December 31, 2022 is a key date for Suzuki’s present GSX-R1000. It’s at the moment one of many few bikes nonetheless available on the market in Europe that doesn’t have Euro 5 emissions certification. This implies that by the top of this 12 months the massive GSX must both cross these exams or be faraway from sale.
Although Euro 5 guidelines got here into pressure for newly type-approved bikes in Europe again in January 2020, and for present fashions in January 2021, Suzuki has managed to squeeze an extra two years of gross sales out of the Euro 4-compliant GSX-R1000. “End of Series” guidelines, often known as derogation, enable corporations to use in every European nation for dispensation to maintain promoting small volumes of noncompliant bikes for as much as two extra years, taking us as much as the top of 2022. The “End of Series” title is self-explanatory: The rule is meant to let corporations filter out shares of previous fashions which can be nearing the top of their lives.
On the face of it, the GSX-R1000 isn’t the everyday candidate for derogation. Others to make use of the supply have been bikes like Honda’s age-old VFR800F, however the GSX-R1000 is definitely one of many latest superbikes on the scene. Launched as a very new mannequin for 2017, together with a novel mechanical variable valve timing system derived from Suzuki’s GSX-RR GP bikes, it’s among the many most superior superbikes available on the market no less than on paper.
However, Suzuki appears to have lacked the braveness of its convictions in the case of following by means of on the GSX-R’s promise. There’s been no full-time WSBK effort since 2015, which implies the present technology of GSX-R1000 has by no means had a factory-backed probability to show its mettle on the highest stage of racing it’s eligible for.
With 2023 looming, and with it a requirement to both replace the GSX-R1000 or just cease promoting it in Europe, Suzuki is at a crossroads. We’re both going to see updates to the GSX-R or face the specter of Suzuki dropping out of that a part of the market altogether. If Suzuki takes the latter route, which seems to be extra probably with each passing month, it means Europe—which misplaced the GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 when the earlier Euro 4 emissions limits got here into pressure—may have just one mannequin, the tiny GSX-R125, in Suzuki’s sportbike vary for 2023.
Suzuki’s choice to stop MotoGP subsequent 12 months has been seen as a sign that, regardless of success together with Joan Mir’s 2020 title victory, the marketing campaign hasn’t rewarded Suzuki with a gross sales increase to justify the funding.
Dropping the MotoGP effort may very well be interpreted as unhealthy information for the way forward for the GSX-R1000. If Suzuki has determined not to create an up to date, Euro 5-compliant model of the bike—primarily the closest direct relation to the GP machine that prospects should buy within the racing-mad European market—then that may very well be a motive to cease the MotoGP effort. After all, why publicize a machine that may’t be purchased in a big a part of the world?
However, by getting out of MotoGP Suzuki may very well be going within the different course and refocusing on the GSX-R and its road-going sportbike choices. The GP effort is instantly linked to the shortage of a works staff in WSBK; Suzuki dropped out of the Superbike sequence after reentering MotoGP in 2015, unwilling to finance each racing initiatives. Now the closure of the GP challenge might open the door to a WSBK return. If that’s the case, then a brand new or closely up to date GSX-R1000 is all however assured.
We know that Suzuki has had plans for the evolution of the GSX-R1000. Back in 2019 the corporate patented a brand new variable valve timing system for the bike, including electronically managed, hydraulic VVT in a transfer that may increase efficiency and cut back emissions. The present bike has an uncommon centrifugal VVT system on the consumption camshaft solely. Completely automated and with none laptop controls, it cunningly complies with MotoGP guidelines banning digital and hydraulic variable valve timing. It’s a intelligent system, however a computer-operated hydraulic system, as seen in Suzuki’s 2019 patent, would provide extra adaptability and effectivity.
By preserving the previous Euro 4 model of the GSX-R available on the market so long as doable, Suzuki is maximizing the time it has to amortize that bike’s growth prices whereas additionally stretching the R&D time out there for an up to date model. A second technology of Euro 5, often known as Euro 5+, is to be launched quickly, including components that have been delayed from the preliminary laws. These embody OBD II (on board diagnostics stage II) compliance, misfire detection, and catalyst monitoring. In preserving the GSX-R1000 alive in its Euro 4 state so long as doable, Suzuki could possibly skip the preliminary Euro 5 model altogether and leap straight to Euro 5+.
Whichever method Suzuki goes, the GSX-R1000 seems to be set to be within the information later this 12 months as the corporate’s plans turn out to be clear.
In the USA, the GSX-R1000′s place in Suzuki’s vary in 2023 isn’t beneath menace: It complies with US emissions guidelines, which additionally enable the older GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 to stay on sale right here years after they have been withdrawn from the European market. However, world strain to convey the bike to Euro 5 requirements is rising: Other markets, together with Japan, India and China, are largely aligning their emissions laws with Euro 5, and even right here within the USA there are strikes to do the identical. In California, the California Air Resources Board has been taking a look at harmonizing with Euro 5 emissions guidelines in 2024 or 2025, and California’s CARB requirements typically prepared the ground for different states to observe.
One choice for Suzuki is to briefly withdraw the GSX-R1000 from the European market, leaving the present mannequin on sale within the USA and spending a 12 months or two growing an up to date model for 2024 or 2025. That’s the sample the corporate adopted with the Hayabusa, which disappeared from showrooms in a lot of the world when Euro 4 emissions guidelines got here into pressure a number of years in the past however held on within the States till the closely revised model was reintroduced globally for the 2021 mannequin 12 months.