Summer Project: Suzuki GSX-R600

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Summer Project Suzuki GSX-R600

Bound for the north but not before selecting the proper summertime two-wheeled companion – a Suzuki GSX-R600 should do just fine.

After learning of a temporary relocation up to northern California for the summer (Silicon Valley to be exact), we were instantly excited about the magnitude of projects this opportunity presented. Loaded with many nearby canyon and mountain roads, technical race tracks with beautiful surroundings, long stretches of desert highway and diverse cityscapes, the Bay Area offers a new setting for RideApart to test a bike capable of taking advantage of this new set of offerings. A wide range of riding gear and bike modifications could also be fully exercised with such diverse riding conditions available. The critical question at hand was to determine which 2014 model would best handle these environments.

Summer Project Suzuki GSX-R600

Given the availability of multiple, highly-regarded race tracks within an hour or two (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Sonoma Raceway and Thunderhill Raceway Park), a sportbike was the obvious format. Due to the notoriously tight mountain roads, narrow city streets (where lane splitting is legal, common and a necessity) and requirement to get creative when parking, a compact and smaller displacement bike would be ideal. This brings us to the middleweight supersport class. Comprising this ballot are the big four Japanese contenders including the Honda CBR600RR, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R600 and Yamaha YZF-6R, Britain’s heavy hitter – the Triumph Daytona 675, as well as the Ducati 899 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 Italian exotics. Having road and track tested each model in the past, we felt there was only one clear candidate for the job. The Italian exotics are awesomely beautiful bikes and very pronounced in their actions but are less relevant to the common sportbike rider. The Daytona 675 is one of the most fun bikes out there but the lack of prevalent aftermarket options had us hesitant.  This brings us to the Land of the Rising Sun where the YZF-R6 is all too common, the CBR600RR is a bit under powered and the ZX-6R is sometimes deemed a “cheater bike” with its 636cc powerplant. In our minds, the best overall candidate for this position received the nod; the 2014 Suzuki GSX-R600.

Summer Project Suzuki GSX-R600

The 2014 Suzuki GSX-R600 is one of the most versatile sportbikes on the market this year. The highly refined, compact and rigid GSX-R chassis allows for an extremely planted ride. Complimenting a nearly best-in-class curb weight of 412lbs, the ergonomics and geometry of the bike allow for a feather-light feel on the bars both around city streets and canyon roads at highway speeds. The bike flicks into corners with ease and provides excellent feedback instilling comfort and confidence. When this speed needs to be shed in a hurry, the Brembo binders take care of this quite nicely; an easy yet deliberate squeeze of the right-hand lever translates into smooth, linear braking. Also via the right-hand clip-on, the rider can cycle through the secondary information displayed on the instrument cluster such as overall mileage, two trip odometers, the lap timer and clock by use of the thumb without having to take a hand off the throttle. The instrument display is very well organized with digits easy to read at a quick glance including the large gear selection indicator and analog-style tachometer. Though the motor may not put up top dyno figures right out of the box, it has been known to respond very well to aftermarket engine modifications which we fully intend to prove.

Summer Project Suzuki GSX-R600

Over the course of the next few months, we are going to be documenting our process of exploring the GSX-R’s capabilities in the northern California landscape. Everything from road and track testing performance reviews, riding gear evaluation and modification installation how-to’s will be covered. It’s going to be a busy summer but someone has to do it and the GSX-R600 has been recruited to be a part of the team. Stay tuned for each step of the sportbike summer in Silicon Valley.

Gear:

Helmet: Arai Signet-Q Abraham

Jacket: Alpinestars Atem

Pants: Icon Strongarm 2

Gloves: Alpinestars GP Tech

Boots: Alpinestars S-MX Plus

[Photos by: Ryan Skut]

What would you like to see us add or do on our project bike?

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  • Dan

    Here’s my vote. Keep your modifications basic: sticky tires, basic crash protection (case covers, etc.), and maybe steel brake lines. No reason to document how to extensively farkleize a 3-year old platform — that ground is already well-worn. But what you have there is an incredibly capable supersport machine. Start club racing and tell us about your experience! Bonus points if you’ve never raced before.

    • zedro

      I’m thinking club racing story articles (it was great!) might make for less interesting print?

      • Dan

        I agree that there’s a challenge to keeping racing stories interesting, but the magic is in the details. I found the articles about that guy Sam and his SV races to be pretty neat. Plus I think the development of someone who hadn’t really raced before is an interesting angle. Always interesting to see the progression.

        Anyway, I think you have to race this thing because anything else is a waste of the bike’s potential. Commuting? Better options abound. Canyons? It’s like a race track except you’re going slow and there is oncoming traffic. Wheelieing your borrowed GSXR on public roads while wearing jeans? Bad for the cause :)

  • Innis O’Rourke
    • Ezekiel Wheeler

      Hi Innis,
      An update is right around the corner! Thanks for checking in!

  • Samushko L Tangerine

    You guys aren’t worried about the image problem? In the UK, GSXR riders do not enjoy a reputation as upstanding citizens, and I understand it’s a similar situation in the States.

    • Charlie

      Bikers in general do not enjoy a reputation as upstanding citizens -,ride my friend -ride.

  • Gordon Pull

    Lot’s of riding up here! Look me up!

  • Ayabe

    Daytona would be boring to mod as it’s already “perfect”.

    :P

  • Mr.Paynter

    Rattle-can it black to avoid the squimage (squid-image) and thrash the crap out of it.

    • Mr.Paynter

      *tongue-firmly-in-cheek

  • Diego Martinez

    You chose the wrong bike. Better a GSX-R750. Then go hunt liter bikes at the track.

  • Scott Saunders

    I suggest that if you do any engine/exhaust performance mods, that you do before and after dyno tests to quantify any improvement. None of that “it feels better” nonsense, unless, of course, you’re talking about suspension or adding a new seat.

  • Wtfnow

    Yeah because you never heard of the 750