Suzuki GT750 Cafe racer
In the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s high performance bikes were, well…all over the map, literally and figuaritively. We had motorcycles winning Grand Prix’s with small 2 cylinder engines and small 6 cylinder motors as well. Streetbikes were bigger every year, faster too. 1969 alone brought us the maniacally fast (but handled like a piece of eel sushi) Kawasaki H1 500cc triple and; the first of the modern Superbikes, the Honda CB750. Well, I say the first of the ‘modern’ superbikes only because over time, that is what it has been catagorized as. In my humble opinion, the Triumph Trident and the BSA Rocket 3 (kind of the same bike) which came out in 1968, were the originals, but…Honda really did outdo the Brits with the CB750. The Trident/Rocket 3 handled better, sounded better and looked better, however, Honda beat them handily with better technology. The little Kawasaki was still faster.
As this era of ‘Superbikes’ was beginning, nothing was left on the table, every design idea was tried. Yes, I know, multi cylinder bike were nothing new…Honda had beat the world with a six cylinder 250, MotoGuzzi had a V8 in the works (there are a couple of those floating around…) and MV Agusta had a few World Championships to it’s name thanks to the four cylinder 350. But…big multi’s were new in the consumer world.
Suzuki was the first to introduce a liquid cooled motorcycle to the buying public of that generation, the GT750. The three cylinder two stroke was affectionately known as the ‘Water Buffalo’ here in the states, (maybe because of it’s heft?…it wasn’t what you would call svelte), and the ‘Kettle’ in England. It was a good motorcycle that only got better as it developed. The GT 750 had good power (Kawasaki’s H2 750 was faster though), handled reasonably well for the times, was quite comfortable and had very good brakes. The four leading shoe drum brake on the first generation GT750 is still a highly sought after part for vintage motorcycle roadracing. Reliability was a good feature of the GT, especially compared to the Kawasaki.
The ‘Water Buffalo’ I found on ebayis a really nicely done cafe racer. The switch to the mags versus the stock wires is a nice touch, the bikini fairing looks good, the seat / tail combo is nice, the rear sets look just about right for comfort and correct riding position, the classic Suzuki paint job is period correct, but…what really got me is the 3 into 1 exhaust / expansion chamber set up. I had one of those (different brand) on my Kawasaki, and once I finally (!!??) got it dialed in was really outstanding. looking a bit more closely, the one on this Suzuki looks to have a bigger expansion chamber as well as a larger diameter ‘stinger’ (muffler), which I believe boosts the bottom end power. I tried one like that and that is what I felt but then went to one that had a bit more top end power. The 3 into 1 was a fairly rare pipe at the time, few people understood how it worked. Anyway….this is a really nice bike that anybody interested in a cafe racer that is unique, strong running and good looking, look at this classic Suzuki ‘Kettle’.