Smokin’ Suzuki: 1973 Suzuki GT750K

042616 Barn Finds - 1973 Suzuki GT750 - 1

Thanks to Jim S. for sending in this find; it’s a 1973 Suzuki GT750K that has been in storage for the last couple of decades. This Candy Jackal Blue bike is located in Wharton, New Jersey and is listed on eBay with a starting bid of, gulp, $2,200! I love it that they go for the gusto on the price, since my three-cylinder 750 Yamaha has been in storage for even longer than this one has been; that gives me hope. I love two-stroke bikes, whether they leave a trail of candy jackal blue smoke or not.

042616 Barn Finds - 1973 Suzuki GT750 - 2

By 1973, Suzuki was a year into the GT750 model and they started making improvements. Some say that the first year GT750, the 1972 GT750J, is the most desirable one and they’re easily identifiable by the drum brakes on the front wheel. In 1973, Suzuki was the first manufacturer to offer dual disc brakes on the front. I never knew this bike by the name that Suzuki wanted folks to know it as, the LeMans. I knew it as the “Water Buffalo”, due to it being water-cooled. I’m pretty sure that most people in the US casually referred to the GT750 as the Water Buffalo, too. Our friends in Britain knew it as the “Kettle” and our mates in Australia knew it as the “Waterbottle”. It was the first Japanese motorcycle with a water-cooled engine so it was breaking ground on a few fronts.

042616 Barn Finds - 1973 Suzuki GT750 - 4

The GT750 was, more or less, a Suzuki T500 Titan two-stroke twin with another cylinder attached to it. Being a triple with four exhaust pipes meant that they had to graft one exhaust pipe to another one and they called that the ECTS, or Exhaust Coupler Tube System. There is a bit of work to do here for sure, the seller says that the bike rolls but seems to be locked up, that’s rarely a good sign. And, you’ll want to change the seat back to an OEM-type non-king-queen seat. Here’s what’s under the seat. If this was a Suzuki snowmobile I would think that there would be a spare sparkplug in that pill bottle but maybe it’s something that they want to keep dry, other than pills.

042616 Barn Finds - 1973 Suzuki GT750 - 3

There it is, in all of its strapped-in glory: Suzuki’s triple, two-stroke, water-cooled wonder! These engines really have a unique sound as heard on this YouTube video of a gorgeous 750 in perfect condition. This was the first two-stroke that had a special system designed to cut down on the classic two-stroke-blue-smoke and Suzuki called that the SRIS, or Suzuki Recycle Injection System, which burned the left-over oil in the bottom of the crank chambers. The whole engine will have to come out and be rebuilt, but you’ll do that anyway since you’ll have to paint the frame and polish up the exhaust, etc. I really like these bikes, the GT750 has been on my wish list for years. Could you see yourself riding a huge two-cycle triple like this one or are you a V-twin or inline-four bike lover?

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Comments

  1. Cody

    That seems like way to much money for a 40 year old bike with a locked up motor. Don’t get me wrong, the old water buffaloes are cool, but if the motor is locked up, I can’t imagine what else is bad.

    -brakes are probably full of rust and needing rebuilt.
    -All of the rubber intake parts are probably hard/brittle and need replaced. You still may be able to get OEM but I doubt it.
    -battery
    -tires
    -Since it is water cooled, I’m sure a coolant flush is needed and possible radiator repair/resotore.
    -Looks like no air filter box, would have to source that too. This may be tough. You could go with pods or something, but those are a pain in the ass and require rejetting the carb.
    -carbs need rebuilt.
    -I’m sure more…

    All that plus stuff I’m forgetting, and rebuilding the motor….

    I’m thinking 1000 or less would be far more appropriate. It will be interesting to see if anyone bids.

    • Owain

      No more than $800 – 1000, very hard to get parts for the early ones

  2. Bob S

    Overpriced. I’d imagine a perfect one is about 4K.

