The GSX-R1000 is easily one of the most influential sportbikes of our time. Where once the almighty CBR900RR and then briefly the R1 were the liter bike yardsticks to which everything was measured, since 2001 the Gixxer 1K has been the bike to beat.
When the first year of the new millennium rang free so did the roar from the all-new GSX-R1000. Suzuki truly brought a gun to a knife-fight when it was introduced. During an age of 125 HP literbikes the "Gixxer-one" bettered that tune by 20 HP with a healthy torque curve behind it for the ultimate one-two punch. Without question, the first generation GSX-R1000 leveled the competition so badly that we haven't seen that kind of domination since (although the new BMW S1000RR's supremacy might rival it soon enough).
Unlike the current K9 with looks all its own, there were few features that distinguished the 1000 from its quarter-liter and 600cc brethren.
Aesthetically, the three wore the same bodywork with only the stickers, gold-colored fork sliders and the six-pot front calipers notifying onlookers of the 1000's larger underpinnings.
But the K1 shared more than just bodywork with its younger brothers, as its 988cc motor was essentially a stroked and poked version of the 750cc mill. The use of the 750 engine cases meant they also shared the same cylinder head and quartet of 42mm throttle bodies.
When the combo was put into action it resulted in so much power that editors of the day described the bike as "insanely fast." Never before had any bike on the market had this sort of power to weight ratio.
But more than just go, the K1 had a chassis to match thanks to a beefed up version of the 750 unit. Accentuating the awesome architecture were a set of titanium nitride-coated 43mm forks and a piggyback reservoir-equipped shock out back.
When it came time to grab the binders the GSX-R1000 was fitted with special six-piston Tokico front calipers. If there was one part of the package that was lacking however, it was the brakes. Though not exactly weak, compared to the offerings from Honda and Yamaha the big Suzuki's brakes felt soft.
Over the years the Gixxer 1000 was molded into a more track focused mount. Weight was shaved, ergos were sharpened and peak power was increased, but all at the expense of what made the first generation so intense-midrange.
Used examples are more than affordable these days, but as it approaches the decade mark it'll be harder to find a low-mileage bike. But, persistence will pay off when you find that one-owner model that's still new for the taking. It may be nearing ten years old but the GSX-R1000's performance is still on par with many of today's literbikes.
2001-02 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Blessed with a 988cc motor good for 145 HP and 75.2 LB-FT at the tire, the K1 was good for 9.92 @ 144.96 mph in the quarter-mile on the way to a top speed of 180 mph on the big end. When paired with its feathery 408 pound dry weight the GSX-R1000 climbed to the top and never looked back. It laid waste to everything on the market and we haven't seen this kind of class domination since.
A King of Many Faces
In addition to domination on the track and in the streets, the GSX-R1000 but has overshadowed every other streetbike in the custom crowd, save for its bigger brother, the Hayabusa. That's right, the fat-tire crew has taken a liking to all Gixxer-thousands from the K1-K10 and created some killers over the years.