Used Bike

Suzuki GSX-R750

The quintessential Blade that was so good it was generally overlooked, the underrated GSX-R750 that was admired by those who bought one and the R1 a Japanese bike with styling that matched the Italians

Suzuki GSX-R750

“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain was once (mistakenly) quoted as saying. If ever a quote sums up a motorcycle then this one hits the nail on the head when it comes to the life of the GSX-R750 in recent years.

Ever since the launch of the GSX-R1000 in 2001 people have been predicting the demise of the 750. But every time Suzuki updates the GSX-R600, sure as eggs is eggs, another 750 pops up alongside it. Just why is this?

Simple, not only does the 24-year heritage behind the GSX-R750 mean a hell of a lot to the heads of Suzuki, the bike continues to sell. And sell very well indeed, with figures often topping those of its smaller capacity sibling.

The GSX-R750 is one of those bikes that defies common logic. Why a 750? The 600 is cheaper, almost as fast and looks the same, the 1000 has more power and handles as well. What’s the point in owning a 750? If you think like this then have obviously never ridden one.

The charm of the 750 is that it picks the very best bits of the 600 and 1000 and merges them together into a beautifully balanced bike that is a joy to ride. Nothing on the bike feels like it is trying to fight with the rider, just work with him to make the ride as pleasant and exciting as possible.

Where on a 1000cc bike the sheer speed and brute force of the acceleration is intimidating, and equally on a 600 where the constant need to keep the engine spinning irritating, the 750 is just about perfect. Find a nice piece of road and you feel like you are using the 750’s engine, not being mocked. You can thrash it, hit the limiter, make it scream and giggle like a kid at the buzz, just like a 600. But you won’t ever get that feeling that you are one step behind the action that you can get on a 1000, which is when things can get dangerous. Very quickly.

The 750 engine feels just like you would expect, a 600 with a bit more oomph. A good one will make around the 128bhp area, which is 27bhp more than the 600, which makes a touch over 100bhp. But where the 600 makes just 45ft.lb of torque the 750 will churn out 66ft.lb. That’s quite a difference from just 150ccs, and it feels a massive difference to ride.

The engine is typical Suzuki and transmits a slight tingle through the bars to let you know it isn’t that refined and still has the odd rough edge or two, but nowhere that matters. There is still the killer zap of a powerband at the top end, but the midrange is more than powerful enough to allow the rider to not be continually chasing this band while the fueling is nearly perfect and unlike later Suzukis, the gearbox legendarily sweet.

This 2005 model is special in many ways because it was the last generation before Suzuki started going all stumpy with the exhaust pipe, a move that also signified the advent of a slipper clutch as standard. While this improved the bike’s track ability it did make the gearbox clunky and less precise, removing slightly from its charm.

And that’s the key to the GSX-R750s success – charm. As well as being a brilliant trackday bike the 750 is a superb day to day machine as well. The riding position is roomy and relaxed and the combination of balanced power and the excellent chassis makes it just so easy to ride, even in the wet. Come the dry days, however, and it really comes alive, ripping through corners, flattering the rider’s ability and delivering everything that a GSX-R should. Which has its drawbacks.

As with all Suzuki’s finish is a slight blot on the landscape. It’s not that bad, and certainly far better than early 1000s, but still little things can annoy like the wafer thin paint on the wheels and poor finish on some fasteners, GSX-Rs can look very secondhand very quickly if not looked after and cleaned of any winter sale on a regular basis.

Unlike some other bikes, with the GSX-R750 it really is a case of the latest is the best. If your wallet can withstand the hit then later models are sharper looking, handle that bit better and are slightly more powerful. But, and this is a big but, there is certainly nothing at all wrong with older ones, many prefer the more classic look and slightly easier-going nature.

If you are in the market for your first ‘big’ sportsbike and are looking at the secondhand market for it rather than a brand new one try a GSX-R750. Those few extra ccs make a world of difference without intimidating and we guarantee you won’t regret the choice.

Continue for the Yamaha YZF-R1

Owning a Suzuki GSX-R750

Running costs: Although it has improved in recent years, at this stage Suzuki’s build quality wasn’t that good. The paint on the wheels is very thin and tyre changes often result in it flaking off. Be aware of this, and also the weak oil seals on the forks, which can pop and will cost about £150 to get changed. Servicing is every 4,000 miles at a cost of about £150 with the biggy involving valve clearances at 15,000 and likely to cost £300.

Other options: With so many years of heritage behind it you have loads of options with the 750. The best earlier model is the SRAD (easily identified by the funny pillion seat cover) which is a great bike or why not go all retro and get an original? Unfortunately they are becoming very collectable and a decent one likely to cost you close to £3,000, which is near the price of a 2002 model! The smaller 600 is a good bike, but lacking a bit of power, whereas the 2005 GSX-R1000 is the best of the 1000s.

How much: Price varies a considerable amount with GSX-R750s depending on age and condition. Above all don’t pay any extra for ‘modifications’ such as rearsets or a race can, and make sure you have the OE can included should the one you are looking at be ‘tuned.’ Suspension mods are good, but it’s very hard to tell if the work has been done. Insist on receipts or assume it hasn’t! A 2004 750 will cost about £4,200 in a dealer or £3,600 private. Add about £400 to each price for the 2005 model.

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