1975-suzuki-gt750_1
Suzuki introduced the three cylinder two-stroke liquid cooled GT750 in 1971 over two years after the Honda CB750 hit the streets. It was the first serial-produced water-cooled bike from Japan.

The 1969 to 1972 era brought some of the biggest advances in high performance motorcycles seen in motorcycling’s 80 year history. The 750cc displacement became the standard and Japanese and British makers rolled out three and four cylinder “superbikes,” with the GT750 late to the competition. The GT750 was manufactured through 1977 replaced by the four-stroke GS series which arrived late in 1976 first as a 750 four cylinder.

With a rubber mounted water-cooled engine, a plush seat and comfortable suspension, the GT750 was a comfortable fairly fast bike. But in 1971, numbers counted and the Kawasaki H1 and Honda CB750 were one and two in quarter mile times for Japanese makes, with the Norton Commando and Triumph and BSA triples strong competition. The Harley-Davidson Sportster was still competitive as well. In 1972 Kawasaki would release the 750cc triple H2 and it became the quarter mile king. So the GT750 worked well, but with the spotlight on horsepower was relatively docile. It was never part of the performance wars, is remembered for its four leading shoe drum front brake. Yamaha had little to offer in the early 1970’s, but in 1973 Kawasaki would move to the four stroke Z1. In 1976 Suzuki offered it’s first four-strokes in the GS series ultimately 1000, 750, 550 fours, and 500, 450 and 400 twins.

In general two-strokes offer simpler, lighter engine construction, more horsepower per cubic inch and to a degree, lower maintenance. But of course in the 1970’s, emissions were of concern and two-strokes typically lack efficiency and are not so clean burning. Kawasaki had also gone down the path of a high performance three cylinder two-stroke, though air-cooled but was the first two-stroke company to “defect” with the 903cc DOHC Z1 in 1973. Hondas were always four-strokes until the CR250M Elsinore motocrosser arrived in 1973.

Today all “Water Buffaloes” are prized collectible machines, both here and in Europe where they are nick-named “Kettles.” This immaculate GT750 was donated to the National Motorcycle Museum by Mark Orgel some years back. A later dual disk model, it is displayed beside a GT550 and a GT380 plus other great 1970’s Japanese machines.

Specifications:

  • Engine: Liquid-Cooled Two-Stroke
  • Type: Port Induction Triple
  • Bore & Stroke: 70mm x 64mm
  • Displacement: 738cc’s
  • Compression Ratio: 6.7 : 1
  • Ignition: Points, Coil, 12V Battery
  • Lubrication: Oil Injection
  • Carburetor: Three Mikunis, VM32
  • Starting: Kick & Electric
  • Horsepower: 67HP, rated
  • Primary: Gear Driven
  • Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Transmission: 5-Speed
  • Frame: Double Cradle/Tubular Steel
  • Suspension: Hydraulic Fork / Swingarm Rear
  • Brakes: 220mm Dual Disks / 180mm Drum Rear
  • Wheelbase: 58 Inches
  • Wheels / Tires: 3.25 x 19 / 4.00 x 18
  • Weight: 507 Pounds, Dry
  • Top Speed: 120 MPH
5 replies
  1. John Bruesch
    John Bruesch says:

    I’m sad your article didn’t mention that my silver-gray 1975 GT-750 (49 states and 150,000 miles) was awarded Third Place (Japanese) at the Museum’s Annual Vintage Rally Bike Show this past June. Though it was awful hot that day to be showing instead of riding, it was really cool to see the interest and recognition fellow classic bike owners have for the iconic Suzuki “Buffalo!”

    Reply
  2. Barry Laws
    Barry Laws says:

    My favorite buffalo! Same color. Raced it on Skyline blvd in California then out to the beach. Sparks flying, smoke pouring and the swing arm flexing at 80+ on the sweepers. Nothing today compares with that personality. My buddy and I used to race up to SF, both on buffaloes, and it looked like a smog alert. I know, I know it was immature and childish but dang those times were fun.

    Reply
  3. Mike
    Mike says:

    You dont get to find such quality machine manufactured anymore… Live it, grew up seeing people riding them around. Wish i have one…

    Reply
  4. DaveK
    DaveK says:

    The Red pictured is a 74 or newer as the Original 71 had Drum Brakes, side covers were 1 pc, Engine jugs had no markings, radiator sides were smooth and same color as bike, Exhaust tips & chain guard were Black, and Rubber accordion fork slider boots. It was the Purple with the White fuel tank side were the Suzuki name is .. I bought mine in Detroit and according to the Dealer was the 1st in Detroit & 24th sold in the USA.. The Suzuki was a great bike, smooth with a little vibration, and plenty of power and never failed to start….

    Reply
  5. Robert Branshaw
    Robert Branshaw says:

    I grew up seeing these bike’s in the seventy’s, they layed down a lot of smoke for mosquitoe control. We called them water buffaloes. A friend of mine still has his in the garage, he road it many miles. I can’t remember the last time I saw one on the road.

    Reply

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