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Nothing’s New At Suzuki Motorcycles For 2011

Posted in Corner Carvers, Motorcycle, Newsworthy by Kurt Ernst | August 1st, 2010 | 8 Responses |

Times are tough for Suzuki motorcycles: in 2008, when the world’s economy went into the toilet, Suzuki’s global sales plunged by 23.2 percent compared to the previous year. In 2009, things went from bad to worse, and Suzuki’s global sales dropped another 42.1 percent. Struggling financially, Suzuki skipped the 2010 model year for road bikes in the U.S., and laid off the bulk of their non-essential personnel. Brand loyalists had hoped for a turnaround in 2011, since the year the 50th anniversary of Suzuki’s racing debut.

So what do U.S. buyers get in 2011? As reported by Hell For Leather, essentially just new graphics for the Hayabusa. No anniversary edition GSX-R, no updated V-Strom, no rival to the Kawasaki Concours or the Yamaha FJR1300, no new cruisers, nada. On the plus side, the fact that Suzuki is once again brining in inventory should be seen as a positive sign, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s too little, too late.

Suzuki’s GSX-R 750 and GSX-R 1100 changed the face of sport riding when the were introduced in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Unlike earlier sport motorcycles (the Honda Interceptors, Kawasaki’s GPz) which were designed for street first, track second, the clean-sheet-of-paper design of the GSX-R was a racebike with lights. It was a no-compromise, comfort be damned crotch rocket that started more racing careers (and trips to the emergency room) than any other bike I can think of.

I hope that better days are ahead for Suzuki, because they’re a significant part of motorcycling history. The global downturn has already claimed Buell, an innovative manufacturer that never stood a chance under parent Harley-Davidson. Look around at your local dealerships; down here, it’s damn near impossible to find brands other than Harley-Davidson, Honda and Yamaha. Competition between manufacturers is what pushed motorcycle technology forward, and I’d really hate to think we’re seeing the beginning of the end of the powersports industry as we know it.

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8 Responses

  1. DaveMofo says:

    As long as there are kids that want to go fast and buck authority, power sports will be around. On Thursday nights here in Dallas there are literally thousands of motorcyclists (on liter bikes) buzzing the metroplex, much to the chagrin of the citizenry and police. Bikes are wadded up and, hopefully, new ones purchased to replace them with lessons learned. I’ve lusted after several GSX-R 750’s and 1000’s, but my next bike will probably be a CBR Repsol Replica. Suzuki’s are supposedly very light in the lower chassis (like my gf!), and handle very well. Rest assured, I’ll def try one out before I commit to the CBR. You should come check out how crazy things get around here!

  2. DaveMofo says:

    …and one other thing: The Hayabusa? Jesus f-ing Christ! HELL NO. You’d have to go ahead and put my toe tag on the second I bought that fucker, cause I’d die in no time at ALL on the back of one of those beasts. NO, THANK YOU.

  3. Kurt says:

    Dave, there’s no doubt that sportbikes will be around, at least until the stunters and squids piss off enough voters and they get banned. It almost happened back in the ’80s, and it’s going to happen again.

    I hope Suzuki doesn’t go tango uniform, because they’ve got so much racing history (both on road and off). The only bike scene in northern FL is Harley, because all our roads are flat and straight. Not too entertaining for sportbikes…

    I’ve ridden ‘Busas, and I just don’t get them. Sure they’re stupid fast, but they’re too uncomfortable for anything longer than a few hours, too heavy to toss around in corners and too ugly to admit to owning. Each to their own, I suppose.

  4. DaveMofo says:

    I hope the crazies don’t get the sportbikes banned for the rest of us, because there’s nothing like the handling in a city where no one cares if you’re on a bike, you’re still in the damn way. Those capabilities save my life almost on a daily basis. To me, the Hayabusa represents the same pissing contest that’s going to continue till the end of time. Which is fine as far as that game’s concerned, but pointless to me. Most of the dudes that have them will never do 200 mph on them, and, as you pointed out, they handle like shit. AND they’re ugly. So…. why bother, I say!

  5. Kurt says:

    Dave, I spent about 3 years doing forensic photofinishing for two police departments and a sheriff’s department, so that stuff doesn’t even phase me anymore. If there’s a way that a human being can die, I’ve printed pictures of it. Usually 8×12 glossys, too.

    You know you’re immune when you can eat lunch while printing autopsy or crime scene pics.

  6. DaveMofo says:

    My best friend was in police academy, and realized the moment he’d be ok with it. He was eating a breakfast burrito and watching autopsies, finished his classmates, too!

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