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

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Inside - WORDS ALAN SEE­LEY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BAUER ARCHIVE

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

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