World Champion Kevin Schwartz walks us thru the new GSX r 1000 R at Buttonwillow.
Racing has been furthering the breed for a long time; but never has MotoGP technology been so readily applied to a mass production motorcycle that wasn't a limited run of overly expensive exotica like it has the GSX-R1000R. That's because the man behind it is Shinichi Sahara, and before he took on the role of chief engineer on the GSX-R project he was a project leader and technical manager in Suzuki's MotoGP department, first with the GSV-R and then the new GSX-RR.
“When I worked in MotoGP I had many secrets,” he said when we asked him how he took technology honed in racing and applied to a mass production motorcycle. “But when I left to work on production machines and the new GSX-R, I didn't need to keep them a secret any more.”
The first thing that springs to mind is the new Suzuki Racing Variable Valve Timing system that features on the new GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R, that is built into the intake cam sprocket and is activated by centrifugal force to boost top end output without sacrificing the low-midrange torque GSX-Rs are known for.
“The VVT system on the new GSX-R is exactly the same as the system on the MotoGP bike. Exactly the same. When we started to try that system in MotoGP it was tough to get it working correctly to start with, but once we perfected it, we just moved the technology from the GSX-RR to the GSX-R. The system gets around the rules in MotoGP on variable valve timing, and is also lighter and more compact than complex electronic systems.”
But while the VVT system might be the headline-grabber, Sahara is eager to point out that the new GSX-R shares a lot more in common with the GSX-RR prototype racer.
“The finger-follower valve train is also from MotoGP, the chassis design comes from the GSX-RR, and also the engine design. The engine position in the frame means we can move the swingarm pivot forward and extend the swingarm, while keeping the same wheelbase. This is the same philosophy as MotoGP; to maximise stability and handling. I have ridden the bike, and also Kevin Schwantz – who is faster than me! – but we both say the same; that the handling is so easy. You just have to look through the corner and it turns and goes where you are looking. Handling performance is very high.
“There are some smaller things too. For example, the air inlet funnels are designed to different lengths to boost both low and midrange power and also top end power. This also comes from MotoGP.”
The new GSX-R1000R boasts the most comprehensive electronics package ever seen on a production Suzuki, with an inertial measurement unit (IMU) governing a 10-mode traction control system and cornering ABS. There's also launch control, a bi-directional quickshifter, and three drive-modes.