In 1984, the Suzuki GSX-R750 was unveiled at the Cologne motorcycle show in Germany. It turned the biking world upside-down, and began the trend of specialised motorcycles, machines built to do one particular motorcycling discipline particularly well.

Previously, Suzuki produced the inline-four GSX engine, with air-cooling and sixteen valves. This engine earned a reputation for being nearly bullet-proof, and found much favour with both endurance racers and drag-bikers, especially in the US.

Following the launch of the Suzuki GSX1000S Katana, the public began to take notice of the boys from Hamamatsu, Japan, who previously had a reputation for making reliable, over-designed, conservative motorcycles that did not weigh far short of a boat anchor. All this changed when the GSX-R-series machines were born on the drawing board.

Drawing on Suzuki’s years of experience in road racing, the GSX-R featured an aluminium frame, a similar frame also installed on Suzuki’s RG250 Gamma, coupled with an air- and oil-cooled inline-four. This was in a quest for lightness, and Suzuki succeeded, with the then revolutionary frame weighing in at just above 17 kg, and the entire machine clocking in at 196 kg dry, an amazing weight for a litre-class bike in the eighties.

The twin headlights on the GSX-R were very much a focal point, indicating that this race-ready production motorcycle was destined for endurance racing, a test of both speed and reliability. Gaining a fearsome reputation both on the road and track, locally, the GSX-R earned the sobriquet “highway king” for its speed on the open road, where few other machines could match it.

Things took a turn in the early years of the millennium, when Yamaha’s R1 emerged, and Honda brought its A-game with the CBR1000RR. The two videos from 2015 feature interviews with the original GSX-R design team, and examines the philosophy behind the design.

That one of the team members still rides a 29-year old original GSX-R is telling, showing why the big Gixxer finds fans from all over. However, with Suzuki now back in MotoGP, and the impending release of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7, perhaps younger riders will understand why, once upon a time on Malaysian roads, no one messed with a GSX-R.



GALLERY: 2015 Suzuki GSX-R1000 L5