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Oct 5, 2010

Suzuki Introduces Significantly Lighter 2011-Model GSX-R600 And GSX-R750 Sportbikes

The 2011-model Suzuki GSX-R600.
Suzuki's 2011-model GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 have been redesigned from the ground up resulting in machines that are lighter, quicker in acceleration, better handling and have better braking performance than the models they replace, according to Suzuki.

"MotoGP technology" was employed to remove over four pounds (2000 grams) and reduce mechanical losses from the new GSX-R600's Inline Four engine (67.0 mm x 42.5 mm bore x stroke, 12.8:1 compression ratio). Significant weight has been shaved from the pistons (14% lighter) and connecting rods (12% lighter). Larger ventilation holes between cylinders help reduce pumping losses and improve combustion efficiency, which together with smaller and re-angled fuel-injectors (two per cylinder, as before) and a lighter (by more than three pounds) exhaust system allows the new engine to produce 10% better fuel economy while still meeting EURO III emissions standards.

A new ECU with revised ignition and fuel mapping also helps engine performance and weight reduction, as it has been relocated from the tail section to a location in front of the airbox, eliminating 330 grams of wires.

"MotoGP methods" were also used to create new profiles for the chain-driven double overhead camshafts. Maximum lift for the titanium valves (intake and exhaust) remains the same but overlap has been reduced, enhancing low- to mid-range engine performance. That extra grunt combined with lighter and more closely spaced gear ratios in the six-speed transmission allow for quicker acceleration, according to Suzuki. A back-torque-limiting slipper-style clutch is still standard equipment.

Suzuki claims the 2011 GSX-R600 has the same redline (15,500 rpm) and same peak crankshaft horsepower (123.3 hp at 13,500 rpm) as the previous version, but they claim wet weight has been reduced from 432 pounds (196 kg) to approximately 413 pounds (187 kg), a reduction of nearly 20 pounds, giving it the best power-to-weight ratio in the 600cc sportbike class.

Suzuki has been repositioned the engine in a new twin-spar, aluminum-alloy frame, rotating it rearward 3 degrees around its output shaft, which in turn allows for a shorter (front-to-back) and lighter (by nearly three pounds) frame and a 15mm shorter wheelbase while maintaining the current swingarm length. The swingarm is now made with three pieces (instead of five) that are formed using a gravity casting process that allows more flexibility in the shaping of the parts without compromising rigidity, according to Suzuki.

The rear suspension layout is largely the same as seen on the previous GSX-R600, but the shock has some minor refinements (1 mm shorter shock length, 1 mm more shock stroke) and the material of the spring seat is now aluminum instead of steel, saving 90 grams. The bigger suspension news, however, is that the newest Suzuki comes with 43mm fully-adjustable Showa BPF (Big Piston Front) dampers at the front, which have several advantages including a weight savings of nearly two pounds, according to Suzuki.

Wheel sizes are the same as before, 3.50 x 17.0-inch front and 5.50 x 17.0-inch rear aluminum alloy units, but smaller-diameter axles allow for smaller wheel hubs, saving a total of 596 grams of unsprung weight between both axles and hubs. But that weight reduction is tiny compared to the nearly nine pounds the GSX-R600 lost from its bodywork and headlight assembly.

The seating position has also been revised with a narrower seat (seat height is still 31.8 inches/810 mm), rearsets that are still three-way adjustable but lighter, clip-ons that have been rotated outward slightly and a new, lower shape to the rear of the fuel tank, which still holds 4.49 gallons (17 liters) for the 49-state model or 4.22 gallons (16 liters) for the California model.

One of the biggest visual differences identifying the new bike, however, are the radial-mount, aluminum-alloy, four-piston, monoblock Brembo front brake calipers, which not only improve braking performance and feel, according to Suzuki, but save another 413 grams thanks in part to hollow mounting bolts.

The new 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $11,599 and should start arriving in dealerships in February 2011.

The new 2011 Suzuki GSX-R750 also loses approximately 20 pounds (9 kg) from its predecessor, dropping from 436 pounds (198 kg) wet to 416 pounds (189 kg) wet. As before, the GSX-R750 is nearly identical to the GSX-R600 except for different color schemes, a larger (70.0 mm x 48.7 mm bore x stroke, 12.5:1 compression ratio) and more powerful (147.9 crankshaft horsepower at 13,200 rpm) engine and a slightly higher MSRP, $11,999.