WHATEVER HAPPENED TO…FACTORY TURBOS? | UP TO SPEED

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Suzuki

Should it ever appear on showroom floors, the Recursion will not be Suzuki’s first turbocharged streetbike. That distinction belongs to the Suzuki XN85, released in early 1983. The model designation was a reference to horsepower output—not displacement. The XN85’s turbocharged, 673cc inline four produced 85 peak horsepower, roughly on par with the firm’s GS1100E.

Turbos were ubiquitous in the early ’80s. Dealerships were full of turbocharged automobiles, and the term had become so ingrained in popular culture that it appeared on cologne bottles, tennis shoes, even “turbocharged” personal computers. Turbo bikes from all four Japanese manufacturers followed, beginning with the Honda CX500TC and Yamaha Seca Turbo in 1982, followed by the XN85 and the Honda CX650TC in ’83, and the Kawasaki ZX750 Turbo in ’84.

Factory turbo bikes were advanced for the time, featuring electronic fuel injection (only the Yamaha was carbureted) and sophisticated ECUs. Despite this, turbo lag and a lack of low-end power made these heavy bikes difficult to ride in a sporting manner. Sales were disappointing across the board and all of the factory turbos were discontinued by 1985; none have been produced since.


The Recursion wasn’t the only Suzuki concept we were excited by from this year’s Tokyo show. The EX-TRIGGER looks like a perfect competitor for Honda’s (unexpectedly) well-received Grom playbike. Unlike the Grom, however, which is powered by a 125cc single with a four-speed transmission, the EXTRIGGER is electric-powered for no-nonsense, twist-and-go operation. With an aluminum frame, inverted forks, and disc brakes front and rear, it looks equally suited to slay a go-kart track or an urban commute.

suzukicycles.com

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