Suzuki's GSX-R1000, GSX-R600 And VL800 Volusia

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It was bound to happen and it has. Overboring its (thoroughly overhauled last year) GSX-R750's cylinders one millimeter and increasing the stroke of the little screamer by 13mm hath wrought GSX-R1000. Those 73 x 59mm engine dimensions indicate the bike is to be a bullmoose torquer much in the mold of Yamaha's 74 x 58mm YZF-R1 motor, which shouldn't lead you to believe there won't be massive power up around the 12,000 rpm redline, too.

That smallish bore allowed Suzuki to use the 750's integral upper crankcase/cylinder block with only minor mods, as well as the 750 head and fuel injection. The lower half of the motor is more modified, to house the bigger crankshaft and the counterbalancer it drives (also bigger clutch, wider gears, etc.). The only difficulty left now was coming up with the right acronym for the bike's new variable-aperture exhaust valve, seeing as EXUP and HTEV are already taken, in an exhaust system containing plenty of titanium (Suzuki's leaning toward SET: Suzuki Exhaust Tuning). Overall, the 1000 engine is only slightly bigger than the 750, and the main distinguishing visual characteristic of the bike seems to be the slightly fatter fairing lowers, which must cover a good-sized oil radiator.

The 1000's frame looks very similar to the 750's, though its aluminum main spars are 0.5mm thicker. Rake, trail and wheelbase are said to be the same as the GSX-R750-24 degrees, 97mm and 55.5 inches-which should be good since the 750 was plenty stable. Fully juiced and ready to roll, our '00 GSX-R750 weighed 426 pounds. Suzuki says the new 1000 is only 6.6 pounds heavier. Oh my.

The big GSX-R will sport KYB suspenders instead of the usual Showa gear, complete with titanium nitride fork sliders and an aluminum-bodied shock in control of the six-inch rear wheel. (The 750 uses a 5.5-incher.) All for $10,399.

On the other hand, Suzuki says the new GSX-R600 ($7999) is seven pounds lighter than the 750 upon which it's obviously based, which should have it right in scale with the class flyweight YZF-R6 Yamaha-around 420 pounds with a full tank o' petrol. As with the 1000 motor, Suzuki modified the upper crankcase half/cylinder block with smaller SCEM-lined bores, and the 600 gets its own smaller-valved head also. Reciprocating and spinning pieces will all be lighter than the 750's parts, too, of course.

As with GSX-Rs 750 and 1000, Suzuki will outfit the 600 with its Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve fuel injection (SDTV to you), which functions similarly to a bank of CV carburetors: Your paw twists the downstream set of butterflies open, but a computer (reading gear position, rpm and whatnot) opens a set of butterflies atop them in the Suzuki's steep, downdraft intake tracts. It's supposed to make on-throttle power delivery nice and smooth. On the 750, it works. Elsewhere, the 600 is distinguishable from the 750 by its lack of swingarm bracing, and its conventional, fully adjustable fork. Rake and trail are the same as the 750, and wheelbase is said to be 10mm shorter. Wheels, brakes, etc. are all 750-spec.

You shouldn't mess with success, but it doesn't hurt to update it every century or so. Suzuki's Intruder engine's been barging around since 1986, and has proven itself a reliable beast of burden. Doesn't look it, but it's a four-valve-per-cylinder, liquid-cooled 45-degree twin, with offset crankpins, which means the old war pony runs pretty smoothly and makes reasonably good power. Now it's found a home in the VL800 Volusia, which happens to have the same name as the county in Florida where Daytona is located. No visible means of rear suspension gives the bike that "hardtail" look the kids are so crazy about, though there's actually a rear shock under there, which in fact gives it that "softail" ride that everybody prefers.

Various cosmetic changes give the 805cc the retro/nostalgic look, and a single 34mm carburetor, along with intake and exhaust cam changes, are intended to boost low and midrange power. Good thing, then, that the bike's geared tall, with fifth as an overdrive for relaxed, shaft-drive freeway cruising. We wager the price will seem right at $6599, and Suzuki will have all manner of dress-up parts with which to personalize your Volusia.

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