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The Remarkable History of Suzuki

The Remarkable History of Suzuki

Suzuki started off with the production of loom machinery. Michio Suzuki, the founder of the company, was determined to make a huge name for himself and Suzuki. Despite a humble beginning, the company is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world today. Suzuki is also one of the most versatile manufacturers with production and assembly plants all over the world. The company is an expert in manufacturing cars, ATVs, automobile engines, marine outboard motors, motorized wheelchairs, and motorcycles. Suzuki is one of the top Japanese manufacturers, along with Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha with the lowest failure rate and high reliability. When it comes to speed, power, and agility, Suzuki has produced some of the world’s fastest motorcycles, particularly the Suzuki Hayabusa. Read this article to learn about the remarkable history of Suzuki.

1. Suzuki

Suzuki

Founded In October 1909
Headquarters Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan
Founder Michio Suzuki
Industry Automotive
Chairman Osamu Suzuki
President Toshihiro Suzuki
Products Cars
Motorcycles
Engines
All-Terrain Vehicles
Outboard Motors

2. The Remarkable History of Suzuki

1909

2.1 Establishment of Suzuki Loom Works

Establishment of Suzuki Loom Works

Photo Credit: Haustrom

Suzuki started its journey in 1909 when Michio Suzuki established Suzuki Loom Works in a small village, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan. The company initially used to produce sewing and weaving machinery, known as the loom. The silk industry in Japan was at its peak at that time which eventually benefitted Suzuki Loom Works to flourish.

1929

Later in 1929, Suzuki Loom Works became a leading name in loom production, and the founder, Michio Suzuki started expanding the business by exporting the sewing machinery to the global market.

1937

Suzuki was focused on producing loom machines for almost 30 years. In 1937, the company decided to diversify its product range. After careful consideration and market research, Michio Suzuki decided to enter the automobile market by first producing small cars.

1939

2.2 The Production of Suzuki’s First Prototype Cars

After working on automobile technology for two years, Suzuki successfully produced several small prototype cars. These prototype cars were powered by a four-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine, having a displacement of less than 800cc designed by Suzuki and was considered a paramount innovation at that time. The four-cylinder engine was capable of delivering a horsepower of 13 hp.

1939-1945

2.3 World War II Era

The Japanese government declared commercial cars a non-essential commodity during World War II and consequently, Suzuki had to stop working on car production.

1946-1950

2.4 Post-World War II

After World War II ended in 1945, Suzuki started working on producing looms. The Japanese local loom market witnessed a boom as the U.S. government agreed to export cotton to Japan. Suzuki Loom Works started receiving orders in large numbers from the local textile manufacturers.

1951

2.5 Collapse of the Cotton Industry

Suzuki Loom Works underwent a tough time as the cotton industry collapsed in 1951.

1952

After the collapse of the cotton industry in 1951, Suzuki decided to revert to automotive manufacturing. This time, the company decided to manufacture motorized bicycles.

2.6 Power Free - Suzuki’s First Motorized Bicycle

Power Free - Suzuki’s First Motorized Bicycle

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1952, Suzuki produced its first-ever motorized bicycle, the Power Free, which was fitted with a 36 cc two-stroke engine, capable of producing a horsepower of 1 hp. This motorized bicycle allowed the rider to power the rear wheel with either the machine or pedaling. Suzuki also received government incentives to continue its research and development of motorcycles.

1953

2.7 60 cc Suzuki Diamond Free Motorized Bicycle

60 cc Suzuki Diamond Free Motorized Bicycle

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1953, Suzuki successfully manufactured another motorized bicycle, the 60 cc Suzuki Diamond Free.

1954

2.8 From “Suzuki Loom Works” to “Suzuki Motor Co”

Within two years after the production of Power Free, Suzuki was capable of producing more than 6,000 motorcycles per month to become Suzuki Motor Co.

2.9 Suzuki Colleda CO - Suzuki’s First Motorcycle

In 1954, Suzuki introduced its first two-stroke motorcycle, called the Suzuki Colleda CO, powered by an air-cooled 90 cc four-stroke, twin-cylinder engine capable of delivering a horsepower of 3 hp. It was a true classic masterpiece with a blacked-out and chrome finish. This motorcycle’s kickstarter was attached to the left side of the engine, and a fishtail muffler was installed on the right side. The Suzuki Colleda CO had several technical features, including a coil-spring suspended seat, plunger rear shocks, telescopic front forks, headlamp, tail light, and speedometer.

1955

2.10 Suzuki Suzulight - Suzuki’s First Car

Suzuki Suzulight - Suzuki’s First Car

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

After producing motorcycles successfully for three consecutive years, Suzuki also built its first car, called the Suzuki Suzulight. This car had independent suspensions and a front-wheel drive system.

2.11 Suzuki Colleda COX and the Colleda ST

In 1955, Suzuki also introduced the Suzuki Colleda COX and the Colleda ST with a more powerful engine. The former was fitted with a 125 cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine capable of producing a horsepower of 4 hp, and the Colleda ST was fitted with a 125 cc two-stroke, single-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 5.5 hp. Apart from the bigger engine, both motorcycles shared a close resemblance with the Suzuki Colleda CO.

1956

2.12 Suzuki Colleda TT

Suzuki Colleda TT

Photo Credit: Old Bike Mag

In 1956, Suzuki introduced another successful Colleda model, called the Suzuki Colleda TT with a more powerful 250 cc engine. It was a sports model, inspired by American motorcycles with a twin-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 16 hp and a torque of 20.6 Nm. The Suzuki Colleda TT was a stylish motorcycle with two-piece rider and passenger seats, leading-link front forks, twin rear shock absorbers, and dual exhaust pipes on both sides. Despite weighing 348 lbs (158 kg), this motorcycle could attain a top speed of 130 km/h.

