22 Days on a 1974 Suzuki GT750

A cross-country motorcycle vacation

| May/June 2010

Last summer, my wife, Bobbi, and I were discussing plans for celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary that August. Bobbi wanted to go on a cruise. I thought that was a great idea, so I started getting my 1974 Suzuki GT750 “Water Buffalo” ready for the ride. Come to find out, her idea of a cruise was on a ship. Silly girl.

Of course, we don’t own a ship, so we had a meeting of the minds and settled on a classic motorcycle vacation. I love riding long distance, and Bobbi often goes with me. Bobbi mapped out a motorcycle tour that would take us from northwest Florida to Colorado Springs, then north to Calgary. From there we’d head east and then drop down back into the states to Michigan, and then south back to Florida, staying west of the Appalachian Mountains to stay cool.


Getting ready for this motorcycle tour wasn’t that involved. First on the list were passports, and since temperatures would range from almost freezing to 110F, we needed to make sure we had appropriate motorcycle riding gear, including lots of Ziploc bags in case of rain. I installed a Garmin Zumo 550 GPS, had the bike wired for our Gerbing electric heated liners and gloves, and I installed a set of fork protectors from a Kawasaki ZRX1100 to protect my fork seals. Oh yeah, and I got some molded speaker ear plugs!

With help from Paul at Performance Cycle and Dave at Finish Line Cycle, we installed a new set of tires, new Hagon shocks, sprockets and chain, a fresh air filter and a new wiring harness.

When I had rebuilt the engine at 84,000 miles, I spoke with Shayn Harkness at www.motorcycle-ignition.com about installing an electronic ignition. Still running points, I was tired of changing or re-adjusting them on road trips. He convinced Newtronics to send me its new motorcycle ignition kit to test on my bike. The kit was an easy install, and it can be quickly retrofitted to the original setup because none of the wires are cut or spliced. I’m not sure who would want to return to the point option, because with this system you’ll never buy points and condensers again. I know I’ll never go back.

With the Suzuki GT750 prepped and ready for takeoff, Bobbi plugged basic points of contact into the Zumo and on Aug. 1, 2009, we rolled out of our drive in Panama City Beach, Fla., heading northwest. Predictably, we broke our our motorcycle riding gear right away as we ran into a rain storm about 60 miles later, and it continued to rain most of the day. The bad thing about rain on the GT750 is the front discs are made of stainless steel, and when wet it takes a few extra seconds for the pads to dry off.

Patrice Cloue
6/1/2010 6:52:30 PM

Allen and Bobbi Your story was absolutely delightful to read. Great escape, great people, great bike stories, great outdoors. You are the type of people I would love ride with! Patrice

Steve Jobe
5/20/2010 1:45:36 PM

Allen, Great article! I'm jealous of your bike, jealous of the trip, and most of all - jealous of YOUR WIFE! Do you have any idea how incredibly LUCKY you are, Dude? I can't even get my wife to RIDE AROUND THE BLOCK! You'd better hold on tight to that gal! :) --Steve

Allen Wood
4/21/2010 9:29:15 PM

Hi Phil.. The charging on the GT750 is 280 watts. We were able to run the Gerbing heated jacket liners and gloves without any problems. But it was not needed much except up around Canada.. The box on the rear is a Givi box. They make a universal adapter that bolts on to your existing luggage rack and then the box just clicks on and off in seconds. It was very handy to have. As far as communication, we did not have anything special. I told her that the bike would not handle a communication system, it was too old. LOL.. I had a custom set of earplugs with speakers for the XM radio and GPS commands. If I wanted to talk to her I would have to turn the volume down and "yell" but we had hand signals for the basics. Allen..... GT rideaholic

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