Warning!This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.
An interesting corporate experiment and a RSBFS fan favorite, the Yamaha GTS is a rare two-year model bike that continues to look cutting edge. Derived from James Parker’s efforts with his revolutionary RADD suspension concept, the GTS is a modern cult classic. With the Parker test mule originally ridden by none other than Wayne Rainey prior to Yamaha’s green lighting the project, the GTS promised to usher in a new era of sport bike suspension design. What emerged from the Yamaha labs was not a new FZR sportbike, but rather a FZR-based concept that was decidedly middle of the road in terms of focus. Perhaps Yamaha decided to make the unconventional GTS as conventional as possible to lure people into the showrooms. The GTS was relatively large and bulbous in proportions when compared to the XT 600 dual purpose-based prototype and the FZR750 follow on. Parker was reportedly unhappy with the outcome, and what could have been simply languished on showroom floors until Yamaha pulled the plug.
The concept is a good one: conventional front forks need to manage steering, weight changes due to braking and acceleration, and provide control over road irregularities – that is a lot of jobs for a single piece of equipment. The RADD design helped to isolate the pitch moment of braking from the bump compliance of road irregularities, while allowing steering to occur completely independently. In short, it was a novel way to focus on specific tasks via suspension and chassis components. The downside of this approach is weight and packaging. The GTS does not have a conventional frame – instead both front and rear swing arms bolt to the “C” section plates on either side of the motor, and provide the hard points for the suspension to connect. Dragging bits of the front suspension (swing arm and attach points) can be an issue for extreme riders. For the rest of us mortals, this is usually not a problem.
From the seller:
Don’t miss out on your opportunity to own a rare and unique ride. Offered for only two years in the US, there are few examples left that are this nice. This GTS has been ridden, although very lovingly.
This bike is 98% stock, with a Corbin seat and a MRA Touring windshield as the only improvements. With ABS, fuel injection, and a front end that separates suspension from steering, this bike is a joy to ride. James Parker’s RADD forkless design works as advertised, effectively providing greater suspension and better chassis control. The 1000cc motor the 5 valve powerplant from the FZR that is retuned for sport touring duty. This bike is traditional Yamaha, with excellent fit and finish. These engines are near bulletproof, and she pulls like an electric motor.
The seller has provided a video of the bike in question, which looks fantastic in this particular light:
GTS models are hard to find in good condition. These single-sided front hub-center steering classics that are appreciating in value right now; and this will still be a fond novelty in another 20 years. The FZR1000 motor is strong and bullet proof, and despite the novelty, the front suspension really works. These are great bikes to ride – the steering is a bit heavy, but that is not inherent to the suspension but rather Yamaha playing it safe – but otherwise once in the saddle you can’t even tell you are riding something with a funny front end. Check it out here – we don’t see many of these around, and even fewer in this sort of condition. Good Luck!