Last Updated: 4/05/08
I have to admit, this wasn't a bike I had ever had much desire for, maybe more of a morbid curiosity. So when I found two non-runners for sale I figured to get them both running, sell one, and restore the other for my ride at the '08 Barber Vintage Festival. Then I'd probably sell it too. So I picked the rattier of the two and stripped it down, and proceeded to go through the other one to make a good rider out of it. Then I started riding it, and I discovered why these bikes have such a cult following. At speed on the road it is dead smooth. With all three cylinders firing in one revolution of the crank, it has the firing characteristics of an inline six four-stroke. The riding position is very comfortable, upright, with a nice wide seat, and makes a great two-up mount. And if you like two-strokers, like I obviously do, (just look at my other bike choices), you'll fall in love with the motor. It revs freely, has a nice surge at about 5-6k rpm, and the sounds it makes take me back to my carefree days of riding my RD in the 70s. Although I do have this one for sale, I'm not real anxious to see it go before I have the other one back together.
I found the leather tool pouch at a local bike shop and mounted on the forks just under the headlight and filled it with all the appropriate tools, like I do for all my bikes. But honestly, I've never had to break them out on the road for this bike. I've probably put 3k miles on it since I got it running back in November of '07 and it's never let me down.
I rebuilt the carbs, replaced all the coolant hoses, put in a new set of points and condensors, and that's about all I did to the motor. It had great compression on all cylinders, and starts and idles fine, so I didn't see any need to go into it any further. I'm not a real fan of vacuum petcocks, I like to run the gas out of the carbs if I'm going to park the bike for any length of time. So I took the plate and lever off the petcock and rotated them 180 degrees and remounted them. Now I have a positive 'off' with the lever straight up, to the rear is 'prime', and to the front is 'reserve'. I just reset the odometer after every fill up and refuel around 120 miles.
The pipes were in pretty good shape. No rust, good chrome, a few dents but that just adds character. I repacked the silencers. I also installed new chain and sprockets, and a new set of Dunlops.
Nice wide bars, a comfortable upright seating position, and plenty of room to move around make for a wonderful place to spend a day riding. It's a big motorcycle, about 560 lbs dry, and somewhat tall, but doesn't feel unwieldy when riding it. It's really a very nice old-school sport-tourer. The sticker on the rear fender is from when it was once registered in Kentucky in 1978. The Water Buffalo faithful may notice I've removed the radiator crash bar. I just like the way it looks without it.
This view from the bars was considered 'space-age' in the day, with a gear indicator, water temp gauge, speedo and tach, and an array of idiot lights. The disc brake was new in 1973. The original 750 in 1972 had a double leading shoe drum. Disc brake pad material left a lot to be desired in 1974, braking power was severely reduced in the rain. The bike has a nice original seat with no rips or tears, a rarity for this old of a bike.
The Suzuki GT750 Water Buffalo, don't knock it until you try it!