1997 Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD

Suzuki GSX-R750 W-T SRAD and 750Y/K3 (1996-2003) – Tomorrow’s Classic Today

The Suzuki GSX-R750F re-wrote the rules for sportsbikes back in 1985, blah, blah, blah etc. etc.

Suzuki GSX-R750 SRADWe won’t go on about how the old skinny-wheeled, double-cradled Gixer is a classic because we all know that. And we won’t be looking at the likes of the mighty GSX-R1100 either – because most of the early models of that are classic too… Now, while we may suck our teeth at whether ALL double-cradle GSX-R750s are classic or not (think 1992’s W-N with – at last – water-cooled motor and hideous shell-suit graphics) we do think that the two models in our spotlight today are…

We’re talking of the 1996 GSX-R750WT, known by many as the SRAD and its replacement, 2000’s GSX-R750Y, which became the K1/K3 up until 2003, after which it was replaced with an all-new (you guessed it) K4!

The SRAD was a real leap forward for Suzuki with the GSX-R family. After all, some tuners/old-school Suzook peeps had already muttered into their Simpson Bandits that you couldn’t have a water-cooled GSX-R when the slightly disappointing W-N hit our shores in 1992.  What would they say when the new GSX-R750 came out, with an all-new motor grasped by (shock horror) a BEAM frame, of all things?! Ditching the double-cradle could seem sacrilegious, after all…

What was the SRAD? Well, named thanks to the acronym ‘Suzuki Ram Air Direct’, this described the two yawning air-scoops either side of the headlight which fed gulps of air to the ram-air system. When launched at the end of 1995 (24 ruddy years back) it was the best 750 of its day, beating the also-new (but heavy) Kawasaki ZX-7R and the long-in-the-tooth Yamaha YZF750R.

1997 Suzuki GSX-R750 SRADOf course, king of the sportsbike world in 1995/96 was the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade in RR-S/R then T/V guise. Impressively, the SRAD’s performance (around 120bhp, 165mph top end and mid-ten second standing quarters) meant it just had the cojones to take on the bigger-capacity Blade, even in its updated T/V guise for 1996/97.

The reason the SRAD was such a performer was that it went ‘back to basics.’ So, like the original F, it was about light weight and good power. Meanwhile the geometry was based loosely on Kevin Schwantz’s 1993 RGV500 chassis (with the signature double-cradle frame replaced finally with a beam frame.) All told, it had a dry weight of just 179 kilos with 120bhp, compared to the 750F’s 176 kilos and 100bhp. In between models had become bloated – like the 1991 750M with 114bhp and 208 kilos.

The 1998 model got fuel-injection to replace the W-T and W-V’s 39mm Mikunis before the next big revamp which came along in Y2K as we used to call the year ‘2000.’

Y2K (sorry) saw the launch of the GSX-R750Y: this looked very different, but was actually a refinement of what had gone before. In came smoother looks and slipperier aerodynamics along with (or should that be without) even less weight – a shocking 166 kilos dry. Revvin’ Kevin Schwantz himself was at the Misano launch of the new machine and figured that this stock road bike was better than his 1988 Daytona-winning GSX-R750 and that the stock 750Y could probably beat the pole-time for 1988’s Daytona 200.

But, while it looked quite different, there wasn’t much that had changed under the skin of the 750Y. Small changes to the motor included inlet and exhaust valve angles, a more compact combustion chamber, narrower cylinder head, higher compression ratio and 16-bit digital fuel injection. The Y also had a larger SRAD system and different brakes, but similar forks and shock.

When it comes to prices there is a lot of overlap between the SRAD and the Y/K models (and even the previous W-S and K4 models). Bargains will likely be the likes of ex-racers and track bikes – there are lots out there. Next up comes bikes bedecked with crap: mini-indicators, shite streetfighters, stickers/carbon covers etc… Rubbish/high-milers will be below a grand, but you can just about still get something resembling half decent between £1500-£2000… Low-mile, mint versions of either model can touch £4500…

Colour-wise many would suggest that only the corporate Suzuki blues are worthy of investment – and that’s true to a point – but some of the classy, but less garish schemes (red/black is always good) are worth a good look.

For – Still an amazing 750 in either shape…

Against – Many are abused and therefore hard to find a decent one…

Suzuki GSX-R750 W-T SRAD Specification;  

Model GSX-R750 WT SRAD / GSX-R750Y-K3
Price new £8999 (SRAD Dec 1995) £7789 (750Y Mar 2000)
Years available 1996-2003
Major changes As listed in the story!
Cost £1000 up to £4500 for a minter/low-miler

Verdict – Another pair of classic GSX-Rs….