You’d be forgiven if you forgot all about the brand spankin’ new motorcycles brought into the States by Suzuki last year… because there weren’t any. Purse strings were pulled so tightly during the global economic collapse that the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer decided not to bring in any new models for 2010.
However, all of that is set to change for 2011, and the first major announcement from Suzuki are updates to its GSX-R600 and GSX-R750. Interestingly enough, the engines are all new but there isn’t actually any more horsepower than before – 123 horses from the 600 and 148 from the 750.
Instead of more peak power, Suzuki focused all of its efforts on reducing weight, lopping off four pounds from the motor, three pounds from the exhaust and another three pounds from the aluminum frame. Add it all up and Suzuki has cut about 20 pounds from each model, with the 600 coming in at 413 pounds wet and the 750 tipping the scales at 416 pounds.
Another notable feature new for 2011 are the brakes: 310mm fully-floating front brake discs and radial-mount, four-piston Brembo monoblock calipers. Styling closely mimics that of the range-topping GSX-R1000, featuring new vertically stacked headlamps; see for yourself in our high-res image gallery below. Pricing comes in at $11,599 for the 600 and $11,999 for the 750, and full details can be found after the break.
ENGINE: liquid-cooled with Suzuki Ram-Air Direct (SRAD) induction and a digital engine management system. Double Overhead Camshafts (DOHC) are driven by a link-plate chain off a forged crankshaft and open four titanium valves per cylinder through bucket tappets, with shim-under-bucket lash adjustment. The valves are set at a narrow angle, 22.5 degrees for the GSX-R750 and 22.0 degrees for the GSX-R600-allowing a very compact Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber (TSCC)-with the GSX-R750′s intake valves set at 10.5 degrees from the cylinder centerline and the GSX-R600′s intake valves set at 10.0 degrees from the cylinder centerline. For both models, the exhaust valves are set 12.0 degrees from the cylinder centerline.
BRAKES: The new Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600 both come with 310 mm fully-floating front brake discs and new radial-mount, four-piston Brembo monoblock calipers. The 32 mm caliper pistons are staggered to promote even pad wear, the trailing pistons offset relative to the pad centerline. The monoblock design of the new calipers makes them lighter, and their more rigid construction and increased piston area improve braking performance by providing the rider with more consistent power and better feel at the lever.
The new GSX-R600 uses lighter, more durable forged pistons designed with the same Finite Element Method (FEM) and fatigue analysis technology used to develop MotoGP racing engines. Shorter and narrower skirts, narrower wrist pin bosses and shorter wrist pins help make each piston assembly 78 grams lighter. The lighter piston assembly translates into less reciprocating weight, reducing mechanical losses while improving throttle response, acceleration and engine output reaching the rear wheel.
Each GSX-R750 cylinder’s two intake valves measure 29.0 mm in diameter while the two exhaust valves measure 23.0 mm in diameter. The redesigned intake valves are each 0.6 gram lighter thanks to a new, stronger titanium alloy and reshaped valve heads.
The GSX-R600′s titanium intake valves measure 27.2 mm in diameter, while the titanium exhaust valves measure 22.0 mm in diameter. New camshaft profiles produce a more aggressive valve-lift curve to improve throttle response, mid-rpm torque and peak engine output while also preventing valve spring surge at high rpm. The cam profiles were designed using advanced technology developed by Suzuki engineers working on ultra-high-revving MotoGP racing engines. The GSX-R600 is the first production Suzuki motorcycle to benefit from this proven MotoGP racing technology.
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On the racetrack, that translates to better drives out of corners and higher top speeds. On the street, it means that the GSX-R600 doesn’t have to be revved as much to accelerate briskly away from a stop.
CHASSIS: The new GSX-R750 and GSX-R600 models both feature completely new chassis designs, each based on a more compact, lighter twin-spar aluminum frame with a 15 mm shorter wheelbase. The GSX-R750′s wheelbase is now 1,390 mm while the GSX-R600′s wheelbase now measures 1,385 mm.
Rotating each model’s engine rearward by 3 degrees around the countershaft sprocket made it possible for the engineers to reduce the distance from the front axle to the swingarm pivot while maintaining the race-proven steering geometry and without losing the needed clearance between the front wheel and the radiator at full wheel travel.
For both models, the shorter wheelbase better centers the combined machine/rider mass between the wheels, improving racetrack cornering and also shortening the reach between the seat and the handlebars. The shorter reach and slightly wider handlebar angle make it easier for the rider to reposition their weight while on the racetrack and also improve comfort on longer highway rides.
Each model’s main frame is built using five welded-together castings. But changes in the size and shape of the main spar castings and the relocation of the connecting welds contributed to a 1,350 grams significant reduction in frame weight for each model and also allowed the engineers to adjust torsional rigidity and enhance racetrack cornering. Each frame is also narrower at the seat, making it more convenient for the rider to reposition their weight for cornering on the racetrack.
Each model’s aluminum swingarm is also 900 grams lighter, thanks to a simplified design using fewer welded-together, cast parts.
ENGINE MAPPING: The Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) system built into the ECM allows the rider to use a button mounted on the left handlebar switch module to select one of two engine control maps, regulating the fuel injection, secondary throttle valve and ignition systems. The two maps are designated A and B, with Map A delivering full power and acceleration and Map B producing more moderate acceleration.
The S-DMS system allows the rider to select a map to suit various riding conditions and personal preference on the road, for example choosing one map for highway cruising and the other map for tight country roads.
The two available maps were also developed using racing experience. Switching from one map to the other is instantaneous, making it possible for the rider to use one map on one part of a racetrack and then select the other map for another part of a racetrack, useful in case of localized rain in only a few corners. The system also allows the rider to switch from Map A to Map B to suit conditions at the end of a long race when the rear tire is worn, to use Map B when scrubbing in a new rear tire, or to choose Map A for a high-speed racetrack and Map B for a tighter racetrack.
The front brake master cylinder uses a 17.46 mm radial-mount piston. The position of the front brake lever relative to the handlebar is 6-way adjustable, using a convenient adjustment wheel. Combined, the new front brake calipers and associated hardware are 405 grams lighter than the system used on previous models.
The single 220 mm rear disc works with a new, lighter Nissin single-piston caliper that is 325 grams lighter than the caliper used on previous models.