1990 Suzuki GSX-R400R SP


  • The ultimate evolution of the GSX-R 
  • Very low mileage – only 22,500 miles from new 
  • Built for sale in Japan and extremely rare in Britain 
  • In outstanding condition in all respects 

The Appeal 

The desire to make a racing motorcycle for the road is almost as old as motorcycling itself. Throughout history many manufacturers have attempted it, often with glorious results. Each generation has had its highlights and, for motorcyclists of the 1980s, there was really nothing better in the 400cc class than the Suzuki GSX-R.  
The first iteration appeared in 1984 as a downsized road-going version of the Suzuki GS1000R, which won the 1983 Endurance World Championship. Its lightweight aluminium cradle frame and advanced liquid-cooled, four-stroke, four-valve dohc engine was a combination never before seen in any other production bike, and a power output of 59bhp helped it up to speeds in the region of 120mph. A particularly noteworthy feature was the Deca Piston Brake System, so called for its 10 pistons, which was also a first for a production motorcycle. 
The model underwent several upgrades in the 1980s, with the GSX-R400 arriving in 1988. Among its numerous improvements were the new Suzuki Power-Up Exhaust System which improved the engine’s low- to mid-range torque, and the all-new aluminium Dual Cell-ALBOX frame which was significantly more rigid than its predecessor. The Sports Production (SP) model was even more exciting, a racing homologation model boasting a close-ratio transmission, single seat and advanced front forks and rear shock absorbers. 
As Suzuki intended the GSX-R400 primarily for the Japanese market, it’s a very rare machine in Britain, especially in extra-high-performance Sports Production homologation specification. Despite its rarity and its reputation for really thrilling performance, the GSX-R400s have historically not been collected as much as their 750cc siblings, which makes them an affordable classic road-racer. Interest is steadily growing, though, and this example happens to be in superb condition, so don’t miss this opportunity. If you do, who knows when you’ll get the chance to buy another?

The History and Paperwork 

  • Originally sold in Japan 
  • Imported into Britain in 1996 
  • Acquired by the 14th and present keeper in 2022 
  • Sold with its current V5 

The Condition 

  • Outstandingly good condition all-round 
  • Immaculate paintwork and decals 
  • Believed to be all original and unrestored 
On inspection, this Suzuki appears to be have been the recipient of a high-quality restoration, but we don’t think it has been. Being such a low-mileage, sub-25,000-mile bike, we’re inclined to believe that it has been well cared-for all its life and the exceptional condition in which it presently appears is all, or mostly, original. 
It is truly remarkable, with no obvious blemishes that we are able to see. All over the bike, the paintwork is nothing short of exceptional, and the decals look as if they could still be new, too. Even the wheels, which are always one of the areas most susceptible to scuffs or chips, don’t appear to have received so much as a single stone-chip. The foam seat is excellent, too. 
As with any older motorcycle, there is some superficial patina on the bare metal parts and some of the plastic components, such as the indicator housings, show a few light marks, but they appear to be the only clues that the bike isn’t brand-new. To find one as good as this is, we think, pretty astonishing. 

The Mechanics 

  • Last used on the road in 2010 
  • May need some recommissioning 
  • Ridden for a total of 649 miles since 2006 
Although not presently on the road, this bike does fire up and run very nicely. As its cosmetic condition is so good, we expect the mechanical side has been maintained and cared-for, too. Additionally, as it has only covered 22,546 miles from new, it is very unlikely that any of the mechanical parts should exhibit any wear. 
We are pleased to report that the Suzuki benefits from some recent mechanical renovation. The carburettors have been fully rebuilt, as have the front forks and shock absorbers which have received new bearings and new fluids throughout. 
An examination of the bike’s MoT history reveals that it was last ridden on the road in 2010, during which year it only covered 649 miles. It had not been used for several years prior to that, either. As it passed its test then with no advisories, we think it very likely that it would pass again with flying colours if it were to be tested right now. 
After several years off the road, the Suzuki may need a spot of basic recommissioning before it is ridden again, but we don’t expect it to require any more than the bare minimum. If it does need any work to put it on the road, that will be picked up at its next MoT test, but we’re sure it won’t be long before it’s racing along some fast A-roads once again. 

The Summary 

The GSX-R400 was one of the great poster bikes of the 1980s, but as it was intended for the Japanese market, examples really come up for sale in Europe.

If you’ve always coveted a 1980s road-racer, we’d highly recommend placing some bids on this because you’re unlikely to see another one soon, much less one that’s this good. It’s a superbly preserved, low-mileage example which oughtn’t need more than the simplest recommissioning – in other words, an opportunity not to be missed.

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This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1990
  • Make Suzuki
  • Model GSX-R400R SP
  • Colour Blue & White
  • Odometer 36,285 Kilometres
  • Engine size 398
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Leicester
  • Location Leicestershire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
21 bids
  • ri•••• £4,500 19/06/23
  • ri•••• £4,400 19/06/23
  • da•••• £4,300 19/06/23
  • ri•••• £4,299 19/06/23
  • ri•••• £4,200 19/06/23
  • da•••• £4,100 19/06/23
  • da•••• £4,000 19/06/23
  • ed•••• £3,850 19/06/23
  • da•••• £3,750 19/06/23
  • ed•••• £3,450 19/06/23

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