Suzuki recently celebrated winning the International Motorcycle of The Year award for the fifth time from six years. A record in the 17 year history of the award.
In 1996 Suzuki won the award for the ground breaking GSX-R 750T and backed that up in 1997 with a win for the TL1000S. The amazing GSX1300R Hayabusa scooped the pool in 1999. With a genuine 150+ rear wheel horsepower on tap the Hayabusa was the world’s first production motorcycle to achieve speeds in excess of 300kph. Suzuki’s GSX-R 750 scored the award again with the heavily revised and improved 2000 model.
This time the award went to the GSX-R 1000. Widely hailed as the quickest production motorcycle on the planet, and one not for the feint at heart.
To cap all the IBOTY awards off Suzuki also can lay claim to having the biggest selling sportsbike of 2001 in Australian, and also leads the market with sales growth.
Suzuki’s share of the Australian motorcycle market grew by 19% last year; Yamaha also grew well with an increase of 12%. Both Honda and Kawasaki had their share of the market reduce by more than 10%.
I recently spent some time enjoying a GSX-R 1000. On the road the bike is a delight with an amazing engine that requires a minimum of work on the gear lever due to its immense reserves of torque at any revs. Combine that with sure-footed handling and it is easy to see why it has achieved the success it has.
The GSX-R 1000 is quite happy to be punted around at a sedate rate but start upping the pace and you really feel the capabilities of the machine, while also being loudly reminded of your own limitations. It really takes a rider with considerable skill to fully utilise the level of performance the GSX-R 1000 offers.
Suzuki have also recently experienced a great run of success on Australian racetracks with Shawn Giles winning back-to-back Australian SuperBike Championships.
Suzuki recently offered me a quick squirt onboard Shawn’s championship winning machine, which, of course, I gladly jumped at.
Of course, I took the utmost care of this incredible machine and never even tapped in to the slightest hint of its potential. Nonetheless, it was of course a great experience to have what is a true 180 rear wheel horsepower factory superbike underneath you. It also gave me a taste of just how good Shawn must be to able to hang on to such a missile, and all the while make it look so easy.
With the launch of the new 954 Fireblade, heavily improved R1 and new ZX-9R it will be interesting to see if Suzuki holds on to that #1 spot in the sportsbike market, but it will also come as no surprise if they manage to do exactly that.