Welcome to my GSX-R page. It's really just somewhere for me to put words and pictures about my Suzuki GSX-R750RK, but includes other vaguely relevant stuff too. If you've got one of these bikes yourself (or something similar) or have info, advice or parts, please get in touch.
Background Spec My 750RK Links Events For Sale/Wanted Gallery Homologation GSX-R History News
My first brand-new bike was a Suzuki GSX-R750G in October 1986. I'd gone into the shop to buy a GSX-R400 which had been specially imported in very limited quantities that summer to allow them to be raced in the Production TT. I'd only seen b/w pictures of them so I was shocked when the bike turned out to be sky-blue and white, with yellow decals. I changed my mind, walked straight past the RG500 (not sure why...) and stood in front of the 750. £4234. Quite a step up from the secondhand 350LC I'd been used to.
The GSX-R750 had been launched the previous year with the 'F' model, and took everyone by surprise by being a revolution in bike design. It was all about weight, or lack of it, and featured a number of innovations and radical design features. The engine was oil-cooled and the square-section alloy frame took the form of the double-cradle that was to prove so iconic. It was a great Superstock race bike right out of the crate and an instant sales success.
Sadly my lovely new bike lasted only 18 months before I was knocked off it by the usual blind car driver. In 1990 I bought a new 750K, followed by a 750M in 1991 which was replaced by an 1100M in 1993. I kept that one for 12 years, using it for everything from commuting to work, to touring everywhere from the top of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall and attending both the GSX-R Festival at Brands Hatch and the PB magazine GSX-R Day at Santa Pod. I finally sold it to a mate in 2005 but have since spotted it on Ebay a couple of times and actually saw it in person in 2013.
I didn't really miss riding it that much but I kept getting twinges of nostalgia whenever I saw an old GSX-R. In 2007 I almost bought an original 1100G, although the seller decided to keep it for himself in the end. I'd started looking for a nice 'slabside' 750 or 1100 but what I really wanted was a 750RK...
A what ? Well, it's the "Double R" Sports Production model that was released in 1989 to homologate engine and chassis changes for World Superbike racing. The Suzuki equivalent of the RC30, OW01 and ZXR750R. Only 500 built, with 50 coming to the UK priced at £8999. Differences over the ordinary K-model (which was £4600) include a return to the long-stroke engine (easier to get big power from apparently), lighter valves, stronger crank and rods, 10mm racing plugs, a close-ratio gearbox, 40mm Mikuni CV carbs with quick-release needles, a 4-2-1 exhaust, secondary oil cooler, magnesium cam cover, braced swingarm, adjustable suspension, 5.5" rear wheel, thicker front discs, single-seat unit, more aerodynamic fibreglass fairing with QD fasteners, reshaped front mudguard, aluminium fuel tank and chamfered engine covers for increased lean angle. 120bhp/187Kg compared to 112bhp/195Kg. Genuine bikes have engine/frame numbers of R713/GR79A (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Australia), R714/GR79B (UK, France, Germany, Holland), R715/GR79C (Japan) - these codes are unique to the 750RK.
Three popular misconceptions about the '89 GSX-R750RK :
1 - the carbs are flatslides. Wrong, they're conventional 40mm CV's. They are however unique to the RK, having trick tops with QD needles, and special floatbowls allowing quick access to the main jets. Of course, plenty of them have had flatslides of various makes/sizes fitted by now.
2 - it should have a dry clutch. Wrong again - although the '86 750RG-Ltd had a dry clutch as standard, the '89 RK had a conventional wet clutch to get past noise legislation. The dry clutch conversion was reserved for the works race-kit, which also provided the usual suspension, ignition, gearbox and carb upgrades, lumpy cams and forged pistons etc. Again, quite a few RK's by now feature a dry clutch, using new or used '86 parts or Suzuki/Yoshimura race-kit stuff.
3 - they should have USD forks. No, this was never either a factory or race-kit option. However, the bike was a bit of a sales disaster (in the UK at least) and some dealers are known to have transplanted a USD front-end (off the 1990 750L) onto brand-new RK's to help them sell. And some have naturally received similar upgrades in the last 20 years.
I'd mentioned it to a couple of people but I never seriously expected to find one I could afford. But then in November 2007, someone pointed me at one for sale on the dreaded Ebay. I spoke to the seller and asked as many questions as I could think of, looked at the photos and put a bid in. I thought the bidding would go silly but amazingly I got it for the reserve price of £3000. And he threw in a new MOT and delivered it. But I'm still not sure whether that's a bargain or a lot of money for a 19-year-old bike...
It hasn't seen much use for a few years, although it has got 42783kms on the clock. Sounds a lot but these engines are bulletproof (famous last words). Sadly it came with no history whatsoever, but I understand it was imported from Italy by D&K and used as an occasional trackday bike before being sold to the previous owner who kept it purely as an investment. The speedo maxes out at 180kph (nowhere near enough !) which indicates it was originally a Japanese domestic market bike, as do the GR79C/R715 frame/engine numbers and smaller indicators. I'm assured it's been derestricted (from 77bhp !) though I don't know what this involves. I'm slightly disappointed it doesn't have white-faced clocks though - 80's cool !
