Review Suzuki GSX 600 F
The youngest face
The Suzuki GSX 600 F provides clear evidence of the capabilities of plastic surgery – thanks to extensive cosmetic retouching, the veteran machine is unrecognizable.
The bottom line is that the GSX 600 F has all the prerequisites to stand up to the competition, especially the CBR 600 F from Honda ”- this is how tester Mini Koch analyzed the chances of the then brand new Suzuki mid-range athlete in MOTORRAD 3/1988.
Ten years later, the said Honda, which has been modeled so many times by now, still ranks among the top of the 600 performance society, while the GSX 600 F has surrendered to the aging process without significant resistance and has turned its back on the role of the ambitious sporty spur over time.
Which does not mean that the “F” has lost its purpose over the years. On the contrary: Enough power for rapid progress, a chassis without serious weaknesses, a disguise against the worst, a purchase price that does not make you weak – with this range of products beyond all contemporary specialization and beyond serious competition, the GSX has survived well over the years.
In order to prevent the risk of regression through standing still – who knows how long the competitors in the upscale bread and butter segment will be asleep – Suzuki has now given the 600 F a spectacular facelift for the first time in its career.
Spectacular because at first glance the machine with its distinctive headlight glasses and the shapes that revel between Rubens and organic design looks like a completely new motorcycle. But it is also spectacular because the restyling of the design has a great appeal on the taste buds of the interested environment. According to the result of a non-representative survey, the approval rate is rather limited. To put it mildly.
Under its controversial shell, the GSX 600 F has remained the old one, apart from the fact that the engine has lost a nominal six horsepower “thanks” to the smaller carburettors and a four-in-one exhaust system. Nonetheless, the not exactly lightweight machine, weighing just under 230 kilograms, accelerates appropriately and easily surpasses the 200 km / h mark. On top of that, it does this without annoying you with annoying vibrations. So everything as usual.
Unfortunately – just like before – the performance of the four-cylinder engine in the lower half of its engine speed range is not far off. Only from 7000 rpm does the booth really come to life – shift-lazy driving and high driving dynamics cannot be reconciled with this drive. The fact that the engine also communicates with a stubbornly shifting six-speed transmission doesn’t make it any more tempting to get involved in its “sporty” way of developing power.
The bottom line is that it is easier to applaud the GSX-F’s user interface. The ergonomic conditions ensure a driving posture with a body size around sixty-eight with a slightly forward leaning upper body and relatively strongly angled lower legs – right for concentrated, concentrated corner robbery as well as for enduring kilometer-eating at high speeds. Smaller riders have to stretch a little towards the handlebars, but have secure ground under their feet when standing. The cladding, which offers the upper body good wind protection and protects the head area from turbulence, is met with unanimous approval. There are also satisfied expressions in view of the clearly arranged and appetizingly prepared cockpit and perfect handlebar fittings. Finally, praise can still be heard from the back row: There the F offers enough space for lasting two-way relationships.
The new GSX 600 F relies on long-standing technology for sustained and unclouded enjoyment of your driving performance potential. Only small corrections to the wheelbase (plus 40 millimeters), steering head angle (minus 0.6 degrees) and tire dimensions (120 / 70-17 and 150 / 70-17 instead of 110 / 80-17 and 140 / 80-17) mark the model change. Corrections, of course, which do not fail to have an effect: impurities in straight-line stability at high speeds and the tendency to self-steer on bumpy surfaces – both weak points of the previous model – are no longer an issue. The advantages of the F-chassis have remained: accurate, light-footed handling and immunity to course deviations when decelerating in an inclined position. The braking chapter in itself is not a glory: the front double disc system, now equipped with double-piston instead of four-piston calipers, requires a lot of manual effort and gives little feedback – sensitive metering is not an option.
R.The suspension elements, on the other hand, provide feedback on the current state of the road. Their response behavior is modest, and on top of that, the hindquarters are designed so tightly that something like suspension comfort is only achieved in pillion operation. When driving fast on really bad roads, it is not uncommon for the soloist to be catapulted from the bench as a plaything of mass forces. A consolation in this context: the gain in driving stability (see above) at least prevents the new GSX 600 F from running the risk of shaking its head on such occasions.
Clothes make motorcycles. Freshly thrown into the shell – whether you like it with its provocative curves or not – the outside of the GSX 600 F easily removes the burden of the years. Of course, the new appearance cannot hide the fact that its substance has remained the same. This is disappointing because the engine still has an inharmonious power delivery. But that’s also good because the chassis – not least thanks to conservative tire dimensions – has retained its old handling virtues on the one hand, but has overcome old stability problems on the other. Above all, however, because the use of long-standing technology enables pricing that makes it easy to ignore conceptual weaknesses. Jürgen Schmitz
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