Cape Town: These are the first four examples of the long-awaited 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7 to hit the showroom floor in Cape Town, and one of them was already sold when it got here.
It has a new, more compact (6.6mm narrower despite slightly bigger bores) 999.8cc transverse four that revs to a screaming 14 500rpm, producing a quoted 148.6kW at 13 200 revs and 117.6Nm at 10 800, thanks to ingeniously simple, MotoGP-derived variable valve timing on the inlet cam, that uses balls running in tracks to rotate the camchain sprockets, and the first fly-by-wire throttle bodies on a Suzuki superbike – gaping 46mm Mikunis (up 2mm on the previous model) each with two injectors at different distances from the inlet valves.
That engine is in an aluminium frame 20mm narrower and 10 percent lighter than its predecessor, with a longer swing-arm and narrower bodywork. Suspension is by Showa Big Piston forks in front, and a multi-adjustable Showa monoshock at the rear. braking by Brembo radial-mount monobloc callipers on 320mm discs in front and a single-piston Nissin calliper on a 220disc at the rear. ABS is standard.
Which brings us to the electronics, with a redesigned on-the-fly drive mode selector that now gives full power in each of its three modes, but with different mid-range acceleration and power characteristics depending on what you’re doing. A Continental inertial measurement unit tracks the movement and position of the bike in six directions along three-axis pitch roll and yaw, and you have 10 levels of traction control to choose from.
One thing the new Gixer does not have is a balance shaft so, like the equally unbalanced BMW S1000RR, it’s likely to be more vibratious than its predecessor. Most sports-bike riders, we reckon, would be happy to put up with a bit more buzz through ‘bars and ‘pegs to get back on terms with the big dogs of the litre-bike class, namely the aforementioned S1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R and Yamaha R1.
Will the new GSX-R1000, at R239 995, be able to hold its own in this exalted company? On paper, it should do so; whether that translates to real-world performance, we’ll tell you when we’ve ridden one.
FACTS: Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7