EICMA FIRST LOOK: Suzuki GSX-R1000 “Concept”

The long-awaited return of an all new GSX-R is but a concept. For now.

Oh, what a tease. Here we were expecting Suzuki to pull the wraps off its first new GSX-R in so many years we've almost lost count. But on the stage in [Milan][], we were greeted with the GSX-R1000 "concept." But don't get misled by that statement. As Suzuki did with the current-generation V-Strom 1000—teasing a bike that "might" go into production when it was abundantly clear that the showbike was ready to be turned out in volume—it's just a matter of time before this electronically savvy GSX-R hits the road. It's not "if," only "when."

Where to start? Suzuki has built an “all new” 999cc inline-four for the next-generation GSX-R, making it “The 2017 GSX-R1000 Concept is the most powerful, hardest-accelerating, cleanest-running GSX-R ever built.” More concepts here: Suzuki’s built the engine using the Broad Power Concept, and to do so has given it variable valve timing for the first time ever on a GSX-R.

Unlike Ducati’s DVT, Suzuki’s approach is simpler, with variable timing on the intake cam only with a mechanical actuator involving steel balls in the cam sprocket. As the engine spins up, these balls are forced outward to retard the intake cam for better high-rpm breathing. When the engine slows down, they retreat to the low-rpm setting. Suzuki has not provided a range of cam skew. All 16 valves are operated through finger followers now, for increased high-rpm capability. But, alas, Suzuki hasn’t said how high the new 1000 revs.

Electronics are key to any modern supersport, and so they are here. As expected, the GSX-R1000 gains ride-by-wire throttle control, traction control (adjustable to 10 levels), launch control, ride modes (three of them), and ABS. Suzuki says TC can be adjusted on the fly. The new RBW system uses twin injectors per cylinder, with the secondaries located at the top of the airbox. New for the GSX-R1000 is a factory up-and-down quickshifter system.

Chassis updates are so numerous it’s fair to call it all new. A fresh aluminum frame—whose specifications like rake, trail, and wheelbase remain within Suzuki’s corporate cranium—is home to the latest mechanical suspension technology. A Showa Balance Free Fork carries external damping circuits and represents the latest thinking in production suspension, as dos the Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion shock. As with the fork, the damping circuits are external, which means they’re more easily changed by a race team, but the benefits should be there for street riders as well.

Suzuki is playing up the GSX-R1000 Concept’s connection to its MotoGP racing efforts, especially in the areas of aerodynamics, electronics, and Broad Power! What we don’t yet know is when the GSX-R will arrive here or what it’ll cost. Our best guesses? Given the “concept” status of the bike, we wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t get here until next summer as an “early release” 2017. And we wouldn’t be surprised to see its MSRP join that of the high-tech Yamaha YZF-R1 at $17,000.