Suzuki’s RF900R was cheap back in the 1990s and is even cheaper now – but is there also a lot to love? Andy Bolas finds out.
Andy Bolas on this cheap Suzi power-house!
We’re heading back now almost a quarter of a decade, to a time when Britpop ruled the airwaves and the Honda CBR900RR Fireblade ruled the road-ways. Even by 1994 the two-year-old Blade was being raved about by the press, but other manufacturers were jumping on the 900cc bandwagon with varying degrees of success. While Kawasaki tried to tackle the CBR with the portly and very fast sports (but more sports-touring, really) ZX-9R Ninja, Suzuki was quietly working on a new version of the RF range. The RF600R was released in early 1993 and was a welcome ‘middle of the road’ machine with which to take on the sportier likes of Honda’s CBR600F and Yamaha’s FZR600/R. For early 1994, Suzuki was going to launch the RF6’S big brother… Let’s check out those looks first…even for the time the RF was quirky looking, with its Ferrari style louvres and huge beam frame (cheap, as it was made from painted steel as opposed to alloy). It had a usefully large fairing and substantial tail-light which came in three separate parts and would light up like those once-dodgy parts of Amsterdam when a stag do was in town… Suzuki reckoned the overall ‘look’ was based upon a stingray. At CMM we’re not so sure! What we were sure of was what lay under those quirky clothes. Under the skin was a 937cc motor based on the GSX-R1100W powerplant, pumping out a claimed 125bhp, which at the time was pretty good going. The RF uses smaller carbs and valves than those used on the GSX-R motor; this apparently gave the bike a smoother more usable power delivery. Chassis-wise, the bike had 43mm Showa forks and a Showa monoshock. Up front they were adjustable for preload only (cost saving again) and at the rear preload, rebound and compression. Cost saving was a big thing for this Suzuki as – at launch – it cost only