Author Topic: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado  (Read 922 times)

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Offline Steve Swan

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New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« on: June 19, 2018, 09:29:15 PM »
Hello Folks,

I’ve posted a couple times and perhaps you may remember I purchased a 1968 GTR from Richard Hapke, back in March….. 

Well, 81 days later, the bike arrived and I could not be more thrilled!  I am 66 years old; motorcycles have owned me since I was 14, I grew up in rural NE Nebraska.  My third bike was a BS175, I remember it as a great bike, I quickly out grew it, and when we went down to the implement dealer Dad bought he 175 from to trade it in on a 350 GTR, the dealer had quit handling Bridgestones.  Needless to say, we were both disappointed, definitely me more than Dad, and the short version is I never saw a GTR until this morning when the bike was rolled out of the semi-trailer.  Wow, is all I can say, what a fantastic moment I have been waiting for, for 50 years……  Sheesh, how time flies! 

I could not be any more happier with the bike than I am right now!  Although the bike left Richard’s on April, 20, and I didn’t get it until today, it started the 1st kick!  After being out or Richard's hands for 81 days and in warehouse terminals and semi-trailers, I was definitely pleased and pleasantly surprised!  It is an absolutely lovely unmolested original machine.  Thank you, Richard!   Rode it a little over 30 miles, had to turn the idle up a hair, I am at 5,000 feet altitude, and Richard is in New Hampshire so I will guess the bike has lived its life at around 500 feet altitude.  I think it will need some rejetting, as the acceleration really slows down at 5,000 rpm and has to work hard to get above 5,000 rpm, so I am guessing is getting more gas than it needs.  I have a buddy who has been around 2 strokes for over 50 years, I’m going to have him ride it and get his opinion. 

Anyway, really happy to finally have a GTR!  A big thank you to Richard Clark for selling me a nice LH side cover!  I am going to enjoy the bike as is, and this winter begin giving it a major service, i.e., disassemble, deep clean, new grease in steering head/swing arm and all other pivot joints such as brake fulcrum pins, etc.  I do not see myself ever restoring the bike, it would take the fun out of riding it, were it a restoration. 

I do think I will start saving up nos parts though, as whoever has the bike after I do, may want to restore it, and the old fellow definitely deserves the best.  Will look forward to hearing from you, I have been following this site for several months, and there is a lot of very knowledgeable passionate Bridgestone owners here!  I do intend to continue following the threads and contribute some.  Anyway, take care and safe riding this Summer!

Sincerely,

Steve Swan

« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 02:33:40 AM by Steve Swan »

Offline Jeff Bar

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2018, 05:06:43 PM »
Steve

I enjoyed reading your story,  neat that you finally got your GTR  banana

Jeff Bar

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 11:03:38 PM »
Thanks Jeff!  we got a used 1965 YDS-3 Catalina instead, it damn near killed me.  Since you liked my story of waiting 50 years to get a GTR, you will probably appreciate the story of the Yamaha that almost killed me.  enjoy or suffer your way through.... :o

