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SUZUKI GSX750S3 KATANA 1984
If you’re going to name anything after one of the best slicing weapons in the history of world military, you better hope it delivers. In short, it delivers. Write-up done, ammarite? <Ed – Geeebaacccktwooorrkk!> Right, here we go then!
Let’s cut to the chase, despite the name harkening back over a thousand years, this was a motorcycle of the future. The 750 itself is the baby brother of the 1000, designed by legendary BMW stylist Hans Muth. The headlight, fuel tank, seat and fenders were all tightly integrated into what almost looks like a single unit, with aerodynamics extensively tested to give maximum control at high-speeds. It’s one of those rare motorcycles that looks fast, even when standing still. With an initial run of only four years from 1981, the styling and that flip-up headlight is the stuff of legend. It’s the future before the future arrived, or at least should have been, along with hoverboards. The specs of the motorcycle though were decent if not ground-breaking. Whilst the handling was excellent, the in-line, four-cylinder, air-cooled engine churned out a reasonable 84HP. With dual-discs at the front and single at the back, it’s braking was pretty rudimentary. Surprisingly, even though it was a chain-drive, it was a bit of a fatty too, with a wet-weight of 249kg for only a 750CC, which was remarkably an improvement on its predecessors by a whopping sixteen kilos.
The dash is a little disappointing too, with the standard rev gauge, speedometer and indicators. No sign of any missile launchers, flux capacitor or flying-mode. There are multiple paint-schemes with previous models, but the Mark III/Series3 here at Shepsters is probably our favourite, the red on white a reminder of its Japanese roots, whilst the gold trim feels ostentatious but somehow perfectly apt. The 750 Katana was never sold in the grand old United States of the USA yet luckily a few did make it to Australia, and there are a few knocking about still, ranging from $8k-16k, the latter an immaculate, eat-your-dinner-off-it type. It is, to our hive-mind, one of the prettiest motorcycles ever designed.
The ancient sword was characterised by it’s curved, single-edged blade - the motorcycle obviously mirroring that design - with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate both hands, something else it very much has common with the GSX as you held on tight to 210kph. It seems fitting then to end on a note from the stylist himself. “The sword first serves as a weapon, but a katana also has a mythological meaning in Japan,” Muth said when he presented the initial design of the 1000CC to Osamu Suzuki. “If you don’t treat it right, its sharpness can be lethal. The same is true for a motorcycle.” And that flip-up headlight is the frikin biz! he didn’t add.