Suzuki vs. Yamaha – who is the most reliable

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It can be challenging choosing between Suzuki vs. Yamaha in the superbike section. Both bike companies have superbike models that are renown to go superfast while been very aggressive on the roads.

If you are an adrenaline junkie then you are familiar with superbikes. In a racing track this bikes hit astronomical speeds as they zoom past spectators. A superbike announces its presence courtesy of a loud exhaust. With so many brands in the market, it can be hard choosing the right superbike for yourself or a loved one.

Suzuki and Yamaha have been staunch rivals when it comes to competitive sports in the superbike section. They both produce high quality bikes that are renown across the globe for their reliability and speed. Many superbikes fans are still debating between the Suzuki GSX –R750 and the Yamaha R6, which is the best. This article, tries to demystify some popular notions about the two bike companies.

What are the key differences between Suzuki and Yamaha?

Maker Suzuki Yamaha
Quality Moderate Higher quality
Performance Moderate High performance superbikes
Reliability Affordable maintenance costs Can be pricier
Technology Moderate electronics Advanced electronics

Suzuki vs. Yamaha – How they differ

Performance

Choosing between the Suzuki and the Yamaha is not that simple especially in the superbike category. Here you have some of the most competitive bikes in the world. In 1999 Suzuki shocked the world when it introduced the Hayabusa to the market. The bike gets its name from the peregrine bird that is known to hit top speeds of more than 180 mph as it makes its swoop. The Hayabusa hit a top speed of more than 300 km/h and this earned it the place of fastest production bike the world. The title was shortl ived when the Kawasaki H2R was introduced. This bike just looks menacing and it has so much power underneath. The bike was capable of reaching a top speed of 400 km/h while generating 200HP from a 998cc supercharged engine. Yamaha responded to the challenge with the gorgeous R1 superbike. The bike is not only good looking but generates more than 200 horsepower. Yamaha has more superbikes in their arsenal than Suzuki. You can use the R6 for the middleweight section and the R3 in the entry-level category. Suzuki has produced a lot of bikes for the masses and you will find some fuel efficient bikes suitable for daily commute.

Reliability

Both bikes are quite reliable when it comes to finding spare parts and servicing points. But, Yamaha has service centers spread across the world in Europe. This could be as a result that they have more superbike fans than the Suzuki. The quality of parts for the Yamaha is also a bit higher than that of the Suzuki. Suzuki has focused a lot on producing bikes for the masses and this means you may notice some slight quality issue.

Electronics

If you look at the superbike category you will notice that the Yamaha has an edge. A bike like the R1 will come armed with slide control, quick shifters, traction control, standard ABS, wheelie lift control and various riding modes. The high investment in technologies by Yamaha may be as a result that they have a diversified list of products. This means they spend a lot of money I research and development which eventually spills to the kind of bikes they make. Suzuki has also done some improvements in technology but it is not unusual to spot some of the bikes still having analogue dials. The R6 has always been Yamaha middleweight bike for good reason. It offers bikers an upgrade from the R3 that is entry level. One key benefit of having the bikes together is the R6 gets some of the electronics found in the R1. It also has received a facelift so that it closely resembles the R1.

Suzuki vs. Yamaha – Overview

Suzuki – Overview

Suzuki is a large Japanese car and motorcycle producer with subsidiaries across the globe. One of the most competitive types of Suzuki superbikes is the GSX-R series. The first generation of the GSX series was produced in 1984. Before this the top four Japanese car makers had bikes with DOHC and air cooled inline fours. The bikes ranged from 350cc to 1200cc engines. To reduce the weight of the bikes beginning in 1980 car manufacturers like Honda introduced the V4 which replaced its inline four motor. This enabled the Honda interceptor to compete in races as superbike racing rules reduced the engine size from 1025cc to 750cc. It is at this time that Suzuki introduced its GSX-R750. To keep the engine cooler it used an air/oil cooling system. Instead of going for the bulky steel, Suzuki opted for welded square aluminum tubing for the frame.

In 1988, Suzuki extended its biking range to include 1100cc bikes in the GSX series. While the bike resembled its predecessors, it now come with large cast and formed parts. The only problem with their updates is that the bikes become more bulky to accommodate the suspension components. The GSX –R1000R was introduced in 2017 and it featured bi-directional quick shifter, motion track brake system and launch control. Suzuki also produced its first single cylinder bike the GSX-R125 in 2016 at intermot.

