Additional photos of this Suzuki GT750 are available here for your perusal.
Suzuki started manufacturing motorcycles in 1952 – their first models were motorized bicycles. By 1954, Suzuki was producing 6,000 motorcycles per month and had officially changed its name to Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. A large factor in Suzuki’s success in two-stroke competition was the East German Grand Prix racer Ernst Degner, who defected in 1961, bringing with him expertise in two-stroke engines from the East German manufacturer MZ. The secrets Degner brought with him were the work of Walter Kaaden, who combined three crucial technologies for the first time: the boost port, the expansion chamber, and the rotary valve. Suzuki hired Degner, and he won the 50 cc class FIM road racing World Championship for them in the 1962 season. Suzuki became the first Japanese manufacturer to win a motocross world championship when Joel Robert won the 1970 250 cc title and established themselves in the motorcycle-racing world. If you’re not familiar with the story, you owe yourself a read of the enthralling novel Stealing Speed.
When Honda released the CB750, other Japanese manufacturers had no other choice but to respond. Kawasaki made the choice to develop a little bit more power than the CB750 with the Z1, but Suzuki chose to stay with their specialty of two-strokes and in 1972 they released the GT750.
The prototype Suzuki GT750 was shown at the 17th Tokyo Motor Show in October of 1970 and launched in Japan in September 1971 as a sports tourer. Developed from the Suzuki T500 with an extra cylinder and liquid cooling, it was marketed as the Le Mans in the US and Canada. Looking at the success of the 4-cylinder 4-stroke engine, it was actually pretty bold from Suzuki to keep their 2-stroke engine. But the major innovation Suzuki added to their machine was liquid cooling, which lent itself to the international nickname of “Water Buffalo”. Indeed, the GT750 was the first mass production bike from Japan that featured it.
With its dry weight of 507 lbs, the bike could reach about 110mph. It had a double-sided, twin-leading shoe, 200 mm drum front brake with 180 mm drum rear. The Exhaust Coupler Tube System (ECTS) that connected the left and right side exhausts together was designed to boost low-end torque. Carburetors were 32 mm Mikunis and power output was 67 bhp at 6,500 rpm. The two-stroke engine had a strong flat torque curve producing useful drive from as little as 2000 rpm and provided a more sophisticated ride than its peakier H2 rival. Also included was Suzuki’s SRIS (Suzuki Recycle Injection System) which was a method for lowering the visible exhaust smoke by collecting and burning residual oil/gas lying in the bottom of the crank chambers. This was a first for any two-stroke from any manufacturer.
The cylinder block was alloy with cast iron liners. It had a five-speed gearbox and three into four exhaust. The ride was most impressive when the GT was used in a touring function, being able to cruise at high speed in relative comfort. Enthusiasts yearly gather at events to show off their pride and joy, and also to celebrate Suzuki’s first big 750cc success, this bike was the beginning of Suzuki’s love affair with the 750 class.
This bike was at the Mid-Ohio auction quite some time ago and the current owner missed out on it, but he saw it at the Barber auction three years later with no extra miles. In the seller’s words, “I never rode it – much like many auction bikes the details were quite sparse but it had all the right documentation and it was the nicest one I’d seen.”