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Suzuki GSX-R750

Be Quick!

Words Kev Photos Paul

Yes, the brilliant middleweight GSX-R will help get you up to speed but the headline was referring to the fact that only the quick will snap up one of the modern sportsbike gems for the bargain price of $13,999 – that’s no typo!

Last time we had a GSX-R750 at BRM, we kept it (well, the boss bought it, but we all rode it) and we were stoked when the offer to get the latest Brembo-braked model for an extended test period (read: they’ll have to find me first – Kev) leading up to the release of the smoking hot price announcement. Has much changed? No, but that’s the whole point, it’s fine just as it is – I mean, what do you compare it to?

For years, it’s been Suzuki’s much-loved orphan, everyone likes it but nobody else made a bike to compete with it, so it remained an underrated sportsbike with no class to belong to. Apart from the sports road rider and track enthusiasts. This is where the last of the 750cc racers has plied its trade since the demise of the 750cc ceiling in the racing world, where it used to be a rock star. Ironically, that brilliant rock star didn’t lose anything but the motorcycle world moved on, leaving behind a bike that many litre-class pilots should have looked at, as the GSX-R750 has attributes of both the GSX-R600 and GSX-R1000 concealed beneath the family uniform. And if you aren’t worried about any racing class, like most road riders, the stigma of being an orphan simply doesn’t apply.

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Electronics? Nope.

Traction control? Ah, nup. But there’s always the throttle. Wheelie control? Depends on who is riding it, really.
Oh, you mean self-control?
Ah, that’s another nup.
ABS?
Hmmm, negative.
Fly-by-wire? More fly by the seat of your pants.
Maps? Yep, two, but you only need one: on.
Slipper-type clutch?
Yep, sure does.
Right-O, that keeps the pre-flight check nice and short. No distractions and no, there’s no Bluetooth, heated grips and no app to download your performance to your tablet with. The latest Suzuki GSX-R750 is one of the last bastions of the pure sportsbike – although that does have a tinge of remorse as it’s likely to be the swansong of the esteemed veteran, calling and end to a model that started it all off with the game-changing GSX-R750 Slingshot way back in 1985. Or will there be a brand spanking new GSX-R750 soon after Suzuki update the middle-aged GSX-R1000 next year?
We hope so.

DASH

The strong point of the GSX-R750 is, and always has been, the pinpoint accurate handling as much as the rapid but flexible power that it produces. Flicking through the twisties, yes, it does feel more nimble and requires less effort than its litre-sibling, feeling more akin to the other bookend of the family, the GSX-R600. But you can use the mid-range of the 750 almost as easily as the thou’ to really get a hugely satisfying Goldilocks experience. It’s only in the high-speed stuff that a 1000cc machine will have much of an edge, and even then, don’t take a good 750 rider lightly, as they’ve been known to take the fight right back to the big boys on many circuits with their slightly less intimidating power and confidence-inspiring footwork. It may lack gizmos but the Suzuki GSX-R750 does pack the essentials and is still one fine handling thoroughbred. At $14k, it may just be the sportsbike bargain of the millennium (I know, we’re only 15 years in but still…). And as a sporty road bike, it really is a gem. The riding position isn’t too extreme, so although the legs are fairly tucked up on the two-position footpegs (a useful hidden feature) the seat is padded enough and the suspension supple enough to throw a tankbag and a daypack for longer rides. Hardly a tourer but it is more useful than the sportsbike detractors would think.

Internally, the GSX-R 750 houses titanium alloy valves, forged pistons, slipper clutch, Big-piston forks, shot-peened conrods, Brembo monobloc callipers, chrome-nitride coated rings – all the latest additions to the Suzuki sportsbike class and it produces around 140hp. The basic design, undeniably, is no longer cutting edge and as the last and only 750cc supersport model it’s nearing the point where an update is imminent, along with its fellow GSX-Rs. Does that mean it will be one of those endearing models that marks the end of an era and falls into the instant classic department?
It’s hard to say.
The relatively relaxed ergos, for a sportsbike, and the development over the years does make for a bulletproof performer with a slick gearbox, fine handling, a great set of anchors – OK, there’s no ABS but they are still fantastic – and a durable finish. About the only downside is the price of good used GSX-R750s have probably just taken an undeserved hit but new buyers will be smiling all the way to the bank – and laughing all the way back. Then there’s the big question again… will Suzuki continue to produce this lovely orphan when they do launch a new GSX-R range?

