BLAST FROM THE PAST
30 years and more separates the first and latest GSX-R750 – and the differences encapsulate the evolution of sportsbikes
Suzuki’s super-sharp GSX-R750 first ripped through our roads in 1985 and you can still buy a new one today. To celebrate, we found a stunning original and went for a rather special ride with a 2016 version for company. We also take a look at the legion of bikes it’s seen off over the last 31 years.
Fiddle. Twist. Click. Vroom. The slabbie Suzuki bursts into life, revving to what feels like a crazy 5000rpm while I fumble to get my left glove back on and calm the yelling engine down. Ah, fuel taps you can only turn with bare hands, and all-or-nothing chokes. Remember the 1980s?
Most of us ride old motorcycles from time to time. But this 1985 GSX-R750F is different. It’s new. It’s not a barn find, or a lowmileage minter. It’s been built from scratch by Nathan Colombi (the guy who prepares Michael Dunlop’s XR69 GSX-R for the Classic TT) using genuine parts from Suzuki’s Vintage Parts Programme. Engine, suspension and brakes are completely fresh. And all those tiny details that spoil so many restorations – the rubber plugs that protect Allen key fasteners, or the plated bungee hooks under the pillion footrests, or the original wiring harness, complete with its quality check label – are present and correct. It’s a rolling showcase for the parts programme which has seen Suzuki remanufacture many rare spares for older bikes.
In truth, there are a few refurbished old parts too: the frame, fork sliders, calipers, engine cases, carbs, speedo innards and some plastics. The seat is reupholstered too. And the tyres are modern Continentals rather than 30-year-old Bridgestones.
But it doesn’t matter. The entire bike looks and works just like the original did back in 1985. And that creates a unique opportunity to ride the granddaddy GSX-R750 back-to-back with the latest L6 version.