Track test: old against new

Track test: old against new

The 750 generation

Four cylinders, 750 cubic ?? that’s how the Japanese entered the superbike stage 20 years ago. The most exclusive commercial street offshoots back then: Honda VFR 750 R and Yamaha FZR 750 R. Today only Suzuki with the GSX-R 750 is loyal to the three-quarter liter.

Thousands in sports clothing? Sure, they already existed in the late 1980s. But the real race cars, the real sports cannons, that was the four-cylinder 750s. And the recently launched Superbike World Championship is its playground. None of the Japanese factories spoiled, they all had an offshoot of the factory runner in their program. Sometimes horribly expensive, exotic, attractive. Whenever one of them showed up on the street, our mouths stayed open, even the appeal of the mostly somewhat overweight big bikes faded in no time at all. Especially when at the meeting a blast like the unaffordable, 35,000 mark expensive Yamaha FZR 750 R, OW 01 ​​for short, crackled and crackled on the side stand. And even more so when a spectacular Honda VFR 750 R, insiderly only called RC 30, cam around the corner with a sawing V4 sound. Thoroughbred racing technology, razor-sharp precision tools, with which experts peeled the best times from every racing course and made some big bikes hell.

Off, over. Lightweight construction and the explosion in performance in the 1000s have put an end to them, the changeover of the superbike regulations to full liters has done the rest. The 750s have disappeared. Only Suzuki holds it GSX-R 750 even without a suitable racing class. And success proves them right. So what is it about the myth of the 750, what of it can still be found in the last representative of this genre? A sunny day in the Hockenheim Motodrom, the perfect setting to find out. OW 01, RC 30 and a GSX-R 750 are already waiting in the box. The show evaluation goes to the two older irons. Respect, almost awe, strikes them. The Suzuki decides the starting procedure for itself. Logical, injection, push the button, and the machine runs. Honda and Yamaha still have a choke, but only the OW 01 ​​requires it when starting. It sits unconventionally hidden behind the fairing at the level of the pinion cover. The pit gate creaks and the track waits. The Suzuki rolls in with a gentle purr and perfectly adjustable clutch, while Honda’s V4 racer in particular needs a little more sensitivity. The gearbox is closely spaced in terms of racing, the first gear is incredibly long, with a gear ratio of over 120 km / h.

So, out on the track. The Suzuki shows how it’s done. Bed your pilot close to the handlebars, stubs neatly cranked, only the pegs maybe a little too high. But that can be adjusted. The workplace on OW 01, on the other hand, is a little old-fashioned. The driver sits deeper in the motorcycle and has to stretch his arms to reach the stub. And the Honda? Offers impeccable ergonomics. Thanks to the short tank, the driver latches in close to the handlebars, the pegs fit, blindfolded you could even think you have a current athlete under your bum.

Buy complete item

Track test: old against new

The 750 generation

Curve by curve


Far from being old: the Honda VFR 750 R still cuts a fine figure today.

It is better to take the first rounds slowly, just not crumple any of the good pieces in exuberance. Nevertheless, with the GSX-R 750 you can practically turn around the first corners on the knee slider. The feedback, the tight spring elements and the well-balanced chassis create trust immediately. The stability with which the Suzuki slams through the Parabolica curve, the perfect work of the slipper clutch in front of the hairpin, the gentle but emphatic thrust when the Suzuki with exuberant revving and a hoarse cry like a panther on the following a quick right bend, everything fits into a homogeneous units. And in it the tradition of the powerful 750 series, the superbikes, actually lives again: a first-class chassis, top performance more than enough, fused with sensitive handling. The bottom line is that it creates endless fun. The need to punch a 1000? Keeps it within limits.

This is what they have in common with the two superbike replicas of the first hour. With titanium connecting rods, pistons with only two rings, magnesium engine covers and Exup slides in the manifold collector, the flat slide carburetor equipped OW 01 ​​clearly stood out from the more civilian FZ 750. With an open 135 hp anyway. Even if, like the original 112 HP and with a race kit 125 HP strong RC 30, it was Teutonically correct throttled to 100 HP in the shops. What is particularly impressive, however, is the way she lives her racing genes on the track. Embedded in an extremely stable chassis, the Deltabox frame borrowed from the FZR 1000 with its powerful profiles, the five-valve engine already pushes in from the middle speed range without a shirt. This goes well with the snotty tone with which the OW 01 ​​trumpets its desire to turn from the slim silencer. So incited, you let it fly properly in the Parabolica and you notice: nothing wobbles or moves. And the Yamaha stays on course anyway, even if the coordination of the high-quality spring elements by today’s standards would be tailored to a touring athlete. As with the RC 30, the spring elements are fully adjustable. The noble Ohlins shock absorber from Yamaha even pampers you with a hand wheel for hydraulic preload. And the variable upper strut mount allows the rear to be raised a little. Nevertheless, the OW 01 ​​cannot shine in the jungle of curves in front of the Mercedes grandstand with its handiness. Perfect stability seemed to come first in their construction.

good job


The Yamaha FZR 750 R sweetens the day even today with a powerful middle, robust sound and stable chassis.

