Practical Sportsbikes (UK)
THE REAL LONG-TERMERS
After 36 years, 110,000 miles, numerous updates, add-ons, engine tunes, he’s as happy as ever with his old school Suzook
He’s from the US Of The North Americas and he’s had his GSX-R750G since just after Independence Day in 1776
Never mind one careful owner –Tab Burgess is one committed owner who has had his Suzuki GSX-R750G from new, collecting it from his local dealership on 4 February 1986.That was 34 years and 110,000 miles ago. In that time and distance, the Suzuki has also grown from its stock capacity of 749cc to 907cc with power going up from around 90 to 140bhp.
Tab was in his mid-twenties when he bought the GSX-R. Now 61 years-old and a machine parts inspector in a US Navy shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, he recalls just how much of an object of desire Suzuki’s seminal sportster was to him: “I saw a write-up in Cycle World of the GSX-R750 at the 1984 Paris Show. I was totally captivated, but made all the excuses to myself about why I shouldn’t get one.at the time I was running a 1978 Suzuki GS750E I’d bought in 1979.
“My then wife persuaded me to save the pennies but I had to keep waiting and saving because we didn’t get the GSX-R in the States until 1986.They had them just up the road in Canada and guys would ride down here on them to events. Just seeing them made the longing even worse and in late 1985 I placed my order, calling the dealer up nearly every day to see if there was any news about when my bike would arrive.
“Then, on 4 February ’86, I rang to see if the GSX-R might be there soon and was told I could collect it that very afternoon. So I took the rest of the day off, went and got my cold weather riding gear as it was 25°F (-4°C) and there was snow on the ground, then rode home very carefully indeed.”
So it began. “It took me some time to acclimatise to the race rep riding position having been so used to the GS.THE first 5000 miles were torture.those first few years I rode the bike every day for fun and commuting, rain or not. I’d ride right through the year from when the snow went away in March,” says Tab.
Not just road riding either.tab’s continuing fondness for the racetrack was cemented thanks to father-and-son AMA Superbike legends, Reg and Jason Pridmore. “I went to the Reg Pridmore riding school in 1987 although I didn’t feel like pushing too hard on the OE Bridgestones. Still I had a great time on track with Jason Pridmore,” says Tab, who had raced a Suzuki GS550 earlier in the decade, qualifying for his junior race licence, but quitting after he couldn’t afford the repair bill when his competition mount spun a big-end bearing.
After a couple of years the modifications began. First up was a Supertrapp exhaust closely followed, out of obvious necessity, by a Dynojet kit for the carbs. “There weren’t many dynos around in those days so my set-up was based on what the bike did at the drag strip and how it felt,” says Tab.
He also had some assistance from Mr Dynojet himself, company founder Mark Dobeck. “I rang up for some advice on how to get some midrange back and Mark himself answered the phone.that kind of thing happened in those days. He told me that the Mikuni BST31SS CVS Suzuki fitted to the G