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My Suzuki GSX750EX

My first bike after years as only a car owner was a black Suzuki GSX750 -81. There's a couple of pictures of it on this site (link at the end of this page), but here's the story of me and my bike.

The bike my friend wanted to sell to me was a Suzuki GSX750E from the early 80's. A previous owner was a Harley freak who had bought the bike for his girlfriend. The original meters were gone, instead there was a speedo from Harley Davidson. Also the signal horn came from a Harley, and so did the rear light. The front wheel cover came from a Honda, the rear wheel cover was a custom part. And so on. The tank was painted black and there wasn't a Suzuki sign anywhere on the bike. It was anonymous and quite cool. Like a custom bike with a muscle engine. I liked it.

So I took a test ride. The battery was dead and we had to jump start it. The bike hadn't been driven for a couple of years and was stored outside. Amazingly enough everything worked fine after we got the bike started with power from a car battery and waking the engine up with a squirt of start gas. Off I went!

I just loved it! There was enough of power for me to be scared in the corners and still it was easy to handle, I thought. But I didn't want to drive very far, I didn't know if everything was OK with the bike and there was no insurance or anything. I stopped the bike and wanted to turn back other a couple of kilometers. The bike was very cheap and I had already decided that I'd buy it.

Then the bike just died. Shit! I knew the battery was dead and there wasn't any kick start. "Well, I've done it a hundreds of times before in my youth, I'll push start the bike." But the damn bike didn't start. It was a hot day, I've got a leather jacket and helmet on and it took about a minute when I started to sweat and got tired. The bloody thing just wouldn't start. "Now I remember why I gave up motorcycles. The bastards never work!" I said to myself. I pushed and pushed, but I couldn't start it. For crying out loud!

The bike was much heavier than my old Jawa 250, which I pushed around quite easily even as a teenager. But this was a 4-stroke 750 cc engine. I felt beaten.

My buddy came looking for me with a car. He found me on the side of the road, sweating and breathing heavy. He tried to push start it, too, but gave up after a while. Then he took a look at the fuel tank. Empty! No wonder it didn't start. After we put a couple of liters of gasoline in the tank the Suzuki started right away. I felt stupid. But the fun began again. The sweating was soon forgotten.

Yes, I bought the bike. I bought a new battery too, and after replacing a couple of light bulbs everything seemed to work just fine. I hadn't not that much to compare with, I've only ridden a couple of bikes in my life but that's not important if the bike is better than some other bike. I just loved it. I didn't understand why I hadn't bought a bike before. I used to hang around the local biker's club and the guys were my best friends, but I never even wanted to test their bikes. Strange.

Suzuki GSX750E -81 '81 1981

Here's my GSX750 few weeks after purchase. The Kauser K-1 hard bags and the leather tool bag at the front didn't come with the bike. The Harley signal horn that came along (not on the picture) dissapeared during ashort trip at the east coast of Sweden. Photo: Jarmo Haapamäki

Link: Photos of my Suzuki GSX750 and other bikes, summer 2001

I thought the GSX750 was quite easy to handle. In the beginning I was a sissy at the corners but after a thousand kilometers of so I felt like I'd been driving the bike for years. It was quite wobbly in corners at high speeds (over 160 km/h or so) but it was manageable. It sounded wonderful when I started it and OK at lower speeds, but when with full gas you certainly needed ear plugs. The original air filter was replaced with K/N filters and the engine sounded like fast series of explosions in my head. After a while it was almost unbearable.

Riding at high speed was physically hard, too. After riding the bike for a couple of hundred kilometers I felt I'd been beaten up. The whole body was aching the day after and my arms felt like I'd been lifting weight all day.

The engine leaked a little oil but it seemed OK. After all, the bike hadn't been used for a couple of years. "It will soon go away" I thought. But it didn't. On the contrary, the leakage got worse. But I didn't mind that so much. I didn't mind a little oil on the boots and trousers, the engine sounded fine and I had such fun. After a while I found out that it was the valve cover sealing that was leaking. So I bought a new one.

There was many things I had to buy. The rubber hoses between carburetors and cylinders were leaking and needed to be replace. I lost the Harley signal horn somewhere on the road and had to buy a new one (I bought a cheap one instead). The turning signal relay died, too. And so on. That was all during the first two weeks. I even bought a pair of used Krauser hard bags and a luggage rack.

The third week the engine decided to give me a hard time, too. The valves started to sound very load, like a hammer banging against metal. After I opened the valve cover I noticed the exhaust cam shaft was worn out and had to be replaced. There was also metal flakes in the oil. Shit.

I started to look for a used cam somewhere, new parts were too expensive. Other a week or two I got fed up. What am I doing? I don't want to use my time in repairing the bike all the time, I want to ride instead. The summer is almost gone! What the hell, at least I could drive a couple of thousand kilometers with it. I started to look for newer bikes instead. I decided I'd repair the GSX750 during the winter instead.

If there's anybody out there with an extra exhaust-side cam shaft and lifters for a GSX750 -81 out there (in good condition of course), sell them to me!!!

So I started looking for another bike. Nut there wasn't that many models I liked. I loved the looks of my Suzuki GSX750, but there's not too many 90's bikes out there with the same looks. The new Honda VXR1800 looked awesome, but it was too damn expensive and the test riders said it's difficult to handle at low speeds. No, I don't like the sound of that. I don't want a GoldWing without the benefits of the great luggage space and the windscreen.

Then I noticed the Suzuki GSX1400. Yes, that's the one I wanted! I realized that a few years old large motorcycles aren't that much cheaper that a brand new GSX1400. And it was autumn, maybe I can get one a little cheaper when I buy the bike now.

And so I did, other a few telephone calls to a few bike dealers I found a blue-and-white GSX1400 in Jönköping, and the dealer gave me a 7000 SEK discount by the phone. After realizing that no other dealers were going give me a better offer, I decided to take it. A local bank loaned me the money.

This was a couple of weeks ago. By the time I'm writing this, I still haven't got me bike. Only 25 bikes is to be delivered to Sweden this autumn and the dealer in Jönköping should had got his bike today, but it has been delayed. I have to wait a couple of more days.

I'll get back to you as soon I have my bike. I can hardly wait.

Jarmo Haapamäki 2001-09-07

Here's a link to a page with photos of my Suzuki GSX750 and other bikes, summer 2001

And the story goes on... A few days later I got my new GSX1400 K2.
Here's a link to the my GSX1400 page.

More: More GSX750 models

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