Where did Suzuki start?
It would be a great pub quiz question. “What was Suzuki’s first product?” You’d be forgiven for going for a motorbike, or perhaps even a pedal bike, but no, the answer is a loom! The Suzuki Loom Works opened in Japan in 1909 making weaving looms for the cotton industry.
In fact, it was nearly 50 years later when Suzuki made its first ‘motorbike’ which was actually a motorised bicycle - literally a 36cc engine strapped to a bicycle frame!
10 years later in 1962, Suzuki had their first success in motorbike racing, the sport in which they’d become famous from then on. Ernst Degner powered to victory in the TT before going on to become the 50cc world champion.
By the 1970’s, Suzuki had added world titles in the 125, 250 and Motocross categories too. 1976 was for British fans, one of their finest years. The great Barry Sheene roared to his first world title on the RG500, the famous bike taking all of the top six places in the championship.
In the 1980’s Suzuki’s road bikes had well and truly caught up with their bigger brothers from the track. The GSX1100S Katana and GSX-R750 were by now setting the standard for road bike performance.
By 2012 GSX-R series production had gone beyond a million bikes, and it continues to delight riders as it had done for 30 years.