SUZUKI RF900R

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.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - WORDS: ANDY BO­LAS, BER­TIE SIM­MONDS PHO­TOS: GARY D CHAP­MAN, KEV LARKINS

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

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