1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy
The 1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy.
Photo by Nick Cedar
1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy
Claimed Power: 50hp @ 6,500rpm
Top Speed: 115mpg (period test)
Engine: 544cc 2-stroke air-cooled inline triple
Weight (wet): 481lb
Price then: $1,595
Price now: $1,500-$3,000
The 1975 Suzuki GT550 was the mama-bear-sized version of Suzuki’s GT range of touring and commuting two-stroke triples. Unlikely to get you in trouble and most certain to get you home, Suzuki’s GTs were the thinking person’s two strokes.
In the early Seventies, Suzuki’s flagship bike was the Suzuki T500 Titan two-stroke twin, a good, reliable, eminently rideable motorcycle that, even if it was being raced successfully, lacked the exciting qualities of some of its competitors. This was the era of Superbike — exciting, gorgeously styled, fast, powerful motorcycles. If Suzuki was going to stay in business, it needed a Superbike, and the Titan wasn’t it.
The design Suzuki came up with for its Superbike was both clever and innovative: The engineers added a third cylinder to the existing twin and solved cooling problems by designing a compact water cooling system.
The result was launched at 1971’s Tokyo motorcycle show. The bike was officially cataloged as the Suzuki GT750 but unofficially labeled in the United States as the Water Buffalo. The Water Buffalo was well thought out, reliable and, unlike previous Suzukis, powerful. Heavy for its size, it was nevertheless a good touring machine, smooth and relatively quiet for a two stroke, with a rubber-mounted engine. Later models received disc brakes and constant velocity carburetors.
In early 1972, Suzuki announced a smaller triple — minus the water cooling but boasting a six-speed gearbox. The Suzuki GT380 had cubic capacity of 371cc and produced (according to Suzuki) 38 horsepower at 7,500rpm. A cast shield over the top of the cylinder heads — designated the Ram Air System by the advertising department — directed more air past the fins for better air cooling.
A few months later a third Suzuki triple, the Suzuki GT550 Indy, appeared in showrooms. Bore and stroke were an almost square 61mm x 62mm, giving a capacity of 544cc. Compression ratio was 6.8:1 and claimed horsepower was 50 at 6,500rpm. The five-speed transmission was operated via a multi-disc six-spring clutch.
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