2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 revealed

It's new, honest.

SUZUKI has revealed the first pictures and details of its 2012 GSX-R1000 – and dashed any hopes of a revolutionary new superbike class leader in the process.

The new bike is comprised of a series of tweaks rather than a radical rethink. The key changes – most of which are under the almost unchanged exterior – include:

Better throttle response, acceleration and fuel efficiency thanks largely to a new exhaust with a single end can rather than two. Less weight, particularly at the back of the bike thanks to the single can, improves handling, too. Apparently.

Inside the motor, there are new pistons (11% lighter) with revised valve recesses. Wake up at the back. You probably don't want to know too much about the ventilation holes in the cylinder bores (pentagonal rather than rectangular, you know) which make the engine lighter and reduce pumping losses. New tappets and a higher compression ratio – 12.9:1 instead of 12.8:1 – just about round up the engine changes.

Chassis changes are limited to a switch to Brembo monobloc brakes, thinner discs, 7mm shorter forks with 5mm less stroke, a lighter front tyre and a lighter front axle. After that, changes turn from the slight to the minuscule, with tweaks like new seat coverings described as high-grip 'leather' in the offical press material, and a lighter wiring harness thanks to 'a new waterproofing method'. In total, a whole 2kg is shaved from the bike – most of it presumably in the new exhaust.

Exhaust aside, styling changes are limited to red pinstripes on the wheels, black fork legs and new GSX-R graphics with a bit more blue paint on the bodywork. Oh, and the rev counter is black now, instead of greyish.

And yes, a year or so ago we were told by a man in Japan that the 2012 GSX-R1000 would be amazing. Presumably this isn't the bike he was talking about...

With the 2012 GSX-R1000 now in the open, we've seen all the new Japanese 1000s – with Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki all tweaking their old designs for 2012, and Kawasaki sticking with its new-for-2011 machine for a second year. When it comes to the 1000cc class, the BMW S1000RR – also improved for 2012 – is looking like it will remain the four-cylinder superbike of choice. Those looking for a totally new superbike next year had better start queueing outside their local Ducati dealer for the Panigale.