JIMS 2008: SUZUKI MOTORCYCLES Updated range grabs the headlines
Suzuki South Africa is marking its motorcycle presence at the 2008 Johannesburg International Motor Show with an exhilarating array of its latest models – including the most thrilling evolutions yet of the iconic GSX-R range.
On a more pragmatic level, the new EN125 on display provides a sensible commuting and delivery solution that’s both light on the pocket and exceptionally easy to ride.
And if getting out and dirty is your thing, the range-topping LTA750X quad will open up a host of exciting new all-terrain adventure opportunities.
Suzuki is a trend-setter in the motorcycle and ATV market, and the latest offerings on display at JIMS 2008 certainly open a whole new world of action and excitement – it’s the Suzuki ‘Way of Life!’.
GSX-R: The legend continues
For decades, the Suzuki GSX-R has set the benchmark for the supersport class, and the 2009 evolution of this legendary model range takes this domination to new levels.
As evident with the GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 display models, the most striking aspect of the exciting GSX-R line-up is the edgy new styling, endowing these models with an even more aggressive appearance than ever before.
The new models are distinguished by a wider arrow-like headlight design that adds an even greater sense of speed and poise to Suzuki’s flagship range.
In addition, a range of cosmetic revisions, a set of bold new colour schemes, a lighter sculpted fuel tank, MotoGP-derived low-slung titanium exhausts, an on-board lap timer and revised Suzuki Drive Mode Selector controls give the K9 GSX-R its unique stand-out appeal.
The mighty GSX-R1000K9, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show only weeks ago, will not be shown at JIMS. But Suzuki SA has confirmed that the newcomer will be released locally early in the new year.
Beneath the skin, the mighty GSX-R1000K9 raises the performance bar even further for the one-litre class, featuring a raft of technical upgrades that endow it with unrivalled racetrack-dominating credentials.
The K9 version of the GSX-R1000 boasts an all-new engine, encompassing a more over-square bore and stroke (74,5 x 57,3 mm), larger titanium valves, and a higher compression ratio (12,8:1 as opposed to the K8’s 12,5:1).
Twelve-hole fuel injectors deliver a finer fuel mist for more complete combustion. Furthermore, the extremely compact engine is 59 mm shorter front to rear.
The revisions also extend to the MotoGP-inspired chassis, which uses a shorter twin-spar cradle frame, mated to a longer, arched swingarm made of three castings.
As if that wasn’t enough, the new model incorporates Showa’s latest endurance race-proven Big Piston Forks (BPF), matched to a modified, lighter rear shock absorber that features high and low-speed compression damping for superb feedback and response.
Additionally, the wheelbase is also shortened by 10 mm – all of which conspires to make the GSX-R1000K9 the complete sports package.
The GSX-R750 and GSX-R600 featured at JIMS 2008 mirror the cosmetic updates of the flagship model, allied to striking new colour schemes – including model-specific use of Pearl Mirage White.
As the ‘original’ race replica, the GSX-R750K9 has a proud and proven pedigree, and it remains one of the most accomplished sports bikes around. The race-honed 749 cc four-cylinder engine is engineered for high performance, and is capable of revving to 15 000 r/min.
Employing technology drawn from the top-line GSX-R1000, the 750 features the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) that offers instantaneous switching between three engine maps.
Highly regarded by sports bike riders and endurance racers around the world, it’s easy to see why the GSX-R750 remains the one to beat.
The GSX-R600K9 may be the ‘junior’ model in the line-up, but there’s nothing entry-level about this potent 599 cc supersport model which is capable of revving to a heady 16 000 r/min, and produces lightning-quick performance.
As with the bigger-engined models, the rider is able to select between power delivery modes via the S-DMS system, but it’s the bike’s remarkable agility, low weight (with a kerb mass of just 196 kg) and instinctive control that allow it to really stand out as the pick of the 600 supersport bunch.
The GSX-R range already defines the industry standard, but the latest upgrades to this famous model line strike an even more confident pose as Suzuki’s supreme supersport torch-bearers for the 2009 model year.
EN125: Sense and sensibility
Suzuki has expanded its offerings in the commuter and delivery motorcycle segment with the latest version of the EN125.
Matching affordability with easy-riding characteristics, this entry-level model makes perfect sense in a highly congested and increasingly environmentally-sensitive world.
The combination of a single-cylinder 124 cc air-cooled engine and five-speed transmission may not be the ultimate contender in a traffic light drag race, but it’s certainly a winner when it comes to efficient and frugal running, as well as unrivalled reliability.
With an electric starter and a net weight of just 112 kg, the EN125 is hard to beat for control and manoeuvrability, while the modern styling gives it an upbeat appearance.
LTA750X: Dirt delight
Heading off the beaten track has never been more capable, confidence-inspiring or alluring than with Suzuki’s LTA750X – the Japanese manufacturer’s top-of-the-range mountain-conquering all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
Highlighting a new set of graphics and colour schemes, including dramatic Black Brushed Metal, the LTA750X is the mightiest of Suzuki’s ATV models. It is powered by a muscular 722 cc liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder fuel-injected engine that delivers strong power and substantial low to midrange torque throughout the power curve.
Building on the LTA’s boundless performance, the efficient fully automatic QuadMatic CVT (continuously variable transmission) uses a durable V-belt and centrifugal clutch to deliver smooth, easily controlled performance, which is ideal for tackling arduous off-road terrain. The transmission allows both high-range and low-range driving modes.
The LTA’s advanced engine braking system helps the transmission control vehicle speed by minimising free-wheeling during descents, while a gate-style drive mode selector lets the rider easily and securely select low or high range, as well as neutral or park settings.
Further bolstering off-road performance is a torque-sensing Sure-Track front differential. This can be set in three drive modes via a handlebar-mounted button to select 2WD, 4WD or differential-locked 4WD.
Building on this impressive all-round competence is a fully independent and preload-adjustable suspension, ensuring that the LTA750X enjoys an exceptionally wide breadth of capabilities.