Saturday, 17 August 2013

Past Bikes - 1977 Suzuki GT500

Rewind to 1977. My Yamaha RD350 had been stolen and I got the Suzuki TS100 to keep me moving. I then bought the Suzuki GT500. It was only six months old when I bought it so it is the newest bike I've never owned. The GT was a two stroke twin and an update of the '60s T500 (Cobra/Titan in the USA) with a disc brake & electronic ignition. They were cheap, offered a reasonable amount of performance and were reliable and durable. The GT was the first bike I owned that had serious touring ability. I toured Britain, Ireland and Europe in the seven years I had two of these bikes getting as far as the South of France. The engine was in relatively low state of tune and had good torque for a 2-stroke.
The bike had electronic ignition when this was rare on bikes. One winter this must have gone wrong and the bike wouldn't start. I eventually bumped it into life but it was running rough. I selected first, dropped the clutch and the bike shot backwards! It is possible for a two stroke engine to run the wrong way.


The GT and my commuter bike a MZ TS150 in 1982. By this time I had resprayed the bike 
silver blue.

The GT and my brother's BMW R75/6 & Yamaha SR500

My first trip abroad on the GT was in the summer of 1978 then a friend and I went for a slightly chaotic tour of France. A problem was that I didn't have any luggage for the bike. I has just completed university and hadn't started working so was a bit short on cash. So I decided to make my own top box and panniers. My father working in a factory that made bathroom furniture. From him I obtained sheets of textured fibre glass that was used to panel in bath tubs. I made boxes from this by joining the sheets with strips of stainless steel angle. As you can see from this photograph I made the boxes on the big side. This picture was taken when my friend was in the woods for a "comfort break". There is a bottle of wine from which he was swigging as we travelled along the road.

Me and the GT probably on the Ayrshire coast in the early '80's

 At the L'Arc de Triomphe, Paris, 1980

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