Fashion, politics and musical taste have divided opinions since the dawn of time. And they’re likely to ‘till the end of time, too. But there’s one thing that every single person in the entire world can agree on; and that’s that the old GSX-R1000 is exactly that – ‘old’ – and we’re all desperate for a new one. And whilst Suzuki might have listened, I think they’ve misunderstood. Because just this morning, they’ve announced this, the GSX-R1000R Phantom. It’s a lovely looking thing, with a fresh matt black livery, but it’s not a new GSX-R1000.
You might remember the ‘Phantom’ version of the K6 Gixxer Thou’, which this one has been built in a very similar vein to. It comes with a Yoshimura exhaust, this time with an R11 silencer, and a bunch of genuine accessories. There’s nothing particularly performance enhancing, but it all looks very nice. It’s stuff like brake and clutch lever guards, tank pad, fuel cap trim and a double-bubble screen.
And if you like gold wheels and gold forks, you’re onto a winner with the GSX-R1000R Phantom. And it’ll only cost you £17,499 (the standard GSX-R1000R is £16,999).
But I don’t think that’s enough for anyone to really get excited about. It’s certainly not enough for me to get excited about. Because you can throw as many genuine parts at the Gixxer as you want, it’s still not going to be able to compete with the Panigales, the RSV-4s and the S 1000 RRs of this world. It’s been (getting on for) five years since Suzuki’s flagship sportsbike had an overhaul and that’s too long.
Particularly when you consider the fact that they are (at the time of writing) reigning MotoGP Champions. How is it that they’re capable of building one of the best racebikes in the world (arguable the best all-rounder on the MotoGP grid), but their consumer product is, compared to the competition, below par?
Don’t get me wrong, the current Gixxer Thou’ is a good bike. It’s fast, comfortable, and almost always does what you want it to. But it doesn’t really stand out in any way, when you put it up against the competition. There is no real ‘X-Factor’ to it.
So come on Suzuki, stop playing silly buggers. When we say we want a ‘new’ GSX-R1000, we mean we want a new one, not a parts-bin special; because there isn’t really anything special about that. You’re MotoGP Champions for Christ sake.
I don’t think it’s too much to ask. All we want is better electronics, better brakes and a genuine 200bhp+ engine. We all know you can build it, so please, please, please, don’t make us wait any longer.