With nothing to prove, the GSX-R750 has received the year-on-year updates applied to the 600 and 1000cc brethren, so has not been left in the last decade and dragged along as a relic of a bygone glorious era for Suzuki. What we got our hands on is a great bit of kit that is starting to show its electronic age. But, really, it’s that price that has launched the GSX-R750 back into focus for many riders – us included.

It has been a carefully managed opportunity and one that is unique to New Zealand. With resistance to non-ABS models in some countries virtually slamming the door, Suzuki NZ stepped in and snaffled a shipment that was heading elsewhere. They could have just filtered them into stores and said nothing.
But they didn’t.
Announcing the once-only price of $13,995 for the entire shipment (with three colourways available), the spotlight has turned back on a model that has been in the shadow of its siblings for far too long.

Sadly, we had to hand over the keys to the middle-Gixxer eventually. As it happens, it was heading to the Stroud household where it was going to have the mirrors removed and racing rubber applied to the rims and, that’s it really. It will have competed in the Motul 6-Hour by the time you read this – in stock trim.
It really is that track-ready, and at that price, are you?
The catch?
It’s a first-in-first-served situation and if you miss out, there are no more at that price. Still reading? Put the magazine down for a few minutes and call your dealer… we’ll still be here in ten minutes but your opportunity to buy a GSX-R750 for fourteen grand may not be.

Wind back the clock six years and Andrew Stroud was the surprise guest in the RaceTec entry I was riding with in the Taupo 3-Hour, riding a GSX-R750 that was so stock the burglar alarm was still in place. The entire duration was done on one rear tyre – albeit, totally shagged for the final stint – and the middle-Gixxer was, admittedly in Stroud’s hands, on pole for the Le Mans start, so there’s plenty on offer with the GSX-R750 on road or track. How did it go in the Motul 6-Hour half a dozen years later?  The results are in the news section

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The GSX-R750 Evolution

1985

Suzuki launches the Slingshot. This was the start of a special era for Suzuki as the new oil-cooled GSX-R750 was a genuine game-changer, followed by the GSX-R1100. With an engine that was designed to live at the redline and fit the new class for racing, it was one of the early ‘homologation specials’ and started the whole RR race-faired trend. Race Replica models were the new generation of superbikes and Suzuki kept the GSX-R label, which is now celebrating an unbroken 30-year dynasty. Purely a familial link, nothing other than the 30th anniversary livery is even similar as the bike transformed and stayed current.

2015

In relation to the average wage and the cost of a well-known burger, we’ve never had it so good. It isn’t a standout model like the Slingshot or the S-RAD but with Brembo monobloc callipers up front and one of the most tried-and-true engines in the sportsbike arena, there’s no denying that you’ll get maximum bang for your dollar.

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Specifications
Suzuki GSX-R750
Price: $13,995+ORC (while stocks last)
Engine Type: four-stroke, liquid cooled, DOHC, 4-cylinder
Displacement: 750cc
Bore x Stroke: 70 x 48.7mm
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Fuel System: Fuel injection, dual throttle valves with 8-hole injectors
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Wheelbase: 1390mm
Seat Height: 810mm
Curb Mass: 190kg
Front Suspension: USD Big Piston forks, 3-way adjustable
Rear Suspension: Link type, 3-way adjustable
Brakes – Front: Twin 310mm discs with Brembo monobloc 4-piston calipers
Brakes – Single disc, 2-piston caliper
Front Tyres: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
Rear Tyre: 180/55ZR17M/C (73W)
Fuel Capacity: 17L