UPDATED WITH EXTRA PICTURES 2.45PM, JUNE 28
You’ve been mesmerised by the magic of the new Gilera 600’s looks, if comments in our Talk Bikes section are anything to go by.
Rmezza, said: " It’s simply stunning, the best looking 600 bar none. I want one now! " .
Alanmaine added: " If it goes as well as it looks it will be a smash hit. " And dus10 said: " I usually avoid 600s like the plague, but I’d take one of these in a second. "
But there is an alternative view: " It needs its own style, rather than throwing design bits from other bikes together, " said Horn8 Jr.
Follow the link, bottom right, to see what others have had to say, and to take the opportunity to add your own views.
The bike takes cues from bikes like Yamaha’s R6, Honda’s SP-1, the MV Agusta F4S and Aprilia’s RSV Mille – yet the result is individual and attractive with a genuine Italian look.
The styling and riding position make it clear the bike is designed to be thrashed down back-roads rather than cruised across continents.
It’s powered by one of the best 600cc engines in the world – the fuel-injected motor from the latest Suzuki GSX-R600.
Gilera has struck a deal with the Japanese giant for a supply of the engines, and if the prototype photographed here makes it to the showrooms unchanged, there will be plenty of other Suzuki-derived parts on the bike, too.
While the Gilera manages to look like a totally new machine, this prototype uses proven parts wherever possible. The swingarm comes straight from the GSX-R600, as do the brakes. The wheels and sprockets are Suzuki parts, too, as well as the footrests and hangers for both the rider and pillion. Even the front mudguard and the plastic chain-guard are identical to the GSX-R’s.
In Gilera spec, the motor’s fuel-injection is expected to be re-mapped to match the firm’s own exhaust and ram-air system – and as a result it could be even more powerful than the stock Suzuki.
Following normal practice for 600cc sports bikes, the Gilera features a rigid and light alloy beam frame – but the specification is closer to a more expensive, 1000cc bike than a 600.
The central, nose-mounted ram-air intake hints that the frame uses a hollow headstock like the one on Honda’s SP-1. This lets the high-pressure air from the front of the bike travel straight through the headstock and into the airbox without having to pass through any complicated and restrictive ducting – increasing the effectiveness of the ram-air. The lack of any visible ducting running around the sides of the frame, or over the bars, supports this theory.
At the back, the suspension may be near identical to the GSX-R’s, but the front is quite different – using high-spec, fully-adjustable upside-down forks that wouldn’t look out of place on a bigger machine.
Superstock 600 racing doesn’t allow manufacturers to replace the forks, so the better the original parts, the more chance the racers have of finding the perfect set-up.
Despite the polished appearance of this prototype, there could be significant changes to its appearance before the bike is officially revealed at the Milan show in September. Gilera’s Roberto Zerbi said: " The logos and graphics are far from definitive. Even the name Super Sport on the fairing doesn't mean that this will be the official name of the bike. "
However, the red paint is almost certain to stay. Gilera. As Italy’s official racing colour, it was the natural choice for Gilera’s most famous machines, and even now the 125cc GP machine ridden by Manuel Poggiali continues the tradition.
The firm expects its machines to be priced between the Japanese machines and other Italian bikes like Ducatis. If it succeeds, the list price will be in the region of £7500 putting the bike between a £6900 Suzuki GSX-R600 and a Ducati 748, which sells for £8550.
More on this in MCN, published July 4, 2001