The Hayabusa GSX-R1300R

If you are a big fan of superfast bikes then the Hayabusa is something worth the investment. Besides, the menacing and aggressive looks the Hayabusa packs a very powerful engine underneath that is capable of competing with other top brands on the racing track. All the top Japanese superbike manufacturers are engaged in speed of war of a kind. In the 1996, the competition was quite stiff as Honda introduced the CBR 1100XX that had an engine of 1,137cc. Kawasaki followed suit with its ZZ-R1100. The blackbird at this point was capable of speeds of up to 180mph and this forced Suzuki to join the competition with its Hayabusa bike that hit a top speed of 240 mph.

When the Hayabusa hit a speed of 195 mph it seemed the race was over for the other Japanese superbike makers until they decided to come to a truce and curb the maximum speed to 186.4 mph or 300 km/h. The current Hayabusa has seen little change since then but today it features a 1340cc engine and variable throttle modes. You also get ABS – which is standard nowadays in most superbikes and the option of a variety of colors. While the Hayabusa has some modern bikes features like wheelie control and traction control it lacks cruise control and heated grips. The maximum speed is still set at 300 km/h.

GSX –R1000

The GSX-R Series really defines what Suzuki is all about. The R1000 was introduced into the market in 2001 and come with a 999.8cc engine that was capable of generating 196 HP @ rpm of 13,200. The bike weighs 200kg and is available in pearl glacier white and metallic triton blue colors. The superbike is sleek in design and handles exceptionally well in sharp corners and at high speeds.

The newly improved GSX-R1000 benefits from a reworked engine and a new aluminum frame. It also comes with the famous Suzuki racing variable valve timing(SR-VVT) technology. The inline four liquid cooled engine is well capable of competing with other top superbikes like the Yamaha R1. It does this by generating 118 Nm of torque @rpm 10,800. The other major changes to the bike were to its braking system. It now has front Brembo monobloc brake calipers and larger Showa big piston forks. The tires are the refined Bridgestone RS10 radial tires.

The electronics on the GSX-R1000 have been greatly improved as it now comes with motion tracking braking system and 10-level traction control. You also get Showa balance free suspension, quick shifter, LED position, cornering ABS and launch control. The GSX-R1000 biggest competitors are Kawasaki ZX-10R, Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, BMW S1000 RR, and the Yamaha YZF-R1.

Yamaha – Overview

Yamaha Motor company is the side of the company responsible for manufacture of boats, motorcycles and any other motorized product. The motorcycle section can trace its history to 1955 when it had a 125cc two cycle as its first product. From there the company has set itself as a champion in the motorcycle racing world taking on heavyweights like Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki. The era of four stroke bikes begun in the 1970s when they introduced the XS-750cc triple cylinder bike.

It was not until 1998 that Yamaha ventured into the 1000cc category through its iconic YZR – R1 model. The bike had a makeover in its gearbox design that enabled it to be shortened hence making it more compact. From there Yamaha extended its operations to India and Philippines and today boasts of over 20 worldwide subsidiaries.

Yamaha YZR-R1

The R1 is Yamaha flagship superbike and a monster in the racing track. The 998cc liquid cooled engine is capable of raising a cool 200 worth of horsepower at an rpm of 13,500. It is also able to generate 82.9 foot pounds of torque. The R1 comes with inline four titanium intake valves that is handled by a six speed transmission. To host this large engine is an aluminum deltabox frame. The suspension consists of front KYB fully adjustable inverted 43mm fork and the rear has mono-shock four way adjustable. The R6 has been improved so that it almost looks like the R1 but the latter has a higher seat at 33.7 inches. You get electronics like wheel lift control, ABS/unified braking system, slide control, traction control, quick shifter, wheel lift control, launch control and speed options.

One of the major changes to the R1 come in 2000-2001 when the bodywork changed so that it would reduce drag by up to 3%. In this regards, the side panels were redesigned to make them aerodynamic while the headlight housing was also readjusted. The seat now extended more towards the rear while the fuel tank was reshaped. This changes redefined the R1 making it more menacing on the roads.

In 2002-2003 the R1 got a new fuel injection system and there was also the introduction of the now standard deltabox frame. The RAM air intake was introduced in 2004-2005 and the overall geometry of the bike was also changed. Front caliper brakes were changed to the more improved radically mounted calipers. When the monthly consumer test checked out the bike they noted that it could now accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.04 seconds. The top speed was 179 mph/288 kmh. The innovative Yamaha Chip control intake (YCC-I) was introduced in 2007-2008. The R1 received a whole set of new electronics in 2015-2020 with the introduction of slide control system (SCS), traction control (TCS), linked anti-wheelie lift control system (LIF), Quick shift system (QSS), Launch control (LCS), and selectable power modes.

