Finally back on a big boys bike!
After 25 year pause a little over a year ago I decided to get back into riding. Long break did mean I had to take baby steps and begin with a restricted licence and my choice of bike for this period was Yamaha R3 which is an awesome bike that gave me over 8000km's of fun. However, remaining on a restricted bike/licence even for a day longer than I absolutely had to was never part of the plan so I did my Qride and got my R class licence exactly on the day I was legally eligible for it. I guess thats the back story and here comes the sad love story with a happy ending
Like I already said riding a restricted bike was never a long term plan so research for my upgrade bike began 6 months into my RE licence term. The litre bike was eliminated from upgrade competition from the get go and I focused my research on the 600cc sports category and here Yamaha R6 quickly became the favourite, whilst I was still keyboard shopping-that is. Once I sat on an R6 in dealer showroom my desire to purchase it faded rapidly as the seat felt very much like it was designed for the track, and so did the rest of the bike. I still feel R6 was the best looking bike in middle weight category with impressive specs but its just not designed for a 40+ 5' 10" rider who enjoys 350-400 km weekend rides, and that's when I started looking outside of the box. My brother owned a 2002 GSX-R 750 before and could not praise it enough, TBH for that reason alone I have no idea why I didn't start with a gixxer to begin with. Perhaps because I was not very impressed with its headlight design, which eliminated the GSX-R600 from the upgrade competition in favour of R6? Whatever... Once I sat on GSX-R750 and felt my feet flat on the ground, along with what must be the most comfortable seat on a sport bike, which is also true for the GSX-R600 minus 150cc, my mind was set on the GSX-R750. Despite the fact I haven't road tested any of the bikes yet! You should have seen the changes in salesman's facial expression when I said "I love it, but I'll get back to you in 2 months time" . About two weeks later Suzuki announced a killer deal shaving off around $3000 of the new gixxer price ... but the promotion ended a week before I could get my R class licence, I imagine as I read the offer terms my facial expression must have resembled that of the Suzuki salesman I spoke with 2 weeks earlier, and thus begins the sad part of this love story.
Sure, I knew with year 2016 almost gone the offer would likely be extended but, with each day passing pickings will be slimmer. I had my eyes set on triton blue, and after owning 2 black bikes recently, I was definitely not in the market for another one. Black bikes look awesome but detailing them is not something I would look forward to ever again.
So, my options were; save $3000 and get the exact bike I wanted now, or wait and risk paying full price possibly even in the paint scheme I did not particularly care for... I repeat that at that point I have not road tested any of the bikes I was considering!
In the end I decided to take my chances so I traded in my much loved and cherished Yamaha R3 and bought a brand new 2016 GSX-R 750 that you now have the pleasure of viewing in attached gallery. A full month prior to being eligible for R class licence! Bike was delivered to my doorstep exactly one month before I got my R class licence and for that whole month all I could do is look at it with yearning unless I was willing to ride unlicensed and uninsured which I was not - no winks or cheeky faces! On top of that my much loved R3 was gone too so I must say the wait was not pleasant at all!
I did however use the long wait wisely and had Clear Armour paint protection film (as I soon discovered a very sound investment) and radiator guard fitted, along with the usual fender eliminator and tank pad. If I ever decide to sell, at least I can honestly say bike got "wrapped" before I took it for the first ride - and that day did finally arrive... And thus begins the happy ending part of this bike's story.
So far I have put around 1400km's on my GSX-R 750, so past the first 800km's break in and first 1000km's service, and almost out of the second 1600km's break in phase and I loved every single km on it!
First 800km's you're not supposed to ride over 7000 rpm but, when you just got of a LAMS bike this feels plenty. Also during that break in phase I did go and test ride a few of the favourites from my 600cc list and I can happily confirm 0 regrets for jumping the gun and upgrading before road testing any of the bikes because it is in that 7000 rpm range and less
where you most feel those extra 150cc, as all the 600's I've had a chance to ride are lacking power in low and midrange and love to be revved up closer to redline before they'll give you any usable power, where the 750 power delivery feels very smooth and linear, there is good power everywhere but not quite as much as in 1000cc like my brother's Fireblade or my mate's RSV-4 which I have also tested.
Speaking of power, the 750 comes with A and B power mode and I've read and heard many different opinions on the usability of this feature, with more people having a negative opinion of it. My own opinion of A and B mode is however, entirely positive, whats more, for a rider upgrading from LAMS bike its very desirable, since B mode power delivery is much more tame and I can't be precise but it feels even tamer than the GSX-R 600, also my first big ride (2nd day) on 750 was accompanied by light rain and included Mt. Tamborine, Springbrook, Mt. Warning, etc, and B mode definitely proved useful in wet conditions. Personally I am fine with A in normal conditions but, some other riders may want to start in B mode if they just upgraded, I did start in B mode but after about 100 k's I was managing just fine in A mode, but then again my twist of the throttle has always been quite linear so that may be why.
Should I have gone with the 600 like many people do?
Its basically a 750cc engine fitted to a 600cc frame so, no surprises there... It handles very much like the 600 but with a fair amount of extra power and less gear shifting. Once you factor in almost equivalent weight, price tag, and B mode availability I honestly can't see why would anyone want to go for GSX-R600 over 750... Note that I am only comparing Suzuki range as some people may prefer more aggressive look and riding position of an R6 especially now when 2017 model with all the latest bells and whistles has been announced. But, for me personally with extra power and comfort GSX-R 750 still feels like the best choice. The $3000 discount offer didn't really register for me but it helped soften the blow by absorbing the losses on my R3.
Should I have skipped middle range and jumped on a 1000cc bike straight away?
Since I am a returning rider a few people asked me why I did not... Well, I ride along 2 very good litre bike riders with excellent bikes and my 750 handles the corners better so I ride along, not with or behind, and hate to ride highways which I feel is the only time I'd fall back more than I like.
Also 25 years ago is a very long time and I would not recommend a litre sports bike to anyone with such a long brake from riding as IMHO anything longer than the generous 10 year break is almost equivalent to 0 experience.
Thats a hard one as I love just about everything about my new GSX-R 750 but; very smooth and linear power delivery, handling of a 600cc bike, probably the most comfortable sports bike all around, excellent slipper clutch which was missed a little on my R3, a lot of things that are usually modified like, rear and front indicators, I also love my gear indicator which was missing on R6, adjustable rearsets, etc are all stock on my gixxer.
What I wish it had?
ABS - but stock Brembo's are doing an excellent job
Quick Shifter would be nice but, that will be remedied at 6000 k's service which I would not trust anyone other than Tonto from Revolution Racing and Performance.
Another-words my wish list comprises of things that will likely be delivered stock when an upgraded model of GSXR-750 is released in a year or two.
What I disliked?
Suspension factory settings were way too soft for me so I had that tuned by XXX Rated Race Suspension Tuning which proved to be an excellent and yet very affordable way to remove suspension of my dislike list.
The entire purchase process and BS attitude of the dealership but these days thats almost a given.
- 0 - for the bike
- 100's - for the dealership