Wednesday, August 02, 2006

1990s: The first liquid-cooled Suzuki GSX-R750s

Er, ignore the paint job. The bike is good

In 1992, Suzuki, in a bid to increase power, made the first water-cooled GSX-R. Power went up to around 104PS at 11,500rpm but the bike was saddled with a weight penalty. The bike could still do the 0 to 400m run in under 13 seconds and had a top speed in excess of 230km/h, but in terms of handling prowess, the GSX-R had started losing out to more modern tackle from other manufacturers. Plus, Suzuki were coming up with some really terrible paint schemes.

Suzuki had not graduated from the first GSX-R’s perimeter style chassis, which, by the time the early-1990s GSX-R came out, was already long in the tooth. The way this frame was meant that the GSX-R’s engine had to be kept fairly upright, which in turn made for a higher centre of gravity, slower steering and a more ponderous feel to the whole package. Other manufacturers had already moved to beam frames wrapped around the engine (rather than the GSX-R’s setup, which had the beams over the engine rather than around it…), with as straight a line as possible between the steering and swingarm pivots. Against its peers, the Yamaha YZF 750, Honda VFR 750R and the Kawasaki ZXR 750, this iteration of the GSX-R got a proper kicking – on the road and on the track. The bike was fast, but not fun. You wouldn’t think of spilling its predecessor’s pint, but with this one, you could get away with pouring that pint over its head with barely any risk of retribution. It was time for Suzuki to play catch up, which it would do with its next generation Gixxer.

GSX-R 750 (models WN, WP, WR and WS)
1992 - 95
Power: 104PS@11,500rpm
Weight: 199kg
Top Speed: 230km/h
0 – 400m: 12.26 seconds

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