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Just Right: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R400R for Sale

Update 8.2.2019: This seller has upgraded to a Featured Listing. The bike is back on eBay and is now NO RESERVE! Good luck to buyers and seller! Links updated. -dc

I’m a big fan of smaller, less powerful sportbikes. Sure, maybe that sounds like I’m not a real motorcycle enthusiast, since I’m not addicted to excessive horsepower… But I’ve always found that chasing peak power to be a bit of a pointless exercise: there’s always something newer and faster. I really can’t use the power most of the time anyway, especially on the road. And let’s be honest: neither can most of you. I love the idea of a 250cc inline four, but the meagre power output and small physical size mean they’re probably not practical for my 6’2″ frame, but something like this Suzuki GSX-R400R might be perfect.

Many sportbike fans don’t realize that it was really the GSX-R400 that came first in 1984, a year before the GSX-R750 was introduced. Although they could be easily forgiven, since it wasn’t available in all markets. Unlike the bigger 750 and 1100 versions, the 398cc inline four was actually liquid-cooled, and produced a claimed 59hp, a power figure that didn’t really change throughout the different versions, since it had more to do with government regulation than actual performance. It was the lightest, fastest 400 four-stroke on the market when it was introduced, although other manufactures quickly jumped on the bandwagon and the whole class was hotly contested throughout the 80s and 90s.

The GSX-R400 was redesigned for 1986 and introduced SATCS, Suzuki’s “advanced, three-way cooling system” that used both water and oil to cool the engine. So basically like a normal liquid-cooled engine… I assume it incorporated an oil-cooler so they could tie it in with the bigger, “oil-boiler” SACS bikes, but technical details are pretty scarce online, so I’d love input in the comments. Those 1986 bikes also used an oddly modern-looking rectangular headlamp that wasn’t popular, so the 1987 bikes went back to the twin-round lamp setup. 1988 saw the bike styled to tie in with the whole GSX-R lineup, with “baby Slingshot” looks, a new aluminum frame, regular-old liquid-cooling, and a set of “slingshot” carburetors, along with a shorter wheelbase and a claimed 352lb dry weight. 1989 seen here was virtually the same bike, but added the “R” at the end of the name, probably for added poweR…

The seller is asking $4,999.00 for this particular GSX-R400R. It needs a little bit of mechanical attention to make it a runner but, as you can see from the pictures, it doesn’t need much cosmetic work. The original listing has plenty more pictures if you need convincing.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 GSX-R400R for Sale

This is a 1989 Suzuki GSX-R400R GK73. I found this bike in Japan back in 2015, it was a very rare color for 1989, few of them were made and it really caught my eye as being especially unique. The GK73 was an interesting model with the aluminum frame and liquid cooled engine. 

I imported this GSX-R legally from Japan and it has a clean and clear U.S. title with plate and street registration.

I did a mini restoration on this bike, it still needs a small amount of work so I am selling it AS IS (at a loss as well as I have over $6000 in it).

The bike currently does not run. I have rebuilt the carbs with the Litetek kit replacing all internal o-rings and seals. I had the bike running well but the fuel inlet o-rings weeped so I replaced those with original Suzuki new OEM ones. One of these leaked and the carbs needed to be synced… somewhat defeated and pulled away on other projects this is how I left the bike. So it will run, but you will at a minimum need to pull carbs and check the fuel inlet o-rings and make sure they are seated/installed properly and then double check carbs, re-fit and sync. The bike has a decent battery installed and all electric/lights work as they should.

The bike has had a FULL service front to back and has ZERO miles on the following. 

ALL fresh fluids front to back, brake fluid, coolant, engine oil. New spark plugs. Front forks were rebuilt with new fluid and seals, brand near tires on freshly powdercoated wheels with new bearings and valve stems.

I had the bike completely repainted in the stock colors and using all of the original OEM bodywork! The originally paint had some sun fading and typical scuffs and scratches for its age but no major damage. Likewise the wheels had some marks and corrosion so I had them powder coated, I did not get an exact match of the bronze type color Suzuki used on this unique paint scheme but it is pretty close!

This is a VERY nice GSXR-400R, most of the ones I have seen in Japan and elsewhere need a lot of work. I have done all the hard stuff (and costly work $$$!!) already, it will just need a few hours put into the carbs and some tuning work to have a VERY NICE rider!

I can help arrange shipping anywhere in the U.S. or world wide including crating!

It’s in California and claimed to be “plated” here but definitely do your homework. It’s not perfect, but the simple mechanical work indicated by the seller is something you’d expect of any bike this age, and the cosmetics look really sharp. I’ve ridden a Honda NC30 and you might think that the 60hp of a JDM 400 sounds pretty weak, but you might be surprised. Sure, you do find yourself twisting the throttle to the stop more often than on other bikes, but it means you get to run the bike to redline more often as well. If you and your buddies regularly head out to terrorize the freeways at 160mph, you will find a 400 underpowered. But if twisty canyons are more your thing, you might love something like this.

-tad

18 Comments

  • Tad, Seller claims to have a “US title”, nothing about CALI registration. It’s most likely a Vermont or Florida titled bike residing in Commiefornia. The mileage is above 7500 mi threshold but it must also have at least a US Federal emissions sticker.

    So the owner spends money on repainting fairings, new tires, etc and cannot address what he calls a simple carburetor issue because he has no time? Well, that’s what indie shops are for. Usually it’s an indication that there’s something significantly more to do than described…

    $5k for a non running, not original small cube Gixxer? All of a sudden that YB11 in Texas is starting to look mighty attractive especially after the seller dropped the price…

    • Good point about the registration. I get your thoughts on the bike’s condition, but I try to be nice and give these guys the benefit of the doubt, and take them at their word whenever possible. Especially since some of them are site regulars! Also, it could very well be that he ended up with an annoying problem he couldn’t easily sort and just… got bored, then moved on. That happens to many, many projects, so I wouldn’t necessarily assume sinister, lurking problems… but anyone bidding on this should be prepared for there to be sinister, lurking problems! And that YB11 is most definitely attractive right now! If I wasn’t hung up on the SB6R, I’d be wanting one of those for sure.

