Looking over the press materials I received from Suzuki recently concerning the new 2008 GSX-R600 and 750, it is clear that Suzuki has moved the design of both of these iconic sport machines forward with careful refinement of both engine and chassis, coupled with new (for Suzuki) features for 2008.
Both bikes received a three-position selectable engine mode (varying fuel injection, sub-throttle valve, exhaust valve and ignition settings) first appearing on last year’s new GSX-R1000. Suzuki calls this S-DMS (for Suzuki Drive Mode Selector). On the big GSX-R, the usefulness of this feature was obvious. The huge torque put out by an open-class sport bike can be usefully reduced for rain or other limited traction conditions. On these smaller bikes, however, it is unclear exactly what Suzuki has done with the three settings, although it is clear that at least one reduced power mode is again available for limited traction circumstances. Perhaps, one of the three modes serves some other purpose, although the press materials are somewhat unclear in this respect.
Also new for 2008 on each bike is an electronically-controlled steering damper. Honda has had such a system on its sport bikes for a few years, now. The Suzuki system might be purely linear based on the language in the press material. In other words, Suzuki’s press material indicates the amount of damping force is purely based on vehicle speed. By contrast, Honda’s system considers multiple parameters, including at least speed and acceleration, when electronically adjusting damping force. Again, this is based on the press materials we have received from Suzuki thus far.
Redline on the 750 has been raised to 15,000rpm, while the 600 revs to 16,000 rpm. Compression ratio on the 600 goes up from 12.5-to-1 to 12.8-to-1, while the 2008 750 remains at 12.5-to-1.
Both bikes feature four titanium valves per cylinder (two intake and two exhaust) and a new dual-injector system, with the primary injector operating at all times, and a secondary injector adding more fuel under high rpm and high load conditions. Each fuel injector has eight smaller holes (versus four larger holes last year) for a finer spray and better fuel atomization.
A new, lighter ECM on each bike is more powerful this year, featuring a 32-bit processor with 1024 kilobytes of memory. This computing power is needed to assess and respond to several engine characteristics when controlling each of the two fuel injectors per cylinder, a new idle speed control (ISC) system that improves cold starting and the PAIR system (pulsed-air), which pulls fresh air from the air box and injects it directly into the exhaust ports to reduce emissions. Other new emission systems contained in the exhaust allow the new GSX-Rs to satisfy new Euro 3 and Tier 2 emission standards.
Suzuki has been using ventilation holes between cylinders for some time now in order to reduce pumping losses. Those holes are larger for 2008 (41mm instead of 39mm). The vent holes allow compressed air under descending pistons to escape to adjacent cylinders where the pistons are rising. Both bikes have slipper clutches for 2008.
Both bikes also feature curved radiators that increase cooling capacity and efficiency, as well as more powerful generators (that are no heavier or larger than last year).
Both bikes have the same wheelbase as last year, 1400mm, and similar steering geometry. The seat height is also unchanged at 810mm (31.9 inches). The rear subframe has been redesigned for 2008 on each machine, and is roughly 5 ounces lighter.
Front and rear suspension continue to be fully adjustable, with the rear now featuring both high and low speed compression damping adjustments.
The new bikes have significantly lighter wheels (front and rear wheels save a total of 430 grams — roughly one pound). Wheel and tire sizes are unchanged from 2007.
The front brake system is also lighter this year, with slightly thinner discs (5mm vs. 5.5 last year) and smaller disc mounting bolts. Radial mounted four-piston front brake calipers feature staggered piston sizes to help equalize pad wear, and a new radial-pump master cylinder and small-diameter, low-expansion brake lines help increase braking leverage.
New styling is apparent in the photos. Each bike has three headlights this year, including a single 55 watt low beam and two 60 watt high beams. High beam should be pretty bright, with all three lights illuminated at once. Lighter and more efficient LEDs are used at the rear of the bike this year, and the fuel tank is slightly larger (17 liters vs. 16.5 last year).
The new instrument cluster includes a gear position indicator, an engine mode indicator (indicating which mode was selected by the A/B/C switch), and a programmable shift light.
The 2008 GSX-R750 carries an U.S. MSRP of $10,599 (up $400 over last year), while the 600 is priced at $9,399 ($500 more than last year). For additional specifications, and color choices available, visit Suzuki’s web site here.