Suzuki GT750 Water Buffalo

Suzuki GT750 Water Buffalo

Suzuki GT750 Water Buffalo

If you're on the lookout for an exceptional vintage motorcycle coming up for sale, hoping to find a nice classic, you'll constantly see great examples of all of the usual suspects, the CB750, Kawasaki Z1s, every variety of Triumph and Norton, and many, many others, but it's nice to see really clean examples of bikes like this one, a Suzuki GT750.

The GT750 is a two stroke triple, and, though the water cooled engine has a somewhat unique appearance, overall it still comes across as a universal Japanese motorcycle similar in design to the four strokes of the era. Flat seat, upright ergonomics, it's hard to describe the combination of styling cues that instantly fits into our brain's idea of what a motorcycle is supposed to look like, but the Suzuki does a pretty good job. The Kawasaki triples, emphasizing their engines, tried hard to stand apart visually from the styling of the four strokes, the GT750 was far more subtle, and to my eye, better looking, though tastes vary.

GT750 3 cylinder two stroke engine close up

GT750 3 cylinder two stroke engine close up

This particular bike appears to be in extremely good, unrestored condition, relatively low miles, perfect for a collector or even someone who needs a vintage rider for bike night.

As with all of the other two strokes, tighter emission regulations pushed the the GT750 off the showroom floor, the engine controls available today weren't invented yet, but it might have been interesting to see what bikes like this one would have turned into if they'd had a chance to stick around.

Link: Suzuki GT750 on eBay

Comments

  1. todd says

    Beautiful. It’s just sad to think that if Suzuki were to reintroduce this bike it would somehow become 50 percent larger and be at least 1100cc with cartoonish interpretations of the original styling. Kind of like the new CB1100F…

    Are manufacturers forgetting the idea that, perhaps, bikes sold much better in those days because they were small, light, affordable, and universally styled. Now they think that we want huge, heavy, expensive bikes that immediately slot us into some stereotype role. Well, maybe some people want that but not me.

    -todd

    • rohorn says

      There’s only about a 50 lb difference between the GT750 and the new Honda CB1100. Or to put it another way, one with a full tank weighs the same as the other with an empty tank. BFD.

      The GT750 also weighed more than the CB750 of that time. More than the Sportster of the same year as well.

      In other words, there’s nothing lightweight or small about it.

      • todd says

        correct but the point still stands for all the other bikes that actually sold much better than the GT – like the CB350 or RD350 and the like.

        • rohorn says

          I’d dearly love to see some light (as in under 300 lbs) bikes in the 250-400cc or so range as well…

          One of my dream projects is a 90 hp 200lb bike – wouldn’t be cheap but it is possible.

  2. Rokster says

    Knew a guy who had one of these in South Africa. Unsurprisingly, he went by the name of “Monster”…

  3. Paul Crowe says

    I didn’t dig into the sales numbers, but I wonder how well these sold. I don’t recall seeing a lot of them on the street, though Kawasaki triples were everywhere.

  4. Steve says

    What a beauty. I never owned one but had friends that did. This was a solid and reliable bike. Just as comfortable on a cross country cruise as a cruise to town. I would jump at the chance to own one.

  5. Domino says

    I love all things two stroke… this one is too good of shape for me, considering I would want to cafe it out (what would I do with the radiator?)…

  6. Steve says

    One of the best bikes I ever had the pleasure of owning. Mine was a 1972 model and was one of the most dependable bikes I ever rode. It was a great touring bike of its day.

  7. David says

    They really were superb bike ,not like the Kawasaki which had a tendency to spit you off,
    I rode a few 750 , although I had the 380 and 550, plus a few 500 twins
    As Steve has said a great touring bike,far better than the smaller triples they felt quicker but probably weren’t
    In the UK they was a couple of Cafe style kits and at least one frame maker , and the radiator wasn’t an issue,.I think Omar’s Dirt Bikes do a Cafe kit

  8. JasonB says

    Lovely example of a 70′s classic. As someone who restores 70′s Japanese bikes, three things jump out at me that I’d correct if it were mine. First, that seat is just awful and really detracts from otherwise really nice work. Wrong material/no heat stamped pattern, no SUZUKI logo painted on back, wrong shaped foam, incorrect welting. And why do people still insist on using thick, reinforced automotive fuel lines with hose clamps on motorcycles? Because they can just go to an auto parts store and force the stuff to fit. Left sidecover held on with allen bolt and huge washer. Devil’s in the details- this bike is so close!

