The Suzuki GT750 dished out white knuckles, wide eyes and closed casket funerals when it was released in 1971. Blessed with exceptional power delivery and cursed by poor handling, noted chassis guru Fritz Egli built three experimental frames in the ’70s to try and tame the beast. Only one survived. Or so everyone thought. Today we bring you Extremebikes’ latest creation — the second Egli Suzuki GT750.
In local racing circles, Boy Meinkehn’s known as a Water Buffalo fan. So when his friend Roelof called him from the Netherlands saying he’d come across an old two-stroke triple he might be interested in, Boy’s ears perked up. It ran a first-generation GT750 engine, Roelof explained, but there was something funky about the frame.
It had no markings, no stampings or identifiers anywhere. But there was something about it — the welds, the design, and the oil-in-frame setup that smacked of Egli heritage. Boy mulled it over for a while. He wanted, no, needed a new race bike, so what better starting point than a mongrel Suzuki GT750 in a bespoke frame?
Boy swooped on the bike and bought it just as word had gotten out and other two-stroke aficionados, who, stinking of oil and ears ringing, descend just a little too late. With the bike safely back in the workshop, the Water Buffalo sat sentinel for months, gathering dust, until Boy had a chance to do some proper research.
Herr Meinkehn was skeptical about the assumed provenance of the bike. The renowned Fritz Egli had built all sorts of frames for a host of motorcycle engines. Vincents, CB750’s, CBX’s… you name it. But Boy had never heard of an Egli two-stroke. With this in the back of his head, one day, with a sigh, Boy pulled out the frame, wiped it down and thought, bugger it, I’ll call Egli.
The news wasn’t positive. Nobody he spoke to at the Swiss firm had any recollection of building a frame for a Water Buffalo. But the staff’s interest was piqued and they forwarded his query onto the man himself, Fritz Egli. A few days later the 79-year-old elder statesman of frame design emailed Boy, and boy, was he happy.
Fritz explained that he did indeed craft the frame for the bike many years ago. It was a test and only three, unmarked frames were built. One was already in the Netherlands. Nobody knew where the other two were. Boy was ecstatic – he had the second. His new race bike had real provenance, as confirmed by the man himself. But the revelation begged the question. What was he to do with it?
The answer was easy: give it to Extremebikes, a Freiberg-based shop that has a reputation for gorgeous, performance-oriented builds. Boy still wanted to keep the racing heritage of the bike and use it occasionally at historic club meets. But it wasn’t going to be used to chase down other two strokes week on week. He wanted something exhibition-grade but could still have its neck wrung from time to time.
The guys from Extremebikes took a close look at the Suzuki GT750 Egli. The existing alloy tank that came with the frame appeared too bulky. They wanted the seat and tank to flow together. They fit in a swingarm from a Kawasaki ZRX1200 and mounted a pair of Honda CBR900 forks. After an extended hunt online, PVM wheels were adapted and fitted to the Egli. The bones of the bike were in place.
The seat and tank combo were crafted and designed to follow the lines set by the Avon half-shell fairing. LSL bars, MMB speedo, tacho and indicators were fitted before all eyes turned to the exhaust system.
Two-stroke exhaust design is a combination of science, aesthetics and necromancy. A properly sized and fitted exhaust, all carefully calculated angles and chamber volume can make or break a two-stroke. So the team enlisted the help of an ex-two stroke racer in the Netherlands, who designed and cut the material for the system. He sent it, unfinished, to the Extremebikes team in Freiberg who then went about assembling one of the more interesting jigsaw puzzles you’ll find.
With the new exhaust system fitted, the Suzuki GT750 fired up. Poorly. The engine was pulled, base gasket replaced and that’s when Extremebikes discovered it wasn’t the first time the engine had been up on a bench. The ports were heavily machined, it had higher compression and the crankshaft balanced. Half the hard work had already been done.
With the newly refurbished engine back in the bike the team turned to the livery. They ran with an original Suzuki GT color, a bold gold that really makes the bike pop. Finally, the number thirteen was added. Look closely. There’s a small ‘from’ between the ‘1’ and the ‘3’. One of three, geddit?
The glorious paint scheme rounds out yet another beautiful build from Extremebikes. A build that’s been done with an equal sense of fun and reverence for the providence of this awesome machine. And if you ever get the chance to see it howling around a racetrack, just think – where’s the third? Keep your eyes peeled and Extremebike’s number on speed dial.