Used Bike

Living with the first breed of GSX-R1000 is a lot easier than you think

But the madness that makes almost any other road vehicle's pace seem pedestrian by comparison can, with care and attention, be dished out more carefully. Select higher gears sooner by short-shifting and keep the tacho needle a little lower round its face and the GSX-R's motor can behave like a gent, making slower speeds straightforward and unintimidating. Chugging through towns or cruising along with no sense of urgency are calm and easy options.

The Suzuki's handling is just as versatile. It's quite a big bike physically by today's standards, but that can't disguise its light and flickable character. Carving through corners is an almost automated affair thanks to the racy spec of its chassis and suspension. And the standard-fitment steering damper makes even the fastest progress steady and stable at the front-end. Though it should be said that on a cold day the viscosity of its oil can make slower speed turns feel heavy and ponderous. Fitting an adjustable aftermarket damper makes life a lot easier.

Speaking of modifications, the standard brakes can benefit from a pad change and braided lines to improve power and feel. Without them, the stoppers can leave a little to be desired when you're riding hard.

Pushing on over longer distances isn't something most will need help with though. The roomy riding position is quite relaxing and the seat and fairing do a good job of making life on the Suzuki comfortable. Only the really gangly long-legged sorts will feel the need for rest, thanks to the fairly high-set footrests. The rest of us can tour far and wide without much need for impromptu resting. Good mirrors, decent underseat storage and bungee hooks all aid the civility and convenience of the bike still further.

The example we rode, a 52-reg, 4000 miler, had obviously benefited from a doting previous owner and was in mint condition. It was on sale for £6395 and a fine example of an exceptional motorcycle that's well worth a look.

Drawbacks aren't in too much evidence but still need to be noted. The main one is the expense of constant hard riding. Do that, and bills for tyres will be high and regular - not to mention speeding fines if you don't exercise a degree of self control. And insurance isn't exactly modestly priced either. In fact, it'll be tricky to get cover at all if you're under 25. Finally, the GSX-R's flimsy finish demands plenty of love and attention to keep it looking shiny and bright.

Verdict

Famous for its staggering performance the GSX-R1000 may be. But behind the supercar-slaying speed lurks a much more relaxed animal that fits into the real world quite nicely. And on that basis the rapid all-rounder might be a bit more suited to your needs than you'd expect.

Buying a used Suzuki GSX-R1000

What you need to know

  • Many have been  thrashed so inspect every bike carefully
  • Grabbing clutches can be cured by fitting a wave washer between the plates. See a Suzuki dealer
  • The titanium nitride coating on the forks can wear. This is only cosmetic and rarely causes any problems
  • Race cans can be fitted without altering the fuel-injection mapping. The ECU automatically compensates
  • If you fit a full race exhaust and remove the powervalve, re-route the wiring from its sensors. Otherwise, the injection system will not run perfectly
  • Power Commander or Yoshimura EMS units clean up the fuelling at low and medium rpm
  • The throttle cable connecting the twistgrip to the SDTV servo can break making the engine run rough
  • Finish is weak Stickers peel and the paint can chip easily.
  • Fit an adjustable steering damper to help low speed steering
  • Fit crash bungs and frame protectors.
  • If the fuel-injection warning light stays on after starting, the throttle position sensor needs changing.

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