It's got a Japanese 'Techserfu' carbon-kevlar end can (maybe a complete system ?), horrible blue anodised footpegs and some ubiquitous red/blue Goodridge brake hoses on the front - other than that it appears stock. There's a few stone chips and dodgy bits of touched-up paint and the 'RR' logo is missing from the bellypan on the left which suggests a partial respray. The frame and forks appear to have been polished and although I wouldn't have done it, it looks quite good. There's a small carbon-fibre tank protector and I'd like to bin that although previous experience suggests it might be better left alone. It also needs a full service - the oil is black and it's reluctant to run on all 4 cylinders until warm, although I've read a road-test where that was true of a brand new bike.
I've got nothing against modified bikes and there are plenty of stunning GSX-R specials out there, including some based on RK's. As this one is close to standard though, it really deserves to be left as Suzuki intended so I'll be swapping those footpegs for something more original and maybe the brake hoses too. I don't like the exhaust so if it was possible to find an original (or original-looking) one then I'd be keen to do that. A Yoshimura would be an acceptable alternative (the only appropriate bolt-on for a Suzuki). I'd love to find an original brochure for one, also any other spares, race-kit parts, dry-clutch conversion, manuals, parts-books etc.
First thing I did was fit an Optimate lead to keep the battery topped up, swapped the nasty anodised/carbon tax disc holder for a more subtle one, removed a couple of superfluous stickers and fitted some paddock-stand bobbins to the swingarm. I also replaced a blown headlight bulb and fitted some proper 750J footpegs instead of those tacky blue ones.
A freak dry/warm January day provided an opportunity to finally see what I'd bought. I topped up the tyre pressures, filled the tank and set off towards my favourite local road. First impressions were of how loud the exhaust is, and I became instantly paranoid that all the local police were being scrambled in my direction. Luckily I didn't see any but the intention to swap the end-can for another one is even more keen now. I headed home before the weather broke and didn't get the chance to check what the top speed is, but I hit 160kmh with plenty more to go. After the sulky two-strokes I've got used to over the last couple of years, the RK seems like a big pussy-cat and very easy to ride.
I'd emailed a few aftermarket exhaust/silencer manufacturers to ask if any of them would be able and willing to make me a one-off end-can in the style of the original Suzuki one. Only Martin from MTC Exhausts bothered to reply, and when I subsequently spoke to him at the Donington Classic Japanese Show, he understood exactly what I wanted and said he was happy to try and replicate the original silencer as best he could. Sadly (for him), I won't now be taking that path because I've managed to get hold of an actual original 750RK silencer and link pipe instead. Big thanks to Bex - knowledgeable one-time owner of two (!) RK's - for letting me have it, along with the mounting brackets, a pair of new fork seals and an original factory workshop manual. She also gave me a copy of the parts book and plenty of other useful info and contact details.
Using my new parts book knowledge, a quick search on the Robinsons Suzuki online spares site found that the genuine 'RR' bellypan decal is still available new. I ordered one and it arrived just a couple of days later. Probably cheaper than having a repro one made up too. Following that, I asked them about touch-up paints for the big scratch in the seat unit. The parts book lists lots of different paint codes for some reason, but Michelle from Robinsons was pretty certain that the three I needed were Marble Parsec Blue (33N), Pearl Still White (0JW) and Marble Italian Red (28V) so I ordered them. They took quite a while to arrive, although she kept me informed as to the order status, and I was surprised when they arrived to find a total of 5 little paint sticks. Seems the blue and white have separate base and top coats. That goes some way to explaining the £40.95 bill...
The summer's here ! I haven't done anything to the bike yet, but it was about time I took it out for a proper ride. I disappeared off into the countryside and had a great time, despite the heat. I only did 100kms or so but it behaved perfectly. The rear bump damping needs backing off a bit though, and I need to calibrate the speedo against something 'cos it seems a bit undergeared to me. Or maybe I just need to get used to riding this sort of bike again. I went straight round to a BBQ on it and it was dark when I went home. Parked up hiding in the shrubbery were the local Police in their Impreza/M3 traffic cars - I wasn't speeding but I thought I'd get a pull for the pipe. They left me alone so I'm taking that as official approval !
OK, so it's not strictly a GSX-R, but it looks like one, it's dead cute and I couldn't resist it. It's a 1986 RB50, a 4-stroke aircooled single with 10" wheels, although this one is 120cc now. Completely road legal, it's registered on a C-plate and I should be able to ride it into the pub...
The RB50 was tidied up a bit and polished, and taken along to the VJMC Uttoxeter Show in July to display on the Diff'rent Strokers stand. Working on my other bikes meant the 750 was neglected for a bit, until a mate came round and wanted to hear what it sounded like. Firing it up, it was only running on 3 and fuel was pouring out of somewhere. It was pushed back into the garage and ignored again. A few weeks later, a quiet afternoon found me investigating the problem. Turning the fuel tap to PRI made the fuel come splashing out again, but it seemed to be leaking from somewhere quite high up, not a carb overflow tube as expected. Taking the seat unit off revealed the source to be the vent pipe from carbs 1 & 2, which exits above the airbox on the left hand side. Strange.
I've worked on my fair share of carburettors over the years but they've all been on two-strokes and were easy to get to individually - a bank of four CV's were not exactly inviting. I decided just to take a look at carb no 1, which was relatively accessible. There's a drain screw on each float bowl, but I used a 17mm spanner to remove the threaded plate instead - these are unique to the RK and allow access to the main jet without removing the bowl. The fuel that came out looked quite clean, but when I removed the bowl (just 2 screws) it was coated in a fine layer of grey dirt and old fuel that had turned to varnish. I cleaned this off as best I could, and pulled the float mechanism off the carb too. It seemed quite loose, and having cleaned this up too it was refitted but remained a poor fit. Looks like the O-rings need replacing. At this point I had a quick look at the needle too - there's a sprung cap on the top of each carb (unique to the RK again) which undoes with a 1/4 turn and lets you take the needle out for adjustment or replacement. Nice racer touch.
