New 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and 750 debut

Definitely not just a minor makeover—both GSX-Rs have been heavily updated

2011 Suzuki GSX-R600

Most of the pre-release rumors on the new Suzuki GSX-Rs were implying that they have only received minor updates—nothing could be further from the truth. While the exterior may seem only slightly different, the 600 and 750 have been thoroughly revised for ’11. Although all the details are too numerous to mention here (check out the upcoming print issue for in-depth coverage), suffice it to say that Suzuki hasn’t merely spruced up the Gixxers’ with slightly different bodywork and a few small tweaks and called it good.

Both bikes underwent a weight loss program, plus the engines underwent extensive internal redesign aimed at reducing internal frictional losses. If your engine spins freer and easier, and the bike weighs less, you can achieve better performance without having to resort to high-strung engine tuning parameters that result in razor-thin powerbands stuck at sky-high rpm levels. Both bikes are claimed to weigh approximately 20 pounds less than their predecessors; an example of the weight loss program is exemplified by the following list:

Component Weight reduction (both models)
Main frame 1350g (2 lb., 15 oz.)
Front suspension 890g (1 lb., 15.3 oz.)
Rear suspension 90g (3.1 oz.)
Front wheel/Axle 256g (9.0 oz.)
Rear wheel/Axle 340g (11.9 oz.)
Front brakes 413g (14.5 oz.)
Rear brakes 323g (11.4 oz.)
Pistons (engine) 78g (2.7 oz.)
Transmission 185g (6.5 oz.)
ECU 330g (11.6 oz.)
Muffler 1700g (3 lb., 12.0 oz)
Bodywork 3400g (7 lb., 7.9 oz)
Headlights 562g (1 lb., 3.8 oz)
Seat 244g (8.6 oz.)
Footpegs 53g (1.8 oz.)

All told, Suzuki is claiming a fully fueled weight of 410 pounds for the GSX-R600, and 416 pounds for the GSX-R750. If true, this would make the 600 the lightest four-cylinder middleweight in the market.

The engine’s internal upgrades start with redesigned pistons and rods utilizing the latest 3D CAD/CAM technology employed in MotoGP to replicate precise stress loads in order to reduce component material to the least amount possible. This has resulted in a 14 percent decrease in piston weight and a 12 percent decrease in connecting rod weight compared to last year, a huge reduction when you consider the astronomical piston speeds at 14,000 rpm.

The reduced reciprocating weight and frictional losses in turn have allowed the camshaft profiles to be redone, with less overlap leading to better low- and midrange power while keeping the top end intact. The crankcases have redesigned ventilation holes between the cylinder cavities, with a pentagonal shape providing easier airflow between each cylinder—again, reducing mechanical pumping losses. All of the transmission ratios (with the exception of 5th gear) have been revised for improved acceleration, with a slightly taller first gear providing closer spacing between between most of the gears; overall weight has also been reduced by 6.5 ounces. The complete engine block is now 4 pounds 6 ounces lighter than the previous powerplant.

Up top, the fuel injection throttle bodies feature new, more compact particulate-type injectors that allow better positioning; thus, the primary injectors are now set at a 35-degree angle (from 41 degrees) to allow them a straighter shot at the intake valves for better atomization and throttle response. Exhaled gases are handled by a 4-into-2-into-1 system using the now-ubiquitous under-engine collector chamber; thinner-walled piping (1.0mm versus 1.2mm thickness) and a titanium muffler help to reduce weight by 3 pounds 12 ounces on the 600, and 2 pounds 6.8 ounces on the 750.

The adjustable Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) returns, but now with only two modes instead of three as before. Only A and B modes can be selected; Suzuki found that owners never used the old C mode (we don’t blame them). The ECU is now located up front by the airbox, reducing wiring volume and complexity.

Suspension up front is now handled by a 41mm Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF). The rear shock is 1mm shorter (but with longer stroke), and the spring seat material changed to aluminum to cut 90 grams of excess weight. Braking is now handled by Brembo radial-mount four-piston calipers biting on larger 280mm discs (up from the 276.8mm units of before), with the rear disc dropping in size from 188mm to 186mm.

The aluminum frame and swingarm are completely new and have revised rigidity specs, with the swingarm now only made of three pieces instead of five as before. Both are now manufactured using a “Melted Gravity Casting Process” that is claimed to allow more flexibility in shaping and precise manufacturing of curved components. As listed in the weight specs at the beginning, the frame’s overall weight has been cut by 2 pounds 15.8 ounces.

In order to tighten up the wheelbase and centralize mass, the engine has been rotated upward in the frame by three degrees. This in turn allows the main frame’s length to be shorter front-to-back, reducing wheelbase by 15mm (now listed at 54.5 inches, from 55.1 inches) while retaining the swingarm’s original length. Ergos have been subtly revised, with the bars splayed out wider by one degree, and the fuel tank reshaped for a shorter reach to the bars and easier tuck-in by the rider.

The yen/dollar exchange rate fluctuation has played havoc with the Japanese OEM pricing, and the new GSX-R600’s MSRP of $11,599 (a $1200 bump from last year’s price on the ’09 model—remember, American Suzuki didn’t import any ’10 models) reflects that. Surprisingly, the GSX-R750 is only $400 more at $11,999; one can only imagine that most U.S. buyers will opt for the larger displacement GSX-R for that small of a price difference.

Also introduced for the U.S. market is the new (for the U.S.) GSX1250FA. Already running on European roads for a year now, the GSX1250FA is basically a fully faired version of the Bandit 1250S that debuted back in ’07. The same ultra-torquey 1255cc inline four-cylinder engine returns, along with the frame and suspension. Biggest changes besides the fairing are the GSX-R stacked headlight arrangement, ABS as standard equipment, twin cooling fans to help deal with slow traffic on hot days, and a centerstand. MSRP for the GSX1250FA will be $11,599.