Monday, December 17, 2012

Suzuki GT750: The kettle is still steaming

Suzuki GT750
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An original, stock, 1970s Suzuki GT750 (top) and heavily modified GT750s (above) with a Rizla paintjob and modern chassis, suspension, wheels, brakes and tyres. Awesome! 

We like the Suzuki GT750. A lot. A three-cylinder two-stroke 750 from the 1970s – a machine that was fairly prosaic when it was launched – the GT750 is now near-exotic. Or at least it would be, with a bit of tuning, chassis and suspension updates, and modern wheels and tyres. Like the Rizla GT750s you see here. Richard Lindoe and Kev Brooke, owners of these fabulous bikes, have done an excellent job in updating the GT750 – both the Rizla bikes look awesome, and we can only imagine what they’d look like, screaming down streets and, better still, around a racetrack.

“There can’t be many things that say 1970s louder than a three-cylinder, two-stroke motorcycle. The chrome, the paint, the noise and the cocky swagger put the GT somewhere between Ziggy Stardust and Confessions of a Window Cleaner. With all the derisive names (teapot, kettle, water buffalo etc.), it’s easy to forget how special this bike was in 1971,” says Steve Rose, in the November 2012 issue of Classic Bike Guide. “By the late-1960s, Suzuki had gained a lot of race experience with water-cooled strokers. A a beneficiary of Walter Kaaden’s two-stroke expertise when Ernst Degner defected, it had already built four-cylinder, 10-speed 125s and 14-speed twin-cylinder 50s. So a low-revving, lazy tourer was a piece of cake. And that’s what Suzuki built – the GT750 was never supposed to be a road rocket. It as built for cruising the American highways,” he adds.

At 246 kilos (with fuel and all fluids), the GT750 was certainly no lightweight, and the stock bike’s 67 horsepower does sound a bit… ordinary. But the bike could still get up to a top speed of 175km/h and some riders, of a certain age (us…), still want one. Why? “Presence. A good word to describe the GT. Tall, wide, heavy and nicely noisy. Everyone looks, no one disapproves, every bloke over the age of 40 wants one,” says Steve. “The GT’s handling issues are well documented. A big, heavy motorcycle, running heavy, skinny, steel rims. Suspension that has little damping to start with and springs that were a little too stiff, but collapsed quickly in the first few years. [But] for me, that’s all part of the charm. I don’t want my classic to handle and go like a modern sports bike, but I like to think it can be made better and more dependable. And it’s the personal touch that makes the difference,” he adds.

with their Rizla GT750s, Richard and Kev seem to echo Steve’s sentiment. They’ve brought 1970s style into the 2010s, and how!

Do visit Classic Bike Guide for more... well, classic bikes!

Photo copyright: Paul Bryant. See more of his excellent work on Flickr

About Paul Bryant
Paul started his career working for Fast Bikes Magazine in the early 90s and has been photographing bikes, cars, people and events for the most prestigious brands for more than 20 years photographing commissions all over the world from the Arctic Circle to the heat of the desert. In that time he has leant a great deal about how to get the very best from his subjects using his technical and compositions skills to produce some of the most memorable photographs seen to day.

From his studio based in Lincolnshire Paul continues to photograph commercial and editorial commissions from antique diamond rings to motorcycles. Paul has photographed some of the most influential people in motorcycling from Kenny Roberts and Carl Fogarty to Guy Martin. And continues to strive for the perfect image."I love it when a one of my images stops people in there tracks to me thats what its really all about," he says.

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