All back together and not particularly confident, I switched the tap to PRI and waited. No leak. I started the bike and it ran nicely on all 4. Result ! Flushed with success, I gave the whole bike a bit of a clean and polish. The VJMC Show at Lotherton Hall was a couple of days later - I'd pre-booked the RB50 but didn't fancy the 160km round trip on it now so decided to take the 750 instead. They ask you to get to the show and park up before 10am when the public get let in. To be honest it's not exactly a full day out, so I arrived at 12 and threaded my way through the crowds and parked up with the rest of the Suzuki's as instructed. There was a nice 1100L (with a 'for sale' sign on) plus 750's in G, K and M variants. The weather was incredibly hot so after a quick trip round the autojumble, I flaked out on the grass near my bike and listened to what people were saying about it. Most seemed to know what it was, and various people were peering inside the fairing, no doubt in search of a dry-clutch. I left during the prizegiving, drowning out the announcer with my antisocial exhaust. It made it home OK, although it started to run a bit fluffy at one point which was cured when I brimmed the tank. I think the whole fuel system needs a good clean. I still haven't got the bike serviced, nor have I got round to touching up the paint or applying the RR sticker. I have managed to get one of the original brochures from Japan though (which even came with the acetate sheet advertising the 1989 launch meeting) and one for the 1986 750R 'Ltd' too. Anorak ? Guess so...
Having missed the 'pb' magazine track evening back in May, I was determined to go to the all-day one in September. Not to take part of course, just to spectate. Well, it was 90's bikes only anyway. Giving the bike a bit of a check over before I set off, I realised that the silencer was loose. A bit of alloy strip and some PTFE tape soon fixed that, and with a full tank of fuel it was off to Cadwell Park. It ran quite happily in the cool weather, and was joined by a local guy on an SRAD 750 on the way. At the circuit, a selection of cool bikes (not all from the 90's though !) were lined up in the paddock or out on the track. Fellow homologation specials included a pair of ZXR750R's, R7, Ducati 851, RC30 and several RC45's including some priceless Honda UK racers. Some people seemed to be taking the whole day a bit seriously though - very few of the bikes on circuit looked road-legal and there were plenty of tyre-warmers on show. Maybe next time...
I planned to get the local bike shop to do that long-overdue service at the same time as the MOT, but when that became due at the end of November, the winter weather had already arrived and I decided instead to SORN the bike and leave it until spring. In the meantime, an idle moment browsing Yahoo Auctions Japan resulted in a 750RK Parts Book and Workshop Manual Supplement arriving on my doorstep along with a Japanese magazine containing a big roadtest feature. I've since got Vol.2 of 'Oil Cooled World' too - a glossy softback Japanese book that almost constitutes pornography for fans of 'proper' GSX-R's.
So it's time to replace that beautifully-made lightweight free-flowing exhaust with the heavy old restrictive standard one. On to the paddock stand, off with the bellypan and the scabby header pipes were exposed. There was a lot of corrosion where the individual pipes meet and some cleaning revealed several small holes. Worse still, the rusty exhaust clamp sheared when I tried to unbolt it. A half-hearted attempt to drill out the stud failed so I used Suzuki Special Tool #1 (a hacksaw) to remove the welded clamp from the pipe altogether. When the link pipe was removed, a 6" internal baffle tube fell out. I'm not sure if this is part of the original Suzuki system or not, but either way it's not going back in !
It would be best to remove the headers and clean them up properly but I didn't want to risk snapping any more studs, so the dodgy area was treated with rust converter, the holes filled with chemical metal, then painted with heatproof black paint. Looks horrible but should be hidden by the bellypan and will hopefully prevent any further corrosion. A new universal (63-68mm) exhaust clamp was purchased off Ebay and the original silencer was re-attached, using the additional bracket underneath the frame designed for that purpose.
I fired it up and now it sounds just like any other inline-four - boring ! There appeared to be no leaks from anywhere and an MOT should be no problem. Except that I gave the whole bike a once-over and realised that the rear tyre needs replacing. I also tried to clean up the bellypan but it's been badly resprayed in the past and T-Cut made no difference to the overspray on the stickers and the blisters in the paint.
So, a week later I took it down my local bike shop for a full service, rear tyre and an MOT. I got it back the next day, with a new Dunlop D207 radial to match the one on the front, an MOT certificate and a bill for £287.10. A set of new CR10EK plugs, new oil and filter were all in place, to go with the cleaned air filter and balanced carbs. Good news then ? No. The mechanic took it for a test ride and although he said it performed much better than an ordinary GSX-R750, he mentioned a whine from the main output shaft bearing. Now it's been pointed out, I can hear it too.
Once I got it home, I also spotted that the new rear tyre rubs slightly on the brake torque arm. I didn't notice this with the old tyre but then I never really looked. An email from a fellow RK owner (thanks Alain) pointed out the cause - they replaced the old 180/55-17 tyre with one of the same size but according to the brochure the OE tyre would have been a 170/60. Checking the front reveals a further mismatch - I have a 120/70-17 instead of the OE 130/60. I wish I'd checked earlier...
