The 1993 Yamaha GTS1000 was a breakthrough for motorcycle suspension technology, when a major manufacturer, using the RADD (Rationally Advanced Design Development) front suspension designed by James Parker, did away with the front forks and replaced them with a single sided swingarm. It was a leap into the future, the end of forks, the advance everyone was waiting for, … except things didn’t quite work out that way. Some say motorcycle buyers are too conservative to embrace new technology, but was that really the case?
The big machine was powered by the inline four from the FZR1000 using the 5 valve per cylinder Genesis technology, though it was retuned, or rather, detuned, to better suit, according to Yamaha, the sport touring market for which it was intended, somewhat disappointing to those who knew the engine in its original form. Then there was the price, $13,000 in 1993, which was a significant sum for many buyers and reduced the market by a considerable margin.
There are many twists and turns in the development of the GTS1000, not the least of which was Yamaha’s modifications to Parker’s suspension design. They were looking for better packaging in the production motorcycle and made changes Parker was not happy about. On the plus side, it still made it into a production bike, though suspension performance was not optimal, very good, but not as good as the design could have been.
Nevertheless, the bike did impress, but it was a sales failure, pulled after one year in the US, though continued until 1999 overseas. It is now recognized as a breakthrough bike and becoming increasingly desirable as a collector bike you can often purchase very reasonably and ride daily. The bike is fairly rare and there is an active owners group who are proud of their cult classic.