My most harrowing ride was when I was 15.  I grew up on the farm, 8 miles NE of Hartington, Nebraska.  When I was 14, this was back in 1966, you could get a permit to operate a vehicle if you had to drive to school and we had no bus.  I had a 1965 Yamaha YDS-3 Catalina 250, the year of this incident would have been 1967, it seems like it was November, but I can’t tell you how I know that.  What I do know, the weather was cold and I was completely bundled up, as many layers of clothes as I could wear and still be able to walk, swing my leg over, and straddle a motorcycle.  Going north out of Hartington, highway 57 continues uphill until you get to what used to be Tip Top School, where there was a one room country school house and then it’s all downhill from there.  And in my case, that was literally and figuratively.  It’s f’n cold.  I’m sure the temps were in the 10’s or teens.  Ok, so maybe not THAT cold….  So, I decide when I get to the top of Tip Top hill, I will see how fast the Yamaha will go and I twist the throttle wide open. Half way down the hill I’m going 87 mph.  All this I’m writing now is as clear as if this were happening now.  The entire bike starts a wobble.  Not the front end or the front wheel.  The entire bike starts a side to side wobble.  Actually, it’s like an oscillating sort of freakish wobble.  The bike is going perfectly in a straight line, while the entire bike is moving from side to side in a sickening sort of slow motion.  The bike literally feels like it is possessed, like the wobble is in the top of the motorcycle, or inside the motorcycle, definitely not a wobble in the handlebars or front wheel.  I remember tightening in fear and keeping my cool at the same time.  I let off the gas and the wobble got immediately WORSE, more exaggerated than before.  Still going in a perfectly straight line, but literally oscillating from side to side and with every oscillation the lean angles got greater and greater and greater.  I tried very lightly letting off the throttle again and the bike was oscillating into even greater lean angles.  I tried with all my might to keep the bike upright as I tried the brakes and at that point I KNEW I was going down.  FINALLY, what seemed like an eternity, the bike gently laid on to its left side and I separated from the bike.  I VIIDLY remember the bike moving forward and away from me, SLOWLY turning ccw and I DISTINCTLY remember brining my arms down to my side as I was sliding headfirst behind the motorcycle watching a shower of sparks stream from the bike as it continued its sickening pirouette in front of me.  I distinctly remember watching the bike slide to a stop as I slid to a stop.  I jumped up, ran to the bike, it was still running and in my excitement, forgot to pull the clutch and the bike killed.  I remember thinking, “Shit.”  This no more than happened when a guy got out of his car and he was as excited as I was.  He had watched the entire episode.  He asked me if I wanted a ride home, I looked at the bike, the only damage was a ground off portion of the toe gear shift lever.  So I said, “No, I’m okay.”  Got home, told my dad, he did not believe me as he knew I was a little hell-raiser on motorcycles.  The next Spring, that would have been 1968, the same thing happened to him at about 50 mph on level ground and he was BARELY able to get the bike stopped in time to not hit the ground.  He came all excited and told me he believed me.  I thought to myself, “Yeah, no shit, thanks Dad!”  I remember he partially dismantled the bike, chained it up against the yard light pole and got a long large diameter steel pipe and straightened the frame.  Type of nut my Dad was, he took the bike up to Hartington, turned around, heading to Tip Top Hill and when he got to the top of the hill he opened the throttle wide open.  He said he got the bike up to just over 90 mph, shut the throttle, and by that time he was down to the bottom of the hill.  No wobble and he was mighty proud of that.  Traded the bike for a ’67 BSA Lightning , that would have still been Summer 1967.  Moving from that rice-grinder to the Lightning, I thought I was now a man. 

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2018, 09:07:01 AM »
      Steve,
              Thanks for two great reads, brought back a lot of memories for me. 
      Through a number of lucky coincidences, I was fortunate enough to have a GTR for 3 years back in late 60s, never forgot that bike and returned to the fold 4 years ago. Very pleased you have achieved your dream, lovely example of a GTR.
    Also remember, in vivid detail, low siding my Aermacchi 250 on a hairpin bend, sliding feet first in a crouched position, clawing at the tarmac to stop myself - that hurt !!  Broke off the right side clip-on , 50miles from home, hammered a tubular plug spanner on to remaining stub to get back.
 
