1993-1994 Yamaha GTS1000

Smart Money

We weren't sure what to make of the GTS1000 when it materialized back in '93. Depending upon whom you asked, it was either an arcane technical footnote or a new chapter in motorcycle chassis design. James Parker's pioneering parallel-arm RADD front end was clearly the star of this show, but Yamaha didn't stop there. Tuned for midrange thrust rather than top end, the 20-valve FZR-derived four arrived with Nippon Denso EFI and a three-way catalytic converter upstream of the single muffler-both firsts for a Yamaha four-stroke. And the package was nicely sorted right out of the box.

Fuel metering is quite good, and though flattening the torque curve for sport-touring duty reins horsepower output to about 100 horses at 9000 rpm, our testbike covered the quarter-mile in 11.67 sec. at 113.7 mph and hit 141 mph at the top of fifth gear. That's quicker and faster than Honda's ST1100, but well behind the 10.31 sec./135.7 mph logged by Kawasaki's 175-mph ZX-11. But the Yamaha is much smoother, even while flirting with triple digits. Led by a single six-piston caliper squeezing a ventilated 330mm front rotor, ABS-assisted brakes were the class of the class. Range is a bit short: A 5.3-gallon tankful lasts about 215 freeway miles.

Factor in the stability and suspension compliance its forked peers couldn't match and you might wonder why Yamaha ever gave up on the parallel-arm front end. It's functionally superior to anything of comparable vintage, and aside from checking the knuckle-arm ball joint every 8000 miles, the RADD needs less attention than any telescopic alternative.

What goes wrong? Not much. Shocks go soggy; usually the rear first. ABS pistons can get sticky or seize. The RADD setup is hard on front tires and the 1002cc four can drink a bit of oil after a few thousand miles. Rough running is usually traceable to bad sparkplug caps or out-of-sync throttle bodies. The stock seat started out bad and got worse. Most well-preserved examples wear an aftermarket alternative. Disappointing sales prompted by the original $12,999 price tag mean Yamaha didn't import many. It won't be easy, but track down a good one and you can own a serviceable modern classic for the price of entry-level banality.

Fast, smooth, stable,staggeringly sophisticated and at least a decade ahead of its time.

Heavy and a bit clumsy at low speeds. No shaft drive, drafty cockpit. Parts are predictably scarce.

Watch For
Corroded electrics and brake-line support brackets, arcing sparkplug boots, excessive oil consumption.

Own a chunk of authentic motorcycle future-think that's still a blast to ride.

1993 $5345
1994 $5545