Author: Scott Redmond Posted: 11 Mar 2016
Each week we bring you three selected bikes from the online world of the classified ads and auction sites in the form of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Casting his expert eye over the internet for your benefit is Scott Redmond who has written for almost every classic motorcycle magazine in the UK and for over 25 years he's bought, sold and broken up motorcycles for parts. From doing deals in person under the streetlights of London to surfing the web and buying bikes on his phone he's purchased bargains, howlers and few he'd rather forget.
Here is this week's selection:
THE GOOD: Suzuki GSX-R750K5
It’s 2005 and Suzuki have been churning out the GSX-R750 for 20 years, so they decide to celebrate the fact with an anniversary model. Eleven years on and the 20th birthday K5 still looks fresh as a daisy. It’s all too easy for people to cash in on nostalgia, but quite often the point of the exercise is often missed. Thankfully though Suzuki didn’t fook it up.
The essence of the GSX-R range is well represented. The trademark blue and white paint job is spot on, unlike many of the shell suit paint schemes from the early 90s range of Gixxer models. The brake discs were trendy wavey ish ones, and the Yoshimura exhaust silencer was a quality touch. 2005 was a good year for the GSX-R750. I wonder if Suzuki realised at the time that they’d still be knocking out a sporty 750 in their range, especially when one by one other manufacturers came away from the 750cc class. Thirty one years on from 1985 and you can still buy a new GSX-R750, which is pretty cool, but if coolness is something you like from your biking purchase then you could do a lot worse than buying this bike.
THE BAD: GSX-R750 SRAD.
It’s OK, calm down I haven’t lost the plot, I know that technically the SRAD isn’t a bad motorcycle. The word bad is associated with all things GSX-R, but in a good way. They were always the choice of the bad boy bikers. This SRAD is the perfect example. When it was launched it set the bar for others to follow. It was also hot on the heels of the then king of sportsbikes the Fireblade. The Fireblade was nearing the end of its reign, but the WT GSX-R was just starting its run.
The attention to detail was almost at Honda levels. Often the build quality had let previous offerings from Suzuki down, and anyone who’s ever had to work on oil cooled GSX-Rs will understand where I am coming from.
The SRAD was an all new design. The weight had gone down and power had gone up over the outgoing WS model. It looked the part too, with upside down forks, six pot calipers and a fat 6 inch rear wheel allowing wannabe Schwantz’s to indulge in the stickiest 190 rubber they could find. The carb models are for the purist. Those being the WT and WV ones. The switch to fuel injection on the WW model was for emission reasons rather than performance. This bike looks in good order, and at £2,000 it’s amazing value for money. Prices for these models will sharpen and finding one is always going to be the biggest problem.
THE UGLY: GSX-R750 Slabside Limited
For me beauty is in the eye of the beholder, just ask my ex wife.
For everyone that likes the lines of the original GSX-R750, there’s a few who can’t cope with looking at it. I am a fan of it’s slabby looks, but it is a bike that’s earned its ugly handle.
It’s 1985, the first model arrives, with it’s head down and arse up riding position dominating the bikes look. It also sets out its intentions with every motorcycle magazine spunking its lot and declaring it a racer for the road. The reality of the matter is, a race bike makes a poor road bike. The flatslide carbs might sound like a good idea but they were heavy to use and tricky to set up properly once you’d dumped the original exhaust for a racier option. There are those who say that a real GSX-R is oil cooled, and they are usually the people who fail to acknowledge that technology moves on. This Slabby 750 is a rare beast. It was basically a standard 750 but with some weapons fitted by the factory. Its known among GSX-R fans as the Limited. The forks came from the GSX-R1100H, and the single seat unit was standard fitment. The engine was pretty much stock except for the dry clutch assembly, which is a must for racing, and not so great for popping down the chippy with. Early GSX-R750s are very sought after now. The Limited is the rarest of the breed and also the purest, despite its quirky looks.