1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy

The all-arounder

| November/December 2011

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    The 1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    The Suzuki GT550 featured Suzuki’s Ram Air cooling system, which, according to a period ad, “... works exactly like it’s name implies — it forces cooling air down and over the cylinders. So the 550 won’t lose any of its 50 horses from engine heat distortion.”
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    Although Zeki Abed enjoys riding each and every one of the 13 motorcycles in his collection, his 1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy gets ridden a little more than the rest of them.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    An old Suzuki GT550 Advertisement.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    The Suzuki GT550 featured Suzuki’s Ram Air cooling system, which, according to a period ad, “... works exactly like it’s name implies — it forces cooling air down and over the cylinders. So the 550 won’t lose any of its 50 horses from engine heat distortion.”
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy.
    Photo by Nick Cedar

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1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy
Claimed Power: 50hp @ 6,500rpm
Top Speed: 115mpg (period test)
Engine: 544cc 2-stroke air-cooled inline triple
Weight (wet): 481lb
MPG: 40-50mpg
Price then: $1,595
Price now: $1,500-$3,000

The 1975 Suzuki GT550 was the mama-bear-sized version of Suzuki’s GT range of touring and commuting two-stroke triples. Unlikely to get you in trouble and most certain to get you home, Suzuki’s GTs were the thinking person’s two strokes.

In the early Seventies, Suzuki’s flagship bike was the Suzuki T500 Titan two-stroke twin, a good, reliable, eminently rideable motorcycle that, even if it was being raced successfully, lacked the exciting qualities of some of its competitors. This was the era of Superbike — exciting, gorgeously styled, fast, powerful motorcycles. If Suzuki was going to stay in business, it needed a Superbike, and the Titan wasn’t it.

Triple Treat

The design Suzuki came up with for its Superbike was both clever and innovative: The engineers added a third cylinder to the existing twin and solved cooling problems by designing a compact water cooling system.



The result was launched at 1971’s Tokyo motorcycle show. The bike was officially cataloged as the Suzuki GT750 but unofficially labeled in the United States as the Water Buffalo. The Water Buffalo was well thought out, reliable and, unlike previous Suzukis, powerful. Heavy for its size, it was nevertheless a good touring machine, smooth and relatively quiet for a two stroke, with a rubber-mounted engine. Later models received disc brakes and constant velocity carburetors.

In early 1972, Suzuki announced a smaller triple — minus the water cooling but boasting a six-speed gearbox. The Suzuki GT380 had cubic capacity of 371cc and produced (according to Suzuki) 38 horsepower at 7,500rpm. A cast shield over the top of the cylinder heads — designated the Ram Air System by the advertising department — directed more air past the fins for better air cooling.

Dennis Castner
10/20/2011 10:32:45 AM

Attn: Margie Siegal. In your Nov/Dec 2011 Magazine you wrote an article about the 1975 Suzuki GT550 Indy. The owner is Zeki and I am Dennis Castner, the person that did the restoration of that bike. You put my name in your article as the person that did the restoration. Since you did that and I can not find your Magazine any where around where I live here in Mound House, NV I was wondering if you could send me a copy of the Nov/Dec 2011 issue. My address is 177 Garnet Circle, Mound House, NV 89706. Thanks in advance. Dennis Castner







November December Vintage Motorcycle Events

Blue Moon Cycle Euro Bike Swap Meet and Vintage Ride


Join Motorcycle Classics for the 28th Annual Blue Moon Cycle Euro Bike Swap Meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, followed by the Blue Moon Cycle Vintage Ride on Sunday, Oct. 28!

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