Special excess: the UK's best-seller
It's the Friday before Brands Hatch World Superbikes and the guys in Suzuki GB's workshop are talking me through all the things I'm supposed to know before I can take away their shiny new GSX-R750. Except all I can hear is a Bart Simpson-style 'blah, blah, blah' - I am transfixed by the 750 and just want to be on my way. Lecture over, I sling the sun over my shoulder and head off to see what all the fuss is about.
With 1486 of the K6 GSX-R750 sold in the UK so far this year, it's currently Britain's best-selling motorcycle bar none. Worldwide, 670,000 people have bought GSX-R750s since the 1985 launch, but I was five years old at the time and can't really remember it. I can remember the first time the 750 had an effect on my life though. When I was at school I used to do a bit of boxing, one of the coaches at my club had a GSX-R750M.
To get a go on it I had to agree to go weight training with him, involving a 30-mile round trip on the back of the GSX-R. I never really liked the weightlifting, but I was addicted to going pillion on that bike three times a week.
The GSX-R750 is the bike of the moment. If you took your money into a Suzuki dealer today and asked for one, the nice man would gladly take your cash, then tell you to come back in three months. The changes that Suzuki made to the 750 for 2006 - new chassis, new motor, less weight, more power, sharper looks - have no real impact on me as, being relatively new to this game, I haven't ridden last year's. I have however spent lots of time on this year's GSX-R600 and it becomes apparent straight-away that physically the two are identical. Weight wise there's only a two-kilo difference, which is a counter balance weight on the crankshaft. Not something your average Joe will pick up on.
Power wise the 750 is 25bhp up on the 600. This is noticeable immediately. You have be ruthless with the 600 to get the most out of it; on the 750 though things are a lot less manic - unless you want them to be, in which case things happen very, very quickly. There is proper useable torque that makes 50mph top gear overtakes a doddle, without having to worry about down shifting. The gear ratios are perfect. First will show an indicated 87mph, use the other five and you can add almost 100mph to that figure. If you really want the motor to excite just crack the throttle at 50mph in second, which is just under 6000rpm. The front doesn't lift, it just charges forward and spins round to the redline. There is a noticeable change in pitch and power delivery at 8000rpm, which sounds great, but you'll be constantly wary of breaking every speed limit our country has to offer.
The brakes are fantastic. One finger was always enough to brush speed off for a corner, or completely stop. The suspension, unsurprisingly, is also superb, the transition from braking to the forks settling before entering corners is seamless. The GSX-R feels so composed when you turn in, and it holds a line perfectly.
I was cornering more quickly on the Suzuki than on any other road bike I have ridden, without ever feeling like the bike was waiting to do something nasty. The GSX-R750 may have earned itself a bad boy image over the years, but this seems misplaced now. There are no secrets or surprises; it just complies with your input and gets on with it.
But ride the 750 and you can't help but notice how many other GSX-Rs you're sharing the road with. You definitely don't feel like an individual. Go to Box Hill, or Matlock Bath, or Brands Hatch and you'll blend in, not stand out. It's the best selling bike in the UK this year so you're going to see lots of them, and 600s and 1000s too. Some people are buying them purely to fit in and look the part, some people are buying them because of the heritage that the GSX-R750 has. Then there are people who, having considered all the options, see it as the perfect blend of weight, power and price. These sell because they're damn good bikes. I could see myself fitting into one of the last two, but if buying a good thing because it's good is a bad thing, why does everyone have an iPod or a Nokia phone?
The 750, this 750, offers the perfect blend of power and performance, seamlessly bridging the gap between 600 and 1000. I'd have a GSX-R750 over the 600 or 1000. James Whitham would have a GSX-R750 over the 600 or 1000. We've asked the question before - why don't more manufacturers make 750s? It's a tough act to follow. It may be common as muck, but the GSX-R750 is one of the purest forms of motorcycling ever created.
TYPE - SUPERSPORTSPRODUCTION DATE - 2006PRICE NEW - £7799ENGINE CAPACITY - 749ccPOWER - 133.2bhp @ 11,500TORQUE - 66.5lb.ft @ 8700rpmWEIGHT - 163kgSEAT HEIGHT - 810mm FUEL CAPACITY - 16.5LTOP SPEED - 154.4mphTANK RANGE - 105miles
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