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Suzuki GT380, Suzuki not so heavy three-cylinder

Suzuki GT380
ER Classics Desktop 2022

"Bigger is always better" and "a heavy one is your true one." Yet there are always more middle class cars than top pieces sold in motorcycle and car areas. The reason for this is clear: "Costs less, but is similar to ..."

So three-cylinder

Suzuki's GT line had the three-cylinder topper in the two-stroke time and the GT750 was the topper of the three-cylinder. Rightly so. That liquid chilled touring bike was big, heavy, strong, beautiful and incredibly good quality. At Suzuki, the designation GT stood for what it was: "Grand Touring." In contrast to the three-cylinder approach at Kawasaki, the brand that made three-cylinder with an unstoppable temperament. The Suzuki Suzuki GT380 was therefore a civilized touring motorcycle. For cost reasons, it was not liquid-cooled. But the middle cylinder was sufficiently ventilated by Suzuki's 'Ram Air' system: he was wearing a cap with a valve. Well thought out. Yet these motorcycles were named that the middle cylinder was sensitive to crashes.


Separate lubrication

The lubrication of the GT was also handled by Suzuki's revised separate oil system, which from that time was called 'CCI'. Another thing from the wet corner: the Suzuki GT380 had a vacuum-operated fuel tap. Among them were three Mikuni VS24SC carburetors. A Suzuki GT380 was not very strong (tight 40 hp), not very fast (160 km / h) and was not lightweight (empty 171 kg). But the six-speed GT380s with their gear indicators were decent, beautifully finished motorcycles, and Suzuki had the reputation of a human-friendly pricing. The power source was not nervous and on board there was serious room for two people. But with very brave driving, they became a bit unstable. The fact that the footrests were rigidly mounted (and the exhaust system) meant that the ground clearance had its limits in fast turns.

In the meantime, of course, there were loud, power-increasing expansion exhausts for sale for this best brave Suzuki. After all, they were 'the seventies'.

Later than the GT750

Suzuki presented the Suzuki GT380 and GT 550 in 1972, one year after the GT750 was released. With a few changes, the machines were made for only a few years. Because two-stroke branches went out of fashion because of their consumption and environmental legislation. Fortunately they are still there. And they have not yet entered the price frenzy for classics. Our photo model. A nice winter project, we found at Dutch Lion Motors in Grubbenvorst. The engine has been sold immediately.

A problem

A known problem was the 'howling' gearbox. Especially with driving and the 4e and / or 5e acceleration there can be a whooping sound. This indicates 'pitting' in the gears. "Pitting" is wear on the teeth of the gear. If the oil is pressed between the tooth flanks, the two metal parts come together, which results in accelerated wear. This occurs with bad or too little oil. Good used gearbox parts are rather scarce.

Meanwhile, in Italy

In Italy something strange happened with the Suzuki GT380. The actual engine capacity as introduced for 1972 was 371cc and the 380 remained this way until the end of production for most markets. Only for the Italian market did the Suzuki GT380 grow from model year 1975 to 384cc. This engine capacity was only used in Italy until the end of production. There was an administrative reason behind this. There was an import ban from the Italian government on bicycles less than 380 cc and less than 170 kg. Suzuki therefore increased the bore of the Suzuki GT380 to 55 mm, so that the engine capacity became 384cc. Suzuki also made sure that the nameplate riveted to the frame proudly displayed the weight of 171 kg.

Suzuki GT380

3 Comments

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  1. 1st motorcycle was a GT 380 Sebring kept stock 3 into 4 exhaust system reworked baffles and jetted up carbs, had a Titan 500 front wheel on it braked better than the disc brake, used to hunt down RD 350 Yammys and surprise them when the 380 kept pulling away like a freight train, sadly this bike was stolen in Melbourne Victoria then found 9 months later siezed and dumped in Mt McKinley Queensland replaced it with a Honda K1 750/4

  2. 2 stroke RULES!

    I like the Kawa's cooler but still…

    An old comrade of mine had a GT20 about a year ago or 380 in almost original condition.

    Was nice, really that 'ringgdingggdinngggg' two-stroke sound! 😍

    I have no idea what happened to it and / or if he still has it when I think about it !?

    And in my old hometown in NH is a guy who to this day is busy with 2-stroke motorcycles but more with Kawa and Yamaha, all nice stuff!

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