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Slab-Sided Collectible: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited for Sale

It's hard to imagine that, just a couple years before the introduction of the GSX-R750, Suzuki's top-performing repli-racer was the stylish, but very last-generation GS1000S, a bike with twin shocks, handlebars, a center-stand, and a bar-mounted bikini fairing. The original "Slabbie" GSX-R750 that came along in 1985 brought modern endurance-racing style to the masses and codified the formula laid out by much rarer and more exotic machines like the Bimota SB2. This particular GSX-R750 Limited Edition claws back some exotic cachet from the Italian brand, and is one of just 299 imported to the USA to meet AMA homologation requirements.

The heart of the GSX-R was an oil and air-cooled inline four with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. It lacked liquid-cooling in a bid to save weight, reduce complexity, and improve reliability, but still had a few high-tech tricks up its sleeve: Suzuki’s Advanced Cooling System or "SACS" featured a double-chambered oil pump was designed to more efficiently circulate and cool the bike’s lubricant, along with oil jets that sprayed the bottom of the pistons. The aluminum frame used a mono-shock rear and four-piston brake calipers clamped triple discs. The Limited version added a very trick dry clutch, lightweight solo seat tail section, and the GSX-R1100's electronic anti-dive forks.

The Limited was differentiated by the striking red, white, and blue paint seen here on the distinctive, slab-sided bodywork, compared to the standard white-and-blue or red-and-black available on the regular GSX-R. When new, the bike was the most expensive Japanese sportbike, and was priced at $6,500, a shocking $2,000 more than the standard model. Performance advantages were very minimal but that wasn't really the point and this is, to my mind, the best-looking version of the early GSX-R.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition for Sale

Race homologation special. It has 4545 miles. This bike is in as near perfect collectors condition for a 31 year old bike. Motorcycle was just fully serviced (ie carbs were serviced; all fluids changed; new tires added, as originals showed signs of cracking.)

These bikes have surged in price, exceeding $20K in most cases.

If you are looking at this bike, you know what it is, so NO LOW BALL OFFERS!!!!

The seller is correct that prices have surged, and his bike appears to be in excellent, very original condition that includes a stock exhaust that could be either "cool and retro" or "shockingly ugly" depending on your predilection for slotted heat shields. Certainly it's of value to collectors. Unfortunately, while his $20,000 asking price is fair, it actually seems just a bit on the high-side, at least looking at Limited Editions we've featured here on RSBFS in the past. I'm not sure just how far off his asking price an offer would have to be before it qualifies as "a low ball offer," but I have a feeling he may be disappointed. Will at least one buyer meet his asking price? It's very possible: those same recent bikes I mentioned didn't quite get to $20,000 but were very close.

-tad

6 Comments

  • I was looking at this bike recently. I’m curious…how’s the old GSXR dry clutch compare to the Ducati Dry clutches? I’ve owned quite a few ducs so I’m very familiar but just wondering how the lever feel is, how they are upon launching, etc. Also, is there a trick to sort out the fork leg oxidation or is your only option powder coating or polishing them? I’ve restored some bikes in the past but typically stay away from bikes with too much corrosion, just curious if there’s a remedy that I’m not aware of. Seems like a good price though, especially considering the mileage.

    • This is the same bike we have been seeing for quite some time now with the mysterious rivets on the frame below the tank on the right side. Has anybody figured out just what those were for. I asked the seller that question and received no response.

  • Yes, it’s back again. Unfortunately this will always be the de-valued Limited Edition with the drilled frame. How could anyone think chucking up a drill bit and punching four holes in a Limited frame was a good idea or improvement? Especially considering that they came stock with an GSXR1100 steering damper above the steering stem. Upside down chain adjustors and blue fuel tank breather are easily corrected- that’s not the case with the corroded fork legs. Not worth a premium asking price that’s $5K above recent comparable market values.

    • Sorry guys: didn’t realize it had been featured before. I try to go back a good ways to make sure we’re showing you new… um, old stuff. Or at least let you know when it’s been posted before. Any thoughts that those rivets are a period racing modification, a mount for a different/better/just had one in his garage steering damper? That would explain why anyone would violate a collectible: they were planning to race it. Of course, that doesn’t do the value any favors and opens up even more questions…

  • I agree the values have gone up in the last few years, also for the 89 RR. You could buy one with a US title 5-6 years ago for 7-10K. The holes in the frame must have been an adjustable steering damper, although the stock one appears to be in place now. My guess is 16K is fair for everyone.
    Although the clutch is cool and rare, that’s both a good and bad thing. I haven’t heard of any Ltd owner complaining that his bike is unrideable because of the clutch, so they must be super tough. The only parts I’ve found are some EBC frictions from EbayUK.

  • Another strange thing about the drilled frame- it was done on the right side, not the left. GSXR racers always had steering dampers on the left, so that you could adjust it while still holding the throttle open on straights. They also used to sell damper kits that had a bracket that split and bolted on the small horizontal frame piece below the main frame spar, so that you didn’t have to drill and potentially weaken the frame. Oops! Not surprised the seller didn’t reply or answer a direct question about it- he probably hopes nobody notices.

Comment rules: Add something useful and constructive, and don't be a jerk. Comments that don't add value will be deleted. Comments will automatically close after 30 days. Thank you. -dc

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