The Honda RC 30 demonstrates that both can be brought under one roof. Thunders along the line like a freight train through high-speed sections and twirls its way through winding passages with a verve that makes it look good even next to today’s athletes. Its spring elements are only slightly tighter than those of the OW 01 ​​and it is handicapped due to the size of the tire. Because in the back, the Honda technicians put on an 18-inch model. Current racing soles are no longer available in this format. A 17-inch rear wheel was prudently found in the racing kit back then. Nevertheless, the tuning of the Honda chassis is impressive. And then this engine. Not just an uncorked VFR unit. No, the differences are considerable: more compact cylinder heads with bucket tappets instead of rocker arms, smaller camshaft gears, camshafts with roller bearings instead of sliding bearings, larger valves and pistons with one less ring. They sit on titanium connecting rods that run on a crankshaft with a 360 degree crank pin offset, while the first VFR 750 F were still equipped with 180 degree shafts. Although the V4 can not resist a few tiny tickles at 6000 / min, but otherwise its performance is a force, it runs purring like clockwork, but in the 100 PS series trim also constantly on the verge of heat collapse. Which is why resourceful natures installed a larger cooler or at least a switchable fan.

And this sound: Nobody growls so beautifully, hisses so badly, underlaid by the fine grinding and singing of the gear towers that drive the camshafts. A throaty outcry follows when the crisp, tightly stepped gearbox is stepped through in full throttle sections. Braaa-braa-braa, crouching close behind the windshield, the tachometer right in front of your nose, roars its hoarse breath directly into your ear from the V4 under the tank. A great concert. Another plus point of the Honda compared to the Yamaha: While the OW 01 ​​supports its rear brake caliper not on the frame but on the swing arm, which promotes a trampling rear wheel when braking, an anti-hopping clutch actually reduces the annoying rear wheel stamping on the RC 30. Fully adjustable spring elements, slip clutch, race-ready setup, the GSX-R 750 has all of that too. And more. Upside-down fork, radial brake calipers, gear indicator and shift light, even different ignition / injection maps. If it had been a sensation back then, today it is simply state of the art. And when it comes to pure top performance, the Suzuki is in a league of its own anyway. But the drive home via dreamy country lanes reveals something else. Even the speed of country roads is on the supposed oldies despite or maybe because of them "just" 100 hp a pleasure.

Perfect neutrality


Keeps the 750 class alive: Suzuki GSX-R 750.

Here, where extremes become a minor matter, both shine with plenty of power in the middle speed range and even power delivery, thanks to the short gear ratios, the performance deficit compared to the Suzuki is by no means as noticeable as the bare numbers suggest it was at Hockenheim. Let the pointer of the tachometer dance around the six with the help of the incredibly smooth gearbox and direct the concert from four cylinders with the gas hand. Listen to the outrageously dull snorkeling and rumbling of the RC 30, the aggressive roaring of the OW 01, let your gaze wander over the clearly drawn instruments, follow the rhythm of the curves. And enjoy. How smoothly the RC 30 emerges from the bushes, how hard the OW 01 ​​tackles. What fun. Because both shine with perfect throttle response and spontaneously and accurately follow the opening of the throttle valve. And both of them also master a completely different art: that of perfect neutrality. The Yamaha in particular is a model boy when patches of asphalt lurk in an inclined position. Without batting an eyelid, both of them master such stumbling blocks, on which the GSX-R 750 already shows one or the other time, oops, a little bit of pitching.

Of course, it’s a different caliber. For so much top performance, such a wide speed range, these spring elements or the electronically controlled steering damper, we would have carried our grandma to the pawnbroker in the past. And yet, compared to the two oldies, it looks matter-of-fact, coolly tailored to perfect function. Unlike RC 30 and OW 01, it does not wear a garment made of GRP, hand-laminated, held together by quick-release fasteners. It has a mighty axle diameter, but not this wonderful prismatic guide on the swing arm of the OW 01. It shows off a flood of digital information in the cockpit, but it doesn’t have quick-release fasteners on the fork or the single -sided swing arm according to the 11 patent. In return, the GSX-R benefits from the knowledge about the ideal center of gravity and the importance of the crankshaft position. Coins that together with the lower rotating masses in a perfectly arranged overall package, which, despite only slightly lower weight compared to the current thousands, brings you a clear handling plus with a strong performance surcharge compared to the 600s. In this respect, it is fully in line with the family tradition of the former superbikes. Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee.


Honda VFR 750 R.
It’s hard to believe, but the RC 30 still cuts a fine figure today and shows why it was miles ahead of the competition back then.

Suzuki GSX-R 750
If you can do without the prestige of a fat 1000, you will find enormous fun here without having to forego performance. It’s good that it keeps the 750 class alive.

Yamaha FZR 750 R.
It was indebted to the noble and the beautiful and indecently expensive. But the OW 01 ​​sweetened the day with a powerful middle, robust sound and an incredibly stable, good-natured chassis.

Data Honda VFR 750 R


Honda VFR 750 R, model 1988.

