Test Ride– Suzuki GSX-R 750

Less is More

Read the magazine article right here.

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There are those that question the relevance of litre class sports bikes given today’s oppressive speed limits and the volume of traffic on our roads. There are also those that like myself are a little bit portly and find 600’s underpowered. Suzuki has managed to produce a motorcycle that offers the best of both worlds with the GSX-R 750. The only unanswered question is, why don’t all manufacturers follow their lead and produce 750 sports machines?

It is an inescapable fact that sport bike design is influenced by World Superbike racing. The premier class used to be open to 750cc 4 cylinder machines and 1000cc twins. As a result, 4 cylinder manufacturers, typically Japanese produced 750 sports bikes until the rules changed in 2003 allowing 1000cc 4 cylinder bikes. Manufacturers developed litre class bikes and the 750 fell by the wayside. All except Suzuki, they just carried on producing their 750 as well as the 1000 and cornered the market.

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Styling

I have never considered the GSX-R range particularly good looking but I clearly stand alone. Our test example in black and burnt orange attracted more attention than any other bike I have ridden including Italian exotica. No less than three people opened their car window to tell me how much they liked the bike on a single trip through Sandton. The bike attracted similar attention and positive comments everywhere I went on it.

Performance

Despite my unique opinion on the styling, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that the GSX-R 750 is probably the best Japanese bike on the market. Performance is as close to a 1000 as makes no difference without having your arms ripped out of their sockets every time you accelerate away. Sure in a head to head drag race a bigger capacity machine would probably nose ahead but how often do you get involved in drag races? On a speed run the speedo peaked at 277Km/h but one of our freelance testers was convinced that being lighter and able to tuck in more, that he would see 300.

You get 150 horse power which is around 25 more than the 600 using the same frame and weighing in only a few kilos lighter. So the 750 offers an excellent power to weight ratio which translates into tarmac melting performance.

The Suzuki does have another ace up its sleeve though developing usable power right across the rev range unlike so many 4-cylinder machines. Having decent low and mid range power makes the 750 an easy bike to ride in traffic as well as tearing up the tarmac on the open road. The 750 is frugal too sipping just 5.1 litres for every hundred Kms of our test and that was a combination of commuting, high speed breakfast runs and freeway cruising.

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Equipment

In common with the rest of the GSX-R range, the 750 is equipped with a 3 way mode switch and again I question what it is really for. Sure new riders could start out in C mode until they have built up some experience then switch to B mode and eventually A mode. That does make the feature a bit of a one trick pony and does assume that all buyers will be novice riders. Not only that, the same could realistically be achieved with more controlled use of the throttle hand. Other than that there’s not much electronic gadgetry to write home about, an analogue rev counter and digital speedometer. There is no trip computer or fuel gauge but you do get that all important gear indicator.

The suspension is set up reasonably soft out of the box so you will need to spend a few minutes with a screwdriver or your friendly techie until you get dialled in to your own riding style. You do get high and low speed compression damping and that makes it possible to really fine-tune your individual set-up. We could get all technical here but in my experience, high and low speed compression means that I find I tend to use a single set up for both road and track.

There is a factory fitted steering damper, which I’m sure several owners will junk in favour of a more glamorous name brand. They will of course be wasting their money in pursuit of image. The factory fitted unit works well and try as I might, I was unable to invoke a tank slapper.

The exhaust has quite a good if muffled sound, which of course is the legal requirement thanks to pressure from the ozone friendlies. If you have to live with it you can but splash out on an aftermarket unit that allows the engine to breath and unleash the real sound of the 750.

The brakes are definitely up to the job and will scrub off speed at a rate that will have your eyes trying to leave their sockets. I found the feel a little bit vague on first tug of the lever although some people prefer a less definite initial bite. Either way, fitting braided hoses rectifies the problem. I should criticise Suzuki for not fitting them at the factory but if they did the price would go up and the 750 wouldn’t be the bargain that it is now.

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Ambience

The 750 is a comfortable bike to ride with a reasonably low seat height and sensibly positioned pegs. You feel as though you are sitting in a GSX-R rather than being perched on top of it. There is a reasonable reach to the bars, which helps if you are a six-footer. It is a sports bike so you will find the seat hard when you undertake marathon tours but it’s very comfortable as a day-to-day ride.

Conclusion.

At R118 000 the GSX-R 750 is only R9000 more than a 600 so unless you need the smaller capacity bike for insurance purposes or to appease the wife, the 750 is the one to go for. You can get a new 08 model with the same spec for a mere R109 000 making it a real bargain.

Reviewer name – Steve

Liked

Faster than a 600 without the white knuckle ride of a 1000

Easy to ride, a superbike that will commute

Disliked

The silly mode switch


Drive Vitals: Suzuki GSX-R 750

Engine: In line 4 cylinder

Capacity 750cc

Power 111.8 Kw

Torque 86 Nm

Kerb weight 198 kg (167kg dry)

Wheel/tyre dimensions

Front 120/70ZR17

Rear 180/55ZR17

Price R118 000

Drive Vitals: Suzuki GSX-R 750

Engine: In line 4 cylinder

Capacity 750cc

Power 111.8 Kw

Torque 86 Nm

Kerb weight 198 kg (167kg dry)

Wheel/tyre dimensions

Front 120/70ZR17

Rear 180/55ZR17

Price R118 000

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  • Shawn

    PPffwwwwaaaaaarrrrrr, I’ll have me one of those!

  • Arno

    Looks better then a stripper naked……!!!

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