September 2004 Bike Of The Month
1983 Suzuki GS1100GL
Owner: Bill Hebb
A Note From The Owner...
I started motorcycling back in 1966 when I was 14 years old on the farm, so I didn't need a license. I used to round up the milk and beef cows with a 1966 Yamaha 250. Sometimes they would try to round me up!
I'm 52 now and in all these years there were only two years that I didn't have a bike. Those two years were hell! Some of the bikes I've had are: 1957 BSA 650cc Goldstar, 1966 Yamaha 250cc Big Bear Scrambler, 1969 Honda CB750K, 1971 Honda CB450, 1971 Honda CB750K, 1983 Yamaha Virago XV750K, 1978 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing, and a 1982 Honda XL500R.
Besides the 1983 Suzuki GS1100GLD, I currently have the '78 Gold Wing, and a 1975 Honda CB125S that I'm putting together for my wife Sylvia of 30 years. It will be a good learner bike for her.
She and I have toured on the Gold Wing most of the New England states, and we still take many rides just for the fun of it. Fun is what motorcycling is all about. I worked for a power company here in Connecticut as an Overhead Electrical Line worker for 23 years, and the last 11 years there I would commute year round 38 miles one way to work on the Gold Wing - and it gets pretty cold in Connecticut! 76 miles every day in all kinds of weather year round - but it was great not being in a car.
The bike made the long commute tolerable because it was fun to drive. That's how I got the nickname Mad Max from my co-workers. They figured I was just plain nuts riding to work in 15 degree weather, or in the rain. I'm semi-retired now so I have more time to ride. I ran an old Velerex sidecar on the Gold Wing for a few years, but didn't like the handling after a while.
None of my bikes have ever been in a shop except for when I bring the wheels in for new tires. I do all maintenance and repairs myself and enjoy doing it.
I bought the 1983 GS1100GL about a year ago on Ebay for $1,500.00 with 26,000 miles on the clock. I had heard for years about the different GS's and how reliable and fast they are and I had to have one, and the seller was nearby in CT.
The motor sounded tight, no major oil leaks, and it drove great except for those God awful handlebars. The charging circuit was dead but with the help of The GSResources Forum, it is now charging and running like a bear.
The only modifications done to it are a one size larger main jet size, a K&N air filter in the stock air box, and a Barnett Clutch. Spark plugs are a nice tan color like they should be. The bike can be scary fast or nice and sedate around town; it does it all.
I just picked up a set of Vetter saddlebags and a Vetter Windjammer fairing for it, both with mounts for this bike. If I was younger, I would leave it bare, but as I get older, I appreciate the wind protection and storage more. Of all the bikes I've had or ridden, the GS is my favorite and a keeper.