   Funny how these moments are welded in our memories, unlike the time me and a mate baled off his Velocette Thruxton. Got a knock on the head and a broken jaw from that one, to this day I have no memory whatsoever of what happened.
       Happy days, eh, and hopefully many more to come for both of us (without the offs  :o)
              Brian
     
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 09:21:27 AM by BRT-GTR »
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Offline slawsonb

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2018, 02:06:21 PM »
That is a very nice original GTR!
...bert

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 11:20:22 PM »
That is a very nice original GTR!
...bert

Thanks Bert!  Today, i took the GTR (i love writing and saying GTR!) up to my shop and changed out mains from 130 to 120, put in a set of new plugs, took it for a 20 mile test ride.  Definitely made a pleasant change on fwo throttle position through 2nd, 3rd gears.  the plugs were light in appearance.  having ridden several 65-68 Yamaha 250/305/350 twins, i am impressed how nimble-handling the GTR is in comparison as well as the super short and positive shift throw.  it is a little "buzzy" but that, i guess is par for a 350 two-cycle.  looking at the the engine/frame rubber mounts, they do not appear cracked, but i bought a new set from Richard Clark so i have them on hand when the time comes.  Having the bike on the lift was nice, i did more cleaning, and lubed all the cables, cleaned and greased the cl./br. levers.  i do have an oil leak or leaks (drips, nothing hideous), difficult to know where oil is leaking through or past, the underside of the engine needs to be cleaned....  is there a  place where the GTR's can be predicted to leak or usually/typically can be expected to leak from?  fwiw, the odo reads 6,504, it reads 6,435 when i took delivery Monday.  i'll take some more pics next time i go out for a ride.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 11:26:36 PM by Steve Swan »

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2018, 11:24:12 PM »
      Steve,
              Thanks for two great reads, brought back a lot of memories for me. 
      Through a number of lucky coincidences, I was fortunate enough to have a GTR for 3 years back in late 60s, never forgot that bike and returned to the fold 4 years ago. Very pleased you have achieved your dream, lovely example of a GTR.
    Also remember, in vivid detail, low siding my Aermacchi 250 on a hairpin bend, sliding feet first in a crouched position, clawing at the tarmac to stop myself - that hurt !!  Broke off the right side clip-on , 50miles from home, hammered a tubular plug spanner on to remaining stub to get back.
 
   Funny how these moments are welded in our memories, unlike the time me and a mate baled off his Velocette Thruxton. Got a knock on the head and a broken jaw from that one, to this day I have no memory whatsoever of what happened.
       Happy days, eh, and hopefully many more to come for both of us (without the offs  :o)
              Brian
   

YIKES, Brian!!!!  broken jaw!!!  ughh...  and here i am wondering how the Velo fared...... :'(  in my earlier life, i owned and absolutely loved riding VMT315, a '67 blue-framed/silver tanked Thruxton.  nothing like being at "full chat" hearing that intake valve open and close through the intake bell of the 1-3/8" Amal GP! 

Offline OldSwartout

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2018, 08:08:12 AM »
  i do have an oil leak or leaks (drips, nothing hideous), difficult to know where oil is leaking through or past, the underside of the engine needs to be cleaned....  is there a  place where the GTR's can be predicted to leak or usually/typically can be expected to leak from?

Mine has leaked from the gasket between the clutch housing and crankcase, oil pump union banjos and hoses, seals at shift shaft and transmission shaft on the left side and the small screws in the neutral switch.  I run Yamalube, which has a slight green color, in the injection, which lets me distinguish between transmission oil and injection oil drips. Also, if you have it on a stand and watching for leaks, I just recently realized that some of the shaft seals on the left side may not leak when the bike is standing straight up, but will when it's on the side stand due to the oil level being higher on the left side when leaning. That should have been obvious.  :-[
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 08:11:50 AM by OldSwartout »
Karl Swartout
Mooresville, IN
BS175 Roadracer
BS350 GTR