  9. Mikey says

    I bought that bike in 1976, and four days later the dealer was asking me to trade it even for a new, dusty rotary RE5 he hadn’t any takers for. I said no.
    Four years and 44,000 miles later, I said goodbye to the best overall motorcycle I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. I didn’t give her up because I wanted to, It was just mother nature doing her thing that caused the loose gravel and it was me going too fast on a road I didn’t know too well. Busted my ride all up pretty good.
    (sigh)
    Damn you Kneeslider! (fist)
    thanks for letting me ramble.

  10. says

    Ah the old ‘flying kettle’…ring ding ding
    A lot were turned into cafe racers here in the UK back in the day and I have even seen some ‘new’ ones ie old engines in new suzuki rolling chassis done up in the Suzuki Rizla colours

  11. Scotduke says

    The GT750 was a big hit in Europe and deservedly so. It’s a popular classic here. A friend of mine had one and loved it. The water buffalo as you call it, or kettle as it’s known in the UK, was a great GT bike, a comfortable (Gran Turismo) tourer with a decent turn of speed. It wasn’t as quick as the Kawasaki triples but was a whole lot more civilised, and was certainly more popular in Europe than the evil Kawasaki 750 triple. I do like 70s two strokes and the Suzuki triples are a lot easier to live with than the Kawasakis – it depends if you want a relatively relaxing and easy going ride or a bike for straight line speed and wheelies I suppose.

  12. joe says

    I had one of these,the choice between a brand new Suzuki rotory or the demo GT750 for the same price.Luckily I picked the GT750 and did some serious touring and daily commutes.Fantastic bike and the engine was turbine smooth compared with all the big four strokes around at the time.It used to get smokey in heavy stop go traffic,but on the open road it cleared its throat and was superb.

  13. Mikey says

    IT’s big too. With me on it, a full tank of gas, and the touring/camp gear, I topped out at over nine hundred pounds. And I was good to go for 400 miles. AND it was all weather. never missed a beat, rode it everywhere wet or dry. Got caught in a ice storm on the road once, froze the bike with a 1/2 inch of ice, and she purred. Rideable at 30 mph on frozen road….

    The only real problem I had was when I parked it. If I let it sit cold all winter long, I had to replace those oil distribution o-rings with new ones. O-rings don’t like the cold. Suzuki had a single distribution pump for all the oil injectors (and plastic lines all made into one manifold) and the manifold seals were tiny o-rings. once they dried out, they’d crack and you’d get two-stroke oil everywhere.
    I think the Kaws all had a near fatal flaw, the flexible frame. Wasn’t well suited to really pushing it, and consequently the handling sucked. Who wants to ride a slip and slide?

  14. Scotduke says

    Oh, and the GT motor can be tuned. The TR750 ridden by Barry Sheene was quick and its motor wasn’t so radically different from the GT. With a Seeley frame, it also handled on the track. The GT motor is a bit of a monster and I think it weighs about 85kg (multiply that by 2.2 if you want pounds), but is a good engine and I’ve heard of cafe racers with Rickman frames and the like but never actually seen one on the road. The stock Suzuki two stroke triples were a lot more softly tuned than the Kawasakis, but they can be ported and tuned.

  15. says

    What made the GT750 and the smaller sibling T500/GT500 easier to ride than many other twostrokes of the era, was because of their MZ heritage. Bore and stroke, as well as bhp per cylinder closely resemble that of the ubiquitous MZ250, which first and foremost was a very practical commuter bike. The story about how Suzuki helped MZ’s top rider Ernst Degner defect to The West, in return for a lot of MZ knowhow, is now well known: It enabled Suzuki to jump 5 years ahead of the competition, and the GT750 might well be the finest result of them all. For anyone interested in the detail, Mat Oxley’s book ‘Stealing Speed’ cannot be recommended enough.

    • says

      (Note to Paul Crowe: Please make it possible to edit a posting, as I never seem to notice the typos until it’s too late).

