Suzuki carries over its proven GSX-R600 into MY2023 with naught but a new colorway to set it apart from the previous year. As usual, it comes built as a race bike, but with good street manners and road-legal lighting to cover a wide swath of the supersport market.
The powerful plant reprises its role to drive the bike and your imagination with crisp acceleration, a broad powerband, and some ride-control electronic goodies to help you keep it all under control. Solid underpinnings deliver a nimble ride with race-worthy suspension, steering damper support, and top-shelf braking components.
The Gixxer family has a long and distinguished history that started way back in 1985 with the game-changing GSX-R750 that launched a legacy. This family covers a range of displacements from the midrange up into literbike territory, so you can get just exactly what is right for your riding style and racing aspirations.
The 2023 Suzuki GSX-R600 produces 124 horsepower and 51.3 pound-feet of torque. These are the claimed figures, and as usual, measured at the shaft before factoring in mechanical losses in the drivetrain.
Power comes from a transverse-mount, inline-four engine that relies on liquid cooling to deal with the waste heat; a feature that guarantees a certain amount of thermal stability, even under harsh conditions. It’s an oversquare mill with a 67 mm bore and 42.5 mm stroke that gives it a 599 cc displacement and speecy-spicy 12.9-to-1 compression ratio that’ll demand high-octane go-go juice.
A fuel-injected throttle body controls induction and comes equipped with Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve feature that has a second, computer-controlled set of valves on the downstream side of the rider-controlled butterflies to reconcile the difference between pilot demand and powerplant capability. This gives it buttery-smooth transitions with no stumbles or hiccups anywhere in the rev range.
Power flows through a slip-and-assist clutch for some backtorque-mitigation action that prevents the rear end from breaking loose on hard downshifts and decisive engine-braking events. A six-speed, constant-mesh transmission and tough, O-ring chain-and-sprocket final drive turn out a GSX-R600 top speed right around the 155 MPH mark. Suzuki’s Drive Mode Selector provides quick personality changes that let you switch things up with a push of a button.
Here we find the only difference between this year and the last on the GSX-R600. A new trio of colorways offers a couple of subtle, low-key paint packages and a race livery-inspired package that is a bit more eye-catching than the others to be sure.
Dual halogen headlights ride in the nose in a stacked configuration that contributes to the Gixxer’s narrow entry. The front blinkers are also non-LED bulbs, and they come integrated with the mirrors that not only make them more visible to traffic due to their height but also let you remove mirrors and blinkers at once when setting up for race days.
A small bubblescreen parts the wind, but you’ll have to just about put your chin on the tank to find it. That’s fine, even expected, with a racebike, but will be wearisome to keep up for a more casual rider.
The 4.2-gallon fuel tank rocks a broad flange up top with a strong wane toward the rear to form the knee pocket and allow for a narrow waist. This thing is also set up to allow for the full range of body English moves, which is just the thing for proper racebikes and enthusiastic public-road riders alike. Naturally, the leading part of the seat is also heavily pared down to contribute to the skinny waist, so your legs have a nice straight shot to the ground when you put your feet down.
If you’re into sharing the fun with a friend I have good news ’cause the GSX-R600 rolls with a stock pillion pad. You can easily remove the usual fold-up foot pegs when trying to get down to race weight.
The taillight rides in the tip of the tail and has the only LED emitters on the whole bike with an LED brake/tail emitter. On either side of the taillight are the recessed rear turn signals for a nice, clean look. A bolt-on mudguard mounts the plate and tag light to complete the gear in the rear.
|Suzuki GSX-R600 Specs|
|Length||79.9 in.(2,030 mm)|
|Width||44.7 in.(1,135 mm)|
|Seat Height||31.9 in.(810 mm)|
|Wheelbase||54.5 in.(1,385 mm)|
|Ground Clearance||5.1 in.(130 mm)|
|Fuel Capacity||4.5 US gal. (17.0 L) / 4.2 US gal. (16.0 L) CA model|
|Curb Weight||187 kg (412 lb.)|
The factory uses an aluminum-alloy, twin-spar style perimeter frame on the GSX-R600 that hangs the engine as a stressed member to complete the structure and bring it to its designed rigidity. A cast aluminum swingarm completes the bones.
