It looks so easy doesn’t it? You get a bike and begin changing every aspect of it, from the forks and swing arm to the engine type and capacity, only to find out you have opened a can of worms and now own a bike beset with problem after problem. But why the hassle, after all it is only nuts and bolts?
Unless you have ever tried to build such a beast you may find it hard to understand that getting a special made up of many different machines and separate components to perform anything like sweetly, is an uphill task of gargantuan proportions, and one that is rarely fully completed with any success. Add to the equation carburettors some 45% bigger, hot camshafts and many other such “improvements” and the end result could well be a nightmare. This machine, however, is a fine handling and impeccably behaved example of a well thought out and engineered hybrid.
The GS750 frame fits snugly around the GS1000 mill and is held aloft by a mix of GSXR and TL running gear. Now using the very best of many bikes and go faster goodies from the last twenty years or so the fire engine red machine is a delight to ride, easily the equal, if not surpassing the performance of many a modern day retro style machine.
The original GS750 was a superb leap forward in performance for its time despite the engine layout being a complete take off from the Kawasaki Z1 design, where the GS scored heavily was in the chassis department with the frame holding everything in the right shape and performing very well when compared with other bikes of the time. It was arguably the first time the Japanese factories started to take handling as a starting point over and above engine output. The larger GS1000 went several stages further than the level established by its sibling however and the extra horses provided by the increase in capacity allied to the cracking chassis made the GS the better of all the late 70’s Japanese Superbikes. The 1000cc engine was also around 8lbs lighter than the 750cc version making the choice for this machine even more appropriate. Consequently the GS special seen here takes all of the best features seen in the 750 and 1000cc machines and, using selected parts from other machines, makes its mark upon every inch of tarmac it travels across. Add to this equation a handy increase in capacity from the standard 998cc to 1085cc thanks to a Wiseco big bore kit and what you have is a very useful machine indeed. The extra three millimetre in diameter of each piston makes the torque curve literally come alive tugging at your arms with every twist of the throttle and with the extra fuel being pumped in by the Kent stage one camshafts the two valve engine does a great impression of a thorough bred race tuned engine.
The carburetion is as good as it ever gets with a strong low down grunt melting unnoticeably into a stonking midrange and a revvy redline that once the Kent cams come up onto the pipe becomes an experience not felt without revving highly and dropping the clutch on the std GS model. The huge 36mm Mikuni flat slides that replace the 26mm CV set up form the original bike measure, and then meter out, the precise air fuel mix to the hot valves to produce a real riding delight seldom found on bikes from the CMM era. The fuelling is spot on and completely without fault at any point in the engines rev range, no doubt the result of some serious set up and dyno work. It feels like a brand new fuel injected mill has been transplanted into the 70s machine but a quick glance reveals that the big bore air-cooled GS power plant is still in place. A smooth flat power delivery is supposed to be the realm of the multi valve engine however this basic two valve per cylinder machine makes a very good job of the task even with its high state of tune and aggressive camshafts. The standard GS 1000 produced around 87bhp at 8000 rpm with an impressive 61 ft-lb of torque whilst we don’t know for sure these figure have been greatly expanded upon by the work that has been carried out to the engine. I would hazard a guess that the power output is now well into treble figures and feels to be around the 112bhp mark while the torque has benefited by a similar increase to be around the 68 ft- lbs, like I say just guessing but it does feel that strong.
Chassis wise the various bits and bobs bolted onto the GS750 tube work really makes the hybrid feel a strange concoction of old and new, strangely it isn’t the engine that feels aged at all rather more the riding position and general bulk of the machine, like a good women the power plant doesn’t even hint at its true age and one should never ask, without doubt testament to the performance advancement found in the GS range back in 1978 and also the effectiveness of the Wiseco piston, Kent cam and Mikuni trio. Of course all of this power has to create some noise and what a delightful noise this GS makes. The musical howl that emanates from the aluminium end can is a pure delight and totally addictive whether on the bike or stood watching from the sidelines, this big cc four is a really impressive and breathtaking machine both visually and aurally.
