2021 Suzuki GSX-R1000R MC Commute Review
Suzuki pairs performance, versatility, and value with its up-spec GSX-R1000R superbike as described in this review.
Suzuki pairs value, versatility, and performance in the liter-sized superbike segment with its 2021 Suzuki GSX-R1000R ($17,749). This up-spec GSX-R benefits from upgraded suspenders, a slick-shifting electronic quickshifter, and a couple of other worthwhile upgrades that make it more competent on and off track.
When it comes to outright street-riding comfort, few sportbikes ride as well as Suzuki GSX-Rs. And that trend continues with its 1000R. It’s a very slim motorcycle—especially for an inline-four. The seat is well supported and the reach to the clip-on style controls isn’t too aggressive. We like the position of the rider’s footpegs, which are neither too high, nor too low. It would be nice if this GSX-R had foot control adjustment like its GSX-R600 and 750 duo. One change we bemoan is its 0.4-gallon-smaller 4.2-gallon fuel tank.
Tap the starter button and the GSX-R fires to life with a unique growl. Despite employing a conventional inline-four firing order, the engine offers signature character unlike others in its class. We especially appreciate its meaty intake roar and whiny, high-tech-sounding exhaust note. Suzuki offers an ingenious variable valve timing solution that helps give its four-cylinder the best of both worlds.
Peppy bottom-end bark morphs into thick car-passing midrange oomph. Top-end power is strong too, but not quite as powerful as competitors in its class. Still, it’s got enough giddyap to get the blood pumping. We’d estimate a horsepower figure in the mid-160s at the 190-series Bridgestone Battlax RS11 tire. Fuel-mileage-wise, we measured an average of 36 mpg.
An early leader in sportbike electronics (the ’97 GSX-R750 was the first Japanese sportbike with fuel injection), this GSX-R retains its S-DMS adjustable power mode setup. Ride-by-wire throttle integration affords throttle control adjustment that’s neatly integrated into each power mode. Full-power mode A was our favorite.
Ten-way-adjustable IMU-powered traction control is also present, however its programming feels more rudimentary compared to other contemporary setups from Japan and Europe. The 1000R also adds launch control to its arsenal, but we didn’t test it this time. Wheelie and engine-brake control are absent from its electronics suite, as is cruise control. Heated grips would be a nice upgrade too considering how roadworthy this Gixxer is.
The slick-shifting up-and-down electronic quickshifter, on the other hand, performs splendidly allowing you to row through the six-speed gearbox instantly.
In terms of agility, the 445-pound GSX-R1000R impresses with its maneuverability. It steers more sharply than its predecessor while still offering a high degree of stability. Equally impressive is the lofty level of rear grip that the chassis affords. The upgraded Balance Free suspension components follow the road more accurately than the older hardware on the basic GSX-R. Still, the front end isn’t as magical feeling as Team Green’s offering (employs similar front suspension).
The R model’s stainless steel front brake lines are a much-needed improvement and help mitigate brake fade—a feature that has plagued Suzuki GSX-Rs. We also appreciate the rear brake’s strong, responsive feel. Full-time ABS with cornering functionality mitigates instability during braking.
A bright LED headlamp throws a deep spread of light during night rides. The R’s LED positioning lights are also a nice touch. However, because it employs an IMU, we wish Suzuki added a cornering light function to boost visibility during fast-paced night rides through curvy stretches of road. Keeping tabs on vehicle settings is a 5.5-inch backlit LCD. Despite being only one color, the display is functional and easy to read day and night. However, the display could be larger.
Despite not employing a truly modern electronics package, the GSX-R1000R continues to be one of our favorites due to its versatility and ease of use. We’re big fans of its punchy powertrain and capable chassis that’s as adept on track as it is off of it. Considering its competitive price tag and fine craftsmanship, there’s no doubt Suzuki drives a hard bargain with its GSX-R1000R.
Helmet: Shoei RF-SR
Jacket: REV’IT! Hudson
Pant: REV’IT! Austin
Gloves: Racer Mickey Gloves
Boots: TCX X-Cube EVO Air
2021 Suzuki GSX-R1000R Technical Specifications and Price
|ENGINE||999cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four; 16-valve|
|BORE x STROKE||76.0 x 55.1mm|
|FUEL DELIVERY||Fuel injection w/ ride-by-wire throttle bodies|
|CLUTCH||Wet, multiplate slipper; cable actuation|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||Showa Balance Free 43mm inverted fork, fully adjustable; 4.7 in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion Light shock, fully adjustable; 5.1 in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKES||Brembo 4-piston calipers, 320mm discs w/ ABS|
|REAR BRAKE||Nissin 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc w/ ABS|
|WHEELS, FRONT/REAR||Cast aluminum; 17 x 3.5 in. / 17 x 6.0 in.|
|TIRES, FRONT/REAR||Bridgestone Battlax RS11; 120/70-17 / 190/55-17|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||5.1 in.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||32.5 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||4.2 gal.|
|CLAIMED WET WEIGHT||445 lb.|
|WARRANTY||1 year, unlimited mileage|