In the midst of this market, Etsuo Yokouchi and his team of designers began work on a bike intended to change the market and outperform Honda’s Interceptor. They began in 1983 on Suzuki’s domestic market Gamma250 with the goal of producing a lightweight two-stroke for the streets. The RG250 was the world’s first production alloy framed motorcycle. Building upon the success of the Gamma, in 1984 they introduced the four-cylinder, four-stroke, aluminum framed GSXR400 for the Japanese market. A full 18 percent lighter than comparable bikes on the market, the first GSXR set the tone for those that would follow. A new aluminum frame was engineered in a distinctive shape with square tubes stretching back over and around the top of the engine, then turning sharply downwards just past the carburetors to beneath the engine where they met the lower tubes. This design, unheard of at the time, would soon become familiar to a generation of motorcyclists and is often referred to as the “humpback” frame. Where welding would have added unnecessary weight aircraft quality rivets were used. Weight was shaved back further and further until parts failed in the attempt to work out how much excess bulk could be trimmed away.
To save more weight, the suspension was engineered differently from most bikes of the day by mounting the top of the shock solidly to the frame while the bottom was attached to a banana shaped linkage that housed an excentric cam below the swing arm. The resulting system was lightweight, made suspension travel progressive and lowered the bike’s overall center of gravity.While the engine used was a dual overhead cam, four valves per cylinder design typical of most bikes of the era it had unique features that set it apart from other air-cooled designs of the day. In the GSXR, oil would be used to cool parts of the engine, like the top of the combustion chamber, which were not typically well served by air cooling alone. In order to provide enough oil for both cooling and lubrication, the team designed a double chamber pump, using the high-pressure side to lubricate the bearings while the low-pressure, high-volume side provided oil to the cooling circuit. The end result became known as the SACS – Suzuki Advanced Cooling System. The resulting motorcycle was rigorously tested to its breaking point, the weaknesses found and re-engineered until the bugs were worked out.
Many of the bike’s non mechanical design features were dictated concerns other than pure mechanics. The flat front fascia and trade mark dual headlight were incorporated because designers wanted to give the bike the look of an endurance racer and because regulations dictated that the headlight be behind the front axle. The wide plastic panels under the seat were added to hide an unsightly exhaust hanger.The resulting GSXR750 was introduced in 1985 but withheld from the United States due to tariff issues which would have imposed a 39.4 percent tax on each bike because it was over 700ccs. By waiting until 1986, Suzuki saved buyers money as the tax dropped to 24.4 percent. In the intervening year, Suzuki responded to European riders’ complaints about the bike’s stability by lengthening the swing arm by an inch.With the ground work laid by earlier, smaller bikes, Suzuki introduced the GSXR1100 in 1986. The technology mirrored that of the GSXR750 but added big bore power, 137 hp (102 kW), to the mix while keeping the bike as light as possible, just 434 pounds. The end result was the fastest motorcycle that could be brought to the market during that era.For more info about Suzuki Motorcycle Fairings and GSX-R Fairings, please visit our website!
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