2011 Suzuki Motorcycles Unveiled in Las Vegas - First Look

Two new GSX-Rs and fully faired GSX1250FA are on their way to the USA.

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2011 Suzuki Motorcycles Unveiled in Las Vegas - First Look

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American Suzuki pulled the wraps off three new 2011 models—GSX-R600, GSX-R750 and GSX1250FA—this past weekend at its national dealer show in Las Vegas. Said to weigh as much as 20 pounds less than the current models, the latest GSX-Rs wear Brembo Monobloc front brake calipers and share a number of components, including Showa’s Big Piston Fork, with the current GSX-R1000. Meanwhile, the GSX1250FA is a fully faired, anti-lock-brake-equipped version of the discontinued Bandit 1250S.

Hundreds of dealers from across the country attended the event, which was hosted by motorsports personality Erin Bates. Addressing the crowd, company president Mr. Sato spiritedly voiced, “We’re still here, we’re still standing and it’s time to move forward.” Executive VP of motorcycle and marine, Mr. Tanaka, added, “Suzuki is globally diverse and financially strong.”

This past year, American Suzuki made the difficult decision to import only a small number of mostly off-road-only 2010 models. The goal was to help dealers clean up existing non-current inventory and get back on their collective feet. According to Tanaka, Suzuki now has a clear plan to market, distribute and sell both new and existing products, turning “adversity into advantage.”

In the weeks leading up to the show, Suzuki introduced 10 2011 models: Hayabusa, Boulevard M109R, Boulevard M109R Limited Edition, Boulevard S40, RM-Z450, RM-Z250, TU250, V-Strom 650 ABS, DR650SE and DR-Z400S. The GSX-R1000, Boulevard C50T, Burgman 650 Executive and Burgman 400 ABS have since been confirmed, as well.

Senior VP for economic and tax policy and chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (and Suzuki KingQuad ATV owner) Dr. Martin Regalia delivered an informative and well-timed keynote address. “Nothing should take precedence over getting the economy growing,” he said. “At least we’re now moving in the right direction.”

Suzuki has reportedly sold 300,000 GSX-Rs in the U.S. since the first 750 model was introduced to these shores in 1986. About the new 600, Suzuki field service manager Derek Schoeberle said, “It may look like the GSX-R of old, but it’s completely different. We’ve made leaps, here—major, major changes.”

According to Schoeberle, Suzuki had three goals for the GSX-R600 and 750: 1) enhanced racetrack performance; 2) new styling; and 3) weight reduction. Aside from their engines and transmissions, the two models are identical.

More compact looks and fitment of the aforementioned 43mm Showa Big Piston Fork and Brembo front brake calipers are the biggest visual clues that these are new models. Behind the fairing with its vertically stacked headlights, a five-piece frame houses an uprated engine with lighter pistons and connecting rods, titanium valves (new to the 750), altered camshaft profiles, more steeply angled primary fuel injectors and updated crankcase ventilation for reduced pumping losses. The handlebar-mounted S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) now has just two engine settings—A (full power) and B (wet conditions). The GSX-R600 has lighter transmission gears and closer ratios for first through fourth. Additionally, sixth is lower.

By rotating the engine backward 3 degrees, engineers were able to bring the pivot point for the new gravity-cast swingarm closer to the front axle and shorten the wheelbase to 54.5 inches, a 15mm reduction. Because swingarm length remains the same, there’s additional weight over the front wheel. Rake is 23.8 degrees. Of the current Japanese middleweights, only the Honda CBR600RR has a steeper steering-head angle. Trail is 3.8 inches, identical to the Honda. Improved low- and high-speed stability are claimed.

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Handlebars set 1 degree farther away from the rider provide greater leverage and contribute to a roomier cockpit. The gas tank still holds a maximum of 4.5 gallons, but a flatter top allows taller riders to get behind the windscreen more easily. The seat is narrower, and new footpegs are three-way adjustable for height. Instrumentation and switchgear were lifted from the GSX-R1000.

Why Brembo? Simple answer: marketing. That said, test riders liked the improved feel, and the calipers are lighter than the previous four-piston Nissins. The Japanese brake maker still supplies the master cylinder, though the radial-mount design is a different spec from the unit that was used on the last-generation GSX-R600. Nissin supplies the rear brakes for both models.

Where did the GSX-Rs lose weight? Suzuki provided the following breakdown:

Frame: 2 lb. 15 oz.

Front suspension: 1 lb. 15.3 oz.

Rear suspension: 3.1 oz.

Front wheel/axle: 9.0 oz.

Rear wheel/axle: 11.9 oz.

Front brakes: 14.5 oz.

Rear brake: 11.4 oz.

Pistons: 2.7 oz.

Transmission: 6.5 oz.

ECM: 11.6 oz.

Muffler: 3 lb. 12.0 oz.

Body: 7 lb. 7.9 oz.

Headlight: 1 lb. 3.8 oz.

Seat: 8.6 oz.

Footpegs: 1.8 oz.

Pricing? Hang on to your helmets. The GSX-R600 will retail for $11,599—a $1200 increase over the 2009 model. Just $400 more, however, will send you streaking toward the horizon on a bigger-bore, longer-stroke and nearly as light GSX-R750. Care to guess which model Suzuki expects to sell more of?

2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA

For the same price as the GSX-R600, you could opt for the GSX1250AF, which comes standard with a full fairing housing GSX-R-style vertically stacked headlights. Anti-lock brakes and a centerstand are included. To aid engine cooling, engineers added a secondary “reserve” fan that kicks on if the liquid-cooled, dohc, 16-valve inline-Four hits 110 degrees Celsius. Radiator-cap pressure is also higher. The handlebar has a slightly different, allegedly more comfortable, bend. As with the previous Bandit, there are two seat heights: 31.7 inches and 32.5. Claimed full-tank curb weight is 567 pounds. Side and top cases will be available through Suzuki’s accessory department.

Moving forward, Suzuki expects a tough haul. National sales manager Rod Lopusnak called the current economic environment “the new normal.” A full line of 2011 models, including two new GSX-Rs and a light-duty sport-tourer, is an exciting new beginning.

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