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Move Fast: 1986 GSX-R750 Limited Edition

Note: We’ve seen this one before, but it’s been a couple years and Tad has a fresh perspective to consider. -dc

1986 Suzuki GSXR LE R Front

We generally try to stay away from modified machines at this site, but this GSX-750R LE is exactly the type of motorcycle I love: a bike that shows evolutionary change, a gradual improvement to more closely match the needs of the owner and address performance shortcomings from the factory. I’m sure the spoked wheels will generate a bit of controversy here, but they do look pretty sharp, and the listing includes his reasons for the swap. Most importantly, it should make the bike much more usable: the original 18″ items don’t have much in the way of high-performance rubber available these days…

The GSX-R was introduced in 1985 and featured a 750cc four-cylinder that eschewed water-cooling in an effort to save weight. The bike basically set the pattern still being followed today, with an aluminum beam frame, four piston calipers gripping triple-disc brakes, and monoshock rear suspension.

1986 Suzuki GSXR LE Carbs

This “LE” or “Limited Edition” version of the Gixxer was intended to homologate parts for racing, specifically the distinctive vented dry clutch, aluminum fuel tank, and anti-dive forks that were an electronic alternative to Honda’s mechanical system. The swingarm was lengthened for 1986, although this example uses the shorter item from the 1985 model for a shorter wheelbase and quicker steering.

1986 Suzuki GSXR LE Dry Clutch

The description includes a pretty detailed account as to the changes that were made and why, and they all do make plenty of sense in context. He also includes a video clip of the bike starting and running, although the sound quality is pretty horrendous. It’s nice to see that the bike starts up quickly and settles into a nice idle, but if you’re curious about the dry clutch sound, you’re best off clicking around YouTube for another video.

1986 Suzuki GSXR LE Rim

It’s also interesting to note that, although regulations in Europe concerning noise can be very strict, he was granted an “exception” for his modifications, which seems so strangely… reasonable. It’s pretty impressive that the German equivalent of the DMV has folks on-hand knowledgeable enough to make that sort of determination!

1986 Suzuki GSXR LE Dash

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

I am offering up for sale a very unique bike. I have outfitted this bike myself and have used it on the roads in Germany, before moving to the USA. I have all the German registration documents and those from the original owner. I have owned or ridden most every GSXR and a fair number of other bikes, this bike by far is the best road going sport bike I have ridden. The wheels I had special made by WIWO in Germany, they are numbered and dated 1994. They are 3.5 x 17 F and 5.5 x 17 rear The tires are 120/65/17 and 180/55/17 I have run Metzlers without any problem. The wheels are certified tubeless. The rims are AKRONT. There is no damage to these wheels and they run true. This bike is outfitted with the short 1985 swingarm giving it a 55 inch wheelbase. There has never been any wobble or shake at speed. 260kph seems to be the top speed and it is quite a joy to ride at any speed. The motor is on the original bore, however the cylinder head was fitted with Yoshimura 1mm oversized valves and a Serdi blended 3 angle valve job performed to correct the factory valve jobs which were not very accurate. The ignition box is a Yoshimura item. The difference is night and day. The engine will rev to 12,000rpm. The hit at 7000rpm is quick. The exhaust is a 4-2-1 stainless system custom made to fit this bike by Shaefer Racing in Germany. I had the bike on a Dyno outdoors. At 7000rpm the shreak from the carbs drove everyone for cover. It is louder than the pipe. 

