1972 Suzuki GT750
The ‘Water Buffalo’, the ‘Kettle’, the ‘Water Bottle’, the ‘Le Mans’ (formal name here in the US). No matter what it’s called the Suzuki GT750 is really a fabulous motorcycle.
Suzuki designed the GT750 to compete with Honda’s CB750, Triumph’s Trident and a couple of others in the GT, ‘Gran Tourismo’ class…not to go up against Kawasaki’s H2. The ‘Le Mans’ isn’t all that fast with just(?) 67 horsepower on tap, it is a bit porky (around 525 pounds…porky by two stroke standards anyway) and really not all that sporty, that’s OK, it was meant as a ‘Sport Tourer’ not a Superbike, and in that role it was great.
Basically what Suzuki did was take the already successful T500 Titan twin, add a cylinder and liquid cooling. A three cylinder bike was nothing new, and water cooling was nothing new, but…on a production street bike from Japan…??? Big news!
The GT750 had a lot going for it right from the git go..a good solid, well designed motor (even with the new technology), a stable good handling chassis and a purpose. Sport Touring.
Suzuki’s GT was a bit on the heavy side but it is really quite comfortable, the brakes are a lot better than you would expect and one of the more interesting and important features, to Suzuki and to riders…it’s really quiet for a two stroke. Again, this fits into the touring aspect of the GT750. Liquid cooling and a very unique exhaust design give this Suzie it’s low decibel level and along with a fairly soft ride, this GT hit the mark perfectly.
This is the time of year I’m looking at winter projects for myself and friends, bikes that would probably not take all that much work but would be ready to ride come spring.
I found a Suzuki GT750 on ebay this morning that fits the bill beautifully. This ’72 GT750 has only 8,015 miles on the clock but looks like a lot more…because it has sat since 1980, it looks like it sat outside a lot of that time. This is to me is a clean it up, go through it with a fine tooth comb, make a few changes and go on a trip.
What changes to make? Comfort wise, well, the seat needs to be redone so either get a Corbin, a Sargent or contact my friend Bill Mayer at Mayer Saddles and get a custom saddle to fit your butt perfectly; lower handlebars, GP Touring are my choice. Upgrade the suspension…the easiest least expensive way is to go with Progressive, new fork springs and shocks. If you really want to get the bike to handle better a set of Race Tech Emulators in the forks are amazing. A small bikini fairing would look good, it might take away some of the attention that big ‘ol ugly radiator gets and take a little wind off you. And of course you’re going to have to spoon on a set of new tires, install new brake shoes, a new air filter is a given (check the airbox for small rodent nest or large spider nest…I have first hand experience of opening an airbox on a bike that had sat for over 20 years and found a rodent home), rebuild the carbs…yada, yada, yada…
All the standard stuff and then some but, it is still a pretty easy winter project and when you’re done you’re going to have a really cool and unique motorcycle that you should have no fear of riding from here to Canada and back just to get a moose burger.
OK, here is where my mind starts to wander into the ‘Cafe Zone’…yes, the GT is a Sport Tourer but it can be set up beautifully as a Cafe Racer. And if Barry Sheene thinks its fantastic…well, who am I to argue??
Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures. The GT750 has a very devoted following and a great support group on the internet, this will not be a tough project, but a fun one.