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Suzuki GSX-R750 K6-K7 review

Details
Manufacturer:
Suzuki
Category:
Sportsbikes
Overall
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Even more perfect than the previous 750.
Hard to find fault with.

I KNOW I’M NOT as young as I was. I run a ‘sensible’ car, my hair is starting to recede, and the passage of time seems to have been compressed somehow. But it really isn’t so long ago since the best sportsbikes were of 750cc capacity. From the launch of the first GSX-R750 in 1985 to the debut of the first credible large capacity bike – the FireBlade – in ’92, 750cc four-stroke
sportsbikes were the daddies.

Back then 600cc bikes had steel frames and were for nervous types, or for going to the shops on (or both). The 1000 and 1100cc bikes of the day would be called sports tourers now, and would never be allowed near a racetrack. I remember trying to wrestle a GSX-R1100 round the TT in ’89 and shitting myself for most of every lap. And those were good compared with CBR1000s or the original ZX-10s. I’m not slagging these bikes off, it’s just that they weren’t supposed to do what people were trying to do with them back then. Some of you will remember a racer called Ray Swann.

I still chuckle when I think of him describing how going round the TT on the ZX-10 that year was like going down a bobsleigh track in a tin bath full of water.

My point is this. Once upon a time, not so long ago, 750cc bikes were seen as the best compromise between weight, power, and agility. They spawned the class of racing we know today as ‘Superbike’ (original WSB capacity rules were 750cc fours and 1000cc twins) and they also spawned the first generation of riders in the modern era who never raced two-strokes.

As soon as I saw this year’s GSX-R750 being wheeled out of the van I knew it would be a good tool. For a start it looks right. Cutting edge mechanics blended with the traditional Suzuki colour scheme is cock-on for me. The only things I didn’t like about the styling were the wheels – I would’ve prefered to see five spokes instead of the rather dated-looking three spokers – and the big exhaust collector box thing below and behind the engine looks out of place. To be fair, though, this only becomes really visible when the bike is leaning away from you – which it wouldn’t be unless it was falling over or someone else was riding it. Or both.

Within five laps of Brands Hatch I felt like I’d bonded with this bike. The engine is stronger than I thought it would be and the extra torque it has over a 600cc means you can get away with fewer gearchanges, which in turn means you don’t unsettle the bike prodding at the gear lever in corners.

But this doesn’t mean you have to ride the bike on the torque and not the power like you find yourself doing on the 1000s sometimes. You can rev it without feeling that you’re losing time.
Geometry was very good. It steered fast enough without being unstable. Changing direction was easy and fairly precise. Only when I really started pushing the bike to the limit and dragging a lot of brake into the turns did it start to complain a bit with a slight ‘understeer’ feeling, even then it didn’t feel dangerous.

Suspension was also fairly sorted right out of the box. A good benchmark at Brands is if you can hold the throttle flat out over the bumps onto the start and finish straight. With the GSX-R you can. The back wags about a bit but it’s no problem.

The front started to bottom out under hard braking as well. But again, I only found this out because the bike is so much fun that you keep going faster and faster on it.

The brakes were as good as the rest of the package. I’m a bit picky when it comes to front brake lever position. I use two fingers to brake and it’s a fine line between having the lever too far out (so you can’t put enough pressure on it) and too far in (so your outside fingers are getting trapped all the time). You’re able to adjust this master cylinder finely enough to get it perfect.

The slipper clutch you can feel working as you slot down the ’box braking for Druids, but I can’t help thinking you’d be a brave man (or wo-man) to go quick enough on the road to even know you had one. The good thing is that it doesn’t have that ‘clicking’ feeling through the lever that some slipper systems do.

The only annoyances on track were the footrests, they pivot backwards rather than upwards and I found it difficult to get my feet positioned correctly as I tipped into a turn, especially the left one. When I’d changed down and wanted to slide my foot backwards so the ball of the foot was on the rest, the rest tended to move with the foot. But this is much to do with my style.
On the road none of the tiny flaws in manners I found on the track were evident. This bike pretty much goes where you want it, as fast as you want it to go.It’s also one of those bikes that you feel in control of for the most part… not the other way round.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if you were designing your ideal 600, it would be a 750. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. This bike is as nimble as a 600, but with that bit more power. The tricky bit is not having so much excess power as to make it a handful to ride. For my money the balance is just right with the GSX-R750.

