While the off-beat, hi-tech Yamaha YZF-R1 brags of being a technology pioneer, the equally-new Suzuki GSX-R1000 looks like it might have something to say about that. Anyone who believes superbike progress has slowed to the superficial gain of a few revs, a speck more power and a scrap less weight would initially assume the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K10 proves the point perfectly.
And you couldn't blame them either. The Suzuki doesn't appear particularly new – it looks a lot like anything Suzuki GSX-R'er from the past few years, only now with a pair of enormous exhausts. And in the specification list we discover... not much other than a bit less weight. Certainly nothing that'd require a course of sedatives just to gaze at in a showroom. So you might be doubly upset to note that , while five kilos have been lost, some price increase has been added to the purchase. And then you'd ask why hand my money to Suzuki, who've apparently only had the apprentices working weekends, when you could give it to Yamaha who'd have you believe Valentino Rossi fine-tuned the new Yamaha YZF-R1 in between practice and MotoGP qualifying?
The truth, as always, is more complex. While the obvious cosmetic differences don't give much away, under the plastic sits the Suzuki GSX-R1000's biggest re-invention ever: a completely new engine, chassis, suspension and brakes. So is it a revolutionary revelation?
Hmm... not quite. But it's effective. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 K10 is an improvement on the previous, but it's not light years ahead – it doesn't feel like a total re-invention. What is not a bad thing, the new model is still a relatively comfortable sportbike. The adjustable pegs offer the most legroom of all liter bikes. The performance of the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 is like measuring the difference between two bullets, but the Suzuki GSX-R1000 feels potent, even against the on the market competition – more bottom-end than the Kawasaki Ninja ZX10,, more top-end than the Yamaha YZF-R1 and a more aggressive delivery than what you can buy from Honda on the grey-import market.