GSX fan

Old Bike Australasia - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

Thank you for an ar­ti­cle on one bike I par­tic­u­larly like. I was the owner of a Suzuki GSX1100ET, black with red and or­ange stripes pur­chased from John Dunn Mo­tor­cy­cles, Crows Nest (long since closed). In the story, men­tion was made that they were avail­able in 1979 but not in suf­fi­cient num­bers to be ho­molo­gated for the 1979 Cas­trol Six Hour race. I do not be­lieve this is cor­rect. I re­mem­ber see­ing one dis­played, un­her­alded and said to be a pro­to­type, at the Syd­ney Mo­tor Show in 1979. The show was held, I think, about Au­gust or Sep­tem­ber. The colour scheme dis­played was to­tally dif­fer­ent to any pro­duc­tion model be­ing mid-brown with strip­ing more rem­i­nis­cent of that used on the later 1981 model. At the time of the show I had on or­der a GS1000S but af­ter see­ing the GSX1100 changed my or­der. I col­lected my GSX1100 in Fe­bru­ary 1980 and be­lieve it was one of the first de­liv­ered. It was so new that when a friend dropped it a month or so later, for­tu­nately at walk­ing pace, he dam­aged the ig­ni­tion and I had to wait for the parts to be im­ported as spares were not yet car­ried in stock. At the same time I was wait­ing for en­gine (crash) bars to be­come avail­able which I had or­dered with the mo­tor­cy­cle. The bikes that were de­liv­ered early in 1980 came stan­dard with a 19 litre tank. Later, about mid-year, a 24 litre tank be­came stan­dard fit­ment. I pur­chased a large tank and fit­ting re­quired no changes as the colour schemes and mount­ing were iden­ti­cal. It is un­likely this was a model change and the fol­low­ing 1981 paint scheme was dif­fer­ent. Some thoughts and rec­ol­lec­tions I would like to add. The seat was one of the most com­fort­able I have ever ex­pe­ri­enced; only bet­tered in my ex­pe­ri­ence by a 1500 Gold Wing. One party trick when trav­el­ling

along coun­try roads was to travel about 120km/h or so at which speed the bike was eco­nom­i­cal. All my rid­ing com­pan­ions would be frus­trated when it came time to re­fill as my bike would re­quire no­tice­ably less to re­fill than their bikes. Sit on greater than 130km/h and the story was dif­fer­ent with sim­i­lar con­sump­tion to other 1000cc bikes. At the time the GS Suzukis had a strong claim to be­ing the best han­dling of the Ja­panese mo­tor­cy­cles. Un­for­tu­nately as noted in the story the GSX, par­tic­u­larly with the gun Pirelli Phan­toms fit­ted, were not as good. A fork brace did not cure the prob­lem. War­ren Will­ing’s so­lu­tion as men­tioned would have been much cheaper and more ef­fec­tive had I known. At the mo­tor show the staff did not think that the alu­minium swing arm would be in­cluded on the pro­duc­tion model. It was, and the weld­ing was a rev­e­la­tion with text­book fil­lets. This was at a time when the weld­ing on Ja­panese frames left much to be de­sired. You al­ways had to be care­ful with the right wrist. Even af­ter ten years own­er­ship it could bite. Dur­ing my own­er­ship it did cease to be the fastest bike around but was still able to keep the newer rocket ships hon­est. I had many trou­ble free kilo­me­tres on the GSX and still re­gret sell­ing it in 1990. Where are you now, QX-770? Greg Jeanes West Ryde, NSW

The Syd­ney Mo­tor Show was in Au­gust 1979, where the GXX1100 made its world de­but, re­ported as “the best-kept se­cret of the year”. The GSX only ar­rived on Au­gust 15, two days be­fore the show, and staff at Suzuki Cor­nell “were caught com­pletely off guard” by the un­ex­pected ar­rival. It was seen as a ma­jor coup as the launch pre­ceded the Earls Court In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor­cy­cle Show in Lon­don by one week. More­over, Suzuki said that the GSX would not be­gin pro­duc­tion un­til at least Oc­to­ber, rul­ing it in­el­i­gi­ble for the 1979 Cas­trol Six Hour Race. For your let­ter Greg, you win a Rari­tee t-shirt with your choice of mo­tor­cy­cle, al­though I wouldn’t mind bet­ting it’s a GSX1100.

The Suzuki GSX1100 at the 1979 Syd­ney Mo­tor Show.

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