It’s hard to believe 40 years have passed since the GS1000 made its debut. But 2018 will mark exactly that; four decades.
The G and S in GS stands for Grand Sporting, and in the late 1970s Suzuki produced a number of machines bearing the GS moniker, varying in size from 400-1000cc. However, at that time, Suzuki was world-renowned for its production of two-stroke engines, and was busy winning world championships both on and off-road. So, while Barry Sheene was racing his RG500 to glory and Roger De Coster was winning the World Motocross Championship, Suzuki obtained a four-cylinder, two-valve, four-stroke engine from MV Agusta, and got to work. In fact, rumour has it a number of parts could fit to an MV engine.
1978 rolled around and the GS1000 was born, boasting a 997cc, inline four-cylinder engine, with DOHC and two valves per cylinder, putting out 88bhp at 8,500rpm and 60lbft of torque at 6,750rpm.
On the street there became a number of variants that all used the same basic platform, including faired and unfaired, as well as custom version and shaft-driven models, too.
But, like a lot of Suzuki’s in history, it was in racing that it really carved a reputation for itself. In 1978 the GS1000 was born and in just 50 days the legendary Pops Yoshimura tuned a GS1000 to victory in the 1978 Daytona Superbike race ridden by Steve McLaughlin, followed by victory at the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hour with the legendary Wes Cooley. Cooley would go on to win the 1979 and 1980 AMA titles, too.
In Europe the Yoshimura tuned GS1000 (XR69), ridden by Graeme Crosby, won the Formula 1 World Championship in consecutive years: 1980 and 1981. Crosby also notched three TT wins with the bike.
Other big names in bike racing history cut their teeth with the GS1000, including Barry Sheene and Randy Mamola. Even the legendary Joey Dunlop and Mick Grant raced them.
The GS1000 was also at the forefront of aerodynamic development. Think those wings on MotoGP bikes are new? Suzuki developed winglets on its RG500 in 1977. The moulded side panels were later used, in a fashion, on the GS1000’s cowling.
Fast forward to 2018 and the GS1000 is a part of Suzuki’s Vintage Parts Programme, with 970 parts still available, brand new, for the iconic machine, including pistons, rings, many bearings and seals, clutch plates, and much, much more.
For more information on the Vintage Parts Programme visit bikes.suzuki.co.uk/vintage-parts-programme