At some point you will ask, ‘Why spoke wheels?’….When this bike was being drawn up, the fastest bikes were all examined in great detail. One of the fastest bikes at that time was a TZ750. If you look at the two bikes they share the same basic shape. Since the first TZ had spoke wheels I had a set made up for this bike. They are TUV certified. At the time I could get magnesium wheels but they were not allowed for road use. Aftermarket aluminum wheels were not widely available. The Mitchel wheel from Lockhart was an option, however they are heavier than the spoke wheels. These wheels run perfect true and none of the spokes has ever needed adjustment! This bike will accept any standard 3 spoke GSXR wheel from the first or second generation bikes. Remember that the original Limited Edition has a 15mm front axle and is more prone to flex. The small amount of frame flex in the 750 seems to be ideal for road work. The Akrapovic end can was added to keep the bike road legal. All modifications have been signed into the brief. The process of doing this is a story in itself. I first went to the TUV engineer and asked to have the airbox removed. Stock exhaust, stock engine, dry clutch. Since the dry clutch made more noise than either the exhaust or the intake (before engine tuning) I was granted an exception. I had the exhaust fabricated and the road legal Akrapavic end can installed. Back to TUV and another modification signed into the brief. I have the original swing arm, which is quite long, and the original footpegs in perfect condition. I do not have the original exhaust, wheels or forks and triple clamps. .This bike has never been crashed or dropped!

With just one day left and a starting price of $7,500 and no bids so far, it looks like the seller may be aiming a bit too high. That’s the problem with making changes to the bike to suit your personal preferences: they may not match anyone else’s! Plus, the missing fairing lower may be putting casual browsers off as, at a glance, this looks like just another well-worn Slabby.

1986 Suzuki GSXR LE Headstock

I’d find a fairing lower and paint to match, but this is otherwise a very cool resto-mod that seems to be very much in the spirit of the original bike. Note that the seller does not have the original fork or wheels, so be prepared if you plan to buy this and return it to stock appearance. All-in-all, this is definitely not a bike for collectors, but for folks looking for something that evokes an earlier, simpler era of riding but has a few nods to advances in technology.

Or ex-Ducati owners who miss the rattle of a dry clutch.

-tad

1986 Suzuki GSXR LE R Side

6 Comments

  • With so many custom bikes being built by people that have no business owning tools, nice to see that this guy seems to be competent and knowledgeable. Not my cup of tea, but it’s definitely cool. also, the ebay listing was well done.

  • It’s cool to him and you, and he did what he wanted to a very rare and valuable bike. I’ll bet he didn’t realize at the time that for every $100 he spent “improving” it, he ultimately lost $300 when it came time to sell. I’m surprised he didn’t go ahead and eliminate the dry clutch for some personal reason and devalue it further.

    • That’s always the challenge owning something like this: keep it flawed from the factory against the possibility that it will someday appreciate, or modify it to suit, figuring you bought it to enjoy it… Most of the time, cars and bikes are a losing proposition: if you add it all up, the money it takes to own and maintain them ends up eating up the “profit” you’d earn in appreciation. He may very well have known at the time that the changes he made would affect the long-term value and, even if he didn’t, you’re assuming he regrets making those changes. I’ll bet he doesn’t.

  • Although the reasoning for spokes is illogical. The first TZ’s may have had spokes, but later TZ750’s ditched the spokes for mag wheels. And by 1995 there where plenty of stock alloy wheels that are lighter than 17″ spokes. Even alloy rimmed spoked wheels will be heavier than equivalent generation spoked wheels.

    He just had to say ‘I think spokes are cooler than mags/alloys’. The 15mm axle thing also seems ill conceived – from what I recall the Gixxer LE uses a captive spaced enclosed axle similar to the way the OW01 uses 22mm bearings with 17mm captive spaced 17mm axle. Its a way to get light weight with distributed load.

    Either way the bike looks cool. I love the slab sides 🙂

    • Probably very true about the spoked-wheels! To me, they just nicely split the difference between looks and function: they’re a very unusual style for a sportbike and allow for modern tire choices. Enough said! I’m assuming he removed the lower fairing because of cornering-clearance issues, but that’s the part I’d change, since it just looks unfinished. All-in-all, I’m surprised by the thoughtful responses in the comments, and I’m happy readers seem to get why I like this bike: it’s not original but, love it or hate it, the owner changed it to improve function and add a dash of personality.

  • I own a limited and it may surprise some that I really like what the owner did with this bike.the wheels are fantastic,maybe because I have a thing for vintage sports cars with the same.my lowers have not been on mine in 22 years as I like the look without them, they are safely stashed somewhere not sure where come to think of it!

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