Four-play: 1977-1979 Suzuki GS750

Learn how the Suzuki GS750 4-cylinder, 4-stroke with dual overhead camshafts set it apart from the Honda 750F and the Kawasaki KZ750 motorcycles of the 1970s.

| November/December 2020


Power 60hp @ 8,500rpm (rear wheel)

Top speed 112mph (period test)

Engine 748cc, (65mm x 56.4mm) air-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve inline 4-cylinder

Transmission 5-speed

Weight 511lb (half tank)

1/23/2021 6:51:14 PM

I had been riding a '72 CB750 (among other bikes) I had bought new and got to know it well when in '80, a fellow worker sold me his '77 GS which he was replacing with a CB750F. This gave me the chance to compare the two bikes side-by side. The GS with it's four valves and dual cams had way more punch. I found it to be a better handler, braker, and just about everything else better performance wise than the CB750 on which by that time I had accumulated over 20K miles ... mostly on long cross-countries. But that's where I found the Honda to excel ... comfort ... and probably overall looks too. But then, that just personal taste. I never took the chance to ride the Z1 and was very tempted to slap down the extra $500 over the CB but didn't. I am a bit surprised over the comment about the Z1 handling though. If my memory serves me right, the magazines at the time tended to give the Z1 pretty good marks in that area for the size of bike. The CB750 wasn't a great handler but she was solid which made casual touring a pleasure. If only she had the power of the GS ...

1/21/2021 8:52:36 PM

I was already a 16 year-old Suzuki nut in 1977 when the GS-750 came out in 1977... though my heart still belonged to two-strokes. I was still riding my GT-380 in my senior year of high school in 1978 and I needed an excuse to get a bigger bike for my "Graduation gift to myself". I actually wrestled between the GT-750 (in black in 1977 - its last year) and the brand new GS-750, but the salesman - who was also a friend - talked me into the GS, saying that it was an "all new design" vs the GT which was an already 6 year old design. Plus the performance numbers could not be argued with. OK - I gave in and got the 2nd year 1978 GS-750. Since I was already concerned about the GS's 510 lbs (I only weighed about 125), I opted for the "Standard" GS with wire wheels and the single front disc brake... as this saved 15 lbs compared to the "ES" with the dual front discs, the mag wheels and the stepped seat. Mine was a very pretty deep blue with light blue and gold striping. I had that bike for 10 years until 1988. In all that time, though the GS was a great bike, it actually never quite lived up to my expectations. Coming from the GT-380, I imagined that this bike would have "twice the power", and in some ways it sort of did (67 HP vs 38 HP) but it weighed about 100 lbs more than my GT380, and the GS had a pretty soft mid-range (vs the GT-380's which actually had nice fat mid-range for its size) so it never felt how I imagined. Still a very nice bike that did everything well. I had a friend that owned a 1973 Z1 and we swapped bikes on a few rides, and suddenly I understood how much better the GS handled and how the engine felt so much smoother and more refined that the big Kawi... I was always glad to get my GS back after swapping. Now 43 years later, and even more bikes later (no kidding I am a collector and currently own 37 Suzuki's(!) - not surprisingly mostly 2-strokes), the GS-750 would be the last time I bought a brand new bike. In 1988, I sold the GS-750 to make room for my (used) 1983 GS-1100E in bright Red. A gorgeous bike to my eyes with the blacked out engine! And now I finally had the engine and grunt that I imagined my GS-750 having. All at basically the same weight as the GS-750 and with a top end kick of some 110 HP to boot! I kept this bike for 3 years until 1991 when I sold it to buy the true love of my (2-wheel) life... a bike I still have today - my RG-500... So awesome was this bike, that I became an RG fanatic, and bought and imported the other *7* RGs that I own today (8 total) - all of them different (RG-50, RG-125, RG-150, RG-200, RG-250, RGV-250 (VJ-21) and RGV-250 (VJ-22)... did I mention that my heart belonged to two-strokes?... Cheers!

1/21/2021 4:45:26 PM

I owned one of the first GS 750 motorcycles delivered while I was living in France. Standard equipment included 2 disk brakes in front. The Suzie was by far the fastest Japanese superbike on the road due its superior handling and brakes. It outpaced even the ever so slightly more powerful Kawasaki Z1, which was heavier, had perfectible handling and did not brake as well, though you could add a second disk to improve that. The GS was the best of the best UJMs. Acceleration was very strong and cruising at 180 km/h was natural to the beast. Being a speed-crazed young man I did push it to the limit way too many times and it never let me down or showed any sign of brake fading or other gotchas. The sound of the engine was so muted that the wind was all you could hear when riding at high speed on the highway. I never had a single problem with it, which didn't surprise me because Suzuki had long been building very reliable motorcycles. Looking back, the engine could have had a little bit of personality and a flatter torque curve, but that was the lot of all four bangers. Competing two-strokes were two triples: the Suzuki GT 750, a heavier, less powerful bike with a wonderful engine sound but not-so sporty handling, and of course the Kawasaki 750 H2, whose poor handling made it known as a widow maker, just like its parent the 500 H1.

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