The Daddy is Back! 2017 GSX-R1000 Unveiled

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Well folks, it’s been a while, but the wait appears to have been worth it. Suzuki has unveiled an all new for 2017 GSX-R1000, and with the exception of a frankly ginormous exhaust can, what a beaut!

Before we get started, let me just say that I am hugely biased towards Suzuki’s flagship sportsbike. Back in the day I owned a nearly new 2005 model in blue and white for the best part of 35,000 miles. It was an astonishing bike; comfortable, fast, with an engine so flexible it was as happy on a racetrack as it was filtering on the westway down onto Marylebone Road.

I used it for everything from Touring Scandinavia to 120 mile commutes into Central London. I loved that bike. I’m sure the Eastern Europeans currently riding it, love it too. Suzuki have a knack of making a sports bike that you can ride on the road, and really use. The late Kev Ash was a big fan of his 2007 version, and even went to the trouble to fit some panniers to his long termer.

In 2009, Suzuki updated the GSX-R1000 wholly, making it a far better bike than the 2005 version, but by then the world had been bewitched by the BMW S1000RR which was beating Suzuki at it own game – having based their original S1000RR on that seminal 2005 GSX-R1000, but with more power, lighter weight, and sharper, if slightly boss-eyed looks.

2015 saw Yamaha introduce the brand new YZF-R1. This machine was making no apologies for its intentions out of the crate. “I am a race bike for the road!” It wailed to anyone who would care to listen to its Moto GP style cross plane 4. Japan’s economy has been in the doldrums since the early nineties, largely caused by quantitative easing failing to stimulate the Japanese economy and compensate for a lack of natural demand (yes, we’re next folks) and the economy has been struggling under mountains of debt. None was worse hit than Suzuki, which makes their MotoGP campaign and this new superbike all the more cause to celebrate.

Nowadays, if you want a road biased sports bike, forget Japan, you need a bike based on The Daddy, or should I say the Grandaddy, the 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000. Yes, the BMW S1000RR is still the best road biased litre sportsbike you can buy (Honda RVC213V-S aside). So where does that leave Suzuki’s new gixxer? Well, we’ll find out won’t we, when we get to ride one.

If I know Suzuki, they won’t have strayed too far from their, and their customers’ love of usable sportsbikes, so here’s hoping this new one is a belter.


Headlines about the all new 2017 GSX-R1000 are as follows (benchmark BMW in brackets for comparison):

  • In-line 4 999.8cc engine
  • four titanium valves per cylinder with pivoting finger followers and VVT (explained below)
  • bore x stroke 76mm x 55.1mm (S1000RR: 80mm x 49.7mm). Divide stroke by bore for ‘over-squareness’. Suzuki = 0.725 BMW=0.621. The Suzuki has a longer stroke than the BMW, this added to VVT and Variable exhaust should mean good torque low down.
  • rated output 199bhp @ (S1000RR 199bhp @ 13,500rpm)
  • max torque 86.8lb.ft @ (S1000RR 83lb-ft @10,500rpm
  • compression 13.2 (S1000RR 13.0)
  • Weight 203kg
  • All new chassis
  • 3 axis UMI
  • Traction Control
  • Motion Track ABS (reduces rear wheel lift when braking downhill)
  • Suzuki Drive Mode Selector with three power modes (full power available in all modes)
  • Launch control
  • Balance free forks
  • Multi-spoke wheels (three-spokers are so 1990’s)
  • Quick shifter and auto blipper on downshifts
  • LED headlights (stacked in one unit, no more “your lights aren’t working mister!”
  • LCD instrumentation

Variable Valve Timing

The big news is Suzuki’s VVT system. It is a simple but clever mechanical design which works between the intake cam sprocket and an adjacent guide plate attached to the camshaft.


Exploded view of the Suzuki VVT system showing cam chain driven plate (43) (input shaft), ball bearings (45) and follower plate with inner teeth to mesh to the output shaft teeth (60), spring plates (46) and circles (76, 47).

12 steel ball bearings are positioned between slanted radial grooves in the intake cam sprocket and straight radial grooves (with an inbuilt gradient) in the guide plate attached directly to the camshaft.

As the engine reaches higher velocity, the centrifugal force of the spinning cams pushes the ball bearings outward, and the plates move relative to each other, rotating the position of the cam sprocket on the camshaft and retarding intake cam timing. This improves high-rpm power.


Plan view of the two plates. You can see the angled radial plate behind, and the front plate which gets ‘shallower’ as the ball bearings are flung outwards with increasing rpm, rotating the cam. As long as pressure plates and ball bearings are accurately weighted, both cams will be synchronised.

The two plates (43 and 44) are held by two spring washers (46) and an opposite roller bearing. The operation of the system can be ‘tuned’ by changing the weight of the ball bearings (45) , and the tension in the spring washers (75)  – images courtesy of the US patent office.

OK, OK SHOW ME SOME PHOTOS of the 2017 GSX-R1000…..

[fshow photosetid=72157673531352621]

With the exception of Ohlins semi active suspension, this looks to be on a par with the BMW. If it can make a respectable road bike, road riders and road racers will be queuing up to buy…

Can’t wait till the test fleet comes out late spring 2017!