Teaser: 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 & 750

Suzuki previews a new look for next year's Gixxer

By Ben Purvis

This is the basic outline of Suzuki's next-generation GSX-R platform, revealed in the form of a leaked design drawing that shows every detail of the new machine's appearance. The GSX-R600, which will be launched alongside an identical-looking 750 benefitting from the same upgrades, is set to officially debut at the Intermot Expo in Cologne, Germany, in October. Originally this bike would have been shown a year ago, and would have been on sale for several months by now. But slow sales-particularly in America, where Suzuki is still selling 2009 models, having chosen not to import any 2010 versions-meant the company opted to delay its release by 12 months.

So, what's changed? In short, not much. Expect the engines to remain mostly unchanged, though they will be mounted in a revised chassis and wrapped in completely new-albeit evolutionary, rather than revolutionary-bodywork. The drawing shows a new-look air-intake design, with four separate intakes stacked in pairs along either side of the headlight. It also shows a return to the stacked headlight design that was a trademark of the GSX-R range for much of its life, and which Suzuki departed from with the current 600 and 750 in order to bring the look more in line with that of the GSX-R1000.

The design is the work of Shigeru Uchiyama, who was also responsible for the 2007-'08 GSX-R1000 and the latest-generation SV650. As with those bikes, the new GSX-R shows a return to a more angular design, rather than the swooping curves of the current models. Also notable is the return to a conventional-looking muffler rather than the odd, curved cans of either the current GSX-R1000 or 600/750. The side panels are reminiscent of the last-generation Yamaha YZF-R1, with a distinct V-shape to their front edges and side air vents that aren't connected to any bodywork behind them; instead, a wedge-shaped support piece mounted on the frame behind the vents directs hot air away from the rider's knees. The tail is very much in the mold of the current GSX-R range, with twin tail/brake lights and separate turnsignals mounted in the sides of the tailpiece, though the overall shape appears to have been trimmed to make the tail lighter and slimmer.

Under that bodywork it's business as usual. The aluminum beam frame is very similar to that of the current model, which itself carried over its underpinnings from the previous version launched in '06. Overall, the beams are fractionally slimmer, suggesting the bike will be lighter than its predecessor. The swingarm is also very similar to the current bike, although its "banana" curve to clear the exhaust appears to be more pronounced, giving space for the pipe to be moved backwards-freeing up space around the rider's right heel-and upwards to increase cornering clearance.

Engine-wise, expect only minimal upgrades. Not that the 147-horsepower GSX-R750 or 125-bhp GSX-R600 are lagging behind their competitors in the power department. For PR purposes, if nothing else, it would be surprising if the claimed power figures aren't hiked to over 150 bhp for the 750 and around 130 bhp for the 600, with relatively small internal changes making those numbers well within reach for the current engine designs. You can be sure the electronics have been upgraded. Remember, Suzuki was first on the market with switchable engine maps on its sportbikes. With anti-lock brakes looking increasingly likely to become mandatory on large-capacity bikes in the near future, don't be surprised if ABS is available as an option as well.

By Ben Purvis
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