The GSX-R600 gets a new twin spar aluminium frame with more built-in flex, which is lighter, shorter and narrower around the seat area. The new swingarm is lighter, too.
The overall chassis set-up is typical GSX-R: pliable and friendly, but now with a tougher edge. It’s not as stiff as a Yamaha R6, Kawasaki ZX-6R or Triumph Daytona 675, but it gives masses of feedback and you feel very comfortable pushing to your limit straight away.
For the first time the GSX-R600 is fitted with lighter-weight Showa Big Piston Forks (BPF). Unlike the old units the new forks have lots of adjustment in them for hard track riding and give a good solid feel into the corners. The harder you use them the better they are. The new brakes are a revelation too and fade very little on track.
The inline four-cylinder motor has the same basic architecture as before, with the same 599cc and 67 x 42.5mm bore and stroke. It makes around the same power, but with more midrange torque.
It has new cams, new pistons and new pentagonal ventilation holes in the block. Compression is up and each piston assembly is 78 grams lighter.
A new lighter, close-ratio gearbox has a taller first gear and shorter ratios for second, third, fourth and sixth. The final drive is changed from a 17/45 to a 16/43.
A new four-into-one exhaust has stainless steel down pipes, a butterfly valve to improve low and midrange power and a titanium end can. The whole system is l.7kg lighter.
It’s too early to say how the GSX-R600 will stand the test of time, but previous models aren’t quite there when it comes to durability compared to its rivals.
The paint is quite thin and liable to stone chips and unless you keep it in sparkling condition, some components can lose their shine. But reliability is never in question, the cycle parts are robust and the engine unburstable.
It wasn’t that long ago when a new GSX-R600 cost way less than seven grand, so today’s prices seem a lot to pay for a 600. It’s also more expensive than all of its rivals aside from the R6 and the ABS version of the Honda CBR600RR.
Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
The GSX-R600 is as well equipped as any other supersports machine, but electronics are restricted to a two-mode power map and an electronically adjustable, speed-sensitive steering damper.
The lower of the two power maps has so little power you’d barely use it and the steering damper isn’t as good as a manually-adjustable aftermarket item.