Built on a budget, the RF900R raided the GSXR parts bin to create a machine not that far away from the performance and looks of the opposition. Based heavily upon the GSXR1100 bottom end, Suzuki chose to use smaller vales and carburettors than those used on the aggressive Gixxer to create a machine with amazing tractability and day-to-day usefulness.
Tag Archives: Suzuki Classic Bikes
First seen in 1971, the Suzuki GT380 showed much promise, on paper at least. If the other Japanese manufacturers had stood still during the 70s then the GT380 would have made perfect sense. As machines from the era go, the GT, or Sebring as it is known in the states, is a delight albeit a tad heavy. The air-cooled triple is not at all slow, but never quite as rapid in a straight fistfight with some of the middleweight twins.
In 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.
Suzuki enjoyed great mileage out of their first GP 500 machine. The XR14, and its production version the RG500, lived on for some time, its square-four engine layout proving to be competitive well into the 80s. Suzuki had officially withdrawn its factory team in 1983 and with that move so ended the development of the early 70s design. Yamaha revealed its first V-four, the OW61 in 1983, Honda quickly followed suit while Suzuki, effectively unable to develop a new machine, stayed faithful to the square concept, albeit joining the reed valve ranks in 1985 with the XR70.
I had been looking forward to cocking a leg over this particular Katana special for some time. Its mix of classic and modern styling made it look fast from the outset, while the spec sheet suggested it certainly would go, so I was keen to sample her for myself. The first opportunity came during the photo shoot, usually I nip off for a quick familiarisation spin while the cameraman gets the kit ready and this I did, popping the odd wheelie to get a feel for the torque curve and letting the engine have its head to feel the power.
Often thought to be a straight take off from the GT250 X7 the X5 is actually a complete design in its own right. Despite sharing much of their styling and design, little is interchangeable between the two. The two machines certainly do have common ground once they share showroom space, appealing as they do to very similar sectors of the biking community albeit with different desires.
Gary Haythorn is well known within the classic world having been a regular attendee with his stunning machines at the many classic shows over the last few years. His latest creation is a superb better than new Suzuki X7, the first 250cc machine to be capable of a genuine 100mph, a position it held for two years until the next generation of quarter-litre bikes arrived.
As bikes go, Andy Jones’s GT750 is a bit of a tarts handbag. The paint and chrome work is both gaudy and loud, but there can be no question that it has all been assembled and finished to the very highest of standards and with great enthusiasm. Andy’s sense of humour is without question, his sense of history is just as strong too, but he simply didn’t want to create yet another mint, standard kettle.
Keith Dickinson is a 45 year-old Scientist, and part-time petrol head, who has always serviced and repairing his own bikes and cars. “I’ve had a bike of some sort on the road ever since I was 16 years old and have restored and rebuilt several bikes over the years – as well a Triumph Spitfire which succeeded in putting me off car restoration for life.
A standard Suzuki Katana is an exciting machine, both to ride and to look at. The engine is the raw product of the early 80’s and the chassis, although lengthy and sluggish feeling, does give a fast and furious ride.