So what do to about the bearing noise ? Fit the race can again to drown it out ? Ignore it and hope it doesn't break up completely ? Replace the engine with a low-mileage 1127cc lump instead ?
Well obviously I've done nothing yet. The bike is due to be on display at the Uttoxeter Show on July 4/5th with some other homologation models so I need it to be in one piece for that. I'll get the output shaft dealt with after that. In the meantime I spent some time cleaning up the front of the engine while the bellypan is still off, and trying out the touch-up paints on the tailpiece scuff. I've definitely improved it but it's not yet to my satisfaction. I've also been acquiring a few more RK-related books and magazines as you can see.
I've also got rid of the last bit of anodised tat. I've always hated those red/blue brakeline fittings that seem to be everywhere, so I ordered a new front brakeline kit from HEL. The 750RK wasn't listed so I ordered the kit for the ordinary K model, specifying black coated lines and plain stainless fittings. I also got some new bleed-nipple covers via everyone's favourite online auction site.
It wasn't until I took the old brakelines off (naturally) that I discovered they'd sent me the wrong pitch banjo bolts in the kit. I can't believe the K threads are different to the RK, and I remember the same thing happening before with an Earls kit I got for my 1100M years ago. I couldn't re-use the old bolts because the old lines had a direct fitting into the calipers, so I had to put all the old stuff back on again. Annoying. A week later and with some 1.00mm pitch bolts off Ebay (you can just about see the difference in the photo below) I fitted the new lines.
They were tested a few days later when I had to put the bike into service as commuter tool when my car was in for repair. The brakes were fine, but the bike wasn't happy at low revs, spluttering onto three at junctions and making smooth getaways difficult. I think it's dirt in the pilot jets because it behaved fine with plenty of throttle and revs. That's my excuse for hammering past all the traffic anyway !
First weekend of July saw the bike on display at the VJMC Uttoxeter Show with an array of other homologation specials. Darin took his 1986 GSX-R750R Ltd along and we managed a quick spin on each others bikes while setting up on the Friday afternoon. I love the sound of that dry-clutch ! The bikes were fired up again on the Sunday when we were persuaded to show them off with their peers to the assembled crowd. Despite some rough running on three cylinders and even rougher interviewing over the PA I managed to get away with bike and reputation intact.
In May, an opportunity for a proper play on the 750-Ltd and its big brother.
A month later, and I get to ride the 750-Ltd again in Holland as part of the Dutch Classic Superbike Meeting. I would have liked my 750RK to be there too but it all got too complicated to arrange. Not as many GSX-R's there as I hoped but a couple of cool modified 1100's showed up.
After that, nothing to report I'm afraid. Apart from the purchase of a RK sprocket cover, on Ebay for 99p.
In January I went to look at a modified RK spotted on Ebay and and spent an enjoyable couple of hours chatting with owner, builder and long-time GSX-R nut Mick. Full details of the bike in the For Sale section below.
A month later, there's a gap in the nasty weather and it's time to fire my bike up again. But it only runs on two cylinders, and doesn't clear. Actually I expected this - it did it last time I tried and I never got round to cleaning the carbs or swapping the plugs, that's why there's been no updates on here. I've got to get it sorted now. In the meantime I splurged rather too much money on a UK-issue 750RK brochure to go with my JDM one.
The April 2011 issue of Classic Mechanics magazine included a supplement featuring 'future classics', ie. the bikes we should all be looking to buy now before they get collectable, too expensive and hard to find. Most suggestions seemed fairly sensible as did the guides to the prices you should realistically expect to pay. So it's nice to see that my bike is now worth between 3 and 5 times what I paid less than 3 and a half years ago ! You don't get that kind of return from a bank...
I spotted a nice Fujimi model kit of a Suzuki/Yoshimura works endurance racer, specifically the '86 bike ridden by Tsujimoto/Schwantz in the Suzuka 8-Hours. Thanks to HobbyLink Japan, I managed to get hold of one, along with the Top Studio super-detail set which provides etched and turned metal parts including the discs, dry-clutch, brake hoses and fittings etc. The kit features clear plastic bodywork which gives you the option of painting it or just allowing the detail underneath to be viewed. Half and half would look good ! It cost a fair bit to get to be honest - the price worked out as £72.53, 4% of which went to the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund. Shipping from Japan to the UK was £12.98, then those robbing bastards at ParcelFarce stuck me for £18.19 VAT (not import duty) plus their rip-off £13.50 fee for processing it.
In May 2011, the insurance company needed photographs for valuation purposes, so I dragged the bike out into the sun.
OK, let's face it, I've neglected my RK and it deserves much better. So when Simon Francis, GSX-R nut, Yoshi-rep 7/11 owner and local self-employed bike mechanic/restorer popped round to have a look at it in February, I let him take it away to breathe some magic on it.
The carbs were the biggest problem. Simon took them off, stripped them, cleaned them in an ultrasonic bath and rebuilt them, setting them up to spec and replacing the wrong 40/105 pilot/main jets with correct 37.5/115's. He would have fitted new needles and emulsion tubes too but they were no longer available. Nor was a new throttle cable, so he made a new inner up himself to replace the frayed original. Once it was running properly again, he spotted a hole in the exhaust collector so fabricated a plate to cover and strengthen it and welded it on. And because he couldn't help himself, he set the suspension up properly and then cleaned and polished every last inch of the bike. Highly recommended, I'll definitely be getting him to work on some of my other bikes soon. I rewarded him with a go on GSX-R Jr. and could hear him laughing in the next street ! Incidentally, he reckons that the gearbox whine is nothing to worry about but says there's a stutter above 10000rpm which might be ignition-related.
