Comparison test 750 superbikes

The latest rumor

Suzuki has built a divine bike with the super-light GSX-R, Kawasaki’s brand new ZX-7R is a veritable devil and Yamaha can go to hell with the tried and tested YZF 750 – they say.

So that we understand each other correctly from the start, folks: Everything that is italicized on the following twelve pages actually has nothing to do with this story.

Shouldn’t – if there was still something like tact in this world – be mentioned in the same breath as the super sporty 750 cc. All I can say is suitability for everyday use. That hits the barrel right in the face: But it was not agreed, colleague. At this point you should say a few introductory words about the difficult … Free. There is only one thing that counts here: brake later, accelerate earlier – be faster than the others. It’s that simple. Got it? Superbikes are built for this purpose alone. For this reason alone, there are Ram Air and Exup systems, delta box frames, wide tires and six-piston pliers. This is about the hunt for fractions of a second, not the big butter trip with bag and baggage. Now hold your breath, sports fan: It may be that such a super-fast asphalt file is basically designed for the racetrack. But tell me how many of the tens of thousands of super sports cars sold end up on the podium. Five? Or – seven? Maybe even ten? And the rest, admittedly a tiny fraction, where is it??

Typic Sunday drivers. It’s not just the winners that count, you quark bag, there is actually also the pure joy of heating, and just give me one place where it is more fun, including safety, than on the racetrack. Fully booked racing training courses are the best proof. No further discussion: Off to Spain, we haven’t been to Calafat for a long time.

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Comparison test 750 superbikes
The latest rumor

GSX-R 750 – lighter, stronger, rounder. Kawasaki’s answer, the ZX-7R – more stable, stronger, greener. In addition, of course, Yamaha’s YZF 750 – tried and tested, well-known and less popular because currently only available as a 1995 model. But don’t panic, friends, the year 1996 will bring nothing more to the Yamaha than new colors. Let’s go to Calafat. I’ve always liked the fast, impeccable roads in the Ebro Valley. And the labyrinth of curves through the Sierra de Montsant – wonderful.

Nothing Sierra de anything: Our labyrinth of curves is called Circuito de Calafat. November 29, 1995, 10:32 a.m., one minute, 40 seconds and 19 hundredths for the YZF: What a time. But now stick out of the bag: The ultra-light, completely redesigned GSX-R 750 will gnaw the Yami like a chicken bone. So many fine things that make you faster: a new frame, now as a bridge construction, extreme chassis geometry, the widest slippers that have ever existed, the latest engine. If you want to get to know every single carburetor nozzle and also the 16th valve of the Suzi personally, reads MOTORRAD 25 and 26/1995. Roughly speaking, however, two numbers are sufficient to understand the GSX-R as a total work of art: real 131 hp measured on the MOTORRAD test bench at 205 kg with a full tank.

And we drive throttled. Why? Because we are – or have become. More precisely: because we had to bow to the practical constraint of "voluntary performance restrictions". That has something to do with politics, says our boss.

Hey, turnip nose, you probably don’t believe yourself that you need 130 peas. No normal person can do anything with so much performance. You say it baby: not a normal person. For you and your landscape gardener association, this will certainly apply. But other laws prevail on the racetrack. Well then, be glad that Suzuki has tied up the power package so loosely: the test bench certifies 109 hp.

And – what is the stopwatch saying? 1.38.41. Aaaahhh – that sounds damn good. A tailor-made start. It just depends on what the ZX-7R has to offer. In the end, Kawasaki did not spoil it: new cylinder head, double ram-air system, improved chassis. Gold, gold, gold, that doesn’t look good at all: One minute, 41 seconds, and 40 squashed. You can’t stand that in your head. They’re already making a fuss about Jochen Schmid and shuffling around on production tires. Yet every child knows by now that the tires in particular often make the difference between victory and defeat in motorsport these days.

Respect, respect, carefully observed, but nevertheless every machine, whether a superbike or a tourist traveler, must first earn its spurs on their house slippers. In addition, an assessment of the original rubbers suits you everyday fuzzis, you leave the things on until the bottom blanket shows through. Okay, but be brief, I would also like to get rid of a few things here. In telegram style, we promise: The top looser is called Dunlop Sportmax II. Developed especially for the ZX-7R, both the carcass and the tread feel very hard. Unusually little grip, stamping away in an inclined position and a strong righting moment in tight curves do not create an intimate basis of trust. Earlier sportsmen could do that better. But these things will probably last forever. The Metzeler ME Z1 is completely different, specially made for the Suzuki and, like everything on the GSX-R, extra light. built. It distinguishes itself through enormous grip and five-star comfort. There is a bit of a lack of stability when accelerating out. The moment of erection and self-steering behavior also only deserve the predicate "it’s okay". A lot helps a lot in some cases, but it doesn’t necessarily help with the tire width.

