Suzuki’s GSX750 Inazuma might not look up to much, but it’s reliable as an anvil – and not very expensive
Not what anyone would call a head-turner, but subtle, strong, rapid enough, and exceptional value even for a mint example
BACK WHEN 750s were still a thing and those numbers held a revered resonance for men and women of a certain generation, there was no shortage of choice. In 1998 you could choose from a trio of three-quarter litre steeds from Suzuki alone. If the full-on performance bike experience of the GSX-R750 wasn’t your thing and you thought the GSX750F Teapot was more like Thething, there was always the GSX750 Inazuma. If you lived in Japan, there was even a 750 version of the Bandit too.
Inazuma is Japanese for lightning, as distinct from lightening which wasn’t exactly in the brief for the unashamedly retro GSX750.THE air/oil-cooled engine was of the longer-stroke (70 x 48.7mm) variety found in the F,G, H, L and M GSX-R750S and also used in theteapot – the 750 Bandit got the J and K short-stroke (73 x 44.7mm) engine. One thing the Inazuma did share with the Bandit was its right-way-up front-end with a brace of two-piston sliding brake calipers, and at the rear the retro had twin Showa shocks where the Bandit andteapot went monoshock.
As you might expect given the genesis of the engine, the claimed power output of around 91bhp was on a par with old GSX-RS it was borrowed from. However the ‘retuning’ for midrange that is the lot of the retro was achieved in part by the fitment of 32mm Keihin carbs to replace the sportsbikes’ 36mm Mikunis, with the exhaust and different cams lending the rest of the character overhaul. Cams apart, other internal engine changes included a Hy-vo camchain to quieten things down a little and screw-and-locknut valve adjusters to simplify maintenance.
An abundance of shiny stuff is key to any retro keen to evoke the spirit of a bygone age,
even if in the case of the Inazuma that time wasn’t so very long past. Chromed plastic clock pods were already familiar from the Bandit as was the headlight with its chrome bowl and lugs.a polished stainless steel exhaust system added to the Inazuma’s glitzy radiance while chrome springs on the Showa shocks pinged in the sunshine. Colossal chrome ’bar-mounted mirrors had casings almost as reflective as the glass they carried.
Suzuki hadn’t set out to reinvent the two-wheeler with the Inazuma; they had the GSX-R series for all that.what they did aim to do was offer a slightly modernised version of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle of the late 1970s for new riders and returnees in the 1990s.the GSX sat nicely between the 600 and 1200 Bandit offerings providing a 750cc twin-shock alternative to those monoshock hooligans. It was cheap enough too at a quid under five grand.
The riding experience was and is as you might expect. Upright, softly suspended and adequately padded in the seat, the Inazuma offered a ride that’s as exciting as a retuned air/oil-cooled GSX-R750 engine promises while being as unintimidating as its styling suggests with daylong comfort built-in for the less-frantic tourist.
Today, if a 1990s retro/naked type bike is your thing, there’s no shortage of choice. Cheap as they were then when new, they aren’t a massive investment now.the tried and tested GSX-R engine plus an abundance of spares make the Inazuma a top choice. Unfussy construction and ease of maintenance make it a good choice to live with on a budget.the Inazuma will still do today what it was built to do back then. Suzuki knew exactly what they were doing when they designed the bike because, after all, it epitomized the key values they’d long since learnt.
Understated, unassuming, yet a swift and tidy machine