2011 Suzuki GSX-R750 | Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

Wrist: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2011): $11,999
Miles: 984
Mpg: 33 mpg
Mods: Suzuki valve stem caps

I’ve had a special connection with the GSX-R750 ever since attending a press launch at Suzuki’s Ryuyo, Japan, test track in 2004. Small as a 600, strong as a literbike and ridiculously easy to ride fast, that motorcycle was a revelation. Later that year I did something freeloading motojournalists rarely do—I spent my own money and bought a GSX-R750. I rode that bike for five years, until a Polish black marketeer made me an offer I couldn’t refuse (true story). My GSX-R was relocated to Warsaw, and I’ve missed it every track day since.

Riding the new-for-2011 GSX-R750 at Barber Motorsports Park last spring brought memories of my all-time-favorite sportbike flooding back. Only this version, weighing 20 pounds less and upgraded with Showa’s Big Piston Fork and Brembo monobloc radial brakes, was better than ever before. I knew before exiting the pit lane that I was riding my next long-term test bike.

I finally took delivery of my 2011 GSX-R750 tester—with just 1.3 miles on the odometer—at Sportland 2 Suzuki in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, last September. First stop was a NESBA track day at Road America the very next morning. Break it in hard, the pros say! Raising the fork tubes 7mm and adding compression damping at the back improved the sluggish steering, but room for improvement remains. We’ll shim and re-spring the rear shock to add more ride height and squat resistance, or maybe replace it outright with a more adjustable aftermarket alternative. On the dyno it made 127 bhp—identical, incidentally, to ’04—but the air-fuel ratio was horrendously lean. Remapping will unlock plenty of useful power, once we figure out how to use EFI Editor software to reflash the factory ECU. We’re off to a good start.

Seven years later, the GSX-R750 still fits me like a familiar, sweat-softened glove. It’s too soon to say for sure, but my garage might permanently house another Gixxer by this time next year.

These valve stem caps, shaped like tiny pistons with Suzuki’s S-logo cast in the crown, have been on my desk for years, waiting for another Suzuki to appear in my garage.