So, with the bike back and running nicely, it's time to put it back on the road. My local bike shop MOT'd it and I taxed it the same day. And we're planning a homologation-special weekend this summer. In the meantime, I dug out my spare exhaust hanger and posted it to fellow RK owner Sean Freeman in the states, who's restoring his bike.
And following what seems like - and actually was - weeks of solid rain, a Sunday finally lived up to its name and another 100kms was added to the odometer.
A month or so later, we had a brilliant day out on the RK, Darin's 750R-Ltd and Simon's 7/11 special. More words and pictures on the Chip Shop Run page.
Another hot and sunny Sunday, another 100kms on the clock.
And in August, I took the RK down to Donington for the Classic Bike Trackdays event, where I racked up another 148kms around the whole GP circuit. It's apparent now that my bike is still afflicted by some of the Japanese-market restrictions, with a 10,000rpm rev-limit affecting my lap-times (but not as much as my lack of ability). Wonder if I can find/afford a UK-spec CDI unit ?
The September 2012 issue of Practical Sportsbikes magazine had a comparison test of an RK (not mine) against a ZXR750R-K1 and - oddly - a Bimota YB4ei.
At the big Classic Japanese Bike Show at Stafford in October, I helped Diff'rent Strokers arrange another display of the homologation specials in conjunction with the RC30 Owners Club. My RK was on show along with Darin's LTD, and we added a YZF750SP to the previous line-up. I spoke to at least 3 other RK owners over the weekend and we also won an award for our club stand.
And a few days later I bought a brand-new copy of the official factory hop-up kit manual for the RK. Purely for amusement of course, I have no intention of turning my bike into a potential WSB winner...
March and the MOT was due. It passed, but with a warning about how close the 180-section tyre was to the brake arm. It's been fitted 4 years now though so I'm not worried. In August I took the RB50 for a few laps of Cadwell at the Classic Bike Trackdays Weekender and there was an RK out on track too. Also, by chance, in the paddock was my old 1100M, just as I last saw it 8 years earlier apart from an Akropovic pipe in place of the original 4-2.
The same month, Simon invited me on his Old Skool GSX-R birthday ride out to Squires. 750G, 750RK, 750L and 750M - cool. And that's all I did with it this year.
Oh, except that I bumped into ex-pat Suzuki nut Sean Freeman at the Stafford Show and he very kindly gave me a French RK brochure that he'd unearthed in the autojumble.
In preparation for the MOT, an evening run in the winter sun. And a couple of days later it passed no problem. Time for another 12 months tax and some miles then.
A day off work and a ride out to a local WW2 memorial and the seaside, well, what's left of it. The reason for taking the bike out was to prepare it for...
...the WSB weekend at Donington Park, which the VJMC had invited me to. There was another RK there plus examples of most other homologation specials of the era, and we all got to ride parade laps on both days, led by Niall Mackenzie. Pretty special.
The aforementioned Simon snapped up a cheap 1989 GSX-R400RK-SP and offered it to me. It was a good price and I was very tempted, but bike storage space has run out so reluctantly I said no. Although it looked good from a few feet away, it really needed a full respray, and that would have cost more than the bike was worth.
Looks like my sophisticated trickle-charger's been lying to me. After the winter lay-up, the battery was utterly dead and I had to buy a new one. Once fitted, it started quickly and should hopefully be ready for the MOT. For a laugh, I thought I'd see what the RB50 looked like with an RK seat unit...
It's now MOT'd and taxed and ready for another summer.
The LTD was out in the sun at Stafford Show in April. One day it'll be mine...
The Barry Sheene Classic at Scarborough in June provided another opportunity for an Old Skool Suzuki rideout in the sun. The RK joined Jon's 750M and Simon's just-finished 750ESD special on the Suzuki GB stand.
A month later I took it to Cadwell for the Practical Sportsbikes weekend run by Classic Bike Trackdays again. There was a 30th Anniversary Celebration of the GSX-R750 and RG500 (see me in the magazine pic below !) so there were loads of Slingshots and especially Slabbies there as well as those on track. We did a few parade laps on the Saturday and I spoke to a couple of ex-RK owners who gave me advice on derestriction and spare parts. You might have noticed the missing RR decal has appeared on the left-hand bellypan - I knocked that up on the laser-printer at work! The right-hand fork seal seems to have failed again, though it didn't stop me riding it home on the Sunday. Unfortunately, I now really want an 1100G with white wheels...
I also went on Simon's annual Old Skool Suzuki rideout to Squires and his end-of-year SF Open Day on it too, but forgot to take any photos at either.
MOT and Tax renewal time again. No problems with those, despite the weepy fork seals. I also snapped some arty photos on a nearby bombsite.
At the Stafford Show, Tim from Team Classic Suzuki asked if he could display my RK on their stand. Of course, I was deeply honoured, especially when they lined it up with priceless race bikes ridden by Barry Sheene, Kevin Schwantz, Kenny Roberts Jr and Michael Dunlop. Elsewhere in the paddock, there were two more RK's and 2 LTD's for sale at scary prices.
Look what I found in the corner of a local bike shop. A genuine 750RK racer, built by Mick Grant for Jamie Whitham to race. Dripping with unobtainable works parts, it's rumoured to have cost £100K to build. And no, it wasn't for sale.