  16. Zippy says

    A complete barnfind, in blue I believe, popped up on craigs a few years ago. It was a few towns over. Guy only wated $1600. I called but it was gone. Not that I need another project.

    • v4racer says

      When I was 17 my best mate’s next door neighbour had one that from memory was even the same colour as the one in Paul’s article. The owner was an engineer who went away to sea on big ships for months at a time, and he had this thing covered in greased paper… that is 26 years ago. I’ll have to find out if it is still there; I know the guy who owned it still lives in the same house…

  17. Tirapop says

    Hey, former GT750 owners, what kind of real world fuel mileage did you get with 750cc two stroke?

    • joneez says

      I have a stock ’74 with 68k on it. Depending on how hard it’s ridden, mine has gotten as much as 28mpg but the worst I recorded was 17mpg. Being a carbed 2-stroke though, I was kinda surprised it was even that high and fuel mileage wasn’t why I bought it anyway.
      Unfortunately it’s parked now with a blown crank seal.

  18. Dano says

    While stationed at Yokota, Japan I picked up a ’69 CB 750. I brought it home in ’71 when I was discharged and rode the hell out of it. I worked a second shift that got out at midnight. We would have empty highways to spar on and with my friend that had a Buffalo. It was quick but couldn’t get the top end that the Honda did.
    In the late ’90′s I bought one, a Purple one, that was like the one in this article, clean and working well, just needed a rider. I bought it for $300 rode it a season and sold it for $900.
    As mentioned, it wasn’t a light weight nor was the frame rock solid (I did redo all the rubber in the swingarm etc.). You couldn’t push it in corners w/out dragging ‘stuff’.
    As usual, you wish you still had it but the truth be known I would just like to see another one just to reminisce.

  19. parts-2-u says

    When the “Big Flood of 1972″ swept through the Suzuki dealership in Rapid City, SD my dad picked up a brand new GT750 for a song. He had to completely go through the motor, but when he finished it was a ported and polished 850cc with milled heads and shortened exhaust baffles. It would easily wheelie, and out on the highway it would leave the Kawasaki triples in the dust all day long. I still have pictures of it somewhere complete with handlebar-mounted fairing and sissy bar.

  20. Bill says

    I bought one in 72-it was $1399.00-with tax and license it was $1505.00 out the door. Put 18,000 miles on in 18 months, turned my back for an hour and it got stolen. Wasn’t a hot rod like the Kawasaki 750 triple. just a nice all around bike.

  21. B50 Jim says

    Contemporary reviews liked the GT750 for its silky-smooth engine and effortless, if not spectacular, power. It couldn’t corner with the English bikes that still were running, and it was rather heavy. I recall some reviewers thought Suzuki should have cast some dummy fins on the jugs so it would look more like a “normal” motorcycle — the smooth, functional block put them off. Everyone commented on the poor fuel economy; at a time when a good 650 pulled down 50 mpg or better, its paltry 27 mpg on the road was worse than some cars.

    Overall, however, reviews were positive. It was a pleasing “gentleman’s tourer” — comfortable for all-day riding; it got you there with no drama and you weren’t tired the way you would be after wrestling a Kawasaki triple all day. This is a very good example; I recall hearing them run and I was impressed with their muted, crackling, rolling exhaust note. I’m not a big fan of ring-dingers but this one had a lot going for it.

  22. Mikey says

    I most fondly recall 2+ hour long straight stretches of western ky parkway at 0300…back when it was a toll road. Ahhhh, the symphony of 120mph…
    and yes, this is one of those bikes that could do that.
    everyday.

  23. bill says

    GT 750 was the second bike I ever owned,back in 78 it was big and heavy compared to the other same CC bikes and fuel economy was never an issue back then, but Monster best describes the bike, I still have photos of the 100+ft long patches of rubber I used to leave on the road in front of my home from this monster, was never able to do that with any other bike I owned back then. yup Monster describes it best..

  24. Shaun Chandler says

    Loved the GT750 since I was 17 years old….. still own one and always will…. the feel of it in 3rd gear around 5k….. then the exhaust wail….. there’s nothing like it in my opinion, but I’m very biased lol