While top-tier race bikes like the Ducati Panigale and BMW S 1000 RR are the object of aspiration for most sportbike enthusiasts, many people would agree that middleweight sportbikes are much more fun to ride both on the street and the track. There’s something about a lightweight chassis mated to a peppy motor that just guarantees a great time, and today’s crop of middleweight twin-cylinder powered machines are the embodiment of this.
Indeed, bikes like the Yamaha YZF-R7 and Aprilia RS 660 are excellent machines that are within reach for both novice and veteran riders. At EICMA 2023, Suzuki introduced the GSX-8R to the world, the brand’s newest sportbike based on the GSX-8S naked streetfighter launched previously. Naturally, the purpose of a sportbike is to go racing, and now, the new GSX-8R joins the likes of the R7 and RS 660 in the MotoAmerica Twins cup championship for the 2024 season.
It’s worth noting that in the past, Suzuki’s SV650 was considered as the gold standard when it came to affordable twin-cylinder machines. The competition has overtaken the good old SV, with new models now boasting more power and tech. That said, the GSX-8R is Suzuki telling the world that it won’t be left behind, and now flaunts tech features never before seen in Suzuki’s middleweight lineup. For starters, it’s powered by an all-new engine, a 776cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin dishing out 83 horsepower at 8,500 rpm. Apart from the GSX-8R, it’s also worth mentioning that its naked sibling, the GSX-8S, has also been homologated for the MotoAmerica Twins Cup.
“Our new GSX-8R and GSX-8S are designed to complement our GSX-R line and offer riders a completely different riding experience. Some riders prefer the feel and performance delivered by a high-revving inline four while others prefer the torque and linear feel of a twin. Whether your sportbike goals are everyday street riding, occasional track days, or a full-fledged commitment to competing in a roadracing championship, our comprehensive line of sport motorcycles ensures we have a perfect choice for you,” explained Kerry Graeber, Suzuki Motor USA’s Senior Vice President.
Even if Suzuki has, for the most part, abandoned its racing initiatives on the global stage, the brand remains a prominent figure in the amateur and pro-level racing scene in the US. The new GSX-8R highlights the brand’s commitment to providing aspiring racers with a solid middleweight platform, alongside the other GSX-R models such as the GSX-R750, GSX-R600, and the GSX-R1000/R. Expect to see the new GSX-8R in action in the 2024 Twins Cup which kicks off at the Daytona International Speedway on March 7 to 9, 2024.
For reference, even if you have no plans of racing, you could very well buy the Suzuki GSX-8R and use it as a street bike or a fun machine on occasional track days. In the US, it carries an MSRP starting at $9,439. Meanwhile, its more versatile naked sibling, the GSX-8S, is also more affordable while being better equipped for daily commuting and long-distance riding. It has an MSRP starting at $8,849 USD.