- One of the best-handling sportbikes ever
- Superbly balanced performance
- Light weight
- No real updates since 2011
- A bit pricey
- No quickshifter
The GSX-R600 may be getting long in the tooth, but the middleweight Suzuki is still one of the best choices in the supersport class. The combination of light weight, strong engine, solid chassis, excellent suspension, and good brakes are tough to beat.
Ever since its “real” debut in 1997 (Suzuki made a half-hearted attempt at a GSX-R600 in 1992-93 that was essentially just a debored/destroked GSX-R750), the GSX-R600 has been a top contender in the middleweight supersport class. Although there haven’t been any updates since 2011, the GSX-R600 can still hold its own when it comes to outright performance. No flashy electronic rider aids (save for the S-DMS drive modes, which are really just different power levels), just solid engineering that allows a rider to get from point A to point B in the least amount of time.
Updates for 2021
There are no updates to the GSX-R600 for 2021, except a limited 100th Anniversary Edition livery.
Pricing and Variants
The 2021 Suzuki GSX-R600 has an MSRP of $11,449, while the 100th Anniversary Edition comes in a touch higher at $11,599.
The Suzuki GSX-R’s direct competition now only consists of the Honda CBR600RR and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, although other comparable bikes include the Yamaha R7, Ducati Supersport 950/S, Triumph Daytona Moto2 765 (see MC’s Adam Waheed talk about his ride on the Triumph), Aprilia RS 660, and MV Agusta F3 800.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The GSX-R600′s 599cc DOHC inline-four engine was last updated in 2011 for better midrange performance (lighter pistons with higher compression, new cams, pentagonal crankcase vent holes, etc.), and it definitely delivers without affecting top-end power. Gear selection entering corners isn’t as critical, and the added midrange permits easier and better drives off the corner exits. Speaking of top-end, when Sport Rider magazine ran the 2013 GSX-R600 on its dyno, the result was 104.6 hp at 13,700 rpm with a peak torque reading of 44.4 pound-feet at 11,500 rpm. A new lighter transmission with closer-ratio gears installed in the 2011 updates makes it easier to keep the engine on the boil.
The latest-generation GSX-Rs have always been known for their impeccable handling, and the GSX-R600 is no exception. The 2011 upgrades included a new frame and swingarm, along with a Showa BPF Big Piston Fork and revised shock settings. This adds up to a bike with quick yet sure-footed turn-in and excellent feedback from both ends at all phases of cornering on the street and track.
Radial-mount Brembo four-piston calipers (the first time a Japanese manufacturer used the respected Italian brand on a production bike) and 310mm discs were also part of the 2011 makeover. Braking performance is as you’d expect: excellent.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
There are no miles per gallon figures available for the 2021 Suzuki GSX-R600.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
The GSX-R600 is a supersport machine, so the ergonomics are decidedly more race-oriented than other bikes, with clip-on bars and rearset footpegs putting the rider in an aggressive riding posture. Three-way position footpeg brackets allow some changes for legroom. Passenger accommodations are the usual supersport fare, i.e., not much more than an afterthought.
The 2021 Suzuki GSX-R600 is one of the few “old school” sportbikes available, in that there are no fancy electronic rider aids (other than the S-DMS drive modes, which are little more than different overall power levels), no ABS, and no ride-by-wire throttle system (the throttle is still cable-operated). The dash still includes a round analog tachometer that is easier to see at a glance than any flat display.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The 2021 GSX-R600 comes with Suzuki’s standard one-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Longer coverage periods with extended benefits are available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP).
Suzuki has always been one of the higher quality manufacturers out there, and the GSX-R600 continues that tradition. The addition of Brembo brake calipers up front and Showa BPF fork only add to that higher-end feel.
2021 Suzuki GSX-R600 Claimed Specifications
|Engine:||599cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four; 16 valves|
|Bore x Stroke:||67.0 x 42.5mm|
|Fuel Delivery:||SDTV electronic fuel injection w/ 40mm throttle bodies|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiple disc; cable operation|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||Transistorized w/ electronic advance|
|Frame:||Twin-spar aluminum chassis|
|Front Suspension:||41mm Showa BPF inverted fork, fully adjustable; 4.7 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Showa shock, fully adjustable; 5.1 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Brembo 4-piston radial-mount caliper, dual 310mm discs|
|Rear Brake:||Brembo 1-piston slide-pin caliper, 220mm disc|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Cast aluminum, 3.50 x 17 in. / 5.50 x 17 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||120/70ZR-17 / 190/50ZR-17|
|Ground Clearance:||5.1 in.|
|Seat Height:||31.9 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.5 gal. (4.2 gal. CA model)|
|Wet Weight:||412 lb.|