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The History Of Suzuki GT Series Motorcycle


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The Suzuki GT series of motorcycles was introduced to the world in the fall of 1971 as 1972 model year (MY) motorcycles. The final MY of production was 1977 although some markets continued to receive the GT380 to the end of the 1980 MY. In the interests of brevity the single-cylinder models designated as GT have been omitted from this article because they were produced much later and were not true grand tourer (GT) models in the strictest sense. The GT550 and GT750 also sported electric starting which is not truly necessary on a two-stroke engine, even ones as large as these. Apparently the sales department felt that the “electric leg” was a must-have item to keep up with the competitors. All other models, with the exception of the GT185, were kick start only. All models were equipped with five-speed transmissions with the exception of the GT250 and GT380 which had a six-speed.

A marketing anomaly concerned the GT380. The actual engine displacement as introduced in the 1972 MY was 371cc and the 380 stayed this way until the end of production for most market areas. However, for the Italian market only, the GT380 received a displacement increase to 384cc starting with the 1975 MY. This engine size was continued through to the end of production for Italy alone. This was a counter to an Italian government import ban on bikes less than 380cc and less than 170 kg. Suzuki simply increased the bore of the GT380 to 55 mm, thus making the engine capacity now 384cc. Suzuki also made sure that the data plate riveted to the frame showed a weight of 171 kg. The 1974 MY also saw Suzuki introduce the GT125 to the motorcycling world. This model was similar in layout to the GT185 but with a shorter wheelbase and smaller engine displacement so shared only a few common parts. Also for the 1973 MY, Suzuki introduced the GT185 twin-cylinder model, which was equipped with Ram Air cooling and drum brakes front and rear. It was marketed in North America as the “Adventurer”. It also had a unique combination electric starter/generator setup. For the 1974 MY, the GT185 gained a single-disk front brake to rationalize it with the other GT models. It then remained basically unchanged, except for colour and trim items, through to the end of production with the 1978 MY. In some markets the GT185 became the RG185 and was sold with different trim.

For the 1973 MY, the venerable T250 twin was updated with new bodywork, gained Ram Air cooling, a single disk brake in front and was now designated GT250. This model thus filled the important 250cc displacement slot in Suzuki’s GT lineup. The GT250 retained its original engine and six-speed transmission, both remaining basically unchanged from the T20 X6 Hustler of 1966 through the T250 model to the 1972 MY. The marketing name of “Hustler” was retained for the North American market. The GT250 continued on with minor changes until the 1976 MY when the engine was changed substantially, both internally and externally.For the 1976 MY, the aging two-cylinder T500 Titan was given a new front end with a single-disk brake as well as freshened up bodywork. It was henceforth known as the GT500. The GT500 was discontinued at the end of the 1977 MY, so had a very short production life. With the 1977 MY Suzuki, bowing to the inevitable, had introduced its line of four-stroke GS machines starting with the 750cc and the 400cc twin-cylinder. These were soon followed by the 550 four-cylinder and a little later the 1000 four-cylinder models. The two-strokes and four-strokes were sold side by side for one MY. The glory days of smooth and sophisticated two-stroke road machines came to an end with the 1977 MY. For more info about Honda Motorcycle Fairings, Motorrad Verkleidungen and Honda Fairings, please visit our website!

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  • Posted On April 16, 2012
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