1957

2.13 Change of Leadership

In 1957, Shunzo Suzuki, Michio Suzuki’s son was elected as the new president of the company. Meanwhile, Michio took charge as the company’s advisor.

1958

2.14 Adoption of the “S” Emblem

In 1958, Suzuki adopted the “S” symbol as the company’s logo and emblem.

1959

2.15 Colleda Sel Twin SB - The Door to the Future Suzuki Sport Models

In 1959, Suzuki successfully developed the world’s first-ever motorcycle equipped with a two-stroke, two-cylinder engine in the 125 cc category, capable of delivering a horsepower of 9.863 hp and a torque of 10.8 Nm. It was the first Suzuki motorcycle to receive an electric starter. It was a lightweight motorcycle, weighing only 118 kg and could attain a top speed of 110 km/h.

2.16 All-New Suzuki Suzulight TL 360

In the same year, Suzuki also introduced the upgraded version of the Suzuki Suzulight, with a more powerful 360 cc two-stroke engine capable of a horsepower of 20.7 hp.

2.17 Typhoon Vera’s Destruction

In 1959, a strong cyclone, Typhon Vera struck Japan, and as a result, Suzuki’s assembly plant was destroyed.

1960

In 1960, Suzuki was able to develop a new assembly plant to continue its production.

2.18 Colleda Sel Twin SB-2 - The Upgraded Model

In 1960, Suzuki introduced the upgraded version, called the Suzuki Colleda Sel Twin SB-2. Despite having the same displacement size, the engine ensured fast and powerful performance. The 124 cc two-stroke, twin-cylinder engine was extracted from the race-inspired Suzuki Colleda RT model that featured in the 1960 Isle of Man TT races. The motorcycle was capable of delivering a horsepower of 11.34 hp and a torque of 10.8 Nm. The Suzuki Colleda Sel Twin SB-2 received several advanced features, including a twin-carburetor system, oil lubrication system, and combustion timing. It was the first motorcycle fitted with a lever-operated carburetor system.

1961

2.19 Suzuki Loom Works Became a Separate Division

In 1961, Suzuki Loom Works became a separate division, called the Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co.

1962

2.20 Colleda 125SK - The Ideal Daily Commuter

The Suzuki Colleda 125 SK was another Colleda model released in 1962, ideal for daily commutes and weekend rides. This motorcycle had the same engine, producing similar power output and torque as the Suzuki Colleda Sel Twin SB-2. However, the Suzuki Colleda 125SK ensured an upright riding position thanks to the upright handlebars, along with a cushioned rider seat and oil-damped suspensions ensuring a comfortable riding experience.

2.21 Grand Victory at the First 50 cc Grand Prix Racing Seasons

In 1962, Suzuki secured a victory in the 50 cc Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing at the Isle of Man TT held for the first time after a tough competition with Honda, Suzuki, and Kreidler. Ernst Degner, who won the championship for Suzuki, was riding the Suzuki RM62, a sports-racing model.

1963

2.22 Winning Grand Prix Road-Racing World Championship

Suzuki managed to secure the first spot in the 1963 Grand Prix Road-Racing World Championship in the 50 cc and 125 cc categories. The remarkable victories at the Grand Prix also made Suzuki win the Manufacturers’ Title of the same year and helped its two-stroke engine technology gain immense popularity. Suzuki became well-known for producing the best two-stroke engine technology.

In the 50 cc Grand Prix race at the Isle of Man TT, Ernst Degner’s motorcycle broke down, and Misuo Itoh, who also participated for Suzuki, became the first Japanese rider to win the Grand Prix World Championship title at the IoM TT.

2.23 Establishing U.S. Suzuki Motor Corp

In 1963, Suzuki established a subsidiary in Los Angeles, U.S., known as the U.S. Suzuki Motor Corp., as its expansion strategy.

1965

2.24 D55 Engine - Suzuki’s First Outboard Motor

In 1965, Suzuki stepped into the outboard motor market by successfully manufacturing the DFF engine, a two-stroke outboard engine capable of a horsepower of 5.5 hp.

1966

2.25 Suzuki T20 - The Fastest 250 cc Motorcycle

Suzuki T20 - The Fastest 250 cc Motorcycle

Photo Credit: Car & Classic

Introduced in 1966 to target the American motorcycle market, the Suzuki T20 gained international recognition due to its world-leading high-speed performance in the 250 cc category. Powered by a 247 cc two-stroke, parallel-twin engine capable of delivering a horsepower of 29 hp, this motorcycle could attain a top speed of 152 km/h (94 mph). The Suzuki T20 also became known as Super Six, X6, and Hustler in different international markets due to being equipped with a six-speed transmission.

1967

2.26 Establishing Thai Suzuki Motor Corp.

In 1967, Suzuki expanded further while establishing a new assembly plant in Thailand, called the Thai Suzuki Motor Corp thanks to the growing popularity and high demand. In the same year, Suzuki also built a new local plant in Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan.

2.27 Winning 1967 Grand Prix World Championship

Suzuki won the 1967 Grand Prix World Championship season.

1968

As a result of the changing of rules by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), Suzuki withdrew from the 1968 Grand Prix World Championship.

2.28 Suzuki T500 - The Largest Two-Stroke Engine Motorcycle of Its Time

In 1968, Suzuki introduced a large-displacement model in its T lineup, called the Suzuki T500, with a 500 cc two-stroke, twin-cylinder engine capable of delivering a horsepower of 47 hp. The Suzuki T500 Titan could attain a top speed of 169 km/h (105 mph). This motorcycle was released in several international markets. It was initially named Cobra and was later renamed Titan after receiving an objection from Ford Motor Company.