MOT and Tax renewed again. And time to recreate the photo I took back in 1990 with my old 750K.
A mate of mine picked up this Team Suzuki Yoshimura sign, supposedly from the WSBK team pit wall at the 2011 Suzuka 8-Hours. When he was having a garage clear-out, I couldn't resist it.
First run of the year.
MOT and Tax renewed, followed by visits to a couple of local bike nights.
And then this happened. Doh !
Luckily, I managed to find the last NOS headlight in stock in the UK (thanks Crooks Suzuki !), and on a day off work, swapped it over. Shame I picked the wettest day of the summer to do it.
On another day off work (I know...) I rode it down to the Team Classic Suzuki day at Cadwell, where there were two other RK's plus an amazing line-up of exotic race bikes, trick specials and superstar riders. And on the way there the speedo cable snapped, since replaced.
First run of the year, and a fresh MOT the next day.
So, last year we moved house, so very little bike stuff got done at all. The benefit is that I have a bit more garage space now - that's earmarked for working on bikes, rather than buying any more. Currently the Covid-19 lockdown means I can't ride any anyway, but on the upside the MOT has just been extended by 6 months.
By July, restrictions had eased enough for me to brave a whole day out on a bike, so as usual I found myself up on the North York Moors. It was understandably quiet, and I greatly enjoyed racking up another 200+kms. Sadly, that was it for this year, and I let the (extended) MOT run out.
Did I mention I have almost no free time these days ? I took it for an MOT in July (no problems) and I used it to attend the 2-Stroke Day at Squires in September.
At Easter I dug it out and rode it literally round the block, it was dog-rough and the back brake didn't work. Thanks to an unexpected day off work for the Jubilee (thanks Ma'am !) I fixed the rear brake by bleeding it and had a slightly longer run out. And in July I went to Barton Bike Night on it. And now it needs another MOT.
Feeling similarly nostalgic for old GSX-R's ? Check out the Old Skool Suzuki or GSX-R 25th Anniversary sites.
Klaus in Germany runs a site covering all of the LTD/RR/RK/SP homologation GSX-R's. See Racing-Show for details.
I found a great site devoted to the 750RK - if I'd known about it sooner then I wouldn't have bothered creating this one, although I'm not sure it's still live ? Have a look at Andy's 750RK Site for model history, specs, pics and more.
James/SickPup's bike seems to be the most common RK spotted on the web - see his 750R page and Spart Specials for great pics including the dry-clutch kit. Also see Fred's collection of RR/Ltd info and links where I found some of this stuff in the first place.
Also have a look at Gixerboyz, the Suzuki Owners Club and Gixxer.com for more GSX-R info and discussion.
If you know of other sites or forums that cover the RK (or the other RR models) please let me know.
I've been collecting a few books and magazines featuring RK's or similar oil-cooled loveliness. If you know of any others, please let me know.
Klaus (see Links above) arranges a meeting just for LTD's, RK's, SP's and Suzuki race bikes every 2 years in Germany, see RR Meeting 2012. Me and my LTD-owning mate were hoping we could attend this year but it wasn't to be.
Lots of people ask me where they can find an RK for sale. There's not that many around and people tend to hang on to them. But they do crop up occasionally, in a variety of conditions and at wildly-varying prices. Here's a few I've seen since I got mine.
Here's one I first spotted when I first got mine, he had a useful webpage all about it. UK bike with all docs, 17150 miles, up on Ebay Aug 2015 for £12500, including all parts needed to return it to standard (silencer, rear disc, brake hoses and airfilter).
Here's an '86 LTD, showing 8700 miles and on sale on Ebay Aug 2015 for a starting price equivalent of £12227.
I could have bought this highly modified RK in 2011 for £3K (see below). In July 2015 it's back on Ebay at a UK dealer priced at £6995 and has been going round for a while...
And at the same dealer and also unsold after several months, here's another more standard one at £13995 (July 2015).
And at, yes, the same dealer, here's another one at 'only' £12495 (July 2015).
They've also got this '86 750LTD up for £11995 (July 2015).
Meanwhile, at a different UK dealer specialising in imports direct from Japan, here's a LTD at £10995. FCR37 carbs with heat-shield, Yoshi tuning box and aftermarket exhaust and brakes (July 2015).
And another at £17995 (July 2015). Blimey ! It does have a Yoshi pipe I suppose...
And they've also got this JDM RK up for £14995, with a Techserfu pipe on like mine had (July 2015).
That RR-obsessed dealer did have this RK too at £15995 but it was sold in May 2015. Wonder how much cash actually changed hands for it ?
In Oct 2014, this one appeared on Ebay in the UK. It's No.260, imported from Japan, in standard condition and with just 2190 miles. With a 'RRK' registration and some documentation, it's the one to buy. But it was £18K !
In Aug 2014, someone listed a genuine 750RK engine on Ebay, complete with carbs, mini oil-cooler, coils, CDI and loom. There were 23 bids and it made £1260.
In May 2014 there were two RK's listed on Ebay in the UK. I can't recall the details now, but the first one was listed at £10K and the other one (shown parked in the seller's kitchen !) for £14995. Did they reach those values ?
The rarest homologation model of all, on Ebay (Jun 2012) A '94 SP, one of only 200 built. Nice original condition and low mileage too. Not particularly desirable though, with a watercooled engine and styled just like the ordinary WR model. Would you pay £16995 for it, or would you spend that on an RK, a LTD and a ZXR750RR instead ?
