Saturday, January 14, 2012

Suzuki 4 cylinder 1978

The Suzuki 750 and 1000 4 cylinder bikes were making quite an impression on me in 1978.  Already being a committed (I'm sure that some would have thought it a good idea, even back then) big four owner, interest in the Suzuki's was an easy step.  Especially so because of their improved power and primarily handling, witnessed by me at the roadrace track on numerous weekends.  Rumors were out about an upcoming shaft drive Suzuki, possibly an 850 and with my new-found interest in handling and expanding interest in touring, the possibility of a reasonable blend of both in a new bike had me paying attention.

In 1978, I'd left my job in the Twin Cities and moved to Pillager, MN.  Following a former boss north, he'd opened a new machine shop in 'Lake Country' and me, not really being tied down, followed him up there.  Normally not working weekends, I had plenty of time for exploring and taking trips, usually north to see friends in the Grand Rapids area or further east to the south shore of Lake Superior.

The Ducati was mine, as was the 750 Four, my XL350 and a new acquisition, the Yamaha 250MX that my brother had tired of and all were with me in the northland.  Since I lived so near State Forest Land and fireroads, the MX bike and I managed quick spurts on public roadways (crossing and shoulders, honest ;) ) to access the forest roads.  I never was much of a jumper, but managed somewhat adequateness at wheelies which was just about the only joy that bike provided me.  With more torque, I most likely would have been a bit more joyous.

Long overdue for a big, long distance trip, plans were made to attend the '78 Aspencade in Ruidoso, NM.  The event happened each year in early October, celebrating the turning of the aspen leaves in the high country of northern New Mexico and during those years, was a major m/c event in the southwest.  I'd done some large group rides, i.e. Toys for Tots, structured Poker Runs, etc. though had never been to a rally before.  Dad knew of my plans to go, not really saying much one way or the other.  By summer's end, I had strong armed him into joining me for the two week adventure.  He and mom had done some long weekend rides with his company's motorcycle club, but he'd not done any long trip like the one we were planning for.

It was a fun, adventurous two weeks and I'll possibly highlight the trip in another Post at a later time.

All of the major manufacturers were present for the Show inside Ruidoso's Convention Center.  When I saw the new black 1979 GS850 in the Suzuki booth, the decision was made; I'd be ordering one when I got home.  The bike turned into one of my favorites, the most versatile and easiest to live with of almost any I've owned.  It didn't hurt one bit that it and I were partners on a 3 1/2 month trip to New England and the Maritime Provinces over the summer of 1979.

No miles yet, touring ready, Feb. 1979........

Cape Breton, Aug. 1979.......


  1. I always thought the big 4 banging Suzuki was like one of my fathers 50's 4 door Buick. Large, comfy and did it's job well. But the styleing cue came from a brick.

  2. And that's very fair......but it sure did work well for what it was. More than once, I've been accused of running short on style and that's fair as well ;)