Once again, the old Bridgestone BT 50 from Yamaha make this clear: Easy and precise steering, almost neutral when braking in an inclined position, good-natured when accelerating out, the "narrow" 180 on the narrow track in Clafat only has advantages over the showy 190 slippers of the competition. So far, so good or bad or whatever. In any case, it’s time to create the same conditions for the test subjects. Three times ME Z1 in series size please. Tranquilo, Hombre, gently, gently. Before performing any new heroic deeds here, we should perhaps clarify a few basic things: ergonomics, driving comfort, engine characteristics, all the stuff that counts in normal traffic.

This again. Yes. And we start with Adam and Eve: the sitting position. So – everyday life feels best on the Yamaha: a casual posture, even on long journeys, without a stiff neck and thick wrists. Under the 750s, the YZF mimics the chopper, the angular tank alone leaves a bad impression – on the inside of the thigh. If we weren’t paying homage to some racing cucumbers, stylish would be just the right word to describe the character of the Yamaha. Because it pulls its course correctly, the spring elements react comfortably, the five-valve engine hangs neatly on the gas, and it would love to pull through accurately, you can feel it. But there is a huge hole, around 4500 tours, as big as Switzerland. Unfortunately, exactly where the funny tramp life mostly takes place – therefore: one on the hat in the pull-through rating.

At what speed? 4500 rpm. Pah, with a motorcycle like that under your bum, no one is dodging on the idle gas nozzle. It gets interesting between 7000 revolutions and the red area. It should be easy to turn, the sports unit, lively, lively, unrestrained. But don’t eat it. The lot of clogged engines. On the other hand, the YZF benefits from its full performance curve. With the same top performance, the Kawasaki acts more powerfully at half-height, but further up, where the other two really get into the party, it seems to be running out of breath. The least impressed by the political stranglehold is the Suzuki, which is still the most enthusiastic.

What a miracle at 109 horsepower. Can we get back to the topic now? We were on the country road, and there the Suzuki engine is annoying with extreme load change reactions, if you’re interested. The hard work when switching gas – not nice either. It always feels like the carburetor battery is flying around your ears. But a rocket like a forced-ventilation GSX-R 750 must have something terrifying about it. It also says: SRAD. SRAD isn’t just called Suzuki Ram Air Direct, SRAD could just as easily mean "lethal injection" or "just watch out, eh".

The spherical GSX-R rear section, on which this meaningful lettering is emblazoned, has something of Münchhausen’s cannonball and the seating position of Suzi too. You are enthroned far above the action with a fairly unsteady feeling and at the beginning, especially when braking, you are always afraid of tumbling over. It’s a very strange feeling. It just doesn’t really fit. The Kawasaki creates a slightly better connection between man and machine. What is annoying here is the large distance between the seat and the handlebars. In order to establish contact with the handlebars (as the professional says), smaller people have to stretch themselves over the trunk of the tank like a sheet. In this degrading frog pose, of course, the overview is lost. Lulatsche do not necessarily sit more comfortably, but they see something, and they can also take a tank bag on board for longer distances, which relieves the upper body and wrists enormously.

Oh man, if I hear that: TANK BACKPACK, I think I’m crazy. Quite possible, just think about it a few times, because you are currently on a break from broadcasting. Plagued by obesity, the handling of the ZX-7R ranks under the term moderate. 232 kilograms are no big deal, and the extra-wide 190 rear tire doesn’t always want to be as you would like at a moderate speed. To put it in ordinary terms: the iron heap just doesn’t turn the corner properly. To compensate for this, the spring elements still offer a fair amount of comfort despite their tight design.

With the GSX-R, the case is reversed: handling? Excellent. One could even go so far as to claim that this is a new benchmark in the small world of 750 cc super sports cars. Comfort? Well – that’s a different relationship between sprung and unsprung masses. Just as tightly tuned as the ZX-7R, the Suzuki reacts less calmly to short waves and road edges. The more payload, the better it feels. People over 80 kilograms have no problems, flyweights shake it up a lot. When things go very stupid, your handlebars start to fidget. SRAD, I’m just saying. Sorry: Maybe we could finally pull up the Pattex mixture? We didn’t go to Spain just for fun. Approved.

