Not For The Faint Of Heart

Suzuki keeps improving and expanding its signature supersport series, and the 2018 GSX-R carries the torch first ignited by the original Gixxer 750 all the way back in 1984 (or ’85 if you count when it actually was made available for purchase). Granted, the “late model” Gixxers dropped the steel frame in favor of aluminum, and the air-cooled engine has been replaced with a jacketed mill, but the overall mission for the bike remains the same: to provide the general public with the most race-ready production bike available for legal use on the street. Of course, the rest of the market has caught up to Suzuki and the supersport segment is flooded with similarly capable rides — and a good number of more capable sleds — though the most race-tastic of them are far more expensive than the $12K-ish GSX-R 750. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for the Gixxer family ever since I scared the bejeezus out of myself on one, and I always look forward to revisiting the range, so let’s get to it.

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R750.

  • 2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
  • Year:
    2015- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    4-stroke, 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC
  • Displacement:
    750 cc
  • Top Speed:
    189 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    12399
  • Price:

Design

2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
- image 773180
The factory took steps to simplify the process of modifying it for actual track use, so it's almost a plug-n-play, closed-circuit bike.

Right off the bat we see that, as always, the Gixxer runs a carefully crafted, windtunnel-tested full fairing complete with a vented engine cowling and chin spoiler. The paneling leaves a little bit to the imagination and lets only a bit of the mill and transmission show, but this here is a form-follows-function bike with little of the superfluous in evidence.

An attractive cyclops headlamp housing leads the way in the blunt nose of the fairing with an over-under, high- and low-beam configuration. Rather than mold the front turn signals into the front fairing, (or even worse, mount whisker lights up front) the factory went with option three and set the lights in the mirrors. I like this setup because it keeps the front end clean while spacing the signals well away from the bike where they are most visible to the cage-driving public.

Soft angles play across the fairings, fuel tank and subframe trim for a look that strikes a balance between the super sharp and completely round. Personally, I prefer the fully rounded look myself, but this is a nice compromise. Obviously we’re going to have jockey-mount footpegs and short handlebars on a bike like this, and the rider’s triangle allows the pilot to tuck right into the pocket and out of the slipstream.

The subframe carries a little rise for the p-pad, but doesn’t have too much of that dramatic nose-down look in vogue right now (with some people..). A tucked-away taillight and minimal tag-holder/mudguard completes the rear end, and keeps it as tidy as the front end. All this is fine and dandy for street use, but the factory took steps to simplify the process of modifying it for actual track use, so it’s almost a plug-n-play, closed-circuit bike.

Chassis

2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
- image 773185
There are no “training wheels” electronic protection systems here, folks, so if you want to “look” like a racer but don't have the skills to “be” one, this is not your bike.

This is where things start to get interesting. An aluminum, twin-spar frame serves as the bones of the beast, and the factory went to great lengths to keep things light and compact with only 54.7-inches between contact-patch centers. Further steps were taken to center the weight of rider, engine and fuel in order to maximize cornering abilities, and an electronically controlled steering damper helps stabilize the steering with speed-dependent variable resistance.

Suzuki pulled suspension components off the top shelf to further that objective. Showa’s race-tastic Big-Piston Forks support the front end with a piggyback monoshock in back, and both ends come fully tuneable with adjustable spring preload as well as compression and rebound damping. Sure, it could be better with some electronically controlled Ohlins forks or something, but it wouldn’t be priced as it is, and that’s a fact.

Radial-mount Brembo brakes bite the dual front discs sans ABS protection/interference for honest, straight-up brake control and feedback. Yeah that’s right, no training wheels here folks, so if you’re more interested in looking like a racer than you are in actually being one, you’d better stick to the “safety-scissor" bikes. Just sayin’.

Suspension Front: Inverted Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Brembo, Disc, Twin
Brakes Rear: Disc
Tires Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless
Tires Rear: 180/55ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless

Drivetrain

2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
- image 773186
Wind that badboy out and you will be rewarded with a screaming 150 ponies at your disposal.

Naturally, as cool as all this is so far, it’s the beating heart that really steals the show. The transverse mount, four-banger engine runs a significantly oversquare ratio with big, 70 mm forged pistons and a 48.7 mm stroke. Shot peen-hardened conrods resist the surface fractures that can lead to catastrophic failure, and the Finite Element Method (FEM) forging techniques provide similar protection for the pistons; all technologies developed to meet the demands of the MotoGP circuit.

By keeping the reciprocating mass low and venting the case to reduce pumping losses, Suzuki ensures that more power makes it to the pavement. As always with short-stroke engines, torque takes a backseat to horsepower, but there’s plenty of ponies to go around here. At around 11 grand, riders can expect to see 63 pounds o’ grunt, but wind that badboy out to 13,000 rpm (holy smokes, sportsfans!) and you will be rewarded with a screaming 150 ponies. In case it still isn’t obvious, this ain’t for entry-level riders, not even close.

Displacement lands exactly on the 750 cc mark, but as you can see, this thing punches above its weight. Dual over-head cams time the 16-valve head with lightened, 29 mm titanium intake valves and 23 mm exhaust poppets. Ignition control falls to the MotoGP-inspired Engine Control Module that enables the Drive Mode feature that allows for push-button control over the power curve; one for road and one for track. I’d like to say “and ne’er the twain shall meet,” but I think we all know better than that. Wink, nudge.

A butterly valve in the exhaust allows for variable backpressure control, a feature that opens up the powerband a bit so it isn’t as narrow as a fixed-backpressure setup. Finally, we have a slipper clutch to couple the six-speed transmission to engine power. Not only does this provide a lighter left-hand pull, but it offers some wheel-hop prevention during aggressive downshifts. Good thing, ’cause a bike like this has a tendency to incite bad behavior, and it’s way too easy to get going way too fast without realizing it.

