Well, the fug of excitement has now lifted. The sweaty leathers are packed away in the kit bag and I’m just about to have a shower and grab some grub. I’ve done five, twenty minute sessions on the 2011 GSX-R600 and this is my verdict.
600s aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure. They thrive on revs and have to be caned mercilessly (compared to a 1000cc sports bike) to get the best out of them – to extract that last drop of performance. Personally, for track use, I’d take a 600 anyday; there’s just something immensely satisfying about chasing those extra three, four, five hundred revs and making sure your corner entry speed is every km fast enough. And how nice a feeling is it to feel the throttle cables stretched to the max through every gear as a corner opens up?
Where a 1000 is doing everything it can to flip you like a cheese omelette, 600s are so much more forgiving and on a tight, flowing track like Almeria, every bit as fast. And let’s be honest, with modern 600s putting out the sort of power that would have humbled a litre bike of fifteen or twenty years ago. Isn’t that fast enough for you?
Let’s forget about the engine for a moment. The bulk of Suzuki’s development work has centred around the chassis side of things and making sure that weight is pared to the bone and what weight there is, is in the right place to achieve that tricky combination of handling balance. Personally I don’t care if the exhaust system is made from .2mm thinner wall tubing. I don’t care if the headlight is .4grammes lighter than its predecessor. All I want to know is does it all work any better.
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