Still love the black stealth bomber (long)

William K Denton wkdenton at
Wed Oct 15 12:12:55 PDT 2008

Coming upon my tenth anniversary as a GPz1100 owner, I have to say that I 
still love the beast.  I joke with my riding buddies that the GPz is my only 
"modern" bike, the irony of course is that there's nothing truly modern 
about a 12 year old motorcycle.  Having said that, I guess I like old 
things, because my next newest bike is an '86 SRX600, followed by a litany 
of early '80s and late 70's issues, mostly Yamaha, save for a CB-X thrown in 
for good measure.

At any rate, I've been riding the GPz less lately, as 98% of my riding for 
the last three seasons has been local stuff, and my vintage aluminum is more 
suited to do that sort of thing.  The GPz, as we all know, is a mile 
muncher, and I've done pitifully few long-distance jaunts in the last few 
years, mainly because I've been a poor, unemployed graduate student, career 
shifting to the teaching profession (high school chemistry).  So, my black 
stealth bomber sits quietly most days, StaBil in tank and trickle charger on 
battery, waiting for the off-chance that her master will find her worthy of 
a short run somewhere, anywhere.  Meanwhile, the XV920R, XS650, and CB-X get 
regular exercise, if only to H*me D*pot, Office Max, or a short 50-80 miler 
through upper Bucks County on a sunny day.  If a motorcycle were capable of 
envy, The GPz would be green, not black.

In this day and age of 10% ethanolic fuel, and as summer inexorably turned 
to fall, I thought it would be wise to get the old girl out for a spin, if 
for no other reason than to get some fuel running through the pilot jets to 
keep them from clogging up again.  Alas, riding is eminently more enjoyable 
than pulling the carb rack to clean pilot jets <g>.  It would also give me a 
chance to get a fresh charge of StaBilized fuel into the tank, as the cold, 
less ridden season is fast approaching.

As I went to the shed and pulled off the mc cover, a pang of guilt hit me as 
at the sight of her.  "Wow, what a beautiful bike", was my reaction, as if 
seeing the mc again for the first time in a long while, which made me 
realize that I probably had not ridden her since June.  As I pulled out of 
the shed, I was reminded how heavy she was, rolling her across the back yard 
to the garage where I would check tires pressures before venturing out. 
Heavy, yes, but at 560 lbs., still 45 lbs. lighter than the CB-X (but 220 
lbs. heavier than the SRX600!).  Good thing I checked the tire pressures, 
too, because they were both about 10 lbs. low from sitting most of the 

As the tires (and I) were both now pumped for a ride, I moved the petcock to 
prime for about 15 seconds, full enricher, turned on the ignition, and hit 
the starter button.  She cranked but did not hit (damn).  Tried again (c'mon 
sweetheart), hitting on one cylinder, still holding the button down (c'mon 
sweetheart, you can do it)....then two (c'mon...)... chug a chug a chug.. 
stalled.  Tried a third time (okay, I'm sorry I haven't ridden you for three 
months, but I want to now!...)... hitting on two cylinders, then three, let 
go of the starter button, still going (c'mon sweetheart), chug chug a chug, 
(C'MON!...), and after what seemed like an eternity, finally hitting on four 
cylinders, as she fell into a slow, then faster idle, running nicely now, 
awaiting my inputs (oh baby, I still love ya!).  About two minutes later she 
was responding to throttle inputs with no hesitation, so I presumed that the 
pilots were still clear.  Chalk up another point for StaBil in the tank at 
every fill-up, a veritable necessity 24/7/52 in 10% ethanol fuel country!

My planned ride was from Yardley, PA up to Milford, NJ (~ 80 miles RT) to 
meet a friend who was returning one of my bikes after I had swapped it for 
his pickup truck to grab a load of firewood.  Not five minutes into the 
ride, I caught myself muttering the same phrase that I had been saying to 
myself since the day I rode this mc home from Huntsville, AL ten years 
ago....; "If I had to get rid of every bike I own except for one, the 
GPz1100 would be the one I'd keep".  It feels right, fits me well, it sounds 
right, it rides right, it looks great, in short it does everything well (for 
a relative porker).  To boot, 125HP @ 44MPG is nothing to sneeze at these 
days.  This compares most favorably to the CB-X with 90HP @ 28MPG, which is 
my next most powerful bike.  Now, I realize that most of us don't ride mc's 
to save gas, but it's nice to know that we can get about the same mileage as 
a Toyota Prius while having about 1000X more fun.  Alas, the CB-X is a blast 
as well, with it's turbine-like surge of six 174cc pistons frantically 
trying to get out, urged on by a six pack of accelerator pump primed carbs, 
but the price to be paid it that it "only" gets about the same mileage as my 
Honda CR-V... such a pity.

Anyway, if you're still reading this, you probably love or have loved your 
GPz as I do mine.  Thanks for reading and allowing me to share or blog or 
whatever this post qualifies as.....

Bill in Yardley, PA
wkdenton at
'96 GPz1100
'86 SRX600
'81 VX920RH
'80 CB-X
'78 XS650E
'77 XS650D

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