1978 Suzuki GS1000 Motorcycle
This is me on my 1978 Suzuki GS1000 E motorcycle in 1994, out on old Route 66, stopping to see the Grand Canyon Caverns. It was well over 100 degrees above ground, but nice and cool down in the cave. In Suzuki language, E means chain drive and G means shaft drive, so this was a chain-drive model. I bought this bike in Boulder, Colorado, in great condition with a very rare Suzuki factory frame-mounted touring fairing (which shattered into tiny pieces when the motorcycle fell of the ramp on the moving truck while loading my stuff to move to California), which you can see in the picture a little further down the page.
I really loved this Suzuki GS1000 motorcycle, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it may be the best all-around motorcycle ever made. Definitely the best all-around motorcycle of the 1970s. I'm sad and ashamed that I beat the hell out of it the way I did, but I was young, and accidents happen. It was fine until it fell off the ramp to the U-Haul truck, and then after I trashed the original fairing and switched it to the naked-style headlight and blinkers, I crashed it into a bus on the freeway, and then after that some guy crashed into it and knocked it over when it was parked by the curb. Even after all of that, it ran well, and I sold it to some English guy who wanted to see America for $275.
But enough about my wacky misadventures. What was the Suzuki GS1000 like to ride? It was great! The engine was one of the smoothest running Japanese 4-cylinders ever made. Gas mileage was in the 40s around town, and 50 on the freeway. Front suspension was air-adjustable. The front fork springs were worn out when I bought the bike, so I tried to fix it by putting 50 pounds of air pressure in the forks, and blew out the fork seals. I replaced the springs with Progressive Suspension springs and replaced the seals. Suzuki air-adjustable forks can't take much air pressure. Check your manual before pumping them up too high. The Suzuki GS1000 engine is smooth and friendly at low RPMs and makes great power above 6,000 RPM. It handles great on a twisty road, with a little bit of wiggly frame flex, but not enough to make you nervous once you get used to it. I've met people who have put over 100,000 miles on a Suzuki GS1000 with few problems. The only problems I had that other people have reported was a leaky gas tank and starter-clutch failure. The gas tank was rusted out at one of the corners at the back of the tank near the seat. Gas was slowly leaking out, slow enough to be a drop and then vaporize into the air. I took the tank off and treated it with Kreem fuel tank liner, and that stopped the leak. I tried to fix the starter clutch myself by taking it apart and failed miserably. It's easy to get to and not too expensive to replace. I haven't checked lately on parts for this motorcycle because I sold it so many years ago, but I know that Suzuki stocks parts for all of their bikes, even the really old ones. I needed some random parts for my GS650G and was able to order all of them from my Suzuki dealer. When I tried to get parts for my 1982 Honda, I was told that most of them had been discontinued and I'd have to go to a junkyard. Yet another reason to go with Suzuki, especially if you're buying a really old classic motorcycle like a 1978 Suzuki GS1000.
I rode my Suzuki GS1000 halfway across America and back, and it was great. I rode out to Colorado without a fairing, and then put on an old Harley fairing my brother gave me for the ride home. The old Suzuki got 50 miles per gallon and had no trouble getting over Wolf Creek Pass at the continental divide. It also had no trouble with any twisty roads we encountered.
I would definitely buy another one of these bikes, and I probably would have if I hadn't bought a Suzuki GS650G (Great motorcycle!) a few years ago when I was looking for a GS1000. The good news is that classic Suzuki motorcycle prices are a lot lower than Kawasaki or Honda prices. I don't know why this is, but in my opinion the Suzukis are better motorcycles, and the company continues to supply parts for old bikes. Here are a few more pictures. The first is the Suzuki GS1000 when I first bought it, with the factory fairing. It was a nice fairing with lots of wind protection, storage space, and a stereo. I was able to go to McDondald's and put the drink and food in the pocket, and finish all of the fries and half my drink while riding home. The second is the Suzuki GS1000 somewhere in Utah with my brother's old Harley fairing on it. In that picture you can see the rare Suzuki factory luggage rack and soft luggage bag, which was very handy and functional.