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2001 Suzuki GSX-R1000: MD Ride Review – Part One

For those of you who read MD frequently, you know that I like to publish a brief, first impression of a new bike, and then follow it with a much more thorough analysis in part two. This is part one of my 2001 GSX-R1000 ride review.

After picking up the new 1000 from Suzuki’s headquarters in Yorba Linda, California, and proceeding to commute roughly 60 miles to my home in Temecula, California, I had two distinct impressions of this new, flagship sportbike from Suzuki. First, and foremost, the bike is extremely powerful. Gear selection is virtually irrelevant, as the bike pulls very well from below 4,000 rpm, and with authority from 5,000 rpm up. Redline is at 12,000 rpm, so the powerband is extremely broad.

This bike wheelies off the throttle easier than any machine I have ever ridden. It will pick the wheel up in second gear (without the clutch) with authority and ease. In first gear, quick, yet controllable wheelies come very low in the rpm range. The bike has extremely good torque down low.

The fuel injection is also very smooth. No surprise here, given Suzuki’s outstanding fuel injection on both the GSX-R750 and GSX-R600. If anything, the off/on throttle response felt even smoother on the 1000 than it did on its little brothers.

Although only slightly heavier than its little brothers, the 1000 feels substantially more planted. Mostly a freeway commute, my ride didn’t allow me to determine how “flickable” the bike is, but it clearly resists direction changes more than the smaller machines in the Suzuki stable. Comparing it to an R1 will require back-to-back rides (something we hope to do soon).

My thoughts wander back to the power of this machine. On the freeway, I was playing around with roll-ons in different gears. The bike pulls very hard in top gear, even from 70 mph. Clicking down to third gear (gearing is very high on this bike), acceleration was, essentially, vicious from the same speed. In fact, on this cold night (by California standards) with tires inflated higher than I prefer, but apparently set to manufacturer specifications, I didn’t want to risk any tire spinning. After twisting the throttle hard in third gear on the freeway, I shut it down fairly quickly. This bike is extremely quick.

In fact, comparisons with Suzuki’s own Hayabusa might be in order. The broad torque curve of the GSX-R1000, and the substantial weight reduction versus the Hayabusa (roughly 100 pounds, give or take) mean the new 1000 has the same type of “effortless power” as the Hayabusa. Furthermore, the aerodynamics of the 1000 must be at least as gr” as the Hayabusa. Furthermore, the aerodynamics of the 1000 must be at least as good — given the fact that the fairing was wind-tunnel tuned for World Superbike racing (the fairing is identical to the GSX-R750 fairing). I wouldn’t be surprised if the top speed of the 1000 is similar to the Hayabusa, as well. I’ll leave that test to some other publication.

In any event, this is a short first impression, and, given the conditions of my ride, not a very revealing one, perhaps. More later.