Future Machine: 1993 Yamaha GTS1000

The Yamaha GTS1000, Yamaha’s replacement for the FJ1200, turned out to be a technological stunner, featuring the RADD forkless single-shock front suspension.


Future Machine 1993 Yamaha GTS1000

Engine: 1,002cc DOHC, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder, 75.5mm x 56mm bore and stroke, 10.8:1 compression ratio, 100hp @ 6,500rpm
Top speed (approx.): 139mph (224kmh)
Fueling: Electronic fuel injection
Transmission: 5-speed, O-ring chain final drive
Electrics: 12v, electronic ignition
Frame/wheelbase: Aluminum “Omega” chassis w/front and rear tubular-steel subframes, 58.9in (1,496mm) wheelbase 
Suspension: RADD forkless single-shock front, single-shock rear swing arm
Brakes: Single 12.9in (328mm) disc brake front, single 11.1in (282mm) disc brake rear
Tires: 130/60 x 17in front, 170/60 x 17in rear
Weight (wet): 637lb (289kg)
Seat height: 31in (787.4mm)
Fuel capacity: 5.3gal (20ltr)
Price then/now: $12,999/$4,000-$8,000

There weren’t many established design practices in the earliest days of the motorcycle.

In those nascent times, ingenious builders tried just about every form of power, from steam to internal combustion, from one cylinder to more than four. And, they experimented by placing those powerplants in many different positions, from over the front wheel to various locations on and around — and in — the bicycle frame itself.

Eventually, as the motorized bicycle morphed into an actual motorcycle, the layout became somewhat more familiar. Yet, engineers were still tinkering with details, from rudimentary suspension design to fuel tank position to final drive system. By the end of World War I, motorcycle design was more firmly established, yet engineers were still thinking outside the box. In 1918, for example, there was the hub-steered Ner-A-Car, the brainchild of Carl Neracher. A 221cc single-cylinder 2-stroke machine, the Ner-A-Car sold relatively well between 1921 and 1928.

More changes were still to come, including “saddle” style gas tanks, telescopic forks and the adoption of swingarm rear suspension. But, while at risk of over-generalizing the entire motorcycle industry, after all of that creativity, powered two-wheeler design settled into a fairly established pattern. Indeed, there were new materials and new manufacturing processes that helped tighten up tolerances and improve reliability, and certain “eras” of development further refined the motorcycle.

3/24/2020 10:33:31 PM

Some magazine had the GTS stopping from 60 to 0 in 88 feet. Any "modern" motorcycles capable of that? Cycle magazine I think, I could only ever get to the mid 90' range but I'm not that good...

3/17/2020 3:28:38 PM

The GTS is a wonderful sport touring bike. However Yamaha ceased all support and some critical parts are no longer available. If Yamaha really cared for the owners of this fine machine they would make available parts like brake rotors, upper and lower ball joints etc. that’s where BMW has a big advantage.

2/20/2020 5:50:24 AM

While the late Oilhead BMWs had fork tubes, it strikes me that the Telelever suspension system operates similarly. The system has built-in anti-dive geometry as well, and among other things it also separates steering inputs from suspension action. Another nice touch is that it also eliminates steering head bearings and their need for occasional adjustment or replacement. The system also allowed for some tuning, in that BMW lightened the fork legs and added a bit more anti-dive geometry into the system for the R1100S sport model. This allowed for very late trail braking as you entered a corner, with full steering control and very little dive. Fortunately for many, they built a number of these bikes so rather than being a rare collector's item, they will be on the road for decades to come as they are quite inexpensive to buy on the used market.

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