1969

Suzuki established another local plant in Oyabe, Toyama, Japan.

1970

In 1970, Suzuki built a metal factory at Ogasa, Shizuoka. To improve its automobile production capacity, a new automobile plant was developed in Kosai, Shizuoka, Japan.

2.29 Winning at Isle of Man TT

Frank Whiteway secured an easy win at the Isle of Man TT for Suzuki in the 500 cc category while riding the modified Suzuki T500 by Eddie Crooks.

1971

In 1971, Suzuki established another new manufacturing plant in Toyokawa, Aichi, Japan to shift the manufacturing of its large and midsize motorcycles.

2.30 Suzuki GT750 - Japan's First Liquid-Cooled Engine Motorcycle

The Suzuki GT750, also known as “Le Mans” in the North American market, was an iconic Suzuki motorcycle powered by a 739 cc two-stroke, three-cylinder engine capable of delivering a horsepower of 67 hp. The Suzuki GT750 was the first-ever Japanese motorcycle to receive liquid-cooled engine technology. It was a heavyweight motorcycle, weighing 482 lbs (219 kg).

2.31 Suzuki TM400 - The Class-Leading Motocross

In 1971, Suzuki achieved another engineering milestone by introducing a dirt-worthy motocross motorcycle, powered by a 396 cc motor capable of producing a horsepower of 40 hp and a torque of 44.47 Nm. It was a simple and lightweight motorcycle, having a dry weight of 230 lbs. A high ground clearance of 8.6 inches ensured outstanding maneuverability on various challenging off-road terrains.

Due to its class-leading performance, the Suzuki TM400 participated in the 1971 Motocross World Championship racing in the 500 cc category.

2.32 Suzuki Becoming World Motocross Champion

In the same year, Roger De Coster, a Belgian rider, won the World Motocross Championship title for Suzuki in the 500 cc category while participating with his 396 cc Suzuki RN71. Meanwhile, Joel Robert, another Belgian rider, also won the World Motocross Championship for Suzuki on his 250 cc motorcycle.

1972

2.33 Establishing Suzuki Parts Manufacturing Company

In 1972, Suzuki established a new manufacturing company, known as Suzuki Parts Manufacturing Company, in Akita Prefecture, Japan.

2.34 Suzuki TS400 - The Road Version of Suzuki TM400 Motocross

In 1971, Suzuki released the road version of its popular motocross, the Suzuki TM400 with almost similar look and style elements. However, it was fitted with road-worthy tires for better on-road performance. The Suzuki TS400 Apache was powered by a 396 cc single-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 33 hp and a torque of 39 Nm.

1973

2.35 Change of Leadership

In 1973, Shunzo Suzuki, who was previously working as the president of the company, was appointed as the new chairman, while Jitsujiro was appointed as the new president.

2.36 Establishing a Sales Subsidiary in Canada

To market its products in Canada, Suzuki established a sales subsidiary in Ontario, Canada, called Suzuki Canada Ltd.

1974

2.37 Establishing a Manufacturing Subsidiary in Indonesia

Expansion continued as Suzuki established another subsidiary in Jakarta, Indonesia, known as P.T. Suzuki Indonesia Manufacturing.

2.38 Entering the Medical Field

In 1974, Suzuki entered the medical field by manufacturing motorized wheelchairs, called the Suzuki Motor Chair Z600.

2.39 Entering the Real Estate Market

In the same year, Suzuki also entered the real estate market by introducing outdoor sheds and prefab mini houses.

2.40 Suzuki RE5 - First Japanese Motorcycle with Rotary Engine

Suzuki RE5 - First Japanese Motorcycle with Rotary Engine

Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

The Suzuki RE5 is a classic roadster-style motorcycle designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, an Italian designer. It is the first Japanese motorcycle powered by a Wankel rotary engine. At that time, almost all Japanese manufacturers had plans to launch their rotary engine-powered motorcycles, but only Suzuki could make it to production. Wankel rotary engines are capable of producing high-power output from even small-displacement sizes. However, despite the power benefit, there are only a few motorcycles in the world fitted with a Wankel rotary engine. At the heart of the Suzuki RE5 was a 497 cc Wankel rotary engine capable of a horsepower of 61.9 hp and a torque of 75.4 Nm.

1975

2.41 Suzuki’s Association with the Philippines

In 1975, Suzuki associated with Rufino D. Antonio and Associates, a giant distributor of Suzuki in the Philippines, to market Suzuki motorcycles and increase sales in the country. The joint venture between the two companies was named Antonio Suzuki Corporation.

2.42 Suzuki RM125 - The Iconic Motocross

Based on the iconic RA75, the modified version used by Gaston Rahier to win the Motocross GP World Championship in the 125 cc category, Suzuki introduced the RM125. This motorcycle ruled the Motocross GP World Championship for 10 consecutive years.

2.43 Suzuki’s Association with Pakistan

In 1975, Suzuki associated with Pakistan to start its assembly plant in the country.

1976

2.44 Suzuki GS Series - Suzuki’s First Four-Stroke Motorcycles After 20 Years

In 1976, Suzuki introduced its most iconic GS series which included the Suzuki GS750 and the Suzuki GS400. These motorcycles were the first four-stroke engine-powered Suzuki motorcycles in 20 years after the Suzuki Colleda COX was produced in 1955.

