So it’s now 2013 and this has been on back burner for a while, but it is always in my mind to do something with a GTS1000. Why? I could buy something new, and there are lots of great bikes around at the moment, and my favourites are the new KTM 1290 or Aprilia RSV4 Factory, but that’s too easy. I don’t need ridiculous horsepower and racetrack handling, but I’d like something capable of soaking up the bumps on British roads, yet still be untroubled by bumps mid corner like the GTS, and a lot lighter, with a little more power & is smoother on the motorway, if I do a tour.

I have the injected Thunderace engine code sorted now, using MSExtra, so the engine power improvements are essentially there. Putting another engine in, although possible isn’t what I want to do. The MicroSquirt Module updates the OEM ECU and can hook up to the existing wiring loom. Potentially I can customise it further to add the OEM ABS back into the mix, if I decide I want too, although I was grateful for the non functioning ABS rear brake forcing a slide part way through an exuberant overtake going around a couple of Italian Ducatis, so avoiding the drop down the San Marco Pass hillside.

Visually I always thought the GTS1000 frame was rather distinctive, and I had planned on highlighting this, and it seems others over the years have thought the same.


For me the OEM foot peg area and the shrouding of the front shock ruin the basic aesthetics of the frame functions. It’d be nice to have a single sided swinging arm, that would go with the front, possibly even a shaft drive, but to this well I’d probably start again with another bike and put the GTS front end on something else.

Even now, when looking at the bike, it isn’t that dated. OK the headlight would be projector HID now, indicators would be in the mirrors. The seat area is too underslung, long, and bulky compared to modern bikes, with too much mass over the front wheel, and the hugger although practical should have been lighter or fuller like the front mudguard. The heavy support bracket for the hugger doesn’t really relate to anything else on the bike.

I really like the mashed look of the donor bike, exposing the handlebars, and shifting the visual mass towards the front end, and exposing the rear wheel some more.

I was always going to keep the belly pan, just make it an one piece ACU approved oil tray for race days, but the reality is I’m not likely to use the bike competively unless the front brake heat dissipation is improved. Spirited riding invariably blues the disc up.

So what have others done?, as seems the norm nowadays there is the usual streetfighter influence, but there are one or two gems in this lot, that hint at the direction I will be taking.


Above is the ex Brian Steer’s bike, stripped down by Steve Beachill. The belly pan and frame are starting to work


Another rework, frame accentuated by colour, lighter front end, updated lighting, with lighter front end and street fighter flipped tail. Single sided rear too.


Very minimal, no fuel tank, but again simplified frame, lighter rear end, less mass on the front. OK a few bits still need to be added, but there is frame is starting to look functional again. Single sided too (VFR)
Actually, this picture is an old concept, and Roel Scheffer is on with it some more now. Last time I looked he had some snazzy VFResque wheels (front & rear) and the blue bit in the picture above was beaten out of aluminium.
You can catch his blog here


and most recently..this. A Czech Bugatti student design project. This time the rear hugger is all enveloping, the front mudguard bigger, yet it still works. OK, there are a few holes, but as a visual study, it gives another direction by adding mass.


Now this guy over at is on the right lines as far as I see it, and has picked up on a few elements I wanted to use. The strong frame colour, highlighting the Omega shaped arm. The Ducati single sided swinging arm isn’t obvious from this pic, but the symmetry with the front & rear shock (not sure it’s a pukka mounting). He isn’t fighting the original panels either, just tweaking the upper fairing headlight area and the seat, but even this uses a portion of the old. The wrapping of the seat into the tank area is reminiscent of the Morpho concept model, which was adjustable for seat height and handlebar reach. I like the way parts have been de-featured by using black, the use of colour to tie elements together, and although some areas aren’t as nicely finished, the overall feel is of an updated Yamaha GTS1000.

Again there are a few things, I’d do differently, but this is the best update I’ve seen on a GTS1000 yet.


So what am I going to get up to? That’ll be telling… but I got the first piece today…thank you Billy.

My brief is to imagine Yamaha were going to make the bike today, and all you had were these bits below and some of the bodywork. I wouldn’t change the frame, although nowadays a trellis would do the job, and all the bits could be lighter, but everything else is a possibility.

It’s not a tourer anymore, it’s a sports tourer, bit like an Aprilia Tuono… game on.