Engine: 750 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 70.0 mm x 48.7 mm (2.756 in x 1.917 in)
Compression Ratio: 12.5 : 1
Fuel System: Suzuki Fuel Injection
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh

Pricing

2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
- image 773174
MSRP is hanging just above the $12k mark, which is pretty amazing considering what you get.

Base MSRP on the 2018 GSX-R 750 is the $12,399, which is just a bill up from last year. This year, check out a couple of nice two-tone colorways in addition to the tried-and-true Metallic Triton Blue.

Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty.
Colors:
2015: Metallic Triton Blue / Pearl Glacier White, Glass Sparkle Black / Pearl Mira Red
2016: Metallic Triton Blue, Metallic Matte Black No. 2 / Glass Sparkle Black
2017: Metallic Triton Blue, Glass Sparkle Black / Marble Daytona Yellow, Pearl Glacier White
2018: Metallic Triton Blue, Candy Daring Red/Glass Sparkle Black, Metallic Oort Gray No. 3/Glass Sparkle Black
Price:
2017: $12,299
2018: $12,399

Competitors

2016 - 2017 Triumph Daytona 675 / Daytona 675 R
- image 681659
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
- image 773187
While it won't matter all that much on the street, the difference in power and torque is liable to make itself felt on the track; but I would offer that rider skill can be enough to offset the offset.

The 750 bracket seems to have fallen out of favor a bit, with many manufacturers jumping from 600 cc straight up to the liter bikes, but Suzuki stands fast with the displacement that launched a genre. Casting about, I found a close-enough ride that comes from almost half-a-world away in the Daytona 675 from Triumph.

Both rides come with fullish, windtunnel-tested fairings— just as you’d expect from bikes that straddle the line between street and track; and both run aluminum twin-spar bone structures to stay light and flickable. In the looks department, it comes down to a matter of preference, but I’d point out that the Trumpet fits well into the Japanese sportbike mold, and doesn’t really reflect its British origins at a glance. Not sayin it’s a bad thing, just that it is.

Brembo got business from both manufacturers as its calipers are present at both ends of both bikes, but Trumpet opted for the Öhlins NIX30 stems up front with an Öhlins TTX36 monoshock in back. No matter which you prefer, you get full adjustability all around. Unlike the Gixxer, the Daytona comes with switchable ABS so you can take it or leave it at your leisure.

Okay yeah, the Daytona falls 75 cc shy of the Gixxer, and it runs a three-cylinder mill against the four-banger Suzuki, but what it puts out is close enough for government work. At 12,500 rpm, the Trumpet cranks out 128 ponies with 55 pounds of grunt that come on at 11,900 rpm, not far short of the 150/63 from the Gixxer, and certainly not enough to make much of a difference on the streets. Granted, that difference is liable to make itself felt on the track, but I would offer that rider skill can be enough to offset the offset.

Unsurprisingly, Suzuki manages to keep the price low, and lets go of the 2018 GSX-R 750 for $12,399 versus the $14,000 tag on the Daytona. Not a huge jump, but enough to keep Japanese bike fans from looking to the Daytona for an alternative to the Big Four.

He Said

“Yeah so, it’s a Gixxer, and not just any, but the displacement that brought the family and genre to the world. It feels like a direct connection to the original as long as you ignore the lack of steel frame and air-cooling, which seems to give it a little extra coolness. Anyone looking at this bike should remember that it rides more like a liter and less like a 600 in spite of a displacement that falls closer to the lower bracket, so be ye careful ’cause this bike will surprise you.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I’m not a stupid-fast bike fan, so the Gixxers aren’t usually on my radar. I’m not saying they’re bad; just not my cup ’o tea. The GSX-R750 is no exception, however, let me look at it for what it is. It’s a bike for an experienced rider. It is definitely on the (GSX-R)1000-powerband side rather than the 600, and oddly enough, the sensation of speed isn’t there. Without looking at the speedometer and just judging by feel, you could end up well over the speed limit and get yourself in trouble in a heartbeat, so be aware."

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 750 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 70.0 mm x 48.7 mm (2.756 in x 1.917 in)
Compression Ratio: 12.5 : 1
Fuel System: Suzuki Fuel Injection
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Chain, RK525ROZ5Y, 116 links
Chassis:
Suspension Front: Inverted Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Brembo, Disc, Twin
Brakes Rear: Disc
Tires Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless
Tires Rear: 180/55ZR17M/C (73W), tubeless
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 2030 mm (79.9 in)
Overall Width: 710 mm (28.0 in)
Wheelbase: 1390 mm (54.7 in)
Ground Clearance: 130 mm ( 5.1 in)
Seat Height: 810 mm (31.9 in)
Curb Weight: 190 kg (419 lbs)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.0 L (4.5 US gallons), 16.0 L (4.2 US gallons) CA model
Details:
Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty.
Colors:
2015: Metallic Triton Blue / Pearl Glacier White, Glass Sparkle Black / Pearl Mira Red
2016: Metallic Triton Blue, Metallic Matte Black No. 2 / Glass Sparkle Black
2017: Metallic Triton Blue, Glass Sparkle Black / Marble Daytona Yellow, Pearl Glacier White
2018: Metallic Triton Blue, Candy Daring Red/Glass Sparkle Black, Metallic Oort Gray No. 3/Glass Sparkle Black
Price:
2017: $12,299
2018: $12,399

References

Triumph Daytona 675

2016 - 2017 Triumph Daytona 675 / Daytona 675 R
- image 681707

See our review of the Triumph Daytona 675.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: suzukicycles.com, triumphmotorcycles.com

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