Another RK for sale on Ebay (Jun 2012). Is £15999 a bit optimistic for this one do you think ?...
Scroll down a bit, see that tatty RK for sale with the big '2' on the tail ? This is the same bike, back up on Ebay (Jun 2012). Resprayed obviously, it's a shame the various decals are a bit off in terms of sizing and position. Non-standard exhaust too. At £5999, Graham the seller was hoping to treble his investment. When the auction ended with no bids, he relisted it at £5499 and someone snapped it up straight away.
Spotted on Ebay (May 2012) was this incomplete RK project (No.21 of 500). A lot of work needed there. It was up for £4500 but I don't know what it fetched in the end.
Is it a crime to swap the standard motor in your RK for an 1100cc one ? Yes. But if someone else has already done it, is an RK-7/11 worth having ? Of course, it won't be worth as much as a 'proper' one but it's pretty much the ultimate GSX-R ! This one appeared on Ebay (Oct 2011) at a start-price of £3000. Genuine RK frame number, 1127cc motor, unknown exhaust, K&N filters, 6-pot front brakes, Maxton shock and fork-springs. Lovely. It reached £4150 before being pulled early. Who bought it ?
Spotted on Ebay (Aug 2011) for £28000 ! No, that's not a typo. I'll be surprised if it makes more than 10% of that.
And another one on Ebay Jun 2011, sadly missing the original flatslide carbs, airbox, exhaust, wheels, anti-dive units, and one coil. The forks needed rechroming, the rear brake needed repairing and the fairing had been drilled too. Despite all that, I was still hoping to rescue it for myself, but damage to the exotic clutch and magnesium engine casing meant it was too far gone for me. It still made £2008 !
Another RK appeared on Ebay (May 2011). Mike (the seller) knew what he'd got and included a good history of the model on his advert. He was spot-on about rarity and collectability, though £3950 was a very good result bearing in mind the 9 years of neglect not to mention the damage to the fairing and exhaust. And so it proved as it re-appeared a week later with a Buy-It-Now price of £2800 and a warning about time-wasters. Could be nice with a bit of work.
Slightly off-track, here's a nice '86 750 LTD, spotted on Ebay in May 2011. Looks like it needs a good clean and polish, and the squint logo on the tank suggests a respray. And those 3-spoke wheels are off a later bike. And why does it have a Yoshi-USA exhaust if it's freshly imported from Japan ? Nice though. Shame it's up for £5795, at a dealer known for its ambitious pricing.
Here's another LTD, spotted on Ebay in Mar 2011. Unfortunately it was in the USA, otherwise I'd have been tempted. Completely restored, standard apart from Yoshi pipe, filters and steering damper. US$9000, though the Salvage/Restored Title makes it complicated to re-register.
A modified RK appeared on UK Ebay (Jan 2011) and I went to take a look. Owner Mick rescued a rough Canadian model (no. 27 of 500) and devoted 14 years to sorting it. Proper R713/GR79A numbers on a F plate. It has a Mistral-rebuilt motor with 771cc kit, gas-flowed head, RS36 flatslides, K&N's and a Yoshi race pipe all giving 125bhp at the back wheel. Sounds nice too ! 750M USD forks, 6-pot calipers, Maxton shock, hugger, carb covers plus a 750WN subframe and twin-seat unit with pillion footpegs. The upper-fairing is an aftermarket race one with 400R lights for an Endurance look. It'll never be a mint standard one but will probably go much better. No bids though at £3200, and it was re-listed. Eventually it re-appeared on Ebay with a big price mark-up - see above.
A UK bike turned up on Ebay (Jan 2011). 18000 miles, history & docs, 2 previous owners, standard apart from brake hoses and a steering damper - a bit of love and polish would have made it very nice. Only a few hours into a 10-day auction and bidding had already reached £2250. It finished at £6710 and the reserve was still not met. A week later it was back on with a BuyItNow price of £8000, then relisted at £7495 - eventually someone in Holland bought it for £7000.
There's usually a few available in Japan - try GooBike or Technical Garage Run. Here's one of theirs advertised for sale (Jan 2011) at Y945000 (£7150).
This RK cropped up on Ebay in Sep 2010. It was advertised as an 1100 with few details. It looked like a genuine RK with an engine swap and couple of mods to me but the seller couldn't answer my questions. The starting price was only £1500 but the auction finished early. A fortnight later, it reappeared at twice the price so obviously someone else realised what a bargain it was. Wish I'd bought it now, though I'd have kept it rather than turn a quick profit.
And here's another, spotted for sale on Ebay in the USA (May 2010). There was lots of talk on the message boards about it - the general opinion seemed to be that it was a genuine (but neglected) bike, but the auction itself was deemed to be a scam. The starting price was cheap but the auction finished early with no bids. I don't know what happened to the bike, assuming it exists.
Here's another, spotted for sale at Classic Motorbikes in France (Feb 2010). This one looks correct apart from the mirrors. But €13000 !? Nevertheless, it's now marked 'sold'.
Here's one I spotted at RWHS Classic Bikes in the UK (Jan 2010) - not bad value at £4995 (considering the mental prices they ask for Z1's and the like), although it didn't look right to me, check out the strange seat/tail unit and the nearly-but-not-quite paint. It was sold pretty quickly and the new owner has been in contact with me already, so it looks like it has found a good home !