This special has an unassuming and esoteric air about it, to most it looks like an old bike albeit very clean yet to those in the know the GS bristles with all the right go faster goodies that when set up correctly equate to a very capable and rapid machine. It isn’t just a delight to ride but also pleasing to the eye with gleaming smoothly applied paintwork and shiny polished alloy and chrome everywhere one looks. Aesthetic touches are everywhere and either by complete accident or intense forward thinking the bike looks very factory finished and complete. One minor niggle would have to be the mirrors, not their shape or chrome finish but simply the size of the image they create making them about as much use as a one legged man in an ass kicking competition! Even with the wide bars the mirrors do not protrude enough to be of any use although the bars do help when manhandling the big bike around. The engine has a good cure for this however and is more than capable of keeping you well ahead of other traffic effectively removing the need to be looking rearward to often, just keep your head down, your bum up and the throttle pinned.
It isn’t just the engine that is shockingly good, the chassis, with its mix of old and relatively new, feels like a modern day sprightly sports machine. Although the twin shock set up remains the damping is up there with any single shock arrangement, albeit without the huge amounts of travel found in such systems, as the heavily braced swing arm refuses to give in to any forces steadfastly holding the rear wheel straight and true. Likewise with the front end, robbed from a 1988 GSXR1100, is accurately damped providing a superb feel to the potentially heavy front end that the GS models of old exhibited. With the wide aluminium bars you have a superb command over the way the bike steers and moves around for you, great care must be taken not to get over enthusiastic with this as you could easily over power the wheels desire to stay put on the tarmac but used wisely the set up works well. The ride is firm due to the combination of the twin shocks and the lack of seat padding but that adds to the sensation of speed as well as aiding the feel transmitted to your butt and then on to your brain.
A strange mix of Michelin Macadam rear tyre and a Bridgestone BT020 on the front work well together, aiding the chassis progress guiding the red machine around the twisty bit with razor like precision. There isn’t a suitable Bridgestone fitment for the rear enabling a matched pair to be fitted without going oversize but with the handling being so sweet I wouldn’t be too worried about that. With the running gear being borrowed from a GSXR1100 it is possible to run a matched pair of radial tyres from a different manufacturer should that be desired but the odd couple from different corners of the globe do work well as they are.
Grab the right hand lever and, as one would expect, the stopping power matches the rest of the up rated machine perfectly. Four piston Tokico calipers, borrowed on a permanent basis from a 2001 GSXR750 grab the 300mm EBC steel floating discs to create a definite stopping process, full of feel through the adjustable span lever, but tremendously powerful. The feedback from the front end is superb, once again justifying the choice of the separate components to create this breakers yard amalgamation, the result being far greater than the sum of its parts. The standard 1978 GS chassis was a benchmark for its time with combined air and oil damped forks and a real advancement in the mechanical damping of the forks movement but this machine is now light years ahead of that. The final product isn’t unlike a Harris Magnum or suchlike in its manner and performance, the frame is sturdy without further modification from its standard design while the dangly bits bolted on each end enhance the experience immeasurably.
Tony James is over the moon with his new toy and since buying it has started his own programme of improvements, mainly cosmetic as the engine department is without fault, including repainting the front wheel and replacing the discs for a brand new shiny pair of EBC items. Generally he is as happy with the GS as I was when I rode it, a lovely mix of old style and character combined with modern usefulness. The bike still retains the original classic lineage and stance while being capable of much more performance than a standard GS of any capacity whether it be a 750 or a 1000. Overall this is one special that really works without any concessions being made in its direction whatsoever, the build quality is excellent as is the ride experience and general handling.
Suzuki GS750/1000 hybrid Specifications
- Engine – 1980 GS1000 (now 1085cc) high lift Kent camshafts
- Bore & stroke – 73mm x 64.8mm
- Carburetion – 36mm flatslide mikunis
- Transmission – five speed wet clutch
- Frame – 1979 GS750
- Wheels – 110/80 x 18, 150/70 x 18
- Forks – 41mm telescopic ( GSXR1100 G)
- Rear suspension – Koni Dial a ride 3 way adjustable damping
- Brakes – 300mm discs four piston caliper ( 2001 GSXR 750). 220mm disc twin piston caliper (1990 GSX750F)
Suzuki GS750-GS1000 Special Gallery