There’s a lot about the late ‘80’s that I wouldn’t like to see making a comeback. Waffle trousers, shit American stadium bands and big hair (especially now mine’s falling out). But 750 race reps I’d welcome from all manufacturers, as long as they do as good a job as Suzuki has.I KNOW I’M NOT as young as I was. I run a ‘sensible’ car, my hair is starting to recede, and the passage of time seems to have been compressed somehow. But it really isn’t so long ago since the best sportsbikes were of 750cc capacity. From the launch of the first GSX-R750 in 1985 to the debut of the first credible large capacity bike – the FireBlade – in ’92, 750cc four-stroke
sportsbikes were the daddies.

Back then 600cc bikes had steel frames and were for nervous types, or for going to the shops on (or both). The 1000 and 1100cc bikes of the day would be called sports tourers now, and would never be allowed near a racetrack. I remember trying to wrestle a GSX-R1100 round the TT in ’89 and shitting myself for most of every lap. And those were good compared with CBR1000s or the original ZX-10s. I’m not slagging these bikes off, it’s just that they weren’t supposed to do what people were trying to do with them back then. Some of you will remember a racer called Ray Swann.

I still chuckle when I think of him describing how going round the TT on the ZX-10 that year was like going down a bobsleigh track in a tin bath full of water.

My point is this. Once upon a time, not so long ago, 750cc bikes were seen as the best compromise between weight, power, and agility. They spawned the class of racing we know today as ‘Superbike’ (original WSB capacity rules were 750cc fours and 1000cc twins) and they also spawned the first generation of riders in the modern era who never raced two-strokes.

As soon as I saw this year’s GSX-R750 being wheeled out of the van I knew it would be a good tool. For a start it looks right. Cutting edge mechanics blended with the traditional Suzuki colour scheme is cock-on for me. The only things I didn’t like about the styling were the wheels – I would’ve prefered to see five spokes instead of the rather dated-looking three spokers – and the big exhaust collector box thing below and behind the engine looks out of place. To be fair, though, this only becomes really visible when the bike is leaning away from you – which it wouldn’t be unless it was falling over or someone else was riding it. Or both.

Within five laps of Brands Hatch I felt like I’d bonded with this bike. The engine is stronger than I thought it would be and the extra torque it has over a 600cc means you can get away with fewer gearchanges, which in turn means you don’t unsettle the bike prodding at the gear lever in corners.

But this doesn’t mean you have to ride the bike on the torque and not the power like you find yourself doing on the 1000s sometimes. You can rev it without feeling that you’re losing time.
Geometry was very good. It steered fast enough without being unstable. Changing direction was easy and fairly precise. Only when I really started pushing the bike to the limit and dragging a lot of brake into the turns did it start to complain a bit with a slight ‘understeer’ feeling, even then it didn’t feel dangerous.

Suspension was also fairly sorted right out of the box. A good benchmark at Brands is if you can hold the throttle flat out over the bumps onto the start and finish straight. With the GSX-R you can. The back wags about a bit but it’s no problem.

The front started to bottom out under hard braking as well. But again, I only found this out because the bike is so much fun that you keep going faster and faster on it.

The brakes were as good as the rest of the package. I’m a bit picky when it comes to front brake lever position. I use two fingers to brake and it’s a fine line between having the lever too far out (so you can’t put enough pressure on it) and too far in (so your outside fingers are getting trapped all the time). You’re able to adjust this master cylinder finely enough to get it perfect.

The slipper clutch you can feel working as you slot down the ’box braking for Druids, but I can’t help thinking you’d be a brave man (or wo-man) to go quick enough on the road to even know you had one. The good thing is that it doesn’t have that ‘clicking’ feeling through the lever that some slipper systems do.

The only annoyances on track were the footrests, they pivot backwards rather than upwards and I found it difficult to get my feet positioned correctly as I tipped into a turn, especially the left one. When I’d changed down and wanted to slide my foot backwards so the ball of the foot was on the rest, the rest tended to move with the foot. But this is much to do with my style.
On the road none of the tiny flaws in manners I found on the track were evident. This bike pretty much goes where you want it, as fast as you want it to go.It’s also one of those bikes that you feel in control of for the most part… not the other way round.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if you were designing your ideal 600, it would be a 750. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. This bike is as nimble as a 600, but with that bit more power. The tricky bit is not having so much excess power as to make it a handful to ride. For my money the balance is just right with the GSX-R750.

There’s a lot about the late ‘80’s that I wouldn’t like to see making a comeback. Waffle trousers, shit American stadium bands and big hair (especially now mine’s falling out). But 750 race reps I’d welcome from all manufacturers, as long as they do as good a job as Suzuki has.

Even more perfect than the previous 750.
Hard to find fault with.