The Suzuki GS series was inspired by the Kawasaki Z1-900, and the same pattern was used in all the upcoming Suzuki four-stroke motorcycle designs. The Suzuki GS series and other motorcycles produced by Japanese manufacturers, including Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki shared several resemblances, including the design elements and features. Due to such commonalities in Japanese motorcycles produced in the 1970s and 1980s, most of them were named Universal Japanese Motorcycles.

Suzuki GS750

The Suzuki GS750 was fitted with a 748 cc four-stroke, four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 63 hp and a torque of 60 Nm. This motorcycle could reach a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph) and was capable of completing the quarter-mile lap in 12.8 secs.

Suzuki GS400

The Suzuki GS400 was powered by a 396 cc four-stroke, parallel-twin engine capable of a horsepower of 34 hp and a torque of 30 Nm.

2.45 1976 World Championship

Pops Yoshimura, a Japanese motorcycle builder, tuned the Suzuki GS400 to make its debut in the AMA Superbike series and won the title at Laguna Seca Raceway. Barry Sheene also secured the World Championship title in the 500 cc category in the same year.

1977

In 1977, Barry Sheene secured another World Championship title for Suzuki in the 500 cc category.

1978

2.46 Change in Leadership

In 1978, Jitsujiro Suzuki became the chairman of Suzuki and Osamu Suzuki became the company’s new president.

2.47 Suzuki GS1000E - Suzuki’s First 1000 cc Motorbike

Suzuki GS1000E - Suzuki’s First 1000 cc Motorbike

Photo Credit: Suzuki Cycles

In the late 1970s, almost every Japanese manufacturer, including Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha developed a 1,000 cc motorcycle. Suzuki was the last one to enter the 1,000 cc club. Honda produced its Gold Wing GL 1000 in 1974, Kawasaki produced the KZ1000 in 1976, and Yamaha introduced its XS11 in 1978.

In 1978, Suzuki also introduced a large-displacement version of the GS series, the Suzuki GS1000E, fitted with a 987 cc four-stroke, four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 90 hp and a torque of 83.4 Nm. The Suzuki GS1000E, tuned by Pops Yoshimura and ridden by Mike Baldwin and Wes Cooley (American motorcycle racers), won the Suzuki 8 Hours Endurance Road Race.

1979

In 1979, Suzuki got the limelight with one of its most popular mini-car models, the Suzuki Alto. It gained immense popularity, which eventually helped the company to secure the seventh position on the list of top Japanese car and trunk manufacturers.

1980

2.48 Partnering with Australia

In 1980, Suzuki established a subsidiary in Sydney, Australia, called Suzuki Australia Pty. Ltd.

2.49 Producing Generators

In the same year, Suzuki also stepped into producing electric power generators.

2.50 Introduction of GSX Series

In 1980, Suzuki also introduced one of its most popular sports tourer series, the Suzuki GSX series, powered by four-stroke engines, with four-valve per cylinder. Initially, Suzuki only released two small-displacement models in the GSX series, including the GSX250 and the GSX400.

1981

2.51 Growth in Sales

In 1981, the collective sales of all Suzuki subsidiaries reached the ¥500 billion mark. Considering its popularity and success, Isuzu and General Motors (GM) partnered with Suzuki to produce and market new mini-cars.

2.52 Suzuki RG Gamma - A Specially Designed Racing Motorcycle

To conquer the racing tracks and make a mark in the Grand Prix World Championship racing, Suzuki manufactured a specially designed racing motorbike, called the Suzuki RG Gamma (RG Γ). This motorcycle was powered by a 498.5 cc two-stroke, four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 95 hp.

Suzuki managed to win the Manufacturers’ Title for six years in a row and Marco Lucchinelli, an Italian racer, won the Grand Prix World Championship in the 500 cc category thanks to the class-leading performance of the Suzuki RG Gamma.

2.53 Suzuki Katana GSX1100S - Designed by Hans A. Muth

Suzuki Katana GSX1100S - Designed by Hans A. Muth

Photo Credit: Ktienelly

In 1981, Suzuki introduced its iconic and futuristic model, designed by a German designer, Hans A. Muth. The Suzuki Katana was an innovatively-designed motorcycle, unique from a traditional sports bike. It was powered by a 1,074 cc transverse four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 111 hp and a torque of 97.1 Nm. The Suzuki Katana could reach a top speed of 136.4 mph (220 km/h). This motorcycle had characteristics of a sports touring bike with the capability of two-up riding. However, the lower half body, including the machinery, was exposed, giving it a naked bike look.

1982

The production capacity reached a total of 5 million units at the Toyama, Japan factory.

2.54 Association with India

In 1981, Suzuki, along with the Indian Government, formed a joint venture, called the Maruti Udyog Ltd. for manufacturing and marketing vehicles.

2.55 Association with Spain

To expand further, Suzuki collaborated with Land Rover Santana S.A., Spain.

2.56 Winning the Manufacturers’ Title Yet Again

In 1982, Franco Uncini, riding a Suzuki RG Gamma (RG Γ) motorcycle, secured first position in the 500 cc Grand Prix World Championship, resulting in another Manufacturers’ Title won by Suzuki for the seventh time in a row.

Masari Mizutani also won the 500 cc All Japan Road Race Championships while riding his RG 500 Gamma.

2.57 Manufacturing Starts in Pakistan

In 1982, the association between Suzuki and Pakistan strengthened with the establishment of Pak Suzuki Motor Co. in Karachi, Pakistan. With the formation of this joint venture, the production of Suzuki cars started in Pakistan.

