Suzuki turned the sportbike world on its head in 1985 with the launch of the original GSX- R750. The idea was so simple and so obvious that I wondered why no one had thought of it before. The original Gixxers, as they became affectionately known, were literally street bikes derived directly from the track.It was the birth of the so-called race-replica, and in one fell swoop Suzuki changed everyone’s thinking from bigger and more powerful is best – to lighter and agile is better. Actually, the Gixxers also produced hitherto unknown levels of horsepower, so for the competition it was a double whammy.
[Visit the Ultimate Motorcycling Motorcycle Reviews Page]Happily, Suzuki never stopped making the GSX-R750, and it is arguably the perfect Supersport motorcycle. It has considerably more power than a 600, which can feel a little anemic unless it is revved to the moon, while literbikes are over- specified for the street, and can even be quite a handful on the track.The evergreen Suzuki 750 fits neatly in between, with its near-superbike level of performance, and just enough edge taken off that highsides and other nastiness are less of a worry to the rider.With decades of heritage for the taking, it seems natural that Suzuki should redefine its exquisite Gixxer 750 and broaden its appeal. In other words, relax the riding position to make it more comfortable, and reduce its cost to make it more accessible. Enter the new 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750.Using a powerplant derived from the fuel-injected inline-4 in the decade-old GSX-R750 K5, the cam profiles have been revised, and the intake and exhaust tracts have been reshaped to boost low-end torque and midrange power. Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve fuel injection system means the performance is not just crisp and consistent, but the throttle connection is arguably the smoothest on the market.Riding the Suzuki GSX-S750 on a very wet day through some twisty roads in Texas Hill Country near Austin, I certainly appreciated the Suzuki’s butter-smooth response off the low-end of the rev-range. It is super-noticeable coming back on the throttle in the middle of a corner — if it’s wet and slippery, and you don’t know the road, the last thing you need is a motor that comes back in jerkily or hits too hard, too quickly — and the Suzuki GSX-S750 is as gentle as you need it to be.Suzuki’s Pulsed-secondary AIR-injection system pushes fresh air into the exhaust ports, which allows the Suzuki GSX-S750 to meet the latest emissions standards — everywhere except in California. Yes, you read that right; unfortunately, this superb machine will not be available in the Golden State. But if you live elsewhere, or are planning on buying one with 7500 miles on the odometer, please read on.This particular example of the Suzuki GSX-S has been warmed over by the performance team at Yoshimura R&D. Besides the very striking, ultra-modern matte orange paint treatment over some of the stock matte black tank and bodywork, there have been some other mods. The most noticeable is the Yoshimura slip-on stainless-steel muffler with a carbon-fiber tip.The trapezoidal angular shape fits perfectly with the aggressive look of the GSX-S and, despite being EPA legal (sold exclusively through Suzuki dealers), it produces a surprisingly loud, throaty-into-banshee exhaust note. Yoshimura claims a small performance increase—around four horsepower—and, of course, there is a weight reduction as well.I was especially impressed with the torque of the Suzuki GSX-S750. According to Suzuki, it builds power at lower revs quicker than competitor machines, and clearly the Gixxer DNA has resulted in a strong motor that revs willingly and builds power eagerly.Overall, the throttle response is impeccable and, although it might be my imagination, it feels improved with the Yoshimura pipe. At larger throttle openings the GSX-S pulls exceptionally well; the bike is pure, unadulterated fun to ride, even when in a low gear and just listening to that wailing Yoshimura pipe.Most motorcycles are fun, but the Suzuki GSX- S750 is fun all the time, mainly because Suzuki got the balance just right between easy-to-ride-manageability and high performance. If you’re used to a 600-class bike, you are losing out — time to upgrade.The motor is redlined at a conservative 11,250 rpm, and the Gixxer motor simply rips to the rev limiter. If you want the horsepower, it’s there — track day anyone? However, those happy to enjoy the performance without going nuts will be well rewarded with the decent mid-range and strong top-end pull from this engine.Clutch action is light, and the six-speed transmission is so easy and smooth to engage that, a lot of the time, I simply used clutchless upshifting. I wouldn’t call this bike a beginner machine, but it is so user-friendly that novice and intermediate riders will quickly feel at home and fall in love.Of course, that feeling is also because of the comfortable ergonomics and lightweight, neutral-handling chassis and suspension. The handlebars of the GSX create a slightly leaned forward riding position, with sporty feeling (but pleasantly rubber-mounted) rear-set footpegs and a 32-inch seat height.Likewise the 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 chassis has its Supersport sibling’s DNA, and the frame itself combines the advantages of a compact tubular girder street bike frame with a twin-spar sportbike frame to deliver that light-feeling, well-balanced ride.Inverted KYB front forks are only adjustable for preload; if they were poorly damped that would be a problem. However, I found that the front fork produces a firm, well-damped action that worked well on the street. At the rear is a single shock absorber working through a progressive linkage with seven levels of preload adjustment. As with the front, damping cannot be adjusted.However, after 30 years of producing Gixxers, Suzuki’s engineers know precisely what a sporting middleweight needs and the GSX-S750’s handling is excellent. The undamped steering is light and neutral; and the suspension is perfect for the street. Typical road bumps and seams don’t faze the front end at all, and there is no wallow at the rear under hard acceleration.Braking comes from four-piston Tokico front calipers, with floating 310mm discs. The calipers are not radially mounted, as is de rigueur, and whenever I see this I am always a little curious — surely it can’t be any more expensive to manufacture a radial mounting?At any rate, despite my radial snobbery, I actually find the braking to be adequate, with feel at the lever being linear and super-easy to modulate. There is no initial snatch when pressure is first applied; in fact, the 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 has a feeling that is quite soft. Needless to say, that was a big help in wet conditions, and with no ABS it was great to have brakes that didn’t scare me on initial application.I can freely admit that I’d recommend more brake power, especially if you intend to do track days. Fit a Gixxer radial master pump and you will have all the brakes you want. Radial calipers actually do not make a huge difference on the street, but upgrading at the lever end will improve things dramatically. At the rear, a 240mm disc with single-piston caliper likewise had plenty of feel; I only tend to use the rear brake in the wet and it worked well for me.The riding position of the Suzuki GSX-S750 fits my six-foot height well and, unsurprisingly, I felt immediately comfortable. Behind the really neat looking Genuine Suzuki Accessories tinted fly-screen is an easy to read analog tachometer and digital LCD speedometer. They can be adjusted for brightness and there is also a big gear position indicator, fuel-consumption meter and fuel gauge, an odometer and trip meter, and a clock.In addition to the fly-screen, there is a variety of other OEM accessories available for the Suzuki GSX-S750, including a large selection of Suzuki logo apparel; the clean fender eliminator on this bike is a Yoshimura item.Despite the modest price, everything about this motorcycle exudes quality. Sure, if you delve a little deeper into the specifications you can see where the costs have been cut, but I was so impressed with the behavior and performance of this motorcycle I really don’t feel it makes a difference. A hard-core rider may want to explore this great motor on the track, and based on the pricing, will have the money to upgrade the suspension and brakes.If you are not a track-day nut, then the stock 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 will deliver exactly what you want — it’s the ideal streetbike. It is fast, torquey, and neutral handling. The bike’s easy nature will seduce newer riders with its fun-factor, and yet it will also help keep you safe while your skills improve. Expert riders can thrash it happily and it will take whatever you dish out. Let’s ride!Riding Style:
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.