Thursday, October 7, 2010

Suzuki GSX-R600

Suzuki GSX-R600

American Suzuki pulled the wraps off three new 2011 models—GSX-R600, GSX-R750 and GSX1250FA—this past weekend at its national dealer show in Las Vegas. Said to weigh as much as 20 pounds less than the current models, the latest GSX-Rs wear Brembo  Monobloc front brake calipers and share a number of components, including Showa’s Big Piston Fork, with the current GSX-R1000. Meanwhile, the GSX1250FA is a fully faired, anti-lock-brake-equipped version of the discontinued Bandit 1250S.

Hundreds of dealers from across the country attended the event, which was hosted by motorsports personality Erin Bates. Addressing the crowd, company president Mr. Sato spiritedly voiced, “We’re still here, we’re still standing and it’s time to move forward.” Executive VP of motorcycle and marine, Mr. Tanaka, added, “Suzuki is globally diverse and financially strong.”

This past year, American Suzuki made the difficult decision to import only a small number of mostly off-road-only 2010 models. The goal was to help dealers clean up existing non-current inventory and get back on their collective feet. According to Tanaka, Suzuki now has a clear plan to market, distribute and sell both new and existing products, turning “adversity into advantage.”

In the weeks leading up to the show, Suzuki introduced 10 2011 models: Hayabusa, Boulevard M109R, Boulevard M109R Limited Edition, Boulevard S40, RM-Z450, RM-Z250, TU250, V-Strom 650 ABS, DR650SE and DR-Z400S. The GSX-R1000, Boulevard C50T, Burgman 650 Executive and Burgman 400 ABS have since been confirmed, as well.

Senior VP for economic and tax policy and chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (and Suzuki KingQuad ATV owner) Dr. Martin Regalia delivered an informative and well-timed keynote address. “Nothing should take precedence over getting the economy growing,” he said. “At least we’re now moving in the right direction.”

Suzuki has reportedly sold 300,000 GSX-Rs in the U.S. since the first 750 model was introduced to these shores in 1986. About the new 600, Suzuki field service manager Derek Schoeberle said, “It may look like the GSX-R of old, but it’s completely different. We’ve made leaps, here—major, major changes.”

According to Schoeberle, Suzuki had three goals for the GSX-R600 and 750: 1) enhanced racetrack performance; 2) new styling; and 3) weight reduction. Aside from their engines and transmissions, the two models are identical.

More compact looks and fitment of the aforementioned 43mm Showa Big Piston Fork and Brembo front brake calipers are the biggest visual clues that these are new models. Behind the fairing with its vertically stacked headlights, a five-piece frame houses an uprated engine with lighter pistons and connecting rods, titanium valves (new to the 750), altered camshaft profiles, more steeply angled primary fuel injectors and updated crankcase ventilation for reduced pumping losses. The handlebar-mounted S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) now has just two engine settings—A (full power) and B (wet conditions). The GSX-R600 has lighter transmission gears and closer ratios for first through fourth. Additionally, sixth is lower.

By rotating the engine backward 3 degrees, engineers were able to bring the pivot point for the new gravity-cast swingarm closer to the front axle and shorten the wheelbase to 54.5 inches, a 15mm reduction. Because swingarm length remains the same, there’s additional weight over the front wheel. Rake is 23.8 degrees. Of the current Japanese middleweights, only the Honda CBR600RR has a steeper steering-head angle. Trail is 3.8 inches, identical to the Honda. Improved low- and high-speed stability are claimed.

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