It started a class, mixed it with the best homologation specials, and has outlived them all. Alone again, is the GSX-R750 the most enduring bike of our time?
he GSX-R750 still has the potential to beat the latest and greatest sportsbikes. There’s a lot you can do to make it faster and better handling on a budget.
The 750’s motor can bog down if you’re not in the right gear, so fitting a one-tooth smaller front sprocket helps keep the engine in its sweet spot. It transforms track and road riding, at the expense of a bit of top speed, but who needs a top whack of 181mph, anyway?
Steering response and ground clearance can be improved cheaply by fitting a 4mm spacer to the rear shock top mount, which is exactly what Suzuki did to their test bikes on the launch. If you’ve got a few more quid, a race shock will turn the 750 into a scalpel-sharp racer and a quality quickshifter (HM Racing do the best) will help you zing through the gears faster and easier, too.
Got more to spend? Well, you can fit a fork cartridge kit to improve front end feel, a race exhaust for more power and less weight and a Dynojet Power Commander (remember those?) to smooth out the Suzuki’s snatchy fuelling, which unfortunately seems to be a staple of their new bikes, nowadays (the new GSX-S1000’s fuelling is horrid).
The GSX-R750 isn’t just a spectacular performance bike, it’s incredibly practical, too. You can eke as much as 52mpg, which means you can do up to 150 miles before the reserve light comes on, and it’s roomy and comfortable too.
The footpegs are three-way adjustable, so there’s a perfect riding position for everyone, short or tall, and the bars aren’t too bad on your wrists for a race-replica. Get a double-bubble screen and wind protection is brilliant, too.
Ever since the SRAD days, the 750 has been based on the 600 (the 750’s engine is now a bored and stroked 600). It shares exactly the same chassis, suspension, wheels and brakes, rather than being a smaller GSX-R1000. Mixing 600 supersport handling with 750cc grunt has always been the secret to the GSX-R’s success, but it’s also its downfall. With the supersport class all but dead, none of the manufacturers have much of an appetite to make a new 600, so it follows that we shouldn’t hold out much hope for a new GSX-R750 anytime soon. But even if the current GSX-R750 stays around for the foreseeable future, it’s no bad thing. It might be a bit long in the tooth (you can trace this model back to the 2000 GSX-R750Y), but it’s still one of the best sportsbikes money can buy.
When a stock GSX-R750 did 181mph
Back in the summer of 2013 we tested this actual GSX-R750 against the then new MV Agusta F3 800 and the Ducati Evo Corse SE in a very special test. In glorious conditions we toured the roads of southern Italy, scratched around the Nürburgring-esque Nardo test track and blasted around its eight-mile speed bowl.
Not only did the Suzuki cream the test, it also hit an incredible GPS-confirmed 181mph top speed around the bowl.
Granted, it took fellow tester Chad seven miles with the throttle against the stop for the GSX-R750 to creep up to that speed, inches from the Armco at the highest point of the bowl, but it did it.
Not even the GSX-R1000 is that fast now. The best we see in MCN tests is the mid-170mph mark, which backs up rumours that some Japanese manufacturers are placing 280km/h limiters on their superbikes.
So not only is a 750 faster around a track than a Blade, it’s faster than a GSX-R1000, too.
Suzuki GSX-R750 L6
Engine 750cc (70 x 48.7mm), 16v inline four
Power (claimed) 148bhp @ 13,200rpm
Torque (claimed) 64ftlb @ 11,500rpm
Frame Cast aluminium twin spar
Weight 194kg (full of fuel)
Capacity 17 litres
Seat height 810mm
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Photos: Alberto Cervetti