God I love that thing.
It is so much an extension of me.
It's fat, it's old, and it KICKS ARSE.
To understand my obsession with this dinosaur, I need to take you back to 1985. Pastel was a viable clothing colour, ties were thin and hair gel was thick. The music, well, you know your getting old when the piped music in a shopping centre starts sounding good.
I was a pimply teenager, in my last year of highschool. The objects of my obsession at the time were Rebecca DeMornay (remember "Risky Business"?)
And, the red haired oboe player in my highschool band.
[No pics, she's probably a soccer mum now and she goes down in my romantic history as the woman who broke my heart first and the most gently.]
The motorcycle world in 1985 was an exciting place. In my opinion, much of what is sportsbike de-riguer now owes it's beginnings to the technological advances in that one particular year.
Suzuki introduced some wild bikes that year that kicked the motorcycle world solidly in the arse. The Katana's which had reigned at the top of the food chain were replaced with the mighty GSXR. An alloy framed sports bike which changed the motorcycle communities expectations for sportsbikes overnight and brought race track handling to the road.
Suzuki also released the RG500, a dirty smelly angry beast that demonically ate riders and licences. The closest thing ever to a road released gp bike, it made 94 hp at the rear wheel and weighed in under 180 kilo's fully fueled. A little tinkering with porting and such, remove the restrictor in the air box and the power produced climbed easily to 120 hp.
Ownership of both of these bikes should form part of a riders spiritual developement. At the very least I thought so and they formed part of mine. My RG500 will go down forever in my memory as the single most loony thing I have ever owned. I spent $3500 buying it in 1992, crashed it then spent $4500 modifying it. When I was done it weighed 160 kilos dripping wet, made 124 dyno measured psychotic 2-stroke horses and was good for 10.6 consistently on a 1/4 mile. (Best ever time 9.8) A mate owned one at the same time and there was nothing nicer than going to Lakeside and whipping the 'Fireblade owners club' boys on our almost 10 year old machinery.
I guess it says a lot about me, reliving my glory days, one hand on a throttle the other on my dick but I have owned both of these bikes and would gladly go the knuckle to back up my claim that each of them were defining moments in motorcycle history.
Johno's RG outside Roma in 1992
December 1985, Kawasaki is in a little trouble as are Honda and Yamaha. The GSXR has pretty much stolen the Australian streetbike market.
Their designers take facets of already existing bikes, (the GPZ 900's and 1100's) and launch what was at the time 'The Worlds Fastest Production Bike' - otherwise known as the GPZ1000RX (model designation - ZX1000A). In America the bike was called the Ninja 1000R.
The colour choices were different in different countries, in Australia we got proper colours - black and red.
Overseas they had a few other variations.
And it still turns heads today.
If you were to compare it to the latest superbikes it would fall short in a number of ways. It's fat, (265kg wet) and long. Twenty years ago though it was the bike to own if speed was your drug of choice.
In 1986, 125bhp from a 997cc four cylinder, 16 valve, twin-cam motor was something quite pants wettingly special. The top speed of 167mph (around 265ks) was unfathomable.
The GPZ1000RX was the daddy of the ZX10, which was again 'The Worlds Fastest Production Bike' and the grandaddy of the ZZR1100, again 'The Worlds Fastest Production Bike'.
Bang for Buck!!
$3 500 dollars for my RX. (Plus on roads etc)
One of the things I love the most about my old girl, is when I am cruising down the highway and the boy-racers on their $18000 steeds draw alongside. They nod and twist the grin handle. Being mature and sedate with the wisdom that age brings, I really love the look on their faces when a 20 year old bike goes "that fast".
At the end of the day, they will be faster than me, but I will get there just a few seconds behind them and still have money in my pocket for a cold beer or three.
If you would like a look at the GPZ1000RX from another mans perspective have a look here
Specs are available here
I'm sure I have left half a dozen dirt bikes out, including a couple of 490's, and at least 3 road bikes that were short term money makers. I got into cars a bit here and there which ate up so much more money than the bikes did. I was divorced twice in that time frame too, and that my brothers ate up more money than any other single experience I have had to date.
The view that drives the demons from your undies.