It is surprisingly how many people ask me what I would buy, if I, wanted to buy a secondhand motorcycle. My first question is what is your budget, second, I would try to explain that I not bought much secondhand bikes. But if I think back of motorcycles I really loved in my biking history, I sometimes think back to 2001, when Suzuki introduced the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
The Suzuki GSX-R1000, upon its launch in 2001, it swept all liter bikes before it. Until 2007 it had that magical state for of being untouchable. And so six years later it is still arguably the best of the liter sport bike brood, but how does it handle in the fiercely fought second-hand sector?
First, it's funny how the original 2001 GSX-R1000 now looks next to the newer and silky-smooth GSX-R1000 K7, or the latest Yamaha R1 and Honda Blade. But half a decade or more ago this was the latest 'big thing', a machine which made the likes of liter bikes we now see on the road.Its 988cc engine produced more power than the opposition, the chassis handled like a razor sharp 750 superbike and the looks were very GSX-R. Little wonder it was a massive worldwide success.
Subsequent models have built on this solid bedrock. Never 2003 and 2005 versions have worked on the waistline and beefed up the power.
For noise, some owners complain that they experience a tappet-like noise on K3/K4s between 3000 to 7000rpm. Don't worry, it's all part of the GSX-R's power magic and character. These engines are build with rocket science.
The gearboxes are solid, as you'd expect from Suzuki. However, some GSX-R1000 K3 and K4 models suffer a little from clutch slip when hot. I hear of reports that grooves in the clutch basked can foul the plates, which may require a new clutch and basket. Later K5 or K6 models apparently benefit from lavish amounts of grease on the clutch lifter mechanism that slips into the clutch hub.
Like early Honda FireBlades some later Suzuki GSX-R1000's vary wildly when it comes to outright power output. Some dyno operators say that the K5's especially vary from anything between 150 and 170 horses on the rear wheel. The GSX-R1000, like most fuel-injected machines, benefit massively from decent dyno time and set-up with a Power Commander Improvements which can add around 5 to 10 brute horsepower the bike.
The downside of the early Suzuki GSX-R's is stopping power, the K1 and K2 models had braking pads and fluid overheating quickly and the only cure is softer pads and braided hoses. Things massively improved with the GSX-R1000 K3 and the K4's radial numbers. Currently Brembo has a perfect aftermarket solutions and braking is not a problem.
The Suzuki GSX-R1000 would be my secondhand bike, if I wanted to buy one. Fuel consumption is pretty good for such a performance machine. Mechanical the bike is strong, gearboxes are rock solid, clutches can be a bit grabby and there can be some corrosion problems if the bike's not properly looked after, but apart from that they're my choice for a secondhand bike.....