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2018, 10:47:20 AM »
            Would fully agree with Karl's potential leakage points above and just add in any of the external seals, gearbox window and sump plug. The alloy sealing washers were Ok when new and annealed but now leak, use sealant or change to copper.  Leaks tend to weep and spread under the crankcase, can be hard to pinpoint source.
         The Thruxton seemed to fair better than I did, luckily she went down on a soft verge and my mate soon had her back on the road. As you imply, 'What a machine !!'.  The GTR would leave it standing from a start but he would then come steaming past me after about half a mile with that big pot firing at every lamp post  ;D :D ;D 8). They only made a 1000 proper Thruxtons, bet you wish you still had it.                                                         Brian.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 11:03:52 AM by BRT-GTR »
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Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2018, 10:54:50 AM »
Thanks fellows for your experience on oil leakage, i now have some areas to consider when i make some time to get the bike up in the air on the lift, hopefully this winter.  the leakage is not coming from any obvious or directly visible areas, so i am going to need to closely inspect areas where the leakage appears to be coming from and go from there.  When i get 'round to it, will post what i find.  in the meantime, i shall inspect for anything loose, oil banjos, connections, fittings, etc.

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2018, 11:16:43 AM »
       Steve,
                 If you intend to ride her before overhauling, have a look at the air cleaner. The old thin foam or flock, as sometimes referred, (under the metal mesh) will have disappeared or detached itself. Add a new, thin, 1/4 inch layer of foam to the outside of the mesh. The chrome bores need all the help they can get to keep the dust/dirt out.
       Brian.
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Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2018, 11:54:58 AM »
       Steve,
                 If you intend to ride her before overhauling, have a look at the air cleaner. The old thin foam or flock, as sometimes referred, (under the metal mesh) will have disappeared or detached itself. Add a new, thin, 1/4 inch layer of foam to the outside of the mesh. The chrome bores need all the help they can get to keep the dust/dirt out.
       Brian.

Hey Brian, thank you for your thoughts on the air filter.  I actually pulled the cover as soon as I got the bike Tuesday past, just to see what was in there for a filter, as I read some time back that the oem filter would break apart and sucked into the engine.  Thankfully, the old filter has been replaced prior with a piece of ¼” green filter foam, so I was happy to see that.
As to your comments about overhauling, in my earlier life, up until about less than 10 years ago, I would already have had the GTR on the lift, and at least more than partially disassembled.  A few years back I got an unmolested rusty ’65 Yamaha YG1-K Rotary Jet 80, and as I had one restored back in 2007, I went against my desire to restore it, and did a major sympathetic preservation/service, but as the original sprockets/chain and ign.points were serviceable, so I just cleaned points, adjusted gap, and checked timing which was good, it started right up and I have ridden it ever since, over 600 miles.

I am thinking I will do the same thing with the GTR, treat it as a used motorcycle, certainly/thoroughly inspect for anything needing serviced and/or replaced as necessary, otherwise as long as the oil leakage is not concerning, I am not going to fix anything that isn’t broke.  While oil leaks are not what I want, I have learned to live with some, especially owning a ’67 Royal Oilfield Interceptor Mk.1A….  The GTR runs so clean and well, I just don’t ant to take anything apart that does not need to be taken apart.  So, I think my intent with the GTR is to enjoy it as is, give it good care, and be diligent to anything that appears life threatening.  I am thinking any external seals/gaskets/sealing rings I find leaking, I should be able to replace, and anything needing tightening, I can tighten.

At the age of 66, I have either become tired, or more sensible; hopefully the latter….  Restorations take so much time and effort, and having done quite a few in the past decades, I am more selective than I’ve ever been before in terms of how I spend my time.  (attached a pic of my ’65 Rotary Jet.)




« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 02:21:48 PM by Steve Swan »

Offline OldSwartout

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2018, 01:52:33 PM »
I'm with you - don't overhaul the engine or anything else unless there are signs that it is needed. Treat it as you would any used car or bike.  As far as the engine is concerned, I know from experience that cylinders, pistons, rings and bearings are good for 40,000+ miles.  The crankshaft has an aluminum labyrinth center seal, so no worries there. The rubber seals on the ends of the crank can be hard after this much time, but don't require an overhaul to replace. Even wheel and steering stem bearings should be good since outdoor weather obviously hasn't been an issue with your bike. You might want to re-grease those bearings when you get a chance because the original lube probably didn't survive very well.
Karl Swartout
Mooresville, IN
BS175 Roadracer
BS350 GTR

