“Gag” as in joke, not the object, reflex or order. Realizing the
potential for misinterpretation, Suzuki issued an official definition:
“super fun for teenagers and boisterous adults with a spirit of
adventure and a sense of humor.” Released in 1986, the Suzuki GSX-R50
departed from conventional Suzuki wisdom by being down on power and
available in pink.
The GAG’s problem wasn’t necessarily that it used a 49cc engine, it was that it used a four-stroke 49cc engine that only produced 5bhp to the comparatively rocket-like 7.1bhp of the two-stroke Yamaha YSR50. Normally, that’d have been enough to condemn the GAG to obscurity, but it had good looks, some of the coolest paint schemes Suzuki’s ever made and this obviously brilliant domestic market ad campaign on its side.
A near exact miniaturized replica of the then all-conquering GSX-R750, the GAG used a steel perimeter frame, a Showa monoshock and front forks. The seat height was just 24 inches to the 750′s 31.3-inch height, while the wheels were tiny 10 inchers.
Period road tests fall all over themselves to adequately convey the GAG’s lack of performance, apparently it struggled to reach its 30mph top speed and shifting through the four-speed gearbox did little but alter the engine’s flat exhaust note. Luckily, Yoshimura offered a range of engine upgrades or you could even fit a larger, 120cc engine good for almost 10bhp and a 55mph top speed.
Perhaps an even more significant than its lack of speed compared to the YSR was the Suzuki’s lack of US road legality, confining it to parking lot and pit bike duties only. The Yamaha was road-legal as long as you stuck to surface streets. In 1987, the GSX-R50 retailed for $999.
Our interest in the GAG doesn’t come from its performance or price though, but it’s looks. Aping the GSX-R’s fairing, but subverting what would otherwise be functional machoness with tiny proportions, the GAG is a very literal take on sportsbike-as-toy, something most of its larger relatives are anyways.
While the pink is a little bit silly, the other color schemes are the embodiment of awesome. The fighter plane would likely appeal to Suzuki’s existing demographic in this country while the red is understated and classy with its white highlights and wraparound “Suzuki” logo.