Used Bike

Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD

Suzuki's GSX-R brand represented the ultimate race replica for the people. Can Kawasaki's masterpiece take it on?

Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD: Still fruity

To fully experience the out-of-the-box race bike experience and to take me back a decade in time, the GSX-R had to be ridden second. Our late ’97 model here had been ever so mildly pimped but also well set up by owner and WT fanatic Warren Pole. Whilst Kawasaki always produced an attractive alternative to the race-rep lime green colour scheme, the Suzuki was generally only worth having in the blue/white option and this one is a peach.

In comparison to the 7R, every inch of this machine is track biased. It is the same size and weight of a 600cc Super Sport replica twelve years its junior – testament enough to its ground breaking specifications. It is as minimal as a bike can be whilst still being road legal – thirty minutes with the under seat tool kit and this baby was ready to race. Gone is the ugly and traditional GSX-R double cradle frame, in its place a figure hugging aluminium beam affair cradling the all-new short stroke, high revving motor that was short enough to allow a reduced wheelbase.

Sit in it and you feel like a racer. There’s not much underneath you and that’s just how it feels – wiggle the bike from left to right without using your arms and you begin to doubt that it tips the scales as high as 169kg dry.

The engine is more crisp, responsive and rev-happy at a standstill and feels as though it is begging to dip in to that incredible 13,500rpm redline. The bike has begun turning in to the corner before the rider has thought of it – the ’96 bike was noted for its quick steering and I can’t think of a bike since that has a faster turn-in than this shortened GSX-R.

The Suzuki is quite frantic and is designed to thrive on revs and the sensation that this delivers the rider is explosive. Though torque must be sacrificed, the GSX-R is easier to ride faster than the Kwack with the same amount of gear changes, thanks to its low weight. Thanks to the engine management black box of trickery with throttle position and rpm sensors, the GSX-R will pull smoothly and cleanly from as low as 2,000rpm and will start to fly at 8-9,000rpm, pulling hard all the way to just over 13,000rpm.

Whilst the 7R is a fast bike, the GSX-R feels dangerously fast in comparison. Not only that, but the oil tanker stability of the ZX is not present here. Whilst the Suzuki steering seems to slow at higher speeds and develop a more natural turn-in rate, it is equally likely to react to poor surfacing and poor rider decisions. Yes it will change direction mid corner in the blink of an eye, but such is the geometry and level of feedback that it disguises none of what is going on beneath you.

Everything from the brakes through to the suspension and beautifully crisp (as only Suzuki could make ‘em) gearbox to the rider’s hands is pure racetrack in feel. The SRAD (Suzuki Ram Air Direct) intakes suck air through those fairing ducts either side of the headlights and force it through the frame, not a genuinely pressurised airbox like on the Kawasaki, but the noise under full chat is pure addiction. This is one of those ultra-pure riding experiences on a bike that was born out of a necessity to rampage the race track and murder everything in its path, and thankfully before tiresome safety gizmo’s had a chance to dilute those instincts. Of course the ZX-7R could not  compete in terms of sheer performance but on a different real-world level, was a truly heroic competitor and sadly the last hard-core Kawasaki towear the 750 sticker.

What interests me is how the SRAD would compare to the GSX-R750 of today, because I have a sneaky feeling that in terms of outright adrenalin and grin factor, Suzuki have never improved on the original WT.

Click to read: Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD owner's reviews

Suzuki GSX-R750 Specifications

Price now: £1,500 - £3,000
Engine: 749cc liquid-cooled, 16-valve in-line DOHC four
Power: 130bhp @ 11,500rpm (claimed)
Torque: 60 lb-ft @ 10,000rpm
Front suspension: 43mm USD telescopic fork, fully adjustable
Rear suspension: Monoshock, gas/oil damped, fully adjustable
Front brake: Twin 296mm discs, 2-piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 296mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Dry weight: 179kg
Fuel capacity: 18 litres
Top speed: 165mph
Colours: Blue/white, Black

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