As it did with its GSX-R750 for 2000, Suzuki is set to jam a stiletto in the back of the existing sportbike champs with super- light and -powerful 600cc and 1000cc versions of the GSX-R. The 1000 we've told you about before, but new spy photos have surfaced showing a bike that's virtually identical to the current 750. (The development mule carries 750 bodywork and nomenclature to throw off causal observers.)
But there are significant changes, including a longer swingarm and beefed-up frame to handle the 988cc engine's power. (Why 988cc and not 998 like the R1? Proposed changes for GP racebikes would make four-strokes of up to 990cc eligible to battle the current 500cc smokers.) Rumors suggest more than 160 horsepower at the crank (say, 145 at the rear wheel) and a dry weight of 375 pounds. If you size up from the existing 750 (which weighs a mere 426 pounds wet), it's possible the 1000 could undercut the CBR929RR (434 pounds wet) and YZF-R1 (443 pounds wet) substantially.
As for the 600, the spy shots are less revealing. A conventional fork is fitted and the swingarm lacks the 750's bracing. Speculation centers on a dry weight of approximately 360 pounds (a YZF-R6 weighs 398 pounds without fuel) and more than 100 hp at the rear wheel. We are willing to bet the 600's frame will follow the 750's architecture closely, but with thinner-gauge extrusions and lighter castings.
Like the 1000 prototype, this preproduction 600 wore 750 badges. There's discontent in the ranks over whether the 600 carries fuel injection or good old-fashioned carbs into the middleweight battle. With persistent rumors of a fuel-injected Honda CBR600F4 and further junior-year tweaks coming for the R6, it's looking like a huge middleweight makeover for 2001.