MID-90S POWER GAMES MAKING UP FOR LOST CAPACITY
Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD v Yamaha YZF750R v Kawasaki ZX-7R 122bhp, 179kg v 125bhp, 195kg v 122bhp, 203kg
In 1996 Suzuki pulled out all the stops and released the GSX-R750 WT – or SRAD as most know it. This was an odd period in time for the 750 as Honda’s 1992 Fireblade had changed the game. The GSX-R’S main rival, the YZF750R, was doing spectacular things in WSB thanks to Nori Haga, and its brash paintschemes and sharp look was bang on trend for the style-blind 1990s. But 1996 also saw the launch of a new model from Kawasaki, the ZX-7R.
Suzuki played on the fact the GSX-R750 had the same silhouette as Kevin Schwantz’s title-winning RGV500 to give the SRAD the track cred it needed. This, coupled with the fact Kawasaki had overengineered the ZX-7R and made it far too heavy, made the SRAD the 750 to own.
The SRAD won four World Superbike races, one in 1998 at Sugo thanks to wildcard rider Keiichi Kitagawa while Frankie Chili took two and Akira Ryo one in 1999.
Result: Victory to the GSX-R750
Suzuki GSX-R750 v Honda Fireblade v Yamaha YZF-R1 122bhp, 179kg v 126bhp, 180kg v 150bhp, 177kg
In 1996 where Suzuki had trimmed down the GSX-R and focused on light weight and power and agility, Honda’s 900cc Blade was being dulled to make it more practical. On track the SRAD ran rings around the bloated Blade and in the sportsbike-obsessed 1990s that gave the GSX-R huge credibility. For two years the SRAD was the top inline four sportsbike for performance fiends, but then the YZF-R1 landed and decimated all before it. The future had arrived and it was 1000cc, Like the original Blade, the R1 demonstrated that racing prowess isn’t necessary to secure showroom success – performance sells and the R1 weighed less than the SRAD but made 28bhp more power. Unsurprisingly, it sold in huge numbers.
SRAD stands for Suzuki Ram-air Direct and was Suzuki’s first forced air induction system.
Result: Victory to the YZF-R1