Wanted : any 750RK spares (new or used), brochures, docs, race kit parts, GSX-R racing info and memorabilia etc. Also 750-Ltd dry-clutch or parts, set of 39-41mm flatslide carbs, Yoshimura bits etc. Contact me through this site please. And if anyone has a 750-Ltd, 750WR-SP, 400-RRSP or even a nice original 1100G for sale, I'm very interested in that too !
Here's a few random 750RK-related photos I've been sent or have found on the web somewhere. They include standard and modified RK's, race bikes and RK-inspired replicas and specials. If you have any more interesting pictures, please let me know.
Here's a cool YouTube clip, of a 750RK complete with dry-clutch, flatslides and Yoshimura kit. More please !
Other Homologation Models
There were both earlier and later attempts by Suzuki to make limited-edition models purely to homologate a bike for racing. The 1986 GSX-R750RG Limited Edition (often called 'Ltd', 'LE', 'SE' or 'RR') used the original 'slabside' 750 as a base, and featured a dry clutch, single-seat unit, steering-damper, fully-floating front discs, radial tyres and electronic anti-dive. I've always understood that 1000 of these were built - 500 in white/blue/red for USA/Europe and 500 in red/grey Yoshimura colours for Japan, though others say the 'Yoshi' bikes numbered only 150, or maybe 250. None came to the UK officially anyway. They have a R705 engine number - frame numbers are GR71G (red/grey) or GR75A (white/blue/red) but all these codes are shared with the ordinary 85-87 GSX-R750F-H which makes validating a genuine example more difficult. Some people also reckon that some of these bikes had 3-spoke wheels fitted as new but I think that if that did happen then it was a dealer parts swap rather than anything official.
In 1994, another version was developed from the then-current watercooled model, christened GSX-R750WR-SP and featuring a close-ratio gearbox and smoothbore carbs. Although it looks disappointingly similar to the standard model (twin seats !), there are many minor differences designed to make it a better prospect for racing. In fact they only made 200 of these so they are the rarest of all. Split between the German and French markets, they were limited to 100bhp. These have engine/frame numbers of R721/GR7BB but again I think these codes are also shared with the ordinary 92-95 GSX-R750WN-WS.
Wanted : RR/Ltd/RK/SP brochures (scans, copies or originals) to expand this section. Thanks to Hans and Fred for providing some of those on here already.
What about other manufacturers ? Well Honda made the RC30 (VFR750R) of course between 1987-1990, along with its 1994 replacement the RC45 (RVF750R). They seem to command the highest prices and desirability these days, but are relatively common and easy to get hold of if you have the money. Yamaha made 500 each of the 1989 OW01 (FZR750R), 1993 YZF750SP and 1999 OW02 (YZF-R7). Kawasaki also made special versions of their 750 inline-4 in 1991/2 (ZXR750R K1/K2), 1993/4 (ZXR750R M1/M2) and 1996 (ZX7RR). And while it's difficult to keep up with all the minute variations of Ducati's 851/888 range, there were definitely some special SP models made between 1987-1993.
In July 2009 I helped arrange a display of homologation specials at the VJMC Uttoxeter Show. RC30 and RC45 Honda's, K1 and M1 ZXR-R's and a lone OW01 lined up with my 750RK and a 750R-Ltd.
And in June 2010 we took the 750R-Ltd, OW01 and ZXR-K1 along to the Classic Superbike Meeting in Almere, Holland.
We revisited the homologation line-up at the 2012 Stafford Classic Japanese Show with a bigger and better display.
In May 2014 the VJMC arranged a display of homologation specials at the WSB weekend at Donington Park, which I took the RK to.
I want to expand this section with more details of the models/specs - please get in touch if you can help. And if you have a WR-SP, R7, ZX7-RR, 888SP or other suitable machine, please get in touch so we can include you in the next line-up.
First generation 'slabside' models are GSX-R750 F/G/H (1985-1987) and GSX-R1100 G/H/J (1986-1988).
Second generation 'slingshot' models are GSX-R750 J/K/L/M (1988-1991) and GSX-R1100 K/L/M/N (1989-1992).
Third generation watercooled models are GSX-R750 WN/WP/WR/WS (1992-1995) and GSX-R1100 WP/WR/WS/WT/WV/WW (1993-1998).
Fourth generation 'SRAD' models are GSX-R750 T/V/W/X (1996-1999) and GSX-R600 V/W/X/Y (1997-2000).
Fifth generation models are GSX-R750 Y/K1/K2 etc. (2000 onwards) plus GSX-R600 and 1000 K1 models from 2001. It appears though that 2019 finally saw the 750 killed off, in the UK anyway.
Across different world markets there have also been numerous 250's, 400's and 600's with legitimate claim to the GSX-R name. A lot of people - me included - consider only the oil-cooled, cradle-framed 750 and 1100 bikes to be 'proper' GSX-R's. I will however make a couple of honourable exceptions for the 1989 GSX-R400RK-SP and GSX-R250RK-SP. Despite the watercooled engines and beam frames, they're both obviously inspired by the 750RK and scaled down especially for the Japanese market, right down to the RR stickers and paintjobs. If anyone knows where there's a mint one of each for sale, I may not be able to resist. Actually my wife had a non-SP GK73A GSX-R400 for a while with a Yoshimura pipe and I wish she'd kept that.
Here's the French SERT works endurance race bikes showing the evolution from 1980 to 2000 (anyone got 1981 ?) :
Coming soon (maybe), Minichamps are releasing a nice 1/12th scale model 1985 GSX-R750F.