It is probably worth being honest and confessing that I’m a big fan of the first generation Suzuki GSXR750, having been an over of first generation GSXR models for nearly 20 years. The Suzuki GSXR750 completely redefined the four stroke sports bike category when it arrived in 1985 with race focused bodywork, chassis and engine, all heavily influenced from Suzuki’s XR series of race bikes competing in short track and endurance series.
One of the GSXR750’s biggest innovations was the oil cooled 4 cylinder engine which produced a genuine 100 horsepower through a slick six speed gearbox. When combined with the lightweight all aluminium chassis, lightweight bodywork and lightweight wheels, nothing came close to the GSXR750, and many racers simply took indicators off and saw decent results on the track.
One of the most famous racers associated with the bike was Kevin Schwantz, who competed on the Yoshimura prepared race bike during the 1986 AMA season, to finish second behind another amazing GSXR750 rider Eddie Lawson.
GSXR750 Limited Edition
Throughout the early history of the GSXR750 Suzuki continued to improve the bike, with some officially supported tuning kits known as ‘hop-up’ kits developed by Yoshimura Racing. These were available to owners who wanted to prepare a bike for racing, however kits also found their way into the hands road riders who wanted some extra power and handling for the road. The kits typically included reprofiled camshafts, ignition advancers and lightweight race exhausts. One of the heaviest items on the stock bike after the engine is the stock exhaust, which saved several pounds by replacing with a race system.
The GSXR750 Limited Edition model (officially knowns as the GSXR750R) was released in 1986 as the official homologation model for race use. This model was 40% more expensive than the standard bike, which makes them a very rare sight and often desired by collectors. The key differences over the stock machine was a dry clutch system, close-ratio 6 speed transmission, 29mm flat-slide carbs, and a 19 litre steel petrol tank.
The fiberglass solo rear section with single racing seat, side bodywork utilizing Dzus quick release fasteners and Limited-Edition graphics completed the race bike look. You’ll also notice the models have a ‘ray gun’ style exhaust over the grill stock system, and closer to the Yoshimura tuned systems.
The GSXR750R also included some additional features which launched on the GSXR1100 the same year, such as electronically controlled anti-dive front suspension over the standard mechanical units. There are also some minor differences between bikes launched in to the Japanese market versus the global market, common known as version 1 and version 2.
The most standout feature for most fans is the dry clutch, where all the housing and major components are made from lightweight magnesium. The manufacture and and machining of these parts probably accounts for a large part of the additional cost!
Buying a GSXR750R Limited Edition
It probably goes without saying that originality is the most important part of buying one of these bikes. Reproduction parts over the years has made it a lot easier to create very convincing replicas from the standard bike, however the giveaway will always be the engine number and frame number which is unique to the model.
You’ll also have to remember that these bikes were sold primarily for race teams to compete in national series, therefor whilst something that has seen track action can provide some additional cache, it would have seen a hard life and probably been upside-down a few times.
If you are unsure about the credibility of a bike, always seek help from an owners forum who’ll probably know the bike, and if genuine or not. Suzuki are starting to supply new official parts for these bikes again, however they are very expensive. Aftermarket parts can appear nearly as good, however you’ll have to be realistic about the overall originality of the bike if you wanted to sell it again.
If you are looking to buy this lovely example we wish you the very best of luck and please let us know your plans for the bike. Many examples end up gathering dust in collections, and whilst we understand the value of machines it is a shame if they are not seen out on the roads and by new riders who’ll never come across these bikes on a weekend ride.
You may also be considering tackling some of the maintenance yourself, and thankfully the GSXR is very easy to work on. You will have to pay close attention to the effects of modern fuel on the fuel system and fuel tank, and recommend reading our fuel article to understand the impact of ethanol on classic bikes.