- Taken for DriveTribe by Oversteer Photography

Are Superbikes too much for the road?

1y ago


Words: Shaun Pope - Images : Oversteer Photography

Yes, they are.

But that would make for a short article and review, so I'll do my best to elaborate a little.

Sneeze and you lose your license. Cough and you'll be doing prison time...

Setting aside the issue of speed limits (which we all pay rigid attention to) the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R is just too much to use on the road. When you look at litre bikes, it's been the case since the FireBlade was released in '92. Since then we've seen bikes that can stretch their legs in first gear to over 100 miles per hour and need electronic assistance to keep them from smashing through the 186mph mark.

GSX-R1000R. When too much is never quite enough

What do you mean 'too much'?

OK, so it's possible to take your litre bike out onto an empty motorway and max it out perfectly safely under the right conditions.

The latest Suzuki GSX-R1000R is different. The variable valve timing means there's now loads more torque than ever before, which becomes noticeable when the electronics are all switched off. A bump in the road whilst accelerating in fourth gear now becomes a near death experience as the headstock tries to make a 'GSX-R' indentation in your forehead. Getting on the throttle without the traction control switched on is now trickier than ever, even with hot tyres and a dry road.

Euro 4 and the exhaust...

Mention the new GSX-R to anyone on social media and you'll get the same reply, parroted back at you time and time again. That exhaust.

I remind these people there are such things as aftermarket exhausts. Thanks to Suzuki's ingenuity in putting the catalytic converters in the end can, it means should you want to replace it, there's less faffing around to do. It's also quite loud for a standard system, although Euro 4 regs are definitely strangling the new Gixer.

Expect to liberate a good 15-20 horsepower with a free-flowing exhaust system and some fuelling tweaks.

The size of it!


The £16,000 'R' version here comes with some cool toys to play with. The launch control is great fun, although ultimately you could launch more quickly with a skilfully timed manual release of the clutch.

The quickshifter and auto-blipper are also the smoothest I've used anywhere, including aftermarket systems. The blipper would need to be disabled for track work as it can sometimes get confused when you're trying to change down quickly through the whole gearbox.

Brakes are average, which has been a Suzuki trait for a long time now. Higher quality HH sintered pads would make a difference, although you don't expect this on a bike at this price. The standard Bridgestone S21 tyres aren't the best either, and I'd recommend swapping them to Michelin Power RS hoops as soon as possible.

A very very fast thing. And a GSX-R

There was also a play with a 500bhp Nissan GT-R. Roll ons, standing starts and using both launch control and manual clutch starts, the Suzuki obliterated the car every time, which surprised me as I expected the traction of the 4WD Nissan to get the better of the bike off the line.

Even though the Suzuki 'only' made 175bhp at the wheel, I have a feeling there's loads of untapped power to be gained by removing the Euro restrictions and letting the bike breathe and fuel properly.

The dyno run was streamed on Facebook live and is embedded above if you want to see the bike at full chat.


Suzuki's latest GSX-R1000R is another big leap forwards that puts it right up there with its litre bike competition in terms of performance.

This was a road test, hence the lack of tales about elbow down shenanigans. The road is where most of these will be used and it's obviously capable enough for any road rider out there, and that goes for Michael Dunlop too.

Even though these things are almost impossible to ride flat out on the road, it's still good fun to try.

Basic GSX-R1000 - £13,599 - 'R' Model - £16,099