At the steering head, we find an electronically-controlled steering damper that takes the brunt of the kickback with event-based damping. A dead-short, 23.45-degree rake angle joins with 3.82 inches of trail to make for a very nimble setup indeed.
The inverted Showa Big Piston forks come with the full trinity of tweaks, like the Showa shock out back, all of which are race-centric suspension components set up with the demands of track use in mind. Suspension travel measures 4.7 inches ahead of 5.1 inches to leave plenty of room to squat in the corners and absorb whatever abuse you dish out, even in the roughest urban jungle.
To keep unsprung weight and gyroscopic forces low, the factory uses a 17-inch, three-spoke, cast-alloy wheel that comes shod in a 120/70 up front and 180/55 out back, all in a “Z” speed rating that will tolerate maximum speed with no problem. Dual, four-bore Brembo binders and dual, 310 mm discs slow the front wheel, while out back, a single-piston Nissin caliper takes care of business. There’s no ABS coverage, so you’ll have to rely on skill alone.
|Chassis & Suspension|
|Frame||Twin-spar aluminum alloy frame|
|Front Suspension/ Travel||Showa Big Piston Front Fork (BPF) Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/ 4.7 in.|
|Rear Suspension/ Travel||Link type, single Showa shock, coil spring, oil damped/5.1 in.|
|Front Wheel||Three-spoke, cast alloy|
|Rear Wheel||Three-spoke, cast alloy|
|Front Tire||120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless|
|Rear Tire||180/55ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless|
|Front Brake||Dual Brembo 310 mm, 4-piston caliper|
|Rear Brake||Nissin single disc, single-piston caliper|
The 2023 Suzuki GSX-R600 costs $11,699. You can choose between Glass Sparkle Black/Glass Matte Mechanical Gray and Pearl Brilliant White/Metallic Matte Stellar Blue. If you fancy the Metallic Triton Blue/Metallic Mystic Silver, it’s sold under the GSX-R600Z moniker and rolls for $11,799.
|Pricing & Features|
|Warranty||12-month limited warranty|
|└ 2015||Metallic Triton Blue / Pearl Glacier White, Pearl Bracing White / Glass Sparkle Black|
|└ 2016||Metallic Triton Blue, Pearl Mira Red / Metallic Matte Black No. 2|
|└ 2017||Metallic Triton Blue, Glass Sparkle Black / Marble Daytona Yellow, Metallic Matte Black No. 2 / Glass Sparkle Black|
|└ 2018||Metallic Triton Blue, Metallic Mystic Silver/Pearl Glacier White, Metallic Oort Grey No. 3|
|└ 2019, 2020||Glass Sparkle Black, Pearl Glacier White|
|└ 2021||Pearl Brilliant White|
|└ 2022||Glass Matte Mechanical Gray / Pearl Brilliant White, Glass Blaze Orange / Glass Sparkle Black|
|└ 2023||Pearl Brilliant White / Metallic Matte Stellar Blue, Glass Sparkle Black / Glass Matte Mechanical Gray (R600Z: Metallic Triton Blue)|
|└ 2016, 2017||$11,199|
|└ 2019, 2020||$11,399|
|└ 2023||$11,699 (R600Z: $11,799)|
The 2023 Suzuki GSX-R600 falls out at the top of its displacement bracket, and like with the bigger bikes, it’s a game of inches and ounces at this point. With that in mind, I went to longtime domestic foe Honda for its own version of a mid-size, street-legal racebike in the CBR600RR mode.
Honda draws on its own racing experience for the layout here, and so the bodywork is the genuine article. However, I can’t imagine why Honda mounted separate blinkers and mirrors rather than integrating them like with the Suzuki.
Suspension is a wash with fully-adjustable inverted stems all around, same with the dual four-piston calipers with no ABS in sight. The Honda CBR600RR produces 113 ponies and 48.7 pounds o’ grunt to fall a tad short of Suzuki’s numbers, though if you aren’t actually racing the thing, does it really matter? I’m thinking not so much.
Q: How much does GSX-R600 cost?
The 2023 Suzuki GSX-R600 comes in two two-tone colorways starting at $11,699: Pearl Brilliant White and Metallic Matte Stellar Blue or Glass Sparkle Black and Glass Matte Mechanical Gray. It also comes in a race livery, Metallic Triton Blue, as the GSX-R600Z for $11,799.