My GT380

Interesting stories of you and a Suzuki you have owned.

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E Sully
On the street
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:09 am
Country: United States
Suzuki 2-Strokes: GT380, GS1100ET

My GT380

Post by E Sully »

My addiction started back in the mid sixties when I was about 8. My parents took us to visit relatives at the summer camp they owned. I was put on one of those classic 60's minibikes with a centrifugal clutch. After that all I wanted every birthday and Christmas was a mini bike.
It was not to be for many years. Mom was a nurse working in the operating room at the local hospital, and they were too dangerous. Funny thing was, I was allowed to ride the neighbors kids Honda 50 and 70, but could not have my own. This was part of the beginning of my learning how to fix bikes. Their father had moved out after a divorce, and they knew nothing about using tools. As long as I was able to keep them running when they broke down, they let me ride with them. I had always enjoyed taking things apart and usually getting them back together. That Revell - Visible V-8 Engine Plastic Model Kit I got as a present one year had given me a bit of knowledge about engines.
One day when I was 14, dad finally got permission to buy a 1967 Honda CL160 Scrambler a friend had sitting in his garage for about 3-4 years. It had not been taken car of and was a bit rusty. Dad got me a Haynes or Chiltons book and access to his limited tools. Took a few months of tinkering, setting valve lash, adjusting points, setting timing, cleaning and adjusting carbs. Took a lot of the money from my lawn cutting and baby sitting money to buy tune up parts, new exhaust, battery and some necessary tools of my own.
Finally the day came for the first start. I pushed the bike up our sloped driveway, pulled in the clutch and started the descent. I put the bike in second gear, dropped the clutch and it came to life. Oh what joy. We lived on the end of a dead end street leading into woods with some trails. Every chance I got I rode that bike up and down the street and on the trails. Not much suspension travel, but at least it had a high exhaust.
The Honda lasted till I was almost 18. Riding was limited still though. Mom would not sign the consent to allow me to get a motorcycle license. Just before I was 18 though, the unthinkable happened. My Honda was stolen. The good part of this was that it led me to my next bike.
I don't remember exactly how I found it. It was about 1979. Back in the 70's there was no internet to search. I did eventually find an interesting bike a couple of miles from home. It was this interesting Suzuki 2 stroke. It was not very quick, but I loved the look, it handled easily on the street, and I could afford it. I remember taking that 4 mile ride home, no license, insurance, and praying no police spotted me. I had my first GT380.
First thing was to buy a Clymer book. Then I gave it it's first tune up since it was new. Suddenly I realized I was wrong about it not being a quick bike. It had only been running on 2 of the 3 cylinders. I loved it. I was also old enough to get a license without an adult signature. Mom was upset, but life goes on. I rode it everywhere. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom.
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E Sully
On the street
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:09 am
Country: United States
Suzuki 2-Strokes: GT380, GS1100ET

Re: My GT380

Post by E Sully »

That was the beginning. I had read about bikes and racing for years. In the early 80's I decided I would try road racing. Somewhere I had read an ad posted by AAMRR. Funds were short, but I still lived with my parents, and managed to buy a Vanson leather racing suit, racing boots, and approved helmet.
The bike was fairly old by this time, approaching 10. The novice class I was in was for mostly stock machines. Racing against the Yamaha RD's, GPZ550's, and such meant I was out of serious contention, but I would be on the track. I found a set of chambers I could afford, and laced up some wider aluminum rims and spokes, fitted with the street legal racing compound tires of the early 80's. I also had to cut off the stock rigid foot pegs and welded the folding passenger pegs on. Since it was a GT380, I chose #38 to race under.
The first run at Bridgehampton track in Long Island was amazing. It opens up your eyes a bit the first time you go out on a track. Think you were fast when you rode on the street? It's a whole new experience when there are no cars or speed limits. It takes a bit of time to realize your limits and advance them once you are not limited by the rules of the street. I loved it, but quickly knew what I thought was a quick and good handling bike was slow compared to the newer bikes, and had limited ground clearance.
My first race ended early. Melted a hole in a piston. Fortunately a 2 stroke is easy to work on. I bought set of WISECO pistons and some bigger jets for the carbs. The next race at Louden was better. I was still too slow to run up with the competitive bikes, and the exhaust and pegs dragged quite a bit around the turns, but I managed to finish 10'th in a 22 bike field.
I have no pictures that year, but here is my brother riding it the next year.
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Last edited by E Sully on Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Evans Ward
To the on ramp
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:35 pm
Country: USA
Suzuki 2-Strokes: 76 GT750, 72 H2 750, 84 RZ350, 67 YR1, 82 MB5
Location: Macon, GA

Re: My GT380

Post by Evans Ward »

Loved the story! :clap:
1976 Suzuki GT750 (Maui Blue), 1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV (Candytone Blue), 1984 Yamaha RZ350 (KRR- Yellow/ Black).
E Sully
On the street
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:09 am
Country: United States
Suzuki 2-Strokes: GT380, GS1100ET

Re: My GT380

Post by E Sully »

But wait! There's more!
I also had a Suzuki GS1000 by then. It was my main street bike. Unfortunately, that one was also stolen. Life can be difficult sometimes. But this led me to a GS1100ET. I started racing the GS1100 in 1983, while I let my brother race the GT380. I can proudly say that while my racing career was only one race each with it at Bridgehampton and Louden again, I finished in 1st both times and ended my career that year undefeated (And too poor to continue). You know what they say, quit while your ahead.
I ended up buying another GT380 a few years later. It was completely stock. Transferred the cylinders and Wiseco pistons and wider rims to it, and sold the retired race GT.
This is the current GT380, alongside my nephew and his 4 cylinder Honda 350.
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jabcb
Moto GP
Posts: 3763
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:32 pm
Country: USA
Suzuki 2-Strokes: 69 T350 thru 75 GT750
Location: southwestern Pennsylvania

Re: My GT380

Post by jabcb »

Thanks for sharing! :up:
BAS (Bike Acquisition Syndrome) - too many bikes but have room for more

Suzuki:
GT750 2x75
GT550 72 project & 75
GT380 72
T500 69 project & 73 project
T350 69 & 71
Honda 85 CB650SC & 86 CB700SC
09 Triumph Bonneville SE
E Sully
On the street
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:09 am
Country: United States
Suzuki 2-Strokes: GT380, GS1100ET

Re: My GT380

Post by E Sully »

I will miss that bike, but since I am friendly with the buyer I can always take it for a spin.
Funny thing, I thought I was done with motorcycles, but this was accidentally found and picked up today.
H2.jpg
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