Yamaha YZF –R3

The R3 is like the baby to the R1. It is an entry level superbike for those getting started on the world of bikes but cannot afford the more aggressive and expensive R1. Under the seat you will find a liquid cooled DOHC 321cc engine. The engine is run by a six speed transmission. The R3 seat is way lower than the R1 at 30.7 inches. While the R3 does not have the kind of engine in the R1 it still can hit top speeds of up to 111 mph. It also has a reported wet weight of 368 pounds. If you are looking for a bike for commuting look no further than the R3. It is well capable of delivering 56 miles per gallon which is quite adequate to get you to and from work. The suspension for the R3 consists of KYB front 41mm telescopic with rear KYB mono-shock. The R3 is way cheaper than the R1 and makes for a great entry level bike.

Yamaha R6

The R6 is another great looking bike from Yamaha that closely resembles it’s big brother the R1. The R6 received an update in 2017 so that it now resembles the R1 in both style and aerodynamics. It also got an updated electronics instrument that puts it at par with similar superbikes in the 600cc category. The R6 is not a beginner bike. You need to have some experience navigating corners at high speeds.

The R6 comes with a DOHC (sixteen titanium valve), 599cc horizontal inline-four engine. This is capable of raising a monstrous 116.7 HP @ rpm 14,500. It also raises 45.5 foot-pounds of torque @ rpm of 10,500. The R6 is superfast and comes with a sleek design that will turn heads. It produces a maximum speed of 160 mph and 419 of wet pound. The R6 borrows the same frame from the R1 which is a deltabox twin spar chassis. All this power is through a six-speed transmission that is very smooth on the roads. For the suspension you get front 43mm three-way adjustable forks and KYB rear four-way adjustable mono-shock. The R6 seat is lower than the R1 at 33.5 inches.

Yamaha YZR-M1

The R1M is a superbike developed by Yamaha to compete in the MotoGP series. It features a inline-four engine and has seen interactions in the 800cc, 990cc and 1000cc. The R1M has received some updates including optimized electronic racing suspension and Ohlins gas charged forks. The reason the company went for nitrogen charged damping is because it completed eradicates oil cavitation. You also notice that the spring rates on the bike have been greatly reduced.

Some of the significant changes to the R1M included the change from carburetor to fuel injection. An idle control system replaced the engine brake control and to improve stability the throttle valve opening was changed so that it could open two of the four cylinders. In 2004, the stage was set for Valentino Rossi to sign a new contract with Yamaha but they faced serious competition from Honda RC211V. Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi drove this bike. When the 2012 season started the bike got an updated 1,000cc engine. The R1M is liquid cooled and is a 4 cylinder 16 crossplane crankshaft. The bike uses fuel injection and wet sump lubrication system. Transmission is through a six-speed gearbox.

Now lets compare two Suzuki vs. Yamaha bikes

Model Yamaha YZF-R6 Suzuki GSX-R750
Displacement 599cc 749cc
Wheelbase 1375mm 1390mm
Length 2040mm 2030mm
Seat height 850mm 810mm
Acceleration (0-60mph) 3.0 secs 4.0 secs
Compression Ratio 13:1:1 12:5:1
Maximum Power 118.4 PS @14,500 rpm 150 HP @ 13,200 rpm
Maximum Torque 61.7 Nm @ 10,500 rpm 86.3 Nm @11,200 rpm
Fuel system Electronic Fuel Injection Electronic Ignition/Transistorized
Top Speed 262 kph 306 kph

Conclusion

Choosing a superbike can be challenging – especially when you are confronted with top brands like Yamaha and Suzuki. In this regards, both bike makers produce superbikes for each category. Yamaha has seen lots of success with the R1 and the R6 while Suzuki has seen the GSX –R750 become a darling among motoring fans. The preference for one bike over another will largely depend on the kind of power you desire and your budget.

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Cyborg
Steven Reilly is a qualified mechanic and his passion for cars goes beyond just the technical aspects. He is also an amateur racer and all round car enthusiast. When he is not driving them, he can often be found in his garage under the hood of a rare model. Steven Reilly has lost track of the number of hours he has spent setting up his fine collection of rebuilt models. He believes that cars can provide a constructive and fun opportunity to teach the youth important life skills. In line with this, he is developing a community outreach program, potentially dubbed ‘Cars for change'.
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