Water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, two overhead, gear-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, constant pressure carburetor, Ø 35.3 mm, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring Chain.

Bore x stroke 70.0 x 48.6 mm
Displacement 748 cm³
Compression ratio 11.1: 1
Rated output 73.5 kW (100 PS) at 11,000 rpm
Max. Torque 67 Nm at 10500 rpm

landing gear
Bridge frame made of aluminum, telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 310 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 220 mm, double-piston floating caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.00 x 17; 5.50 x 18
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 170/60 ZR 18

mass and weight
Wheelbase 1410 mm, steering head angle 65.5 degrees, caster 91 mm, spring travel f / r 120/130 mm, seat height 785 mm, weight with a full tank * 208 kg, payload * 114 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18.0 / 3.5 liters.

Colors red / blue / white
Price 1988: 27,500 marks (14,061 euros)

Data Suzuki GSX-R 750


Suzuki GSX-R 750, 2008 model.

Water-cooled four-cylinder oven-stroke in-line engine, one balancer shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 42 mm, regulated catalytic converter with secondary air system, mechanically operated multi-flat oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain.

Bore x stroke 70.0 x 48.7 mm
Cubic capacity 750 cm³
Compression ratio 12.5: 1
Rated output 110.3 kW (150 PS) at 13,200 rpm
Max. Torque 86 Nm at 11200 rpm

landing gear
Bridge frame made of aluminum, upside-down fork, Ø 41 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-armed swing arm with upper cables made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 310 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, Rear disc brake, Ø 220 mm, two-piston fixed caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17

mass and weight
Wheelbase 1400 mm, steering head angle 66.3 degrees, caster 97 mm, spring travel f / r 120/130 mm, seat height * 810 mm, weight with a full tank * 202 kg, payload * 178 kg, tank capacity 17.0 liters.

Colors black, black / orange, blue / white
Price 11,590 euros
Additional costs around 145 euros

Data Yamaha FZR 750 R


Yamaha FZR 750 R, model 1989.

Water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, five valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, constant pressure flat slide carburetor, Ø 38 mm, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain.

Bore x stroke 72.0 x 46.0 mm
Displacement 749 cm³
Compression ratio 11.4: 1
Rated output 73.5 kW (100 hp) at 11250 rpm
Max. Torque 67 Nm at 7750 rpm

landing gear
Bridge frame made of aluminum, telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed calliper, disc brake at the rear, Ø 210 mm, double-piston floating caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 170/60 ZR 17

mass and weight
Wheelbase 1445 mm, steering head angle 64.5 degrees, caster 100 mm, suspension travel f / h 130/150 mm, seat height * 785 mm, weight with a full tank * 215 kg, payload * 95 kg, tank capacity 20 liters.

Colors red / white / blue
Price 1989: 35,900 marks (18,355 euros)

The history of the 750s

Strictly speaking, the origins of the sporty 750 cc go back to 1969, the Honda CB 750 Four. At the beginning of the 70s it was a veritable sports motorcycle that had to be measured against the bevel Ducati and fast British women. The real big bang in terms of racing 750s took place in 1985. Suzuki presented the GSX-R 750 to the amazed audience and the slightly shocked competition. The sensation was less its 100 hp, which was also offered by the Yamaha FZ 750 with its five-valve engine, which was presented at the same time. Rather, it was the uncompromising orientation towards racing and the radical lightweight construction thanks to air / oil cooling that caused a sensation. With the start of the Superbike World Championship in 1988, all four Japanese manufacturers had a superbike in their program, along with a commercial racing base. In the case of Kawasaki this was the ZXR 750 R, in the case of Suzuki should ?? now with water cooling? the GSX-R 750 as "R."-Version with reinforced swing arm, light rear frame and specific detail changes compared to the standard GSX-R fight for victories. Honda stuck to the V4 and Yamaha stuck to the FZR with its forward tilted five-valve engine. However, the four-cylinder phalanx was sometimes vigorously mixed up by the Ducati Twins from Bologna, who hurried from one title to another. Even if in 1993 Kawasaki’s ZXR and the successor to the Honda RC 30, the rather hapless RC 45, each brought in a title in 1997, Honda retired the V4 in 1999 and also relied on a V2 from 2000 with the VTR 1000 SP-1.

Yamaha had already taken the YZF-R7, which was only intended for racing use, and the civilian road 750 YZF 750 from its range the year before. Overall, the star of the 750 series was also on the decline, with the Yamaha YZF-R1 and the Honda Fireblade a new generation of big bikes was already in the starting blocks. Only Kawasaki still held on to the ZX-7R cast-iron. But Suzuki also showed in 2000 with the new GSX-R 750 that the three-quarter liter is far from dead. Ironically, Suzuki added the GSX-R 1000 a year later. And after the first six places in the Superbike World Championship in 2001 and the first eight in the two-cylinder world, the displacement limit for four-cylinder units was also raised to the full liter. The era of the 750s was over, and even Kawasaki took the ZX-7R out of its range.

Related articles

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *