A blog post! Yes! Sadly my summer has been a bit boring so far, 6 months ago things were happening but now everything’s settled and it’s been tough to get things to write about. I’ve mostly just been drawing and keeping on top of my work and every now and again I go for an uneventful ride, today I managed to score a test ride. I’m now testing bikes in anticipation of a new bike which I hope to get when I turn 25 (about 18 months away). I want it to be perfect, so I’m starting my search now and it’s a good excuse to get some blog posts in.
Finally I got my hands on one – Finally! As you may know it’s difficult to get test rides on anything when you’re not yet 25, lots of dealers insurance just won’t allow it. Some places have their own authority to bend the rules slightly for a 23 year old who has a full licence and the right experience but some don’t. Fortunately demo days have slightly different rules, I hadn’t booked on but I managed to pinch the place of someone who didn’t make it in time (sorry whoever you are if you did show up!) and no one minded my age.
My personal view on Suzuki:
I have to include this as its own section because I’ve always ignored Suzuki as a serious option for me. I have some pretty stupid reasons for not liking GSXRs, and they’ve not got a fantastic reputation and I’m already seeing comments about how I’m ‘riding a GSXR so where are my tracksuits’ and ‘Am I gay now?’. A number of things have put me off them but I’m being open minded and seeing the bike for what it is. A good, new, improved bike.
The current GSXR1000 made its first appearance at the end of last year and was available in Spring, so it’s still brand new and personally I haven’t seen any out ‘in the wild’ yet. I was prepared to be blown away by this bike, I’ve heard so many good things about it and obviously a bike that is so different from its last version is hugely exciting, technology has advanced so much in the last 10 years, with each new bike model being a massive improvement from the last. In the last 3 years alone we’ve had some major changes in 1000cc bike technology from Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda doing their best. With Suzuki not really up to much recently it’s exciting to see them up their game and roll out something to compete for the hype.
‘Throttle Response’: 8/10 (tba)
I’m hoping to come back to this with an update. When I was introduced to the bike I was shown 3 ‘throttle response’ settings, A, B and C. A is the most responsive and C is the least. C is for terrible weather, A is for track and good weather. I kept it in B, the weather was ok but there was a storm last night and the roads were covered in mud and gravel. As it happens I should have just left it in A, the roads were rubbish, but I didn’t get to experience the bike ‘doing it’s best’, B is fine when you’re going, but when you’re manoeuvring roundabouts and junctions you can feel it lagging a bit. Once I got used to it it was ok but a bit frustrating. The plan is to hopefully ride it again and try out A. The bike is still beautifully quick even in B mode, a few times it surprised me, my R1 is quite forgiving if you accidentally snatch the throttle in the wrong gear – you get some warning before it throws you backwards, this GSXR was not as patient. Not a bad thing, you want a bike with a bit of an attitude, it accelerates quickly but it’s manageable. Not sure what the top speed is because ya know…laws.
Brakes and Handling: 10/10
I like this new teeny tiny 1000cc bike trend. The bikes are getting physically smaller and they are much lighter. Good for little me. I normally get on a new bike and worry a bit about being on my tip toes with a bike thats a bit weighty. Not this one, this one gave me confidence, it’s a bit tall, but its lack of weight makes its height ok. It has all the techy stuff, ABS, traction control etc, good for crappy road conditions as I did discover, yes you avoid the pile of gravel and sand in the middle of the road but it was a pleasant surprise when I accidentally rode over a bit that the bike didn’t start going sideways into a ditch. Top Job. Also if you decide to go the emergency brake route over the swerve out the way route when you go too fast into a bit of road sludge, the bike will handle that nicely. Being as light as it is it was easy on corners, even the flicky little right angled ones that the R1 struggles with, a major plus, fun on little tight corners is important.
Light bikes are also easier to manage when you mess up a corner, which I do frequently. You come into a corner too quick, your instincts take over, there’s road sludge in the corner! You have grabbed a fist full of front brake without thinking about it (just me?). My R1 will stubbornly refuse to corner if I hit the brakes, it’s like a stroppy grown up ‘you can’t handle your corner so you don’t get to corner. I’m going to go into a straight line now.’. Nice little lightweight bikes are easy to correct, as the GSXR was, it gives you a sense of safety, the worst thing that’ll happen if you slam your fronts on in a corner is it’ll try to straighten up, but you can force it to stay down, because it weighs nothing, and the electronics will look after you.
It’s not an armchair but it was comfortable. Just the right size and shape for a 5 foot 7 skinny girl. The controls are all easily within reach, the display is a bit cluttered but everything’s on it and you get used to it. I don’t envy anyone who has to sit on the back of it though, maybe bungee a cushion to the pillion seat.
This bike is a huge update from its previous model. The twin exhausts have been replaced by a big metal waste bin on the side of the bike, I think the exhaust is hidden somewhere inside it. The bike is skinnier, following the new trend of teeny tiny 1000cc sports bikes, a big step down in size from the physically large previous model. Its headlight reminds me of the head of one of the evil drones from Iron Man 2 (sorry), small and a bit boring, I have to admit I preferred the beautiful flowing almost flower-like shape of the older models; it was pretty, now it’s not. Ignoring the big bin and the headlight the rest of the bike looks fantastic; there are similarities between this and other models in the shape of the fairings and the way they connect with each other.
It’s been made to be modified, ok so we don’t like the standard exhaust, there is an obvious reason for this monstrosity – people change their exhausts. By putting a big, emission conscious, boring exhaust on the bike they save money in production, so you save money in buying it – money that you will probably spend on changing the exhaust regardless of how nice or nasty the standard one is. By making it so ugly they’re doing Yoshimura a favour because people are even more likely to buy these exhausts so they can get rid of the waste bin quickly. So it’s not Suzuki being daft and no one on the design team needs to be sacked, they just want you to buy their shiny reasonably sized exhausts. Who can blame them. And I’m still going to photoshop it for jokes because it’s hilarious.
The standard GSXR1000 is £13,600, the GSXR1000R (notice the additional R) is £16100. I am having the google the differences, for £2500 more you get an extra R, lean angle sensitive ABS (thinking about it that’s probably got something to do with me not crashing in that corner but shhh, I’m still putting it down to rider skill), balance free suspension, bi-directional quick shift (no clutch for up or down), launch control, LED position lights, negative instrument display, and lightweight user yoke and battery. Still, that’s a good £500 cheaper for the standard one than most new stuff on the market right now. And if you get one people will stare at you because they’re still a bit new and unusual.
I am hoping to have another go on this one to play with the throttle modes. But at the moment I’m impressed with it, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and it’s a bike I can see myself being comfortable and confident with. It’s got personality which is important and sometimes rare on a new bike that’s drowning in rider aiding technology – the electronics are there, but they’re not overwhelming your riding experience. Its only downfall for me, personally, is that headlight, I’m not going to be able to take cute selfies with it, maybe that’s something that’ll change later on though.
Suzuki Motorcycles UK
Haslemere Motorcycles http://haslemeremotorcycles.co.uk