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2016 Suzuki L7 GSX-R 1000

Devastated by the financial crisis of 2008, Suzuki has

been forced to sit by and watch as its rivals dominate the

superbike class. But now the plucky Japanese company

is ready to step back on the dance floor and boogie with

a brand new GSX-R1000, built from the ground up to put

the Big Gixxer back in contention at the pointy end of

the sportsbike market. Featuring a mechanical variable

valve timing system,

Suzuki is aiming to

engineer the L7 GSX-

R so well it doesn’t

need top-shelf

electronics like an

Inertial Measurement

Unit to compete.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7:

right side view Suzuki

GSX-R1000 L7: won’t

be released until the

second half of 2016

Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7:

brand new engine

complete with

mechanically

actuated variable valve timing Suzuki GSXR1000 L7: re-

developed from the ground up

Last time Suzuki did a ground-up redesign of its flagship

GSX-R1000 back in 2005, it broke

the superbike class right open.

There was no question, the K5

Gixxer Thou’ was the baddest

big-bore bitumen scalpel money

could buy. I remember flipping

through the magazine reviews

slack-jawed in wonder. My

favourite image of the bike

looked a lot like this one:

The copy said something like

“we’ve just laid out the bits we

changed,” thus throwing down

the challenge to see if you could

think of a single bit that was

missing from the picture. It was all very droll, but it got the

message across: this was revolution, not evolution.

The K5 Gixxer, from which the current model was

developed, still stands proud as a truly awesome bike,

but times have moved on as they must, and Suzuki’s

current GSX-R really can’t swing with today’s exotic

heavyweights. All the European brands have something

on the showroom floor that punches harder, and with

more finesse. Yamaha added fuel to the fire at last year’s

EICMA show with its

first 200-horsepower

R1, dripping with

MotoGP bits and

pieces. A new GSX-R is

long overdue.

And here it is – a

concept version,

anyway. The GSX-

R1000 L7 will be a 2017

model with (we

assume) a mid-2016

release date. And like

the K5, it’s been

redesigned from

scratch.

Suzuki says the L7 will be the lightest, the most powerful,

the most compact, the hardest accelerating and the

cleanest-running Gixxer ever to roll. The company makes

no bones about its ambition: it wants to take back its

“proper title of the King of Sportsbikes.”

To do so, it’s going to need to get up and over the 200-

horsepower mark, but Suzuki is making sure the new

Gixxer hits hard down low as well. The L7 will be the first

bike in the superbike class to feature variable valve

timing. The VVT system will use steel balls in grooves in the

intake cam sprockets that are moved outward by

centrifugal force as the revs come up to retard the intake

cam timing at high rpm. Thus, cam timing is optimized

differently for low and high rpm, giving strong low-end

torque but adding to the top-end rush. Peak rpm, and

thus top-end power is also higher thanks to a low-mass

finger follower valve train.

Electronics-wise, the Gixxer will get three drive modes

that change throttle response and fuel mapping. There’s

a 10-stage traction control system, an up/down