Joachim does his job. The smart man from the Metzeler racing service changes the tires in no time at all: only now, with the right tires, does it become apparent how well the gentlemen’s chassis engineers have worked in distant Nippon. What your creations are capable of under extreme conditions. As expected, the time differences become smaller. In fact, significantly less than the driving impressions suggest. Let’s send the Yamaha in again. Finally we are of one opinion, colleague: It doesn’t take two rounds to get used to the easy way of the old lady. No racer is that easy to conduct. It’s unbelievable how easily the 230 kilograms can be thrown through the three chicanes. The fact that the chassis indicates the tight speed with a few movements of its own is noted, but hardly affects the clean, narrow line.

Oh man, uh, woman, but the muffler that hits the ground early and hard, I can tell you: The good piece – yes, stainless steel – will take you into botany if you don’t take care. Only after the rear has been raised by means of a ten millimeter thick spacer sleeve under the upper strut mount can really fast laps be made. An intervention of this kind is also necessary with the ZX-7R. But not only because the thick, black-painted tailpipe sparks over the asphalt, the rear frame is raised by eight millimeters on the threaded spindle. The main problem with the Kawasaki is its stubborn cornering behavior. That is what I said. What was initially pushed onto the original tires continues with the Metzeler tires. The Greens do not seem to be comfortable with the narrow, angled course. A shame, because the ZX-7R was able to showcase its talents much better at the presentation on the lightning-fast GP track in Jerez (MOTORRAD 26/1995).

Compared to the Yamaha, the effort required to turn in is enormous. The Kawa constantly pushes outwards in the curves, a tight radius can hardly be maintained even with extreme weight shifts. And the worst: The harassment suddenly seems only half as wide. Fortunately, the rear suspension correction gives the ZX-7R a little more light-footedness. However, it only comes close to within reach of the Yamaha after the fork has been lowered by around 15 millimeters using the threaded plugs. Nevertheless, you always have the feeling of dragging sandbags with you.

Really heavy that metal – ey. Incidentally, when the rear is raised, the Kawasaki is also a little easier on excursions overland. The sitting position, however, defies description after this procedure. Annoying pounds are completely alien to the GSX-R. The lightweight masters changing lean angles like no other. Not entirely without strength, but much more spontaneous and direct than all of the competition. Once on the crooked path, it literally sucks itself onto the inner curb and only leaves this orbit when the pilot gives the command to pull the handlebars gently. Small uncertainties only arise if you accelerate too early in a full lean position. Although the standard version of the race-proven 190 rubber is as stable as ever, the Yamaha 180’s narrower 180 is ahead in terms of grip.

With small exceptions, all three racers can be set up almost perfectly for the big party (see frame settings box). Only on the Suzuki could the rebound damping on the shock absorber be a little tighter. When the adjusting screw is turned to the maximum, just as much damping is built up as is necessary for sports use. After a few quick laps and the temperature of the damper oil increasing, the GSX-R rear tends to teeter. On the Yamaha, you would want somewhat harder fork springs that prevent the front section from fully immersing when braking. In this case it is only good that the YZF brake works so badly. The effect is frightening at first, namely frighteningly small (see MOTORRAD 10/1995). Manual strength and controllability are also not the revelation. In other words: you have to pull like an ox for anything to happen. The suspicion of totally glazed coverings is unfortunately not confirmed during the subsequent dismantling. This deficiency seems to be the price that the YZF brake discs no longer have to be constantly renewed after heavy use. The Suzuki brakes are also not free from censorship. At first, the effect builds up only with a delay, only to increase brutally after a few meters, which is difficult to dose. Anyone who brakes hard at the last minute is constantly fighting against an ascending and difficult to control hindquarters. By replacing the now worn original pads with those of the GSX-R 1100, the response of the powerful six-piston system has improved.

The following applies not only to the tires: it’s the mix that counts. The ZX-7R shows what the right mix between the material of discs and pads looks like. Equipped with identical Tokico pliers as the GSX-R, it continues the tradition of the Kawasaki stoppers: poisonous to the bite, low in hand strength and precise in the dosage – predicate particularly valuable. Only the pressure point that moves towards the handlebars after six to seven laps casts a slight shadow over the Kawasaki, which shares this bad habit with the Suzuki. The suspicion arises that the relatively low speeds and the extremely hard braking sections in Calafat lead to thermal problems. There is no better way to say it. Starting with such mundane things as pillion suitability, light, wind and weather protection, even to me seems pretty silly.

At least it seems worth mentioning that on the Suzuki you sit just as modestly in the back as in the front and the Kawasaki itself is not a great light at night: In the deep-set eyes of the ZX-7R, which look pretty sad during the day, there is no bright light even in the dark. Now, please, don’t start with embarrassment like this here. Riding a motorcycle for two, yes, but voluntarily and not at night like that. Sure, slide 19 brown bills over the counter and unscrew the lights first. Who do you think the hardworking engineers work their asses for, for our amen.

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