Having spent years in the superbike wilderness, Suzuki needed to come up with a new flagship for their ever popular GSX-R range. In 2001 they answered the prayers of those who’d been praying for an R1 beater with the GSX-R1000.
The GSX-R1000K1 was an all-new model, completing a GSX-R range that included a 600 and 750. Seventeen years on, it’s now a genuine classic of the new millennium. The 988cc inline four fuel injected engine produced a massive 160bhp and it tipped the scales at 170 kilos. Its looks haven’t aged that badly, mostly thanks to the clean cut paint jobs. Suzuki have given us a GSX-R1000 ever since, although the current L8 model shares nothing other than its name with the original ‘Gixxer Thou’.
What’s it like to ride?
For a full on sports machine the GSX-R1000K1 is pleasantly comfy, it’s a big bike with a seat height of 830mm. Both the rider and pillion seat pads are a decent size for a race replica focused bike. The alloy frame is wide and so too is the fuel tank that sits upon it. The bars are even set in a semi sensible position, unlike the rear sets which, in typical GSX-R fashion they are a tad on the high side. On the move you can’t fail to be impressed by the torque of the engine, there’s useable power from tickover upwards. The fairing is generous in size, but the standard screen is quite low. Perfect for the track, but less useful for popping to the shops. Suzuki stuck with the tried and tested Tokico six pots for the GSX-R1000K1-K2, it’s a shame because once they lose their shine they let the side down with their lack of bite.
What to look for when you’re buying one?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, Sales Manager at Wheels Motorcycles, a Suzuki dealership in Peterborough. He says: “Interest in this model is on the up and so too are the prices. The earliest bikes are now 17 years old, but if they’ve been looked after this shouldn’t put you off. Bikes with non-standard paint jobs might look flash but the chances are they’ve seen some action. The frame is big and strong, but so are the upside down forks. Any crash damaged bikes could easily transfer the impact into the main frame, meaning polished or painted frames are best avoided. Suzuki added a gold anodised coating to the stanchions of the forks, it wasn’t a great idea. It does look good, but it wore away very quickly and although it doesn’t affect the suspension in anyway, it’s just a purely cosmetic issue. Not too many bikes retain their standard exhausts, quality replacements can add value and performance, less so stumpy end cans. The overall finish was pretty high, if any components are going to show their age it’ll be the paint on the wheels and the finish on the top yoke. Blue and white bikes are the most common, the rarer red and black finished bikes are becoming harder to find.”
What to look for?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson from Grumpy 1260, they service and repair motorcycles at their Norfolk based shop. He added: “The early GSX-R1000 appeals to a wide audience, we have customers who use them for track days, drag racing and riding to work. They are very versatile. The weak spots are related to age and poor maintenance with the front six pots being the weakest link. We tend to fit the Tokico four pot calipers from the GSX-R750Y to any GSX-R1000K1/2 models with iffy six pots. We also suggest fresh braided brake hoses and new pads. Discs can tend to warp, although there’s no shortage of aftermarket items to pick from. Power Commanders can release extra bhp, yet bigger gains can be had by investing in dyno time to see how the bike is fuelling. It’s not all about the bhp numbers. The forks from later models with radial brake calipers can also be retro fitted to the K1/K2 models without too much aggravation.”