The GSX-R600 has historically had the reputation as the loony of the 600s class. When Honda was still making the CBR with pillion grab-rails, Suzuki was busy making the GSX-R as aggressive, revvy and track focused as possible. How things change. In its 2006 update Suzuki kept all the good points of the old model, the roomy riding position and sharp handling, but added an even gruntier motor.
Accelerating on the GSX-R isn’t just about the smooth build up of speed, it’s also an aural treat. There has long been a running battle between Kawasaki and Suzuki over who can get an airbox to make the most noise, and currently Suzuki leads the way with the GSX-R. Sod 98dB exhaust limits, this bike’s airbox trumps that easily. But it’s not all show and no go.
On cold, wet evenings, where all you want to do is get home, the GSX-R is more than happy to chug along. It has stacks of low down power and doesn’t need to be continuously kept on the boil. Which is a good thing because, surprisingly for Suzuki, the gearbox isn’t fantastic. Some reckon that the addition of a slipper clutch has had the effect of ruining the usually super sweet Suzuki box. It’s still precise with no false neutrals, just more solid in its movement.
Wet evening over and the GSX-R shows its alter ego. As well as low-down grunt the GSX-R has a hell of a top end. Get the motor really screaming and it is seriously fast, but still keeps its composure. Everything feels really well balanced on the Suzuki. The brakes, suspension and chassis all feel to be in perfect unison and while no one aspect is particularly outstanding, they are all very nicely balanced. Where on the Kawasaki the brakes can feel a little sharp, the Suzuki’s just feel right. And so does the riding position.
Suzuki has obviously thought about road riders with the GSX-R, with a clear speedo, big rev counter and decent gear indicator, and a riding position that is excellent. Although it isn’t a big bike the Suzuki feels roomy, so is great for long distances, and even though the engine sounds raw it doesn’t really vibrate much at motorway speeds. Yes, the GSX-R is a very easy bike to live with day-to-day, not what you would expect to hear about a GSX-R