Suzuki GSX-R750

Fast Bikes - - CORE TEST -

With the litre class in full willy-swing­ing ac­tion and 600 de­vel­op­ment still vi­tal to man­u­fac­tur­ers for rac­ing, you could be par­doned for think­ing 750s didn’t mat­ter to Suzuki in 2004 – they cer­tainly didn’t to other man­u­fac­tur­ers. But de­spite mis­con­cep­tions, the GSX-R750 K4 was far more than a cos­metic over­haul and the changes over the K3 were sub­tle yet ef­fec­tive. It also makes any thoughts of a 600cc re­dun­dant.

Fast-for­ward nearly 15 years, and the switchgear hasn’t changed. Well, not un­til the 2017 GSX-R1000 was launched. There’s a dis­tinc­tive, in­trin­sic am­biance to the cock­pit, some­thing that’s stayed ap­par­ent through­out the years and that’s no bad thing. A pal­pa­ble sense of con­trol oozes through the ’bars and 600cc-sized er­gonomics fill you full of con­fi­dence be­fore the suck­ing, squeez­ing, bang­ing and blow­ing com­mences.

It may be 14 years old, but the K4 brags one of the most pro­lific chas­sis ever made and still feels in­cred­i­ble nowa­days. Not just be­cause the Suzuki’s han­dling spanked the op­po­si­tion in this test, but also be­cause it’ll hap­pily munch mod­ern machin­ery for break­fast: a bold state­ment for sure, but there re­ally isn’t much that’ll cause an is­sue on board the K4, with a pro­cliv­ity for run­ning in­sane cor­ner speed and back­ing it up with lash­ings of me­chan­i­cal grip. With pro­gres­sive yet pacey steer­ing, the front-end is the epi­cen­tre for its ap­ti­tude, act­ing as the per­fect base to carve turns with a con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing bias over the nose.

Even with the hideously high-po­si­tioned rearsets on this oth­er­wise im­mac­u­late K4, it be­haved im­pec­ca­bly on test. De­spite be­ing the new­est here, there’s still a buzzy, un­re­fined edge to the K4 which only am­pli­fies the ride and (other than aes­thet­ics) is the only give­away we weren’t rid­ing some­thing box-fresh. Even with 20,000 miles clocked, the un­mo­lested sus­pen­sion sup­ports the chas­sis with aplomb and of­fers a firm but pli­able set-up to in­cite thrash­ing. The su­pe­rior ddampingi came lat­erlt on ini theth Seven-Fiddy’s life­time, which soft­ened the blow rather than di­rect­ing rough sur­faces through the chas­sis.

Re­gard­less of its equidis­tant gap be­tween 600 and 1000, the K4 feels more like a jazzed up mid­dleweight than a docile litre bike. A per­fect blend of power and bal­ance awaits, urg­ing you to brake later, push the front-end harder and twist the throt­tle fur­ther. The brakes are more than ad­e­quate for com­mit­ted road as­saults and, even though a slip­per clutch didn’t ap­pear un­til the K6, cor­ner en­try is sur­pris­ingly well con­trolled. There’s a mes­meris­ing gauge of cor­ner speed which the Gixer au­to­mat­i­cal­lyt­till pullsp off so finely.

As the Suzukki proves, R&D pro­gres­sion wass rapidly paced at the turn of the ccen­tury, and the K4’s 125bhp reaar wheel power – com­plete withh ti­ta­nium in­ter­nals – was only around

5bhp less than the orig­i­nal R1 de­pend­ing on the dyno. You’re never want­ing any more power, with a sump­tu­ously di­rect throt­tle con­nec­tion that pro­vides tons of us­able grunt be­low 8,000rpm, sal­vaging sloppy gear se­lec­tion and pro­vid­ing gen­er­ous midrange punch from slower cor­ners. The top-end is even more re­ward­ing and makes sense right up un­til the 14,000rpm red­line. Its only blar­ingly ob­vi­ous neg­a­tive is an oc­ca­sion­ally snatchy throt­tle dur­ing closed-to-open con­nec­tion. The SP En­gi­neer­ing ex­haust fit­ted to this K4 was ob­nox­iously loud and, cou­pled with the in­her­ent Gixer in­duc­tion bark, had me clam­ber­ing g for the near­est e arplug shop. And how could we e ne­glect to men­tion those del light­ful an­odised levers? We just have.h

Not bad for their time. The Gixer’s a fine bal­ance of power and han­dling.

Guy Martin woz ’ere.

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