Time is money, money is time. Both are currencies you can use to come up with a nice motorcycle. Larry Oliver Pearson lives in Spokane, Washington, and doesn’t ski, snowmobile, snowshoe or any of those things. What he likes to do, from the time the snow flies until it melts again, is hunker in his garage workshop and make things perfect. Sometimes he brings a radio, but since he was a disc jockey for 30 years, most of the time he prefers solitude.
The 1979 Suzuki GS1000S you’re looking at entered Pearson’s realm around the turn of the century, when it appeared in the back of a friend’s pickup with a dented gas tank, broken sidecovers and 20 years worth of use. It did connect a couple of synapses, though, as Pearson remembered watching Wes Cooley duke it out in the old days on just such a machine. “I saw it and wanted it—which is weird because this is the only Suzuki I ever wanted to own. I’ve always been more of a Honda guy. After 40 years of owning, riding and racing Hondas, it’s my only Suzuki, but I’ve wanted this one particular model forever. It took me four years of bugging my buddy to sell it to me.”
Stock freaks need not worry, he says. “Nothing I did to this bike couldn’t be returned to stock. I have all the original parts stashed away.” In the meantime, the goal was to take a rare bike (Pearson says only 700 “S” models came to the U.S.) and make it more beautiful. “It’s more of a tribute to Wes Cooley than a ‘Wes Cooley Replica.’ I wanted it to have a genuine, period-correct Superbike look, but with a show finish.”
Those graphics aren’t decals, they’re paint. “I have a friend, Jim Culora (www.graphixbyjim.com), who custom paints helmets and runs a vinyl graphics business,” says Pearson. “He has a really trick, computer-controlled Roland plotter. After getting the sizes and dimensions and colors all perfect, it cuts stencils so crisp and clean, it blows me away. We airbrushed in each separate color, then I buried it all in clear before color sanding and polishing it all out. Those graphics look like they’re under glass. It’s a lot of work, but that kind of prep and finish is the reason I chose ‘Meticulous Motorcycle Painting’ (www.meticulouspaint.com) as a business name.”
Pearson believes that the key to a bike like this one—a beautiful motorcycle that doesn’t break the bank—is to find one with a good, solid engine. Engine rebuilding takes money and real tools; everything else can be made perfect with time and patience. This GS only had 19,000 miles on the clock, and its engine needed nothing beyond a tune-up. The stock exhaust was even in excellent shape. “But when I ran into that Yoshimura pipe on eBay,” he says, “it was, literally, off to the races—and the sound is amazing.” Then there’s the Lockhart oil cooler, superbike handlebar, stepped seat.
Chassis-wise, the frame was powdercoated, and every bushing, bearing and mechanical component was rebuilt or replaced. Blacked-out wheels and fork legs complement the blacked-out engine. A modified Honda CB1100F front fender looks just right, 1100F rear shocks look cool and damp better than the originals, and period Tarrozi rearset footpegs carry on the theme.
Pearson learned to paint in a custom car shop during a brief sabbatical between high school and college that turned into four or five years. Followed by 30 years of radio. Followed by full circle, coming back to a thing he loves to do, seeking perfection. “This one’s a great bike,” he says. “It runs and feels brand new.”
What you’re looking at is 1979 all over again, but a more perfect version—for only about $4000.