Well, well… is this hooligan really 18? Bikes often mirror life and we reckon you all know someone – be they living near you, or a lad at school – who was a bit of a bad egg, a rotten apple, a rough diamond, someone who was a bit edgy when they were younger but then – just seemed to mature and become nice and cuddly.
We reckon this GSX-R1000 K1/K2 is the same. Originally on launch it was a monster, a bad-boy, a machine which kicked the arse of the previously dominant Yamaha YZF-R1 into touch – and then kicked it in the goolies for good measure while it begged for mercy. Today, well, it’s all a bit more grown up when you think of the 200bhp mad machines that we call sportsbikes today. Staff here at CB-Net have even run one of these bad-boys with upright bars and used them as a sports-tourer in all weathers.
But – back in the day – this was the baddest mutha on the block. 2001’s GSX-R1000 K1 was a lookey-likey of the previous year’s GSX-R750Y which was equally as successful. Both had upside-down front forks but the give-away with the litre-class bike was that the fork tubes were gold in colour, being nitride-coated. The bike also had the much-maligned Tokico six-pots – but more of that later…
The motor was the heart of this beast and Suzuki were (and still are) capable of and renowned for making monster motors with heaps of character. Power? OK, you’ve got it… around 160 claimed bhp from a sportsbike almost two decades old. It’s even got plenty of mid-range, thanks to the SET (Suzuki Exhaust Tuning) device which is a butterfly valve in the link pipe between the collector and silencer and aids low-down power, like Yamaha’s EXUP valve.
Rake and trail are identical to the 750Y but the frame itself was slightly different having stronger outside walls on the frame spars and mounting points for the motor. While the style was very much akin to the GSX-R750, the performance was a level far above, as all that power was punting about 170 dry kilos, not that far off the 750. Handling-wise the GSX-R felt composed until you really caned it, but then it did benefit from the factory steering damper, those solid 43mm inverted forks and the big, braced swingarm. But, this was still a beast…
So, what is iffy with this ‘Borstal bike.’ Well, the fork coating can flake off, those six pot Tokicos are fine when new but get spongey quickly if not cleaned regularly. Some go for a different master cylinder, but the brake refurb generally works well. By now, 18 year old K1s will need a suspension service (if standard and not touched since) and the SET exhaust valves can stick which will show as a fault on the dash. This is this remedied by either stripping the valve down and cleaning it or disconnecting the valve and bypassing it, which takes an hour. Gearbox issues have been known – but mainly on track bikes. More of which below!
Two things you need to look out for with this model GSX-R could also cover other GSX-Rs: tat and track. Many of these K1/K2s were raced and these later became punter track day fodder. You’ll find these around from about a grand. Beware clean bodywork on something with low miles but with lock-wired sump-plugs/parts… And now tat: what is it with GSX-R owners? Undertrays, head-light covers, end-cans, mini-winkers – the utter winkers! ‘Keep It Standard, Stupid’ we say!
With that in mind you can still find a decent K1/K2. And yes, we love the blue/white but the red/black/silver is very reminiscent of GSX-R750/1100 colours of old, so don’t be blinkered. Moderate milers start around £2000 rising to £3000-£3500 for cleaner, less doggy examples. We’ve even seen one for £4500 with less than 10k on the (digital) clocks…
For: Good value, superb performance
Against – Expensive bodywork, needs TLC
|Years available||2001-2002 (K2)|
|Major changes||Colour changes and stainless link pipe on K2 model|
|Values now||£1200 – £4500|
Verdict – Prices have risen, but currently still a worthy investment…