As a motorcycle rider in Southern California, it’s hard to complain about anything. The temperate weather and lack of rain allows me to ride to work all but a handful of days a year, and lane splitting is accepted. We have mountain and canyon roads a stone’s throw away, as well as a scenic coastline to trace. Still, it was hard not to wince when Suzuki announced its 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 and there was a little asterisk next to it saying, “This model is not available in California.” Say it ain’t so!With a powerplant based on the decade-old Suzuki GSX-R750 K5, but tweaked for more street friendly sport riding, Suzuki has really nailed it with the S750. It all starts with that wonderfully smooth DOHC inline-4 that is supple and responsive, and a complete pleasure to ride. With an emphasis on low and mid-range torque, where most of us spend our time, the GSX-S750 has an even-tempered personality. But, a twist of the throttle reveals plenty of sporty acceleration just waiting to be unleashed.
Ergonomically, the S750 is a compact bike that feels lighter than its 470-pound claimed curb weight, as well as shorter than its 32-inch seat height. I was particularly surprised by the latter stat, as I have no problem getting two feet flat on the ground at a stop with just a 30.5-inch inseam. Credit goes to the narrow-waisted design of the bike.Suzuki outfitted the GSX-S750 with handlebars instead of the Gixxer clip-ons, which gives the bike a less aggressive riding position. Coupled with a mid-sized engine configuration that takes less effort to mind, the S750 is physically easy to handle, making me feel like the master of the machine. With plenty of aggressive styling cues and a satisfying sound from the exhaust, it’s the perfect recipe for pushing one’s limits.The Suzuki GSX-S750 has a late engaging clutch, which makes pulling away quickly from a stop something you have to pay attention to. You’ll get used to it soon enough, however; I would have forgotten to mention it after all the miles I’ve put on the bike if I hadn’t made a note about it.Shifting through the six-speed transmission is smooth and sure and, if you’re riding aggressively in pursuit of your riding buddy in the canyons, you’ll do more of it to access the power. Around town, however, you don’t need to row the gearbox. Roll on and off the throttle and enjoy the smoothly delivered torque.The GSX-S750’s slim profile makes it easy to maneuver in tight quarters. Coupled with the engine’s seamless personality, the Suzuki is a wonderful commuting partner. It will happily accommodate an exhilarating ride home when traffic disappears; acceleration is so effortless that it is plain hard not to find yourself going too fast. It takes restraint to not just twist the throttle and chase down the far-flung taillights ahead, regardless of what the speedo says, just because you can.The S750’s smooth engine is rather intoxicating; when you’re on-throttle, you feel the busy, pleasing hum of the four cylinders under you. There’s not enough windblast coming off the naked bike to encourage you to keep the speed down, and the bike’s 57-inch wheelbase contributes to a solid feel. Happily, the mirrors are vibration-free even at high speeds, so you can keep a keen eye on other vehicles, especially those in black-and-white and overly concerned about your speed.With a fast accelerating bike, you need correspondingly capable brakes. The dual 310mm discs with calipers that are disappointingly not radially mounted, while adequate, are not exactly confidence inspiring. There is a lot of play at the brake lever, so the initial squeeze doesn’t slow the GSX-S750 much. An authoritative grip on the linear brakes will haul you down from top speed, though not as quickly as I would like. It’s surprising that Suzuki did not outfit the bike with more reassuring brakes that would allow you to ride at the upper end with more confidence. The single 240mm rear rotor is well suited to its job, and has good feel.Taking the 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 on a favorite 100-mile sport bike loop gave me the full measure of the bike’s sport capabilities. Winding through the Santa Monica Mountains, and then dropping down to Pacific Coast Highway briefly before diving back into the mountains, I encountered a variety of conditions. No matter where I went, the excellent Bridgestone Battlax BT016 rubber did everything I asked without surprises.The serpentine loop includes newly paved stretches over a bumpy base and high-speed sweepers, as well as one section that can best be described as jigsaw asphalt—a worn out remote stretch where the road is slowly crumbling. The S750’s suspension had its work cut out for it. Stiff enough for the canyon carving and stable through the sweepers, it isn’t so tightly tuned as to get unsettled on the crunchy bumpy road. Still, that segment was no fun on the GSX-S750 and would be better on an adventure bike.Nicely balanced, and with a moderate 25-degree steering angle, the bike transitions well through turns without being overly responsive or nervous; there are certainly more flickable bikes, but they require a lot more attention. The S750’s inline-4 doesn’t have much engine braking, but you can still carve through the hills without touching the left foot lever as the plentiful mid-range torque allows you to accelerate quickly out of turns and build speed on the short stretches of straights, before squeezing hard on the brakes for the next turn.On extended rides, such as the twice as long Sunday blitz out to New Cuyama for a late lunch, I noticed there wasn’t much room to move around on the saddle, nor much repositioning of my Sidi Livia Rain boots on the pegs. Two hours are about the max comfort for a spirited ride on the GSX-S750 before I start fidgeting, so I’m not going to empty the 4.6 gallon-tank before I need a break.Unlike technologically superior competitors, the S750 doesn’t have any power modes to choose between, nor suspension settings or traction control profiles. Still, this simple, straightforward bike delivers that super-smooth inline-4 feel with style and comfort, and is immensely capable of canyon runs, commuting duties, and the around-town urban blast. Plus, by passing on the latest electronics, Suzuki can keep the price below $8000. The 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 is a terrific mid-size bike that will please a wide swath of sportbike riders, though you’ll need to find a used one with 7500 miles on it if you live in California.Photography by Don Williams
Hello everyone and welcome once again to the Ultimate Motorcycling podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Motos and Friends is brought to you by the Yamaha YZF-R7—Yamaha’s awesome supersport machine that is as capable on the racetrack as it is on the street. …and it’s comfortable too! Check it out at at your local Yamaha dealer, or of course at YamahaMotorsports.com.
In this week’s first segment, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the BMW K 1600 GT. This is the sporty bagger version of BMW’s K series of machines, those are the models with the awesome 6-cylinder engine. The GT has been given a little makeover for 2023, and Nic gives us his take.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my all time heroes—three-time World Champion racer ‘fast’ Freddie Spencer. I’ll do my best not to come off as too much of a fanboy here, but frankly it’ll be tough!
In my humble opinion, Spencer is a contender for the GOAT—greatest of all time. Sure, his career was a little shorter than some, and his number of championships falls behind the likes of Lawson, Doohan, Rossi, and of course Marquez. But at the time, Freddie literally changed the way motorcycles were ridden. 30 years before Marc Marquez, Freddie was able to push the front wheel into a slide, corner after corner, lap after lap in order to get the bike turned faster than anyone else. Freddie took completely different lines and was able to get on the throttle so early he could out accelerate anyone off a corner.
In the modern era, of course Freddie is the chairman of the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel. This is the panel of referees for all three classes of Grand prix racing. I talked to Freddie about his task there, and although for contractual reasons with Dorna and the FIM he cannot talk about specific riders, teams, or events, nevertheless his explanation of the job makes for interesting listening. It’s a tough job, and frankly I wouldn’t want to do it!
Actually—Ultimate Motorcycling is giving away five copies of the book—signed by Freddie himself—to the first five listeners who contact us with the correct answer to the question: How many national AMA championships did Freddie win, and which years were they?
Please email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact the winners and send you a signed copy of Feel. Those five winners will be announced on a future episode. Unfortunately for legal reasons this offer is ONLY open to US residents.
So, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!