2.58 Suzuki Stepped into the ATV Market

In 1982, Suzuki began producing its first four-wheeler ATV, called the Suzuki QuadRunner 125. It was compact and narrow compared to modern ATVs and was powered by a 125 cc single-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 11.1 hp. The Suzuki QuadRunner 125 was also equipped with a five-speed semi-automatic transmission with a reverse function.

1983

In 1983, Jitsujiro Suzuki resigned from the chairmanship.

2.59 Development of Suzuki RG250 Gamma

Development of Suzuki RG250 Gamma

Photo Credit: Iconic Motorbikes Auctions

In 1983, Suzuki introduced a smaller version of the Suzuki RG500 Gamma, called the RG250 Gamma, totally inspired by sports racing motorcycles for race tracks. This motorcycle was powered by a 247 cc twin-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 44 hp and a torque of 37 Nm. The Suzuki RG250 Gamma could attain a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). Being a sports racing motorcycle, it weighed 131 kg thanks to its lightweight frame and aerodynamic fairing.

1984

2.60 Global Expansion

In 1984, to manifest its global expansion plan, Suzuki established subsidiaries in Germany, France, and New Zealand.

Suzuki’s Global Expansion in 1984
Country City/District Company
Germany Heppenheim Suzuki Motor GmbH Deutschland
France Trappes Suzuki France S.A.
New Zealand Wanganui Suzuki New Zealand Ltd.

2.61 Suzuki GSX-R750 - The Ultimate Sports Bike

1984 marked the production of one of the best Suzuki sports bike models which is still being produced, called the Suzuki GSX-R750. Despite being a conventional-style sports bike with an extended rear frame, two-up riding seat, and sports-touring capabilities, this motorcycle was capable of reaching a maximum speed of 275 km/h (171 mph). The 749 cc inline four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder was capable of delivering an impressive horsepower of 147.9 hp and a torque of 86.3 Nm. The Suzuki GSX-R750 was a heavyweight motorcycle with a wet weight of 419 lbs (190 kg). To improve the aerodynamic performance and reduce its weight, the rear frame section was trimmed to give it a single-piece solo rider seat in the 1986 model.

1985

2.62 Association with China

In 1985, Suzuki signed a technical affiliation contract with a Chinese motorcycle company, Jinan Qingqi Motorcycle Company.

2.63 Suzuki Intruder 700 - Suzuki’s First Cruiser Motorcycle

Suzuki Intruder 700 - Suzuki’s First Cruiser Motorcycle

Photo Credit: Allegro Archiwum

In 1985, Suzuki introduced its first cruiser motorcycle, called the Suzuki Intruder 700. The Suzuki Intruder 700 was designed for the U.S. motorcycle market to avoid the 45% import tax on motorcycles above 700 cc.

After the import tax limit was set to 750 cc imported motorcycles, Suzuki started manufacturing Suzuki Intruders with 750 cc V-Twin engines. The 747 cc V-Twin engine was capable of delivering a horsepower of 55 hp and a torque of 69 Nm. The Suzuki Intruder 750 could attain a maximum speed of 165 km/h.

1986

2.64 Strengthening Relationship with the U.S.

To strengthen the relationship and increase sales in the U.S., Suzuki established the American Suzuki Motor Company in Brea, California.

2.65 Strengthening Relationship with Canada

In 1986, another collaboration was made between Suzuki and General Motors (GM) Canada for technical assistance and sales growth.

2.66 Suzuki GSX-R1100

Suzuki GSX-R1100

Photo Credit: Mecum

In 1986, Suzuki introduced a large-displacement version of the Suzuki GSX-R series, called the Suzuki GSX-R1100, powered by a 1,052 cc inline four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 155 hp and a torque of 102 Nm. It became a top-of-the-line Suzuki sports bike with a top speed of 262 km/h (163 mph).

2.67 Suzuki Nuda - The Four-Wheel Drive Prototype

Suzuki Nuda - The Four-Wheel Drive Prototype

Photo Credit: Old Skol Suzuki

In 1986, Suzuki introduced a concept bike at the Tokyo Motor Show, which stole the show due to its unique styling and technology. Suzuki was only successful in producing a prototype of this motorcycle. The Suzuki Nuda featured a two-wheel drive system. Both front and rear wheels were driven by shaft drives. This motorcycle also featured carbon fiber bodywork and a slim design. Some of the Suzuki Nuda’s features, including the spark timing control and the computerized fuel injection, were used in future Suzuki motorcycles.

1987

2.68 Association with Mazda Motor Company

In 1987, Suzuki formed another affiliation with Mazda Motor Company, a Japanese automotive company, founded in 1920, to produce mini vehicles.

2.69 Suzuki Intruder 1400 - The More Powerful Cruiser

The Suzuki Intruder 1400 was a more powerful version of the Intruder 750. It was manufactured to compete with the Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 and the Harley 1340 cc Evolution engine. The 1,360 cc V-Twin engine was capable of producing a horsepower of 72 hp and a torque of 115 Nm. The engine power was delivered to the rear wheel via a shaft drive.

1988

2.70 Suzuki RGV250 Gamma - The GP Race Motorbike with a V-Twin Engine

In 1988, Suzuki replaced the RG250 Gamma with the RGV250 Gamma, designed for road racing. The addition of the “V” in its name represents the V-Twin engine. The 249 cc V-Twin engine was capable of delivering a horsepower of 62 hp. The Suzuki RGV250 Gamma was a high-performance sports bike by Suzuki. This motorcycle could attain a top speed of 209 km/h (130 mph) and could reach a speed of 60 mph from rest in around 3.7 secs.

1990

2.71 Becoming Suzuki Motor Corporation

In 1990, The name of the company was changed to Suzuki Motor Corporation.

