Suzuki GSX-R750

Suzuki GSX-R750 Road Test

Suzuki GSXR750In the mid eighties virtually every aspect of the motorcycling future was accurately predicted. The die for the Superbike category had been well and truly cast when the first Gixer took to the roads. In reality the Gixer was a real racer on the road with styling cues taken directly from the track machines of the day; the 100 plus horses that the engine produced more than capable of doing the biz on track too. The aluminium chassis and magnesium engine covers looked trick and, hitting the scales with an all up mass of 179 kgs, was certainly lightweight, but every component that makes it up appears to tortuously twist and warp with the extreme forces on tap. The early model was a lively beast that took some taming even though it was light years better than any road machine previously seen.

The long stroke engine configuration of the first model enabled the GSXR to take on the hooligan mantle so ably held previously by the LC350 and gave it a completely new meaning with adrenaline filled acceleration and serious treble figure performance. The maximum power was found half way between the 10 and the 11 digits on the dial while the redline arrived a further 500 rpm up the scale making what was for the day, a real screamer. The way the engine delivered its 106 horses to the rear wheel was certainly exciting with very little low down steam below 7000rpm and a heady rush up to the top of the tacho with the needle hitting the vertical right on the limit of power. For the unwary if the power was impressive pottering around then it must have been positively shocking once the rev rose above the 7k mark with proceedings starting to happen very quickly indeed. The Mikuni flat slide carbs do help the low down driveability but it still gets the blood pumping when the two stroke like power band kicks in for real.

1985 Suzuki GSXR750The dash is pure race stuff with the three large readouts mounted in a foam surround with the tacho taking the pride of place smack bang in the middle of the proceeding exactly where a race bikes would be. The speedo sits slightly to the left and the fuel guage, the same size as the other two for obvious reasons, flanks the right. The Gixer is a real gas guzzler especially as large amounts of right wrist are required to get it going making the bike a regular at the petrol station and an unpractical machine to ride over any long distances.

The very first F model introduce in march 1985 was the shortest of the time with a wheelbase a mere 1435mm in length, this coupled with the square section aluminium tubing frames inability to keep the wheels in line under power, exacerbated the flighty handling and the following year the machine was given an extra 20mm of swing arm in an attempt at steadying her down a bit. It certainly helped and the 1986 G spec Gixer became the machine to have if fast riding and track use was your bag. The wheelbase remained lengthened for the next two years before being drastically reduced with the introduction of the 1988 J model which had a GP race bike like 1410mm between each tyres contact patch as well as a sharp head angle and trail, potentially adding up to a flighty and difficult machine to control. The handling was kept well in check with a radically beefed up frame along with the latest in radial tyre technology and improved suspension, in particular the thicker walled 43mm fork stanchions. GSX-R’s continued to gain weight through their life with thicker frame sections and strengthened sections in an attempt to get them to handle better. From 1988 onwards the engine was calmed significantly with the introduction of a shorter stroke engine giving strangely more mid range torque and driveability with some important gains in power and rev ceiling higher up in the range.

The oil cooled engine still sprouts fins like the air-cooled GSX750 and these no doubt help the engine oils task of keeping it all around the correct operating temperature but for me they do add to the noise that emanates from within the fairing making the early GSX-R’s sound rattley and tinney.

1985 Suzuki GSXR750 Road TestIn use the revvy Gixer is a nice bike to be on, the bulky tank gives it a substantial feel and the low seat makes you feel rather more sat in rather than precariously perched on the machine although considerable pressure is transmitted through ones wrists to the buzzy handle bars. The gearbox is still a slick as the day it was made and the ratios are perfectly matched to the engines character making riding one quickly a real doddle once the throttle is kept in the latter part of its travel or even better, back to its stop. It is just the handling that gets a little way ward and prevents the Gixer making any serious attempts at getting past any similar machine being ridden well, a little difficult. The Suzook is nimble and can be thrown around with some enthusiasm at any speed but be ready to be extremely firm, making sure you keep one step ahead of the bikes progress, as once moving away from its intended path it likes to keep it that way and the chassis makes little attempt at steadying the proceedings.

Suzuki GSX-R 750 F specifications

  • Engine – 749cc, liquid cooled, 16 valve DOHC, in line four
  • Bore & Stroke – 70mm x 48.7mm
  • Power – 106 bhp @ 10,500rpm
  • Transmission – six speed chain final drive
  • Carburation – 4 x Mikuni VN 29SS
  • Chassis – square section aluminium twin downtube
  • Suspension – 41mm telescopic forks, single shock “ Full Floater” rising rate rear
  • Brakes – front twin 285 mm discs four piston calipers single 220mm disc, twin piston rear
  • Wheelbase – 1435mm
  • Top Speed – 145mph
  • Year of manufacture – 1985
  • Weight – 176kg (388lb)

Suzuki GSX-R750 Road Test Gallery

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