The GSResources – Rippings GS1000s

5 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on The GSResources – Rippings GS1000s

Ripping’s 1979 GS1000S


I know little of the history associated with the GS range, only to be sure that the ‘S’ model was the performance flagship of the day. It was both lighter, and more powerful than anything else in its class (notably the Z series Kawasaki’s), winning rave reviews from testers of the era, who commented on its comfort, power and handling. The GS 1000 S was the last of the 2 valve Suzuki fours, being superceded by the 4 valve GSX range and of course the show stopping Katana.

My Suzuki GS 1000 S is a 1979 model. There were two different versions released by the factory, the GS 1000 SN (1979 – 1980), and the GS 1000 ST (1981-1982). Differences in these two models seem to be minor, the ones I have noticed are:

foot pegs changed to rear sets on later model (it soooo easy to scrape the pegs on the SN. you need a large wallet for the pairs of boots you’ll wear away!).

Indicators changed to black plastic ‘bullet’ type, from plastic chrome round style.

The indicator control unit was changed to a simpler design on the later ST model.

Dash instruments changed from an automotive style dash to separate speedometer and tachometer units in the ST model (losing the clock and the fuel gauge).

Switch blocks were changed from alloy to black plastic, with rearrangement of the functions.

Choke actuation was by remote cable through the headstock on the SN, the ST had a local flip switch on the carburetor bank.

Real wheel size changed to 18 inch diameter on ST model (from 17)

Wheel colour was black on the SN, gold on the ST.

Brake calipers were of a different design, with the ST also running slotted, ventilated discs.

Cosmetics were slightly different between the two models. The ST was released with either a red/white or a blue/white colour scheme. The SN was blue/white only.

Differences in the engine are harder to discover. supposedly the later model was released with larger intake and exhaust ports. I have yet to confirm this, as so many have been modified from standard.

These differences are the ones I have picked up on. If there is anyone out there who has more information concerning these models, please email me .

I first bought a GS 1000 S in 1988. This was the later ST model. It served me well for six months or so.

I took it to the Pukekohe International Raceway for a private ride session, and ended up crashing it (there’s a long story behind that one!), 10 minutes before the day was over. So that killed that one – coming away with a bent frame among other cosmetic damage. I still have the remains of the bike, but can’t call it a runner as it is stored in 5 or 6 cardboard boxes!

The GS 1000 S I have now (in one piece!), is, as I have mentioned. an SN model. I bought this in 1993 for $NZ1800.

The configuration is basically standard, although it runs forged Arias pistons, a Barnett H/D clutch kit and an unnamed four into one exhaust. The engine has been stripped once by me (more of a check, than anything). Upon reassembly, new gaskets were used throughout, the valves and seats given a 3 angle grind and the ports mildly polished to relieve casting marks and match the ports to the inlet manifolds. Little else has been done on the bike apart from this.

Attention has been paid to polishing the alloy cases and forks, and generally tidying up the bikes appearance.

Ride Impression.

Like many of its brethren, the GS is heavy (238kg), and pushing it around makes its weight known. But, once underway, a well balanced bike is revealed, losing much of its apparent obesity.

The first thing to grasp your attention is the wide well padded seat and wide bars allowing the rider to move around on the bike to find a position most comfortable. The seats of the GS series have been hallowed as the best in the business, and many long hours can be had in the saddle, with few aches and pains at the end of the day.

The clutch actuation is smooth and the take-up predictable. The torque of these mills ensure a smooth takeoff, with little clutch slip or stratospheric revs. Accelerating up through the gears is docile enough below 5000 rpm or so, where it starts to clear it throats up until 7 to 8000 rpm when the motor seems most at home, pushing you forward with all it can muster (which isn’t inconsiderable), until you run out of revs, gears or road.

Suzuki GS 1000

The best speed I’ve seen on this bike is 220 km/h (that’s on the clock, so expect a little inaccuracy). Quarter mile times should be in the mid to high 12 second bracket. 100 km/h in top equates to around 5000rpm with the gearing I am running.

Vibration from the engine is non-intrusive, unless you run high revs everywhere, but then you should be too busy to notice such minor things. Through the corners, the GS requires a little muscle at the bars to get it heeled over, but once online it is stable enough. with a big hint of understeer.

I’ve found the best technique for to hustle these behemoths through the twisty bits is to, use the rear brake as a stabiliser as you enter and round the corner, then to load up the rear wheel as quick as you can, taking the pressure of the skittish front. This is all well and good until bumps are encountered, then the plot thickens.

Suspension on these machines, must be in top notch order to realise the potential of the bike. The frame technology is over twenty years old, and saggy suspension will turn a frame of spaghetti into a frame of wet spaghetti.

Tyre choice on the GS is also critical. The secret being. don’t get them too sticky. If the tyre don’t slip around a little, all the cornering forces are transmitted through your uncompliant suspension to that frame. Under anything more than moderate cornering, this will make the frame (and swingarm) flex, leading to some memorable wallowing.

Tyres I have used with effect are the A49/M48 combination from Michelin and to a lesser degree the Continental Super Twins. Michelin Hi Tours are a great recommendation if you like to do Mick Doohan impersonations, allowing you to real wheel steer the bike out of corners in long controlled slides.

Instruments and switchgear.

The instruments are easily read, day or night, with a clock and a fuel gauge a couple of handy additions, that were dropped on the ST model. Redline is at 8500 rpm and the speedo goes to 240 km/h. Switch gear falls to your thumbs, featuring a push to cancel indicator switch, and a centrally mounted choke cable mounted on the upper triple clamp.


Since having this bike, I have been plagued by problems concerning the starter motor clutch on the back of the alternator rotor. The 3 bolts that attach the clutch to the rotor keep snapping at the most inconvenient times (sometimes within 200km of putting in new ones). I have tried new starter clutches and alternator rotors, used mild, stainless and high tensile bolts. and machined the two mating surfaces of the clutch and rotor, but to no avail.

I have yet to check the crank for trueness. which may well have to be my next move. Does anyone have any ideas?

Another problem I have when starting the bike, is a loud clack clack comes from the starter clutch, as if compression from the motor is kicking back. I have been told that retarding the timing may cure this, as higher compression ratios do not need the advance of a factory timing set up. this is also damaging the starter clutch, as the spring loaded pins inside are being shunted through the clutches casing (every clutch I have seen tends to have this problem).

These are the only things that keep the machine from being reliable. I would love to get it sorted. Any information about these models would be gratefully received. Pictures and stories too. you will get a mention..|-)’

To Contact Ripping, you e-mail him at:

Suzuki GS 1000
Suzuki GS 1000
Suzuki GS 1000

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