Suzuki GS850

THD 28T / VCX 555V

I traded in my GS1000 at the beginning of May 1979, as I wanted my new GS850 to be run-in before I went to the Isle of Man. I had thought about waiting until August to get the new 'V' registration letter but that would have meant missing the most of the summer on my new bike.

So, how come I have two registration numbers at the top of the page? By some 'administrative' mistake at Motorcycle World it seems they forgot to post the registration papers for my bike until August 1st and so I could no longer have my 'T' reg and reluctantly had to accept a new 'V' reg - they even made me pay for a new plate! This explains why I had to have the 'Tax in Post' disc for 3 months. I had a rider policy so I was insured for any bike and that part was ok. In these days of computers and ANPR cameras you wouldn't have to put up with such slack office management!

More about the bike itself: This looked like a more sensible touring bike than my former GS1000 but the reality was that I had a heavier, slower bike that didn't handle anywhere near as well. It also used more petrol but due to the larger tank had more range. Strangely, the handling improved with a pillion passenger or a heavy tent plus camping gear and as I mostly rode it going to rallies I was ok.

At first, until I was out of warranty I had to have it dealer serviced. Later on I managed to do it all myself. The only difficulty was doing the shims to set valve clearances but as I knew the guys in the service department I just used to borrow the tool then get them to swap shims with mine for the correct ones. Eventually I fitted CV carbs and an airbox from a later model and got an improvement in mpg that paid for the mod in a couple of months.

This bike was the first one I fitted my Squire sidecar to with no other modifications other than a square car type tyre on the 17" back wheel. I went to the Elephant rally on the outfit with no problem other than where I parked it the deep snow froze between the alloy wheel spokes overnight. The next day I couldn't move it and I was concerned about damaging the wheels when we broke it loose.

I am not sure how long I kept this bike or how many miles I did on it but I do know I'd done over 8,000 miles before it was registered! After a while I took the sidecar off and ran it solo again but in the end I fancied a change and traded it in for a second hand Honda Gold Wing GL1000.

- Ted Trett