Arguably, the Suzuki GS750 was the first superbike from Japan to get it right. Sure, the CB750 hit the showrooms 7 years earlier and the faster Kawasaki Z900 came into production four years before the Suzuki.
But neither of those handled well. The Honda was akin to that of current day middleweight cruisers when it came to power and handling, whereas the Kawasaki had enough motor to totally overpower its chassis, enough so that it could really bite an inexperienced rider.
But not so the Suzuki. For the first time, you could buy a superbike that had a chassis good enough to handle the stock power as well as a bit of engine tuning.
At the time, 1976, that was virtually unheard of for a big and fast motorcycle, and it was only fitting that it was brought forward by the last of the Big Four to introduce a four-stroke motorcycle. Because up to that day, Suzuki had made exclusively two-stroke engined motorcycles.
The new inline four had more than a superficial resemblance with the Kawasaki 900. They shared virtually the same cylinder bore, crankshafts, camshafts and the exact same valve sizes; heck, they even shared the very same valve adjustment shims and valve timing! Surprisingly, and disappointingly, the smaller Suzuki engine was 25 mm wider than that of the Z900. As a little consolation, it had a new feature in form of a fully automatic cam chain tensioner, relieving the owner of this typical maintenance task. Modern riders who take liquid cooling, fuel injection, 4 valve cylinder heads and close to 200 hp per litre for granted may not be impressed by the old Suzuki, which only made half the power from its air cooled DOHC engine.
It also sported a lowly two valves per cylinder and was fed by 26 mm slide carburettors. But despite not being particularly modern even by its day, it performed very well compared to the competition...