1991

2.72 Sales Growth

In 1991, the recorded total sales of all subsidiaries and divisions reached a total of ¥1 trillion.

1992

2.73 Suzuki Intruder 800

In 1992, the Suzuki Intruder 750 became the Suzuki Intruder 800 with a small increase in engine displacement. This motorcycle featured an 805 cc engine capable of a horsepower of 55 hp and a torque of 64 Nm.

1993

By 1993, Thai Suzuki Motor Company recorded a total motorcycle production of 2 million units.

2.74 Strengthening the Relationship with China

Suzuki signed another contract with Wangjiang Suzuki Motorcycle Co. China to expand its motorcycle and car production in China.

1994

2.75 Suzuki RF Series - The Sports-Touring Bikes

In 1994, Suzuki introduced a sports touring series, the Suzuki RF lineup, available in three variants, including the RF 900R, RF 600R, and RF 400R. The Suzuki RF 900R was fitted with a 937 cc inline four-cylinder engine capable of delivering a horsepower of 135 hp and a torque of 95 Nm. Despite being a heavyweight sports-touring model, this motorcycle could attain a top speed of 261 km/h (162 mph). The engine was positioned slightly forward to ensure a low center of gravity for better control and handling.

The Suzuki RF 600R was powered by a 599 cc transverse four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 100 hp and a torque of 64.2 Nm. This motorcycle was able to attain a top speed of 235.8 km/h (146.5 mph). Meanwhile, the 388 cc four-cylinder engine installed in the Suzuki RF400R was capable of delivering a horsepower of 58 hp and a torque of 38 Nm.

1996

2.76 Association with Vietnam

To expand further, Suzuki established another subsidiary, Vietnam Suzuki Co. in Bien Hoa, to produce motorcycles and cars in Vietnam.

2.77 Production Starts at Jinan Qingqi Suzuki Motorcycle Company

After the technical assistance contract between Suzuki and Jinan Qingqi, both companies decided to start motorcycle production in 1993.

1997

2.78 Suzuki TL1000S

In 1997, Suzuki introduced the TL1000S which is a uniquely-designed sports bike. It was originally a roadster-style naked bike with a half-front fairing, a sports bike-style rear cowl, and a solo rider seat. Like naked bikes, most of its engine parts were exposed. The Suzuki TL1000S was fitted with a 996 cc 90° V-Twin engine capable of a horsepower of 125 hp and a torque of 105 Nm. Despite the discontinuation of the Suzuki TL1000S early in 2001, its 996 cc 90° V-Twin engine is still being used in several modern Suzuki models, including the Suzuki V-Strom and the Suzuki SV1000.

1998

2.79 Association with Burma

In 1998, Suzuki established a manufacturing plant in Yangon, Burma.

2.80 Change in Leadership

In 1998, Ryosaku "Rick" Suzuki took charge as the new president of American Suzuki Motor Co.

1999

2.81 Suzuki Hayabusa - World’s Fastest Motorcycle

Suzuki Hayabusa - World’s Fastest Motorcycle

Photo Credit: Street Bike

The much-awaited Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa arrived in 1999 and immediately won the title of the world’s fastest production motorcycle and ruled the racing tracks for years. It is an upgraded and larger version of the Suzuki GSX1000, built with a 1,299 cc four-stroke, inline four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 175 hp and a torque of 135 Nm. The Suzuki Hayabusa topped the speed charts with a maximum speed of 312 km/h (194 mph). Suzuki Hayabusa earned huge recognition and popularity for Suzuki around the world. It became the trademark Suzuki model and the face of sports bikes.

2.82 Total Motorcycle Sales

By 1999, total Suzuki motorcycle sales reached the highest point of 40 million units.

2.83 The First Generation Suzuki SV650

In 1999, Suzuki introduced the first-ever SV650 in the naked bike category. It was available in two different variants, including a sports bike-style Suzuki SV650 S and a naked bike-style Suzuki SV650. It was fitted with a step-up seat for two-up riding and exposed engine parts. Meanwhile, the Suzuki SV650S was fitted with a sports bike-style front fairing. The first generation Suzuki SV650 was powered by a 645 cc 90° V-Twin engine capable of delivering a horsepower of 72 hp and a torque of 64 Nm. It became a widely popular motorcycle around the world and gave tough competition to the Kawasaki Ninja 500R and the Honda NT650.

2000

2.84 Celebrating 80th Anniversary

In 2000, Suzuki celebrated its 80th anniversary.

2001

2.85 Introduction of Suzuki GSX-R1000 - Suzuki’s Top-of-the-Line Sports Bike

Introduction of Suzuki GSX-R1000 - Suzuki’s Top-of-the-Line Sports Bike

Photo Credit: Cycle World

In 2001, Suzuki launched its top-of-the-line supersport bike, the Suzuki GSX-R1000, also known as the Gixxer. This motorcycle came with a full fairing and a solo rider seat. The 999.8 cc four-cylinder engine was capable of generating a horsepower of 160 hp and a torque of 110 Nm. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 could attain a top speed of 278 km/h (173 mph) and could complete the quarter-mile sprint in 10.1 seconds thanks to a low dry weight of 374 lbs.

2.86 Achieved Zero Waste Target

In 2001, Suzuki achieved its sustainable development goals by ensuring zero-level landfill waste and maintaining its sustainable manufacturing operations.

2.87 Establishing Suzuki Manufacturing of America Corporation (SMAC)

In 2001, Suzuki Motor Companies in Japan and America collaborated to establish SMAC to produce ATVs for Canada, America, and global export.

