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Classic motorcycling – Suzuki GSX750F

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Classic bikes are cool. Cheap bikes are also cool. So does that makes cheap classic bikes double cool? While the current trend sees popular classic bikes demand an eye-watering premium, there are still plenty of classics out there at bargain prices. Enter the 1992 GSX750F, bought as a project but eventually graduating to part of the fleet.

On release back in the early ’90s the GSX750F got a frosty reception. MCN said “The Suzuki GSX750F is a competent sports tourer with one of the worst images in biking. Renowned for being ugly and lacking passion, the Suzuki GSX750F is certainly underdog to the likes of the Honda VFR750/800s, but owners love them and their “quirky” looks. The Suzuki GSX750F may not be hardcore, but it’s reliable.”

Suzuki katana
Suzuki Brochure – Image from Google

In practice, Suzuki’s concept of the GSX was a good one. Take the previous generation GSXR motor, fettle with it for some extra performance, and then lump it in a more comfy chassis, with softer suspension. Taking the air/oil-cooled engine out of the iconic Slabside GSXR, which made an impressive 100hp. Coupled with adjustable suspension all round, a comfy seat and a large screen and fairings this bike was built to do miles, quickly.

Quirky looking sporty tourer

The addition of a fairing to a GSX added a whole new dimension to make a sporty tourer which is still sporty. The fairing and its quirky looks are there for practical reasons.

Bought for £300, this slingshot was entirely legal and in working order. It was ‘well used’ with 40k miles on the clock, but most of the work needed was purely cosmetic with parts just needing a lick of paint, or a clean and polish up.

Despite the high mileage, you could tell the bike had been looked after. Useful upgrades had been fitted such as braided lines, heated grips, and modern tyres of a good brand. The bikes brake pads were nearly new, and fluids looked fresh, signs that maintenance hadn’t been skipped.

Suzuki GSX750 review
Quirky looks

Mostly simple fixes needed to get it mint

There were some gremlins that needed fixing. The electrics had a mind of their own with the indicators being dim and flashing other bulbs too. Stripping the wiring loom back found some worn through wires shorting out. Separating and re-insulating the loom and minimising rubbing against the headstock solved this issue.

With panels were coming off for paint, the engine had a service with fresh fluids, filters and plugs, and a thorough clean of the carbs with a fresh balance.

strip carbs
High carb diet

A pair of Michelin’s new Road 5 tyres, replaced the squared-off old ones. I had the Power RS on the GSXR, and Michelin promises more life and wet grip from the Road 5, precisely what I needed.

The weeping and pitted front forks had a clean-up and had some fresh fork seals and new fork oil.

Scottoiler, easy to fit, and takes the hassle from lubing the chain.

With this bike being more of a commuter and mile muncher, we fitted a Scottoiler V system to keep the chain lubricated on longer rides, and in the wet. Fitting and setup was a doddle, using a T-Piece into the vacuum on the carbs. The unit mounted to the rear subframe. The pipes routed through the subframe, along swingarm, down to the sprocket. The unit is easy to fill, easy to bleed and maintenance-free, bar refilling with oil. One reservoir lasts around 1000 miles. I started by keeping the fluid flow low, to stop excess oil flinging off.

Scottoiler fitted
Easy install, and hassle-free lubrication

 On a cold commute, the rear brake decided to seize up, a strip and clean, and bleed with fresh fluid cured that. The only other issue was the speedo cable drive slipping out of the gauge: both were easy fixes.

While the bike is no modern superbike, it’s still got enough about itself to propel you to illegal speeds, quickly. It is derived from a GSXR after all. It’s ample protection from windblast, means once you get there, you don’t realise, as everything is quiet and smooth.

Deep at heart, it wants to be a GSXR

Motorway miles become more pleasant and less of a chore thanks to the large screen and mirrors. The riding position is comfortable too. The engine is frugal and sips away giving good tank range, to the large tank, and better yet it has a fuel gauge.

Not to every taste, but still great fun.

The strip and clean of the carbs helped immeasurably with performance. Previously it was very reluctant to idle, and would often cut out when shutting the throttle. There was a long hesitation when applying more throttle when speeding up for a change of speed, or performing an overtake. Raising the idle speed has sorted the cut-out issue, and me learning how to use a choke has been an exciting learning curve.

The suspension is still soft despite the rebuild, maybe being used to the R1 my tolerance has changed. I feel it would benefit from a new set of springs as the originals may have sagged due to age and use. The rear still feels soft and comfortable, almost to the point where it lulls you into a false sense of security of being too soft.

what is a choke?
Whats a choke do?

On the whole, I love riding it, if you are after cheap motorcycling thrills, then what more can you ask for. Taking a £300 bike, stripping and sorting it, and then enjoying riding it has been a pleasure. I’ve learnt a lot and getting used to the difference in, and lack of technology compared to the more modern bikes I am used to has been an enjoyable challenge.

Running costs and insurance is cheap, parts are easily accessible and simple mechanics means even I can work on it. Parts come off with spanners and ratchets, and sometimes hammers, unlike modern bikes which require laptops and brains.