1974 Suzuki GT750 from United States of America
Add a shaft drive and it would be the best tourer ever
The bike had sat in storage for many years and was froze up when I bought it. So I took it home and removed the head and squirted oil on the piston tops, and let it soak down to the rings for a day. Then I tried kicking it over and ended up bouncing off the kicker like a BB hitting a Sherman tank, LOL. So then I tried plan B and called the biggest buddy I know and he did no better!
So I moved on to the big guns of plan C by having him stand on the kicker while I smacked the cylinder block with a lead shot filled plastic dead blow sledge from every angle I could manage. About 20 whacks later it freed up and started kicking over smoothly. So figuring I may still need to delve deeper into the engine, I bolted the head back on with the old gasket and filled her up with some fresh fluids and tried the kicker again, thinking it would take several kicks to get things flowing again; NOPE she fired up and purred on the 2nd kick!
Noticing the tires and radiator hoses were badly weather damaged, I replaced them and put her on the road, and I did not even need to replace the used head gasket. From that day forward the only repair I ever did was to clean the contact points on the horn switch.
The GT750 is a touring bike. Lots of people think they are fast like the Kawi triples, but they are not; the horse power is minimal, but the GT does have tons of low end torque; so much that one quickly realizes that 1st thru 4th are only for starting, stopping and staying under city speed limits. 5th gear is for everything else; even at 35 MPH a twist of the wrist is all that is needed to accelerate quickly, and dropping a gear really doesn't make it happen much faster, at least not enough to make it worth the effort it takes.
It's a lazy man's bike; ya just get her into 5th and then you can leave it there for a whole day's ride as the miles smoothly, quietly and comfortably float by. The Water Buffalo is far from sporty; its butter soft suspension has very nice manners in the twisties, but don't even think about any extreme leaning, because the center stand and pipes will very loudly touch ground and scare the heck outta you!
Speaking of steering, the GT750 has an interesting quirk; the steering neck is somehow notched so that it likes to kinda lock into a straight ahead position (I suspect this was Suzuki's way of avoiding the need for a steering dampener). It feels a bit odd at parking lot speeds, but is very hard to notice at speed.
Another quirk of the GT is that the front tire is some how welded to the ground and even a tiny wheelie seems impossible. Mine would readily burn rubber, so I put a monster grip Metzler tire on the back, which killed the spin but replaced it with what sounded like my tranny exploding when I revved her up and dumped the clutch! (Note though that the trans never seemed to be bothered by this and still worked perfectly). No matter how many times or ways I tried lofting the front tire, it just would not do it, period.
Not only is it as smooth or smoother than a Goldwing, it is also much quieter. Cruising side by side with a Wing at 60 MPH, I could not even hear my engine running unless I grabbed a hand full of throttle to make the carbs honk!
At cruising speed without a nearby Wing, the chain tended to make as much or more noise than the engine as it droned out the dulcet sound of a Zen Yogi's Om chant.
Loud pipes may help other drivers hear you, but it is also nice to be able to hear yourself think or the sound of a car in your blind spot, not to mention your pretty passenger's speaking voice as opposed to her having to yell to be heard.
So why buy a bike that is not fast or exciting? For the pure pleasure it is to ride, that's why.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th July, 2016