Long before we had one-litre sports bikes that handled as well as they do these days, the fast rider’s choice of bike was the 750cc race replica. Up at the top of the pack was always theGSXR750, or Gixxer as it’s affectionately known, from Suzuki. While they never produced as much power as their bigger engined siblings, they out-handled and, most importantly, they out-braked the bigger machines. This in turn made them a much easier bike to ride fast.
The Gixxer 750 has been around since the 1980s in one form or another and was raced in AMA as well as World and British Superbikes. Over the years it was host to new developments in suspension, fuelling and forced air induction. They’ve been ridden by Frankie Chilli and sold officially with factory Corona and Lucky Strike paint jobs. They have also been ridden, for the most part, by dedicated sports bikes riders who know what they are at.
The really tasty extra that’s needed on these machines is an Akrapovic slip on. The ease with which the engine revs out is wonderfully complimented by the noise from the European company’s beautifully curved piece of acoustic engineering.
The 750 is well specced from the factory. It comes with fully adjustable suspension, a rear hugger, recessed indicators, a steering damper, and the rider’s foot pegs are adjustable too. The wheelbase is wonderfully short (only 6mm longer than the 600) and the radially mounted calipers are simply fantastic. It looks and feels like a race bike fitted with road equipment such as lights and indicators rather than a road bike made to look like a race bike. Interestingly enough, they came with hazard warning lights as standard. I’m not too sure if this is reassuring or deeply disturbing!
A very complete bike is what it feels like to ride. The engine feels crisp and is quick to rev. The clocks are a combination of a large analogue tacho and a small digital speedo with a gear indicator in the middle. Not surprisingly, the tacho is the easiest to read and by default the revs tend to be watched rather than the speed!
The chassis on the 750 is the same as the 600, so it feels like an overpowered small bike on the twisty stuff. Because it’s that bit lower in BHP than the bigger 1000, it’s utterly unintimidating to accelerate hard but doesn’t leave you looking for that extra bit of power that perhaps isn’t there on a 600. This in turn is flattering to the rider, creating a sense of confidence that allows you to move a little faster, particularly in the corners, rather like riding a bigger sportsbike.
The power delivery is still good and raw and this is a motorcycle that feels very much like a dedicated racing machine. Indeed the 750 is well ahead of its time. The radial calipers up the front, which are now standard, are complemented by a low, not too stubby end can that peers out from the bottom of the fairing. The engine and gearbox are lighter than ever thanks to stacking the gears and using lighter materials.
Riding around town or out on a motorway the bike is a little underused, but because the engine is so predictable it’s easy to ride at lower speeds. On some of the twistier roads, this bike is fantastic. The howl coming from the ‘Akra’ is addictive and the bike changes direction with ease. The gearbox on the bike is quiet and clutchless changes were smooth and easy.
On the race track this is a rewarding bike to ride. While the rider doesn’t have the same horse power to hand when riding its bigger brother, it feels much more satisfying to ride as you can really get involved with it. On the 750 there is no need to feather the throttle or ride gently in a slightly higher gear – simply ride it hard and it will cope with most of what the average rider can put it through.
The only problem with this machine is that once you get used to riding it, it becomes very easy to ride fast. Very fast. Sometimes faster than a responsible, law-abiding motorcyclist should ride their bike on the public road. One could, hypothetically, find oneself standing at the side of the road being asked a series of questions loosely referenced to the law with regards to how it applies to driving in the state and being ‘offered’ a lift in a state owned vehicle, all the while being bathed in a blue flickering light.
Therefore, it’s not ‘One Percenters’, the back-patch motorcycle gangs, that get motorcyclists a bad name. It’s Suzuki riders and GSXR750 riders in particular. It can’t really be seen as their fault since it’s the bike that makes one do it. The 750 has more torque than the 600 and less horse power than the 1000 and is therefore a dream to ride in a fast and confident manner. The only problem is that confidence can appear, to the casual observer, to be remarkably similar to recklessness.
A big thanks to the men and women of the Traffic Police for keeping us safe, without whom it wouldn’t have been possible to review the bike so thoroughly…
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