If you've been paying any attention to the state of the motorcycle world lately, sportbikes in particular, you'll notice that the middleweight category has been largely overshadowed by its 1000cc counterparts. It makes sense for those manufacturers who make a literbike, as resources should be spent on a company's flagship machine.
But for those of us who like the slightly more unassuming qualities of a 600cc machine, the choices have remained the same for a few years now. Heck, we didn't even bother doing this test last year since the game hadn't changed much except for a slightly longer exhaust canister on the Yamaha YZF-R6.
For 2011 however, Suzuki has whet our appetite with an all-new GSX-R600. Pete had a chance to test the all-new Gixxer at its press launch, held at Barber Motorsports Park. If you haven't read that yet, take a peek here. Keeping in line with tradition when it comes to new model revamps, the newest 600 on the block is lighter, stronger and more powerful than the model it replaces. Pete came back optimistic about the new GSX-R's chances in the face of the current 600 king, Kawasaki's ZX-6R.
We really liked the Green Machine back when we last tested it against its peers in 2009. Two years on and the ZX-6R is largely the same motorcycle, save for bold new graphics. But every champ's stay at the top must come to an end eventually, and who better to see if the new Suzuki can topple the ZX than us, right? And, to give each Japanese manufacturer a fair chance, we also brought in the Yamaha YZF-R6 and Honda CBR600RR to see if either bike could be a wildcard in this battle.
So we loaded up and headed to the tight and twisty Streets of Willow for a racetrack comparison test. We reunited with our friends at TrackXperience for a day of lapping at their well-run trackday.
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