If we could turn back the clock and pick which bargain bikes were going to become future classics, there would be some serious money to have been made. And one of those bikes you’d have bought is without a doubt the 1996 to 1999 Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD. Anytime they come up in conversation among bikers someone chimes in “I owned a ’97, such a great bike, I can’t believe I sold it”. Offloaded for a pittance a decade ago, they now fetch high premiums as people yearn for the days of the true analogue sport bike, no traction control or ABS, just the skill of the rider. Hailing from The Netherlands, Ammar is one such man, but he knew if he was going to build himself a ’90s classic it had to be done right. So, he’s left no stone unturned in ensuring his Revv Motorcycles 1998 SRAD is a picture perfect race replica for the roads.

The original GSX-R750 hit the streets in the early ’80s, as fully faired sportbikes were becoming the thing to have, and the race version was an instant success claiming the top spot on the podium in its first attempt at Le Mans in 1985. It remained the bike to have until 1992 when Honda came along with the Fireblade and completely changed the landscape once again. Something would have to change and the 1996 SRAD 750 was a sensation, launched alongside a picture of its silhouette laid over Kevin Schwantz’s 1993 championship-winning Grand Prix bike, the image demonstrated that the new road bike had the same wheelbase and rake as the racer. You could even get factory offerings with the livery of your racing heroes and a legend had been born.

A few decades later and Ammar was on the hunt for a new motorcycle to fit into his garage, “Everything started about one and a half years ago. I always wanted to have a ’90s racing motorcycle, the one I’ve been dreaming of. Classic headlight structure, iron bars holding the head fairings, and a large bulky tail. After thorough research, I decided to get the 1998 Suzuki GSXR 750, which had both the classic look and modern fuel injection.” He chose wisely, it really is the pick of the bunch and for his 35th birthday, Ammar had found a clean example with just 21,000km on the clock. Now having the bike in his possession he sunk his time into riding it, doing a track day and simply falling in love.

That love started to turn into a large collection of parts and thankfully this is another area where the SRAD makes a hell of a lot of sense. Suzuki through their vintage parts program has ensured that you can get your hands on just about any part or piece you need, particularly from the mechanical side of things. They’re also proving a hot thing to have in the racing world, with Team Classic Suzuki building one for Michael Dunlop to campaign at the Manx GP this year, and JHS racing developing a host of performance parts for them too. Try and build the same collection of bits for another bike of the same period and you’d really struggle.

Getting the bike mechanically spot on was the first major task, and with the SRAD models known for having weak brakes, Ammar quickly discovered that a set of adaptors can be bought that allow you to bolt on some vastly superior Brembo calipers to solve the problem. A set of stainless lines send the power to the new calipers and armed with a pair of big discs, the braking is now spot on. “Throughout the bike’s restoration, I was in constant contact with Mim Motor. I had complete trust in him because he also owned a 1996 SRAD. He knew every single bolt very well,” Ammar explains.

So, the decision was made to send the bike to Mim in Turkey and have the bike literally stripped down to the last washer and rebuilt from the ground up with a host of new factory parts. “After shipping the bike to Istanbul, we had to decide on the design. I was inspired by the design of the Porsche 935 Moby Dick ‘J.David’, which I admired. We adapted the colour palette and lines to the motorcycle body. After months of trials, we settled on this design. The hornet design on the tail, the white front look, removing the stock headlights… and more.”

The new panels, the paint and the quality of the finish have Ammar’s bike looking absolutely brilliant. Sure you can’t ride it at night, but who would want to splatter bugs all over that beautiful front end?

The work on the rebuild took about two months, with the rest of the time spent ensuring all of the mechanicals had been checked and refreshed.  To complete the fuel-injected and SRAD (Suzuki Ram Air Direct) equipped engine, which offers a stout 134bhp from the factory, there was a special item waiting. You can’t have a GSX-R without a period correct Yoshimura muffler and not only does it look the business, but you can also finally hear the glorious engine sing at full song.

A rebuild like this is as much about elbow grease as fitting new parts and boy have the team pulled it off, with Ammar’s finished GSX-R 750 SRAD now the thing fantasies are made of.

[ Revv Motorcycles ]