2002

2.88 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 - Suzuki’s Most Popular Adventure/Dual-Sports Bike

Suzuki V-Strom 1000 - Suzuki’s Most Popular Adventure/Dual-Sports Bike

Photo Credit: Ciociaria Oggi

The Suzuki V-Strom, also known as the DL1000, was released in 2002 with a 996 cc 90° V-Twin engine capable of a horsepower of 98 hp and a torque of 101 Nm. The “V” in its name represents the engine design and the “Strom” means power or stream in German language.

The Suzuki V-Strom has undergone several changes over time, and different versions have been produced so far, including the Suzuki V-Strom 1050, V-Strom 650, and V-Strom 800 fitted with 1,037 cc, 645 cc, and 776 cc engines respectively. The modern Suzuki V-Strom has also received a new design and it now falls under the adventure bike category. Suzuki has also experimented with the recently-introduced Suzuki V-Strom 800 and has installed a 776 cc parallel-twin engine, instead of a V-Twin to ensure low weight, easier construction, and better maneuverability.

2.89 Suzuki Eiger Series

In 2002, SMAC established a manufacturing plant in Rome, Georgia to produce the Suzuki Eiger 400, an all-terrain vehicle powered by a 376 cc single-cylinder engine. It is available in multiple trims, including two-wheel and four-wheel drive systems. The Suzuki Eiger 400 also came with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) or semi-automatic transmission.

2003

2.90 The Second Generation Suzuki SV650

The second generation Suzuki SV650 was introduced in 2003 with several upgrades, including the inclusion of a digital speedometer, exhaust system, swing arm, bodywork, and a new cast aluminum truss frame. The carburetor was also replaced with a fuel-injection system for better engine performance and low fuel consumption.

2.91 Suzuki Choinori - The Low-Cost Scooter

In 2003, Suzuki released an extremely low-cost, lightweight, and simple scooter, called the Suzuki Choinori. However, the main purpose of manufacturing this low-cost scooter was to reduce the usage and waste of different materials, including threaded fasteners and plastic. The Suzuki Choinori was fitted with a 49 cc single-cylinder engine capable of delivering a horsepower of 2 hp and a torque of 2.9 Nm. Despite being an extremely basic machine, it was included in the list of 240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology.

2005

2.92 The Intruder Became Boulevard

In 2005, the Suzuki Intruder lineup was renamed to become the Suzuki Boulevard. However, in Europe, there were several Suzuki models which continued to use the Intruder name.

2006

2.93 General Motors Disassociation with Suzuki

In 2006, General Motors (GM) reduced its stake to only 3% in Suzuki Motors by selling 92.36 million worth of shares.

2.94 Suzuki Boulevard M109R - The Performance Cruiser

Suzuki Boulevard M109R - The Performance Cruiser

Photo Credit: Ultimate Motorcycling

Introduced in 2006, the Suzuki Boulevard M109R is one of the flagship motorcycles in Suzuki’s cruiser lineup. Unlike traditional cruisers, it is a uniquely designed heavyweight performance cruiser powered by a 1,783 cc V-Twin engine capable of a horsepower of 123 hp and a torque of 160 Nm. The Suzuki Boulevard M109R is a heavyweight motorcycle, weighing 347 kg. It is also known as the Suzuki Intruder M1800R and the Suzuki VZR1800.

2007

2.95 Suzuki B-King - The Naked Hayabusa

Suzuki B-King - The Naked Hayabusa

Photo Credit: Cycle World

The Suzuki B-King was first revealed in 2000 as a concept bike and manufacturing started in 2007. The Suzuki B-King is a streetfighter-style naked bike powered by a supercharged 1,340 cc engine which is powered by the second generation of the Suzuki Hayabusa. Despite being powered by the same engine, a few parts were newly designed, including the intake and exhaust systems. The 1,340 cc engine installed in the Suzuki B-King was capable of producing a horsepower of 181 hp and a torque of 146 Nm.

2008

In 2008, GM sold the remaining 3% of its stocks in Suzuki.

2.96 Rick Suzuki Resignation

Suzuki was not able to do good sales in the U.S. due to which Rick Suzuki, the president of American Suzuki Motor Corp. resigned from the chairmanship.

2009

2.97 Suzuki 100th Anniversary

In 2009, Suzuki celebrated its 100th anniversary.

2.98 Association Between Volkswagen and Suzuki

In the same year, Volkswagen and Suzuki affiliated with each other to form a strategic partnership. Volkswagen became the owner of 20% shares of Suzuki.

2011

2.99 Disassociation with Volkswagen

In 2011, Suzuki ended its collaboration with Volkswagen due to a disagreement on the partnership contract and demanded a return of Volkswagen’s 20% shares.

2012

2.100 Establishing Engine Manufacturing Facility in Jakarta, Indonesia

By 2012, the Southeast Asian market became a major operating region for Suzuki due to its growing popularity. As a result, the company decided to build another engine manufacturing facility in Jakarta, Indonesia.

2.101 Joint Venture with Intelligent Energy

In the same year, Suzuki collaborated with Intelligent Energy, a hydrogen-powered fuel cell manufacturer in the U.K., to work together for the accomplishment of the clean-energy project for automobiles.

2013

In 2013, Suzuki launched a special edition model of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 on its 50th anniversary in the U.S. market.

2.102 Suzuki Recalls GSX Series Motorcycles

In late 2013, Suzuki recalled 2,10,228 GSX series models, including the GSX-R600, GSX-R750, and GSX-R1000 due to the issue with the front brake.

