Suzuki 1996 GSX-R750 SRAD review

A new frame, a new motor and with the 1996 GSX-R750, suddenly the GSX-R's back on. 

Good looking in a classic way | Lovely engine
Just a bit dated now

Holy cow! Just when the world and his wife had written off the 750 class for good and declared 1000s as the way forward, just when the FireBlade and ZX-9R were busy beating each other up every weekend, and just when the R1 was around the corner, Suzuki gave us the 1996 GSX-R750 WT.

We didn't know it then, but this was to be the start of their lone and ongoing crusade in the world of the three-quarter litre sportsbike. Although they weren't going to miss out on the 1000cc boom, or the 600cc one for that matter either, as the WT turned out to be the founding father of both the 600 and later the magnificent GSX-R1000.

The WT finally ditched the wraparound frame in favour of a very tasty beam jobby, which was paraded in its stripped-down glory very proudly on the launch just in case anyone hadn't noticed it.

And inside those frame rails nestled the most powerful GSX-R 750 motor ever. There would be no pillaging bits off the 1100 here, and no other recourses to adaptations of old designs, but instead there sat a brand new motor in every respect. 

Narrower and 9kg lighter than the WS lump it replaced, with more revs, bigger carbs and electronic management, the WT motor made 113bhp to be precise - a figure very close to the FireBlade of the day.

Weight loss played a major part across the whole bike, just as it did with the very first GSX-R, and overall it shed 25 kilos over the WS. Transformation doesn't come close.

The styling is pure horn, even if opinions were divided over the seat hump, but although the blue and white one looks pretty as a picture, the GSX-R's shell suit days were far from gone as demonstrated by the black/gold and purple/yellow abominations which both looked as if someone in Suzuki's paint shop had let Coco the Clown do them blindfold on his unicycle after six cans of Diamond White.

But who cares about paint when a bike goes like this? That motor spins up with a hollow howl as if the internals are made of glass and, in the lower and middle reaches of the tacho, it feels like any other properly fast bike. Not shocking, but quick. 

The shock does come when you hit 10,000rpm and the bike rips you towards the horizon on a cataclysmic surge of top end power that runs right up to the 13,500rpmm redline. In every gear. Exciting? You betcha. And with handling and brakes to match, the GSX-R750 was well and truly back in the frame, not only as King 750, but also as a viable alternative to a 'Blade if you were crazed enough to cane it hard enough.

After the WT came the WV. Same looks, same handling, same duff paint options and same mental top end, but now with improved engine management for slightly better throttle response. And after this came the WW and WX, which made the jump to fuel injection and a little more mid-range, making them easier to ride for the less committed rider, while actually making a touch more power to keep the loony brigade happy.

The one to ride has to be the WV though, as the most refined of the most barking GSX-R ever made.

GSX-R owner Carl, who'd come along and brought his current Y and had owned a string of WTs before that, got off it grinning like an idiot. "That was bloody excellent! I'm even tempted to sell my '03 to buy another one of these. I know it's not faster than my bike, and I know it doesn't handle as well, but it just feels so flippin' quick the way that top end kicks in every time".

And he's right. A well kept one of these is a true thing of joy that's still capable of doing serious damage at a trackday if kept in sticky tyres and decent brake pads. Make mine a blue and white one will you?


As a roadbike, they were the most bulletproof. I raced one for Harris in '97 and it were a fooking rocketship that just revved forever and had the most screaming top end, but it had some real stability issues too, especially at fast tracks - it was as much as I could do just to hang onto the thing at times. Still, took a couple of podiums at Hockenheim and Monza, so it weren't all bad.

Good looking in a classic way | Lovely engine
Just a bit dated now