Suzuki GSX-8R arrives to fight the Yamaha R7

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Featuring much of the same components as the GSX-8S but in a sportier, fully-faired package, the GSX-8R looks like a strong rival to the Yamaha R7 and Aprilia RS660

With the 600cc supersport market falling off a cliff in recent years, a growing number of sporty mini twins are emerging to fill the void. And now, there’s a new one – the Suzuki GSX-8R. 

It shares much in common with the GSX-8S, using Suzuki’s first all-new frame and fresh engine in years. That involves a tubular steel frame with a separate aluminium subframe, within which lives a 776cc parallel twin featuring – you guessed it – a 270-degree crankshaft, giving a V-twin-like offset firing order. Suzuki’s Cross Balancer keeps everything nice and smooth.

From there, though, the 8R starts to deviate. Let’s start with the obvious – there’s now a full fairing with a windscreen, albeit integrating the double-stacked headlight arrangement of the 8S. There are now separate forged aluminium handlebars (these can’t quite be described as clip-ons as they’re bolted to the top of the triple clamp) to give a sportier, forward riding position, but one that looks more akin to the Aprilia RS660 than the Yamaha R7 with its R6-like ergonomics. 

Suzuki claims the riding position offers a “plugged-in riding experience, while also offering comfort”. Given the additional wind protection of the fairing and windscreen, you might well be able to tour on the GSX-8S without regretting your bike choice, although the numb bum potential of the “slim” seat is something we’ll need to asses at a later stage. 

The new rider’s seat is said to be “designed for sporty riding,” supporting the rider at its rear edge while giving good freedom of movement. The height of the seat remains the same at 810mm.

To go with the updated ergo and new bodywork is a more focused suspension setup tuned for the increased front weight bias, with the KYB arrangement of the 8S switched for one from Showa. At the front is the company’s catchily named Separate Function Fork – Big Piston (or SFF-BP), while at the rear there’s a preload-adjustable monoshock from the same firm.

Sticking with the chassis, the brakes are the same as those fitted to the 8S, comprising twin four-piston Nissin callipers at the front working on 310mm discs, with a single, 240mm disc and a single-piston calliper at the rear. The cast wheels are shod in Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tyres measuring 120/70ZR17 at the front and 180/55ZR17 out back. 

Like the 8S (you’re sensing a theme here, aren’t you), there’s a Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (SDMS) with settings modes – A, B and C – for different throttle responses, three modes for the traction control and basic (not cornering) ABS. An up-and-down quickshifter is fitted as standard. 

Pricing hasn’t yet been revealed, but we’d expect it to be somewhere in the region of £9,000. This would make the GSX-8R more expensive than the Yamaha R7 and Honda CBR650R, but cheaper than an Aprilia RS660. 

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