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2018, 02:12:14 PM »
I'm with you - don't overhaul the engine or anything else unless there are signs that it is needed. Treat it as you would any used car or bike.  As far as the engine is concerned, I know from experience that cylinders, pistons, rings and bearings are good for 40,000+ miles.  The crankshaft has an aluminum labyrinth center seal, so no worries there. The rubber seals on the ends of the crank can be hard after this much time, but don't require an overhaul to replace. Even wheel and steering stem bearings should be good since outdoor weather obviously hasn't been an issue with your bike. You might want to re-grease those bearings when you get a chance because the original lube probably didn't survive very well.

Karl, thanks for your thoughts which is exactly where I am at.  I also appreciate your thoughts on the durability of the various engine components.  That is really good to hear.  The needle bearing top and bottom is same as the Rotary Jet 80 which I have seen a couple examples with over 20,000 miles on odo, and still running strong.  Reading your post, and looking at parts book, very nice to know there is no rubber labyrinth seal, I do see a 59 mm O-ring. 

What I have done in the past, when recommissioning a bike that’s sat for decades and is in obvious need of deep attention is to completely dismantle the bike, sometimes even pulling engine and clean everything, new grease in all pivot points, including steering head, swing arm, brakes, etc.  I have found it’s a lot easier to see what needs address when the  bike is dismantled this far.

However, what I am thinking with this GTR, because so far it seems in amazingly fine order, is I will probably dismantle in sections, e.g., dismantle front end, clean, grease steering head.  Then do the same with rear end at another time.  As it is, the forks are not leaking, so I am really reluctant to take apart or molest anymore than is necessary; as you say, treat it like a used motorcycle and give it what it need, and nothing more.  The other surprising thing, is I feel no detent in the steering head, so I can assume it is not dried out.  And, the wheels spin very very freely.  I think I'll take out a drain screw and see what for oil looks like, base on what i see, change accordingly. 

As I am sure you have seen in your projects, this bike does not seem to have the horrid things one becomes accustomed to seeing in a bike this old.  It appears pretty obvious the GTR has had good owners over the past 5 decades.  Pretty amazing if you ask me.  Something I have to respect.

The other thing I probably should address is changing transmission oil.  The Owner's Manual calls for an SAE 10/30 engine oil.  Is there better lubricant you'd suggest, an appropriate weight oil designed for motorcycle transmissions...?

Karl, it seems your association with the Bridgestone motorcycle has been a long one...? what are the highest mileage GTR engines you've seen still in running condition (that maybe you wouldn't have expected to be in running condition)? 
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 02:25:42 PM by Steve Swan »

Offline OldSwartout

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2018, 05:10:16 PM »
Mine is the highest mileage 350 I've seen at 43,000+ miles, although there may be others out there. I've had it since '74 and rode it to work for many years. I use a modern synthetic 10w30 engine oil. Any modern engine oil is fine, even those with friction reducers. Since the BS 350 has a dry clutch, you don't have to worry about friction reducers affecting it as you would in the smaller BS bikes or any others with a wet clutch.
Karl Swartout
Mooresville, IN
BS175 Roadracer
BS350 GTR

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2018, 06:38:53 PM »
Mine is the highest mileage 350 I've seen at 43,000+ miles, although there may be others out there. I've had it since '74 and rode it to work for many years. I use a modern synthetic 10w30 engine oil. Any modern engine oil is fine, even those with friction reducers. Since the BS 350 has a dry clutch, you don't have to worry about friction reducers affecting it as you would in the smaller BS bikes or any others with a wet clutch.

