the contrary, it's felt completely true well past a point one might have expected twitchy uncertainty. It can definitely surpass anything in my ability to throw at it by a very wide margin. Equipment: It was a bit disappointing to have no proper fuel gauge (like a low level warning light). The flasher switch has been replaced by the engine mode switch, and the new position of the flash isn't well placed to hit it in a hurry. There are no "added extras" with this bike - not even the tail fin, to cover the pillion seat - say goodbye to the best part of an extra £100 for that. Reliability: No complaints about anything except the fact that it sometimes won't go into 1st from neutral, after coming to a quick halt. This is not a fumble or user-error - it is an intermittent but nevertheless genuine fault. It will not go into first, unless one reengages the clutch in neutral, then disengages the clutch and tries the gear change again. Most embarrassing after filtering to the front of a queue of traffic at the lights, to find onself fumbling with gears instead of making a quick break for it. It may be associated with 'block change-down', knocking down several gears sequentially in a single clutch pull. Value: It's very good indeed - probably the best 600 right now - but it ain't cheap. Engine: An absolute beauty. For an engine that comes on with such wild power, delivered near exponentially well before you hit the redline, it has a surprising amount of low down, usable, around-town sensibleness . One could spend a lifetime just riding it around town, thinking it to be a perfectly good commuting machine, never guessing what it was capable of once taken above 7000rpm. Having been run in very carefully, it's smooth, sweet and delivers better than I had thought possible. * All round: Niggles about the fin and fuel gauge aside, apart from the gearbox (which I trust the dealership will fix), this bike is the perfect 600 for me.