Some people will do anything to make a sale. This isn’t to discredit the honest sales force making a positive impact on the industry, but let’s face it—there are plenty of used bike salesmen preying on the uninformed. New riders have of course been told about models like the SV650, Ninja 650R and FZ6R to cut their teeth on the street. But unfortunately a lot of these newbs end up with a literbike they got from a dealership based on information delivered from the salesperson.
Dealerships and forum experts alike have been preaching that new riders can turn a 1000 into a 600 with the push of a button. “Simply flick it into C-mode and you’re all good.” But does that pan out?
Horsepower and torque are...
Horsepower and torque are graphed: green is the full power GSX-R1000—wow! Red is the C-Mode 1000. Blue is the GSX-R600 at full power that still is well short of its restricted big brother.
Since a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 was at our disposal we threw it on the dyno to see if the assumption was correct. In full power mode it made an impressive 180.6 HP and a ground-pounding 85.2 LB-FT at the tire. With the flick of the switch into C-mode it dropped those figures to 125.7 HP and 65.1 LB-FT.
For comparison we wheeled a 2007 GSX-R600 onto the same dyno on the same day to see how it stacked up. At peak it made 109.3 HP and 45.4 LB-FT. While the GSX-R1000 in C-mode only made 16.4 HP more than the modded GSX-R600, it made nearly 20 LB-FT more. Peak power was close, but the 1000’s torque outgunned the smaller Gixxer. Breaking the powerband down by various RPM increments further revealed the character of the two motors.
Power and torque at 6000 RPM
GSX-R600: 42 HP and 38 LB-FT
GSX-R1000 C-mode: 71 HP and 64 LB-FT
GSX-R1000 C-mode advantage: 29 HP and 26 LB-FT
Power and torque at 8000 RPM
The dyno doesn’t lie, and...
The dyno doesn’t lie, and it determined that a GSX-R1000 in C-Mode still offers significantly more power at every RPM and in every gear than a 600 (of any make).
GSX-R600: 57 HP and 38 LB-FT
GSX-R1000 C-mode: 94 HP and 62 LB-FT
GSX-R1000 C-mode advantage: 37 HP and 24 LB-FT
Power and torque at 12,000 RPM
GSX-R600: 103 HP and 43 LB-FT
GSX-R1000 C-mode: 118 HP and 51 LB-FT
GSX-R1000 C-mode advantage: 15 HP and 8 LB-FT
Power under the curve is where most people live on the street and in this realm the GSX-R1000 on average produced 25 HP and 19 LB-FT more at the wheel with a peak power difference of 37 HP at 8000 RPM and 26 LB-FT at 6000 RPM. That’s a massive amount of additional power, especially when we’re talking about an already-quick 600cc sportbike.
There’s no comparison between the GSX-R1000 and GSX-R600—the literbike stomps the middleweight. Sure peak numbers are important, but it’s the midrange shove and monster torque that can get a new rider in trouble. In this realm the neutered Gixxer-Thou still kills the GSX-R600. Even in C-mode the GSX-R1000 was happy to power wheelie in the lower gears and had enough torque to spin the tire easily.
Another question to consider is how diligent a new rider will remain (or anyone for that matter) in leaving a powerful bike in C-mode? After all, it’s just a poke of a button away.
Instead of believing that the electronic modes are a newbie’s savior, direct them to a better entry-level steed. They’ll be happy you bestowed them with such wise advice when they get bitten by the bug rather than scaring themselves and ending up in the weeds.
*Special thanks to Brock’s Performance for the dynos