By Marissa Baecker
The Suzuki GSXR1000 was sitting in my garage since before I went to Laguna Seca. It had been dropped off the day before I left and I was excited to ride it upon my return as I would be coming home with a one-piece leather race suit and would be equipped to tackle the beast.
However, after my accident, I could only admire the GSXR over the next couple of weeks and even spent some time ‘air racing’ on it with the garage door open. I turned the key, looked at all the functions, stared at the speedometer and imagined that I could ride this bike to its potential. I knew I was dreaming.
Finally up and around, and able to drive again, I came home to find a UPS box on my doorstep containing my new helmet, my one piece leather suit and my riding boots – my golden ticket. I could ride but was I ready?
After nearly three weeks of wearing down the concrete back and forth into the garage I decided that now was as good as time as any to get back in the saddle – even for a short time. I had some demons to work through and the bike would be moving on in the next few days so even though I wouldn’t be able to really test ride this rocket, I could at least try.
I admit I was scared. The mere fact that the tach on this ride red lines at 14,000 RPM and the front wheel is decorated with beautiful gold Brembo twin disc front brakes should be enough to scare anyone but to get on a GSXR1000 as the first ride after a motorcycle accident, my heart was pumping. Perhaps I was still suffering concussion symptoms.
“I’ll just go around the block.” Reassuring self-talk.
However, after not being able to get out of second gear around the block, paired with the sound of the ‘BRAAAAAAAAAP’ coming out of the 4-2-1 exhaust system – my block got bigger. After about 10 km on the bike at city speed, I finally stopped shaking and my zen that I only find inside a helmet began taking over and I relaxed.
For a super sport style ride, the GSXR is exceptionally comfortable for a taller rider. Seat height is 32” suiting a variety of riders. Most super sport rides sacrifice comfort for strength but the Suzuki GSXR1000 seems to have found a perfect balance between beauty and braun. The handle bars are evenly angled and I was pleasantly surprised not to experience wrist pain. The inverted telescopic, coil spring front suspension and link type coil spring rear suspension deliver a relatively smooth ride compared to most bikes of equal power and style.
The GSXR is heavy to handle at lower speeds for a bike that only weighs 448 lbs. Another rider joked at a the photo of the bike under the 30km sign for a winding road saying “The GSXR will fall over at 30km.” He has a point.
The bike is well balanced but is really a machine designed to fully function at track speeds – speeds that I did not explore. In fact, the four-cylinder 999cc, four stroke is returning to the MotoGP line-up in 2015. Back in June at the Circuit de Catalunya, Suzuki test rider Randy de Puniet took to the track on the upcoming prototype and clocked a lap 0.163 seconds behind nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi.
I did notice that the more I opened throttle, the easier the bike became to handle and the throttle response requires little flick of the wrist before you’ve got power. The higher the RPM gauge goes, the better the bike performs. It’s as if someone is pulling an elastic band back and at any given moment, they could let go and launch you forward. I didn’t explore the tach any farther than 8,000 RPM and I still had plenty of room in third gear but no more speed left within the law.
After just over an hour on the bike, my backside and legs were on fire from the heat coming off the engine. Looking at a photo of the bike, you notice below the seat is wide open for air flow but the heat the bike generates needs Fall temperatures to be fully appreciated.
The GSXR1000 is much more bike than an average rider can handle. Specific skill and expertise that only years of riding and track days can provide is required to fully enjoy what this model has to offer. During my test ride, I did not even get out of third gear (it is a six-speed transmission) so take my comments with a grain of salt.
The GSXR1000 is a bike I look forward to meeting again under different circumstances. In the meantime, there is a GSX750, GSXR600 or a GSX650F that can be explored before turning your eyes to the 1000.
MSRP for the GSXR1000 is $14,999.