  • This sort of bikes brings back much nostalgia in me, as those were “it” when I was being stupid on mountain roads of Japan. These are awesome bikes, so incredibly advanced at the time. These weren’t so-called beginner bikes, these were serious racers, built for the F3 class then, and it shows. They are beautifully made, with pretty exquisite components. We used to do everything with those bikes, racing down the winding roads of course and tracks, but also long distance touring. These bikes are surprisingly versatile. I actually forgot this color scheme existed.

  • I had a first gen 1984 version, one of the funnest bikes I’ve ever owned, and technologically advanced for the time.

  • Good photos on ebay, but mostly of the nice paint job, which is not original. A bit of corrosion peeking out from underneath. Seller states it’s registered in Arizona – so near, and yet so far from California with an 11 digit VIN. (Pardon me while I mop up this drool – I want this motorcycle.)
    I wonder how many here in CA are just riding these with the plate from their other bike…

  • No one sane wants to voluntarily live in california.

    • I do, but I’m originally from New Jersey so…

  • This is my bike! If you have any questions or if you want to come check it out I am easy to get a hold of!!
    Yes I had the bike repainted, and also before I had it running…cart before horse maybe. Anyways, it is a repaint but all oem plastic and the in the original scheme ( very rare one it seems, but have founds pics of others doing image searches ).
    This bike is a victim of me having way way too many bikes and I have in all honesty reached burnout. The days are long but the decades are short and I decided to sell most of my stuff and step back at the end of the year after being consumed by bikes for the last 20 years….you oughtta check out my other stuff I have on eBay and will post up over next few weeks/months !!

    Anyways, back to the carbs. After pulling them and doing the basic cleaning and getting the bike going I let it sit…then they leaked, so I rebuilt them…then the inlet o-rings leaked, so I replaced those and one of those still leaked and it needed to by synced…” if I have to pull these carbs one more F*&#$^ time!!!”

    So yeah, I waved the white flag and surrendered. I found minor consolation in knowing I am not the only who has not been able to get a GSX-R400 going correctly. ( see the last that sold on BARF )

    Yes, theoretically I could take it to a competent indy shop near me (lol) and get it going but I am not willing to put any more yen in this one.
    Have at it boys!!

    • Thanks for joining us at RSBFS and addressing the comments. Good luck with the sale! -dc

    • Hey, thank you for proving my point to tirefriar about being nice in my postings! Thanks for chiming in and talking a bit about the bike.

  • GLWS – I don’t understand all the moaning. Your ad is very clear about title status. Others should try importing a very clean 400 from Japan and getting it painted for $5K. and yes original paint is valuable on a classic like a Z1, but doesnt make any difference to the value of a bike like this as long as the repaint is good.

  • Seriously, tirefriar and Ronburgundy using this forum for bashing California. Get a life!!

    • Mr Friar happens to live in CA, so he gets to make fun of it. That’s the rule: you only get to make fun of places you’re from or places you live.

  • Asking $5K yes, but the make offer button is there. August has some other unique small displacement Japan market bikes and parts listed as well. I can relate to “the days are long, but the decades are short”. Just today I decided to pass along a carb rebuild problem to the next owner of something as simple as my SV650. Hey, these younger guys hafta learn this stuff somewhere, right? (They can pry my VFR400 from my cold……)
    But we were talking about the Golden State, I believe. I can roll with the politics, but lately it’s the roads crowded with cell phoners in their giant cars. Still great riding if you get up early.

    • They are pretty bad here, but the problem pretty much exists everywhere there are cell phones and giant cars… The autonomous car revolution can’t come soon enough.

  • @Norcal Joe

    I don’t want this to become another political sh!thole forum so I will keep my political thoughts to myself. My comment with Commiefornia in this case was aimed at difficulties involved in importing a motorcycle (and car) into this state. Laws and the DMV employees are generally not on your side.

    As for residing in this craphole of a state, I was almost successful in persuading my wife to move to Texas. Even flew to look at some properties in Rockwall. I guess I wasn’t on top of my pitch as my wife decided to remain in Los Angeles. I didn’t feel like going through another divorce so here I stay.

    @Tad
    My intention was not to piss off the seller but simply point out areas of concern that I deal with quite frequently when I buy bikes (and cars), especially those that are not within riding/driving distance. I do appreciate the seller adding registration info into the body of his ad, it wasn’t there when I first read the description. Tad, August is correct that it may be an issue to register it in California although I have seen stranger things happen which I will gladly discuss with you next time we meet.

    • No worries man! I basically meant that I leave it to the commenters to be brutally honest, and try to stay polite in the posts themselves. I always appreciate your insights and comments on the bikes, since you know your stuff and are a stickler for details. I’m more of an “ooh, I love those!” kind of guy.

  • “Real” motorcyclist? LOL! “Real” motorcycle? Ha, ha!
    Horsepower doesn’t matter. Engine size doesn’t matter. Top speed doesn’t matter. Acceleration times don’t matter. Brand name doesn’t matter. Miles ridden don’t matter. Year it was made doesn’t matter. Customized stuff doesn’t matter. Looks don’t matter. How many track days or races don’t matter. What other people think doesn’t matter. Motorcycling snobbery doesn’t matter. None of those things matter.

    What matters is your smiles per mile. What matters is love of motorcycling. What matters is riding the motorcycle you personally like.

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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