For over 30 years Suzuki have been building the GSX-R750 and, over those three decades, there’s been a mix of hit and miss models. In 1996 Suzuki broke with tradition and dumped the up and over cradle frame that had been a trademark of the GSX-R750 models for just over one of those decades. It wasn’t the only major shake-up Suzuki administered, there was an all new water cooled engine. It was, in fact, an all-new bike.
The GSX-R750WT SRAD was the result of many hours on the drawing board and in the wind tunnels. Its sleek looks and bulbous rear end weren’t to everyone’s taste, but it soon won people over. The new alloy beam chassis had been designed to replicate that of their RGV500 GP bike and, with a wheelbase bang on 1,400mm, it was always going to handle. Suzuki had one eye on the road and the other on track success. These were the days when both World Superbikes and British Superbikes were dominated by 750cc fours and the odd Ducati twin with larger capacities, all within the rules of course.
The GSX-R was back in the game, it not only knocked the other 750s into a cocked hat, it also had the ageing CBR900RR FireBlade well and truly in its sights. The new engine was good for around 125bhp, and with an overall weight of 179kilos it was easy to see why. The original SRAD arrived wearing 39mm carbs, though within two years it was switched to fuel injection. It’s hard to believe that the first WT models are now 21 years old. They are quickly becoming modern classics and prices are starting to reflect this.
What’s it like to ride?
The GSX-R feels nimble from the moment you sit on it, but it is very wide and the tank will splay your legs to where it needs them to be. It’s your typical GSX-R riding position, a bit of a reach to the low bars and pegs that crease your legs up. Any bikes on original shocks will not give you an honest reflection on how good this bike is. The rear 190 tyre section fits on a fat 6 inch rim, investing in sticky rubber will pay dividends. Despite its head down and bum up riding position, it’s pretty comfy when on the move; they’re even pretty sound for six footers to get along with. Brakes were brilliant in the mid-90s, though less impressive these days. For a dedicated sports bike, it’s surprisingly good with urban riding. The only real issue is fuel consumption will dip accordingly from the 40mpg you’d expect to get on a decent run. Despite its age there’s still a good bike in there if you’re prepared to invest in suspension and braking upgrades. It’s easy to see why they’ve got a loyal following.
What to look for?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, Sales Manager at Peterborough Suzuki dealership. He passed on these tips if you are off shopping for a GSX-R750 SRAD: “Where do I start? There are plenty of areas to look at. Bodywork is the biggest indication as to whether a bike’s been loved and looked after. Any bikes with non-standard paint work are usually as a result of an accident. Suzuki build quality was left wanting with this model. Painted parts all suffered, this included everything from the wheels and panels, to the mirror brackets and even the mirror stems. The upside down forks are prone to leaking and you’re looking at around £250 to get the stanchions replaced. Engines are great, it’s usually owner neglect that results in maintenance issues. Good ones are hard to find, but they do exist. Keep looking if you find a bike that needs too many jobs sorting.”
What goes wrong?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson at Grumpy 1260. They break used motorcycles and also service machines at their workshop. “I love these, we get loads come our way. They’re still a popular track day bike and also a race bike, thanks to the Golden Era superbike class. Our damaged bikes are always broken for parts. Used SRAD parts are still very much in demand. The Tokico six pot calipers are the first thing new owners tend to replace. They were great in the day but prone to seizing now and with 12 pistons in total to refurbish, it’s an expensive fix. Standard fitment was a 190 tyre on the rear. You can run a 180 with no issues and some of our racer friends actually prefer the smaller size. Fuel pumps are one part that fails with age. They’ll keep on working but lose their suction abilities. At the top end of the rev range it starves the engine of fuel.”