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Hooligan Suzuki really quite civilised bikes.

Byline: Harriet Ridley

SUZUKI''S GSX-R600 has been celebrated as the hooligan of the supersport class since its 1997 launch.

It owes its reputation to a lightweight chassis propelled by a screaming rev-monster of an engine.

It's been regularly overhauled over the years to keep up with rapidly developing technology, although the only changes to the 2010 GSX-R600 are a few design tweaks and new colours.

Some riders steer clear of 600s because their physical size dwarfs the bike's diminutive chassis. But they feel tailored to my frame.

The Suzuki feels more spacious and less cramped than, say, the more race-focused Yamaha R6; indeed the whole GSX-R package feels more forgiving for the road, from the softer suspension to the less wrist-heavy riding position, to the three-way adjustable footrests and even the bungy hooks under the tail unit.

Who'd have ever imagined the hooligan GSX-R600would ever be considered the more road-focused of the production supersports? But these machines are first and foremost road bikes, so it's no bad thing they're road-riding friendly.

However, if you want to do track days on Suzuki's baby GSX-R, it's perfect for the job thanks to the lightweight aluminium frame that produces telepathic handling, outstanding four-piston radial Tokico brakes, electronically controlled steering damper that allows light steering at low speeds and maximum control at high speeds, and slipper clutch for greater stability.

The engine may be the smallest of the family, but you''ll find all the GSX-R attitude, racing knowledge and cutting edge technology packed into this brilliant sportsbike.

While the bane of the 600 class has traditionally been a lack of low-down grunt, advances in technology make them stronger all the way through the power band.

The GSX-R600's engine produces silky-smooth power thanks to the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve that features dual fuel injectors, with instant throttle response.

There's enough useable power from 2,000rpm to make riding on our congested roads a pleasant affair, although the big power really kicks in at around 6,000rpm where the GSX-R600 screams its head off to its 16,000rpm redline.

Swapping ratios is a pleasure too thanks to the silky smooth gearbox that uses six speeds to harness the fuel-injected 599cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC engine's claimed 125bhp.

The rider can choose from three engine settings allowed by the S-DMS engine management system - Race, Sport and Rain.

But while this is a good idea on the powerful 1000cc bikes, it's a little unnecessary on the 600 as the power never intimidates in the first place, and it's so smooth, progressive and easy to control even in Race mode.

The Showa suspension is set up soft out of the crate, more to deal with our insane potholes than the growing track day craze. But it's easy to adjust every which way, and as on all high-quality suspension, the adjustment makes a big difference. Suzuki's pounds 8,104 2010 GSX-R600 is available with a zero per cent finance over three years, with minimum deposit of just pounds 500. Now there's an offer you can't refuse.


The GSX-R600's engine produces silky-smooth power
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 5, 2010
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