2017

2.103 The Third Generation Suzuki SV650

The Third Generation Suzuki SV650

Photo Credit: Fastest Laps

Due to high demand and popularity, the Suzuki SV650 was reintroduced in 2017 with several performance upgrades, including the inclusion of ABS, twin front disc brakes, slim steel frame, and lightweight parts. The upgraded engine was capable of producing a horsepower of 75 hp and a torque of 63.72 Nm. The low RPM assist system installed in this motorcycle also made sure that the Suzuki SV650 does not stall while riding at slow speeds or through slow-moving traffic.

The current Suzuki SV650 is one of the most affordable and reliable naked bikes. Therefore it gives tough competition to other naked bikes in the market, including the Ducati Monster, Yamaha MT-07, Kawasaki Z650, and the KTM Duke 790. It is also one of the ideal beginner motorcycles popular among young riders.

2.104 Latest Suzuki GSX-R1000

In 2017, Suzuki released the upgraded GSX-R1000 with a more powerful 998.8 cc four-cylinder engine capable of a horsepower of 203 hp and a torque of 117 Nm. ABS was also included, along with the installation of the Showa big piston inverted telescopic forks, and Showa oil/gas-damped fully adjustable rear suspension. The upgraded and redesigned engine was capable of revving faster and also came with traction control and an inertial measuring unit (IMU) for better handling and safety.

2019

2.105 Association with Toyota

In 2019, Both Toyota and Suzuki decided to acquire stakes in each other with Toyota acquiring 4.9% of Suzuki’s shares. In return, Suzuki acquired 0.2% shares of Toyota.

2023

2.106 Current Suzuki Motorcycle Lineups

Suzuki Motorcycles Lineup
Category/Type Model Base Price Engine Horsepower Torque
Sport Bikes Suzuki Hayabusa - 25th Anniversary Edition $19,599 1,340 cc 187.7 hp 150 Nm
Suzuki Hayabusa $19,099
Suzuki GSX-R1000R $18,499 999.8 cc 199 hp 118 Nm
Suzuki GSX-R1000RZ $18,299
Suzuki GSXR1000 $16,349
Suzuki GSX-R750 $12,999 750 cc 148 hp 86.77 Nm
Suzuki GSX-R750Z $12,949
Suzuki GSX-R600 $11,899 599 cc 124 hp 69.55 Nm
Suzuki GSX R600Z $11,799
Suzuki GSX250R ABS $4,999 248 cc 24.7 hp 23 Nm
Cruisers Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. $15,599 1,783 cc 128 hp 160 Nm
Suzuki Boulevard C50 $8,909 805 cc 53 hp 70.5 Nm
Touring Bike Suzuki Boulevard C50T $10,359
Street Motorcycles Suzuki GSX-8S $8,999 776 cc 82 hp 77.95 Nm
Suzuki GSX-S1000 $11,699 999 cc 150 hp 107.92 Nm
Suzuki GSX-S750Z $8,649 749 cc 112.6 hp 80.94 Nm
Suzuki GSX-S750Z ABS $9,149
Suzuki GSX-S750 $8,549
Suzuki SV650 ABS $7,849 645 cc 75 hp 63.72 Nm
Suzuki SV650 $7,399
Sport Touring Bikes Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ $14,199 999 cc 150 hp 107.9 Nm
Suzuki GSX-S1000GT $13,449
Adventure Bikes Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE Adventure $17,799 1,037 cc 106 hp 100.33 Nm
Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE $16,199
Suzuki V-Strom 1050 $15,299
Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Adventure $17,049
Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT $14,849
Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Adventure $12,999 776 cc 83 hp 77.9 Nm
Suzuki V-Strom 800DE $11,349
Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure $10,899 645 cc 70 hp 62.37 Nm
Suzuki V-Strom 650XT $9,699
Suzuki V-Strom 650 $9,199
Dual-Sport Bikes Suzuki DR650S $7,099 644 cc 43 hp 63.7 Nm
Suzuki DR-Z400S $7,199 398 cc 39 hp 39.3 Nm
Off-Road Bikes Suzuki DR-Z125L $3,599 124 cc 12 hp 12 Nm
Suzuki DR-Z50 $2,579 49 cc N/A N/A
SuperMoto Suzuki DR-Z400SM $7,899 398 cc 39 hp 39.3 Nm
Motocross Suzuki RM-Z450 $9,199 449 cc 50.3 hp 44.6 Nm
Suzuki RM-Z250 $8,099 249 cc 36.8 hp 24.8 Nm
Suzuki RM85 $4,499 84.7 cc 22 hp N/A
Scooter Suzuki Burgman 400 $8,699 400 cc 29 hp 35.25 Nm
Suzuki Burgman 200 $4,999 200 cc 18.1 hp 16.9 Nm

2.107 Suzuki in the Present-Time

The modern Suzuki may not be the best motorcycle manufacturer when it comes to high-end technology and unique motorcycle designs, but it is one of the most affordable and reliable motorcycle brands. Suzuki makes the most sales from its cars. It is one of the largest automobile companies with a presence in more than 23 countries. Suzuki was famous for its high-powered sports bike. However, the sports bike craze has almost died in the current era as sports bikes are majorly restricted for track racing. Unlike Suzuki, most motorcycle manufacturers started working on designing and producing versatile motorcycles, including cruisers, adventure touring bikes, roadsters, and naked bikes. Meanwhile, Suzuki was flourishing as a leading car manufacturer. It did not pay much attention to building notable versatile motorcycles and upgrading technology to compete with modern motorcycles.

If you own a Suzuki cruiser, there are several modification options available at Viking Bags, including the fairings, crash bars, sissy bars, and sissy bar pads to transform your riding experience. Viking Bags also offer good-quality saddlebags, specially designed for the Suzuki Boulevard and the Suzuki Intruder models.

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