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2008 Suzuki GSX-R600 Review

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2008 Suzuki GSX-R600 Review

The Gixxer 600 on the track.

Photo © Brian J. Nelson

The Bottom Line

A middleweight that can prove its mettle on the track... just don't hit the street and underestimate its impressive performance.

Pros

  • 150 mph down the straight? Who needs a literbike!
  • Flickable handling
  • Powerful brakes with excellent feel

Cons

  • Focused for the track, but perhaps not quite as practical on the street
  • Improved mid-range torque, but you've still gotta rev for serious power
  • Not as torquey as bigger-engined middleweights

Description

  • MSRP: $9,399 ($9,799 for 2009 model)
  • 599cc, fuel-injected and liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder engine
  • 6-speed constant mesh transmission
  • Fuel capacity: 4.5 gallons
  • Seat height: 31.9 inches
  • Fully adjustable inverted 41mm Showa front forks
  • Electronically controlled steering damper
  • Braced aluminum alloy swingarm
  • Radially mount four-piston Tokico calipers up front, single-piston rear
  • Dry weight: 363 lbs, curb weight: 432 lbs

Guide Review - 2008 Suzuki GSX-R600 Review

Kissing upwards of 150 mph aboard the Suzuki GSX-R600 while barreling down the Auto Club Speedway straightaway, it may be hard to believe you need a literbike for hardcore speed. It may “only” be a 600, but this middleweight Gixxer packs plenty of oomph when you rev to its 16,000 rpm redline. Even better than its high-end powerband is what Suzuki engineers have eked out of the lower end, thanks to a new 8-nozzle injector, iridium spark plugs and forged aluminum pistons… okay, that may not keep you from dreaming about the GSX-R1000, but it’s certainly something to think about.

Like the Gixxer thou’, the GSX-R600 gets Suzuki’s Drive Mode Selector button which enables fuel injection mapping to be changed at the touch of a button. You may want the lower settings for rainy conditions, but you can always leave it in full “A” mode if you crave max horsepower all the time. The Gixxer 600 has gained 5-6 lbs for 2008 (due to stricter emissions requirements), but it’s more mass centralized than the outgoing model. A slipper clutch works well, though there's some feedback at the shift lever.

The GSX-R600 saddle is surprisingly soft, though it didn’t get much testing on the track; tossing the relatively small bike around the infield revealed responsive handling and, thanks to a dry weight of 363 pounds, the bike changed direction quickly and easily. An electronic steering damper aids stability and eliminates most wobbles. New four-piston Tokico brakes are remarkably effective, enabling later braking than seemed possible on certain sections of track.

It may not have the low-end torque of some slightly bigger displacement middleweights like the Triumph Daytona 675, but at the end of the day the best-selling Suzuki GSX-R600 is so much fun on the track that you might even find it to be a bit too much for the road.

Click here to see the 2008 Suzuki lineup

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