2011 Suzuki GSX-R750 | Doin' Time

Photography by Jim Moy

WRIST: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2011): $11,999
MILES: 3800
MPG: 32 mpg
MODS: Renthal sprockets, Zero Gravity windscreen

It’s Sayanora already for my seven-fiddy—Suzuki called it back way before our unofficial one-year/10,000-mile term limit for long-term testbikes. Even if I didn’t run this test out to the proverbial redline, I did spend enough time with this latest-generation GSX-R750 to learn that the changes that Suzuki has made to this iconic model since the last time I long-term tested one in 2004 have all been for the better.

In my not-so-humble opinion, Suzuki’s GSX-R750 is still the best real-world sportbike on the market today, and the only true “middleweight.” The Gixxer 750 shares a chassis with its excellent 600cc sibling, so it’s no hyperbole to say it delivers the same compact feel and athletic handling of a 600-class machine. Our version here, lightened up with a deleted rear fender, carbon-fiber exhaust and a few other choice aftermarket mods, actually weighs a few pounds less than a stock GSX-R600.

Where the rubber meets the dyno wheel—in part thanks to that gorgeous Yoshimura R-77D slip-on—the GSX-R makes 128.6 horsepower, which is approximately 25 more than a stock 600, and almost equal to any 1000cc sportbike from 10 years ago. To say it has literbike acceleration in a 600-sized package isn’t really stretching the truth.

The result is a near perfect all-around sportbike for backroad blitzing or track days. There’s more than enough torque to spin the rear tire or power-wheelie on demand, so it’s plenty thrilling, but smaller and more forgiving so you can ride hard all day without ending up physically and mentally exhausted. Every time we test a GSX-R750 we wonder why Suzuki is the only manufacturer still building a 750cc inline-four sportbike. Then we see the sales figures and find our answer, formulated as another question: Why don’t more buyers buy 750cc inline-four sportbikes?

Suffice it to say that many of you just don’t know what you’re missing. Anyone attempting to build a high-horsepower 600 or super-light literbike could save loads of time and money by starting with a 750 instead. Like any GSX-R, the latest-generation 750 is simple to work on and responds well to almost any modification—the best one we did was upgrading to Brembo’s 19RCS adjustable-pivot-point master cylinder—making it a very rewarding bike to own and tweak to suit your exact needs. We’re just glad that Suzuki still sees fit to keep the bike in its lineup, and we hope enough enthusiasts buy this one—the best GSX-R750 yet—to keep it around.

In the meantime, even with Suzuki’s fleet manager blowing up my phone, I wasn’t done making mods just yet. First I made a move to improve cockpit comfort, installing a taller Corsa Series windscreen from Zero Gravity ($99.95, www.zerogravity-racing.com). Two inches taller than the OEM screen, the new-design Corsa is actually slightly taller and wider than ZG’s well-known Double Bubble model for even greater wind protection, and features a smoother, non-stepped profile that looks more like a factory racebike.

I still wanted to lower the final-drive gearing to make the torque easier to access at lower revs, improving rideability on the street. If Renthal sprockets are good enough for Blake Young’s Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R, they’re good enough for ours, so I ordered up a set. I went one-down/two-up in order rip through the revs a little quicker (16-tooth front, $34.95/47-tooth rear, $72.95, www.renthal.com). Dividends were paid immediately around town, while fuel mileage barely suffered on the street, only adding about 800 rpm at highway-cruising speeds. Take note, however: the taller rear sprocket did cause the chain to rub on the stock chain guard, necessitating its removal. And, of course, the non-stock gearing will throw off the speedo.

A quicker Gixxer is always better, except when it’s racing back to the manufacturer! I’m not too dejected, however—my next long-term assignment, a 2012 Honda CBR1000RR, is another favorite blast from my past.

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