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Suzuki posted by

Big Style, Modest Power: 1991 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK76 for Sale

I ran into a nice young rider the other weekend while I was eyeing his flat grey EBR 1190RX. We talked about the bike and all its neato Buell-y features, and he asked me what I was riding, so I introduced him to my Daytona, which also happens to be grey... "Aren't you a little big for that?" He asked.  Obvious "that's what she said" jokes aside, it highlighted a common misconception, at least here in the USA: smaller sportbikes are "learner" machines, and serious riders should move up to a "real" bike as soon as possible. Of course, bikes like today's Suzuki GSX-R400 are an argument that maybe smaller is just fine, and that there's plenty of fun to be had on a motorcycle that offers serious handling, but only modest straight-line performance.

Strict licensing and taxes on displacement mean that bigger bikes can be flat out impossible in many overseas markets, no matter your experience or skill. In those places it was often the 400cc class that was hotly contested throughout the late 80s and early 90s: witness the fact that the FZR600 was the lowest-spec bike of Yamaha's sportbike range with a glaring, low-tech difference: it used a relatively heavy steel frame instead of a lighter aluminum unit as seen on the 400cc and 1000cc models. In fact, the very first GSX-R was actually a 400cc model, and Suzuki applied the lessons learned to their smash-hit GSX-R750, although many aren't aware that the earlier bike even existed.

The third iteration of the evergreen Gixxer is also currently the least desirable, and this GSX-R400 is styled to match its bigger siblings. Not only does this generation still exist in that nether region between classic and modern, the bikes were generally heavier than the bikes they followed, with less performance. The Gixxer was peakier and a bit cruder than competitors like the CBR400, and as a result it was a bit of an also-ran, although it should still offer plenty of bang for your buck. Weight for this version of the GSX-R400 was 367lbs dry and the little 398cc inline four made 59hp at 12,500rpm.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Suzuki GSX-R400 for Sale

Up for No Reserve auction we have a 1991 Suzuki GK76 GSX-R400. This bike sports slick OEM graphics, and is quite a good looking machine. It has recently been tagged and registered in Tennessee and is ready for the road. On the performance front I feel the carbs would benefit from a good cleaning. With that said, the bike starts up easily enough, idles, and runs right on up to redline. These are rather difficult to come by, and this one will make a nice addition to someone's collection.

Considering how popular Suzuki's sportbikes have been worldwide, it's surprising we haven't seen more of these up for sale here in the US, now that they can be legally imported. They certainly weren't the the best 400s but, being a Suzuki, plenty were sold. The seller includes a nice little video of the bike being zapped up and down a backroad, and it's nice to see that the bike is a solid runner, because it's not in showroom-perfect condition: aside from some scratches and plastic bits that have naturally discolored with age, the end can looks to be in pretty sorry shape and the non-standard turn signals are small and unobtrusive, but their fake-y "carbon" finish isn't very tasteful and originals might be difficult to source, depending on whether or not they're exclusive to this model... But all of that can be overlooked if the price is right, and with just two days left on the auction, that price is a mere $2,225 which could make it a screaming deal of a little screamer, if the bidding stays low.

-tad

10 Comments

  • As I’ve mentioned a few times…I’m a huge fan of these 400’s. I’ve been riding since I was 8 and owned just about every sport bike made over my nearly 40 years of riding but never a 400 until just last year when I bought one off this board. Point is, they completely changed my take on riding. There’s plenty of power even for me at 200 lbs and as small as you’d think they would be…I’m 6’4 and have more room then some of the older Ducati’s where my knees hit the fairings. The huge difference for me anyway is when I ride a panigale for example…I find myself hitting triple digit speeds and I don’t want too anymore…damn electric shifters and crazy HP just make it come up on you before you even realize it! Whereas when you’re on a 400 you can wind it up and have MORE fun at 40-60 which is ideal for many of the CA canyons anyway. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t jump into a power wheelie when coming out of a corner but that’s not my style anyway. I took my GSXR400 over to pro italia a couple weeks ago to pick up a part that came in..had such a blast I took a run through the canyons… I’m still smiling from that ride, it was nothing short of exhilarating. I just wish CA would let us register them, one of the reasons I look forward to moving elsewhere in retirement. When I’m done building this NC35 (I have a CA plate for it) and any of you local board guys want to switch up bikes in Angeles Crest or the rock store, I invite you to try it….you’ll be a fan afterwards for sure, so fun!!!

    • Yeah, I stopped my little story short since it was getting off topic, but any 600 has plenty of performance for just about any rider, and I’ve passed enough literbikes at track days to be sure about that. Out in the canyons, if someone is faster than I am, it’s not about the bike, it’s because the rider has more skill or experience or a lack of self-preservation or some combination thereof. As far as I’m concerned, literbikes offer expert-level performance, although you obviously don’t need to be one to ride them if you’re careful with the throttle. It’s always fun to get back on the Triumph after a stint on a much more powerful machine, since I can use much more of the available power, and I’d love to get an NC30 or FZR400 to really thrash, a Bimota YB7 [400cc] or YB9 [600cc], or one of those 250 two-strokes.

      And anytime you want to meet up MotoMan, just say the word. I ride regularly with a group that meets Sunday mornings at the Shell station on Mulholland, and I’d love to see your GSX-R400!

  • You ride how I do you should try out a properly sorted 250 smoker from the same era.

  • Will do Tad, look forward to it. I can’t put the gsxr back on the road as the police told me if they see it again it’s going in impounded (heck, I wasn’t even riding it when the harrasssed me, had an electrical issue so just sitting on road sorting it out) but the nc35 will definitely be there. It’s a pitty though as the gsxr has flatslides and such. I keep all my bikes pretty stock but I went crazy with this company called Tyga performance so it’s going to be my rider. Gotta finish two other builds first.

    See you out there my friend.

    • Oh, I know Tyga! We’re not out there every weekend, but drop me a line!

  • Will do, need about 2 months to sort this thing out. First time trying Tyga but I literally bought everything on their site for this NC. Gary made me a deal on it as it was rough but it’s not that bad and I wanted a “rider”. Chat soon bud.

  • yes please! this would do so much better, in every way, than any one of the new baby bikes. can you imagine trying to get 59hp out of a ktm rc390? zero chance.

  • The bike here is recognizeable. The earlier version is bizarro. I was not even aware of it. The earlier one look to be from the same seller. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1987-Suzuki-Other/332543959641?hash=item4d6d2a2259:g:MtsAAOSwdTBad8Y6

    • Hey, that’s pretty cool and I didn’t even see that one. Might post it up later this week!

    • Nice they posted a video on the older bike. Seems to run ok but i wonder why there is a red light lit up on the dash the entire time during the video.

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