Posted: February 1, 2011Suzuki has long used technology from its storied racing division to help build lighter, more powerful engines. One of the first things to make the transition was the use of forged pistons that are far stronger than those made from casting. Another racing innovation was oil-cooling jets that spray the bottom of the pistons to increase lubrication and reduce temperature, which is a power killer. Tuned exhaust technology has been used in motorcycle and auto racing, and the Suzuki 100 hp, 115 hp and 140 hp 4-cylinder models employ a 4-into-2-into-1 system that not only creates a less restricted flow of exhaust, but also helps define the sweet spot in the power band. Back in the 1960s, the big breakthrough in auto racing technology was fuel injection, and Suzuki was the first to employ this technology in both its two-strokes (which have been phased out) and four-strokes. Currently, every outboard above 25 hp has this advantage.
Reducing weight has been a longtime goal of racers, and the marine division has used many of the same lightweight composite materials on bikes such as the Hayabusa, which broke onto the scene as the world's fastest production bike (194 mph) and still sets the performance bar. A space-age coating for the pistons, called alumite, makes them more slippery, allowing Suzuki to use tighter tolerances for more power.
While many innovations can't be seen without taking off the cowling, looking at the lower unit on Suzuki's 250SS will leave no doubt that this streamlined bullet gearcase came directly from offshore racing. Racing was the first place for items such as sensors that monitor all aspects of performance and then send the information to an onboard computer that records and make adjustments on the fly to ensure peak performance. Suzuki has four-stroke outboards ranging in size from 2.5 hp all the way to a 300 hp V-6.