  3. Howard A Member

    No question who sent this in. I think the Suzuki GT750 was probably the most civilized 2 cycle road bike made. However, it would be short lived, as in line 4 cycle 4 cylinders were all the rage, and Suzuki knew it. Someone may correct me, but I believe Suzuki was the last to offer a 4 cycle 4 cylinder bike, with the GS in ’76. With liquid cooling, and constant engine temps, the tolerances can be tighter, and a lot of people put a lot of miles on these. While I’ve gotten old, and the sound of a 2 cycle actually annoys me now, I had a lot of fun with 2 cycle dirt bikes. This is about the only 2 cycle I’d want for the street, and yes, they still smoke, a lot. I think this was one of Suzuki’s more popular bikes of the time. Cool find, Scotty, as usual.

    • jim s

      suzuki was late to the 4 cycle 4 cyl. bike market after spending way to much time and money on bring the RE5 to market. however the gs series were great bike from the start and kept getting better. then suzuki brought out the first GSXR’s which were great road and roadrace bike right off the showroom floor.

  4. cyclemikey

    Yes, he’s probably optimistic on the price.

    Yes, it definitely needs complete restoration.

    No, you aren’t likely to get it for $800.

    No, they are not hard at all to source parts for.

    No, they don’t smoke much at all on modern synthetic 2-stroke oil.

    No, you can’t buy a perfect one for $4000, unless you can time-travel back 15 years.

  5. Ross W. Lovell

    . Greetings All,

    Love the Water Buffalo. While not set up like the Kawasaki 750 for racing, the engine was great proving watercooling could help on a two-stroke and give more consistent performance.

    This and the Wankel RE-5 that Suzuki made reflect an era of design and engineering we are sorely lacking.

    Clean sheet of paper started these designs, nothing warmed over here. These engineers went out on a limb getting these to production.

  6. Paul R

    Owned a 75 model and rode it many miles. It had a red digital gear position indicator on the speedo cluster that was really neat. Was a dependable bike water cooled , it did well in hot Florida climates. Smoked some, but never fouled plugs with auto mix.
    It was a quick bike at the time, and sounded great also.
    I like these 2 stroke bikes.

  7. Tom hetrick

    had one and sold it for 5K. they have a great following. parts are actually easy to find for most folks who don’t mind web search. handles like crap!

  8. Kevin

    In it’s current condition, the 4 most valuable parts on this bike are the 4 exhaust tips/cones. I have a motorcycle salvage yard here in NW Iowa and over the years have had (and still have a few) at least a dozen Kettles. The J model was a one year only bike due to the 4LS (four leading shoe) front hub. This K model was also a one year only due mainly to the cones and frame side covers it shared with the J. The L model was the first year with completely different mufflers and side covers, among other small changes. Last year I sold a stunning all original, 13,000 mile B (1977) model to DK Motorcycles in England (along with 80 more of my better bikes, I’m still depressed about letting go of my beloved ’72 Kawasaki S2 350 triple). They’ll make a tidy profit as they paid only $3500 for it. I also sold them 3 of my 9 T500 Titans and two ’76 GT500’s. Money may talk but now I sure do regret losing them.

  9. Alan (Michigan)

    Two summers ago I noticed one of these parked behind a metals business I was at to buy some aluminum sheet. Belonged to one of the shop guys, and he was kind enough to chat about it a little while.

    Something I noticed right away (hard to miss, really) was the extremely well-done expansion chambers on the bike, in place of the usual baffled pipes. He told me that he had come across them quite by accident when looking for something else for the Suzuki. Most shocking was that they were “factory racing” parts, and not many at all were made. Somehow they had sat on a back shelf at a dealership for decades. Bolted right on, after deleting the center stand. I must say, that particular bike sounded so much better/meaner than any other I have ever been within earshot of.

  10. treg forsyth

    Mines a 1977, parts are plentifull, ebay is loaded with lots of OEM and repop stuff, buy now prices keep climbing.

    Like 1
  11. treg forsyth

    77

    Like 1

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