Karl, that is a great ownership story.  if you have a picture handy, could you post on my thread here?  What is the most major work you have done to it and at what mileage?  what are the biggest or most recurrent problems you've had with your bike?  i am guessing you pay close attention to its maintenance, so probably not that many issues...  i am sure the bike looked like new when you got it in '74, and has been pretty amazing to be a part of it as both of you age together.  the dry clutch is indeed a very nice feature, especially on a production 2-cycle bike.  i have been happily running Amsoil Interceptor in my little Yamaha, and other injected 2-cycles over the years, and i just put a quart in the GTR.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 02:15:20 AM by Steve Swan »

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2018, 06:43:09 PM »
   Quote;      '' At the age of 66, I have either become tired, or more sensible; hopefully the latter….''

     In my case, I think it's a bit of both, just hit 70 this week ( or rather it crept up on me :D).

    The 59mm Oring is a static seal on the outside of the labrynth seal and generally doesn't give trouble.
    Early 350s had two separate air filters located one either end of the cross engine airbox. These broke up and were abandoned by BS after many expensive warranty claims for wrecked engines. This issue does not refer to the stainless metal mesh you would find behind your green filter foam.
     When I said the chrome bores need all the help they can get, I wasn't saying they are a weak point but they are susceptible to scratching from any dust or grit drawn in under the piston. Make sure the airbox and carb covers are carefully sealed to extend the life of your engine. Richard has claimed the bores are good for up 100K miles, a member in South Wales bought a bike with 40K+ on the clock and found the bores to be reusable.
       Enjoy your GTR as she is, too good to restore and they are only original once.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 07:02:37 PM by BRT-GTR »
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Offline Steve Swan

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2018, 10:41:38 PM »
O, boy Brian !  70!  i remember waking up one morning, sometime shortly before or after 60, and having a couple realizations.......  now i'm only 3.5 yrs away from 70......  sheesh.  time goes faster and faster, enjoy what we have, every day is a gift.

i know this is the Bridgestone site, but for the brief time being, please pity rather than censor me, as i am still so excited! (nice to still be able to get excited at age 66!)  i guess i would title this picture "Two Ill Fated Motorcycle Worlds Intersect or All in the Life of an Old Farm Boy."  After 50 years i now have both the bikes i wanted ever since i was 15.  i was never able to get the pictures in ads of these bikes out of my head; i got the Interceptor last year, it's a '67, and now the GTR!  One thing i have always thought cool about both bikes are the fully shrouded all chrome rear shocks.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 02:13:40 AM by Steve Swan »

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2018, 08:34:32 AM »
           Nothing wrong with getting excited, particularly at our age, and many thanks for sharing with us the achievement of your teenage dream. We have no desire to censor or pity you, many of us here are are chasing the same goals and enjoy hearing how fellow BS fans reach theirs.
    Should have seen and heard me when the GTO arrived from the US 18months ago, I was 19 again. I was also attracted to the GTR when I saw your second picture in Cycle magazine all those years ago, best looking bike I'd ever seen, it's now my screen saver.
    Family took me out for a very nice Birthday meal last week and right at the end, surprised me with this. Really was 'the icing on the cake'.                         Brian.

     

   
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Offline srpackrat49

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Re: New Member from Fort Collins, Colorado
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2018, 01:13:22 PM »
Me to... I,m 70 now and have the BS that was not mine back in 1967 when the 350 came out... The dealer would not sell it to me... Kid... i  don,t want to be responaple for your death..... SHIT......  i had the 175DT at that time.... Then every thing went away in 1968 with the draft......   now i have 10 bikes and lookinf for more....  Im not marryed to i don,t have any one to tell me NO....

 


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11/01/1967 Factory Service Letter, RH shift/LH Brake conversion

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Date: August 03, 2018, 02:49:08 AM
11/01/1967 Factory Service Letter, RH shift/LH Brake conversion

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Date: August 03, 2018, 02:44:36 AM
350 GTR Wiring Diagram
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Date: July 29, 2018, 12:29:25 PM
Bridgestone Motorcycles

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Date: June 05, 2018, 04:42:13 PM

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