Suzuki GT380

Peter

RMS Regular
Hi,

I don't post much on here but have been working on this 1976 Suzuki GT380.
I acquired it in 2015 from my late Uncle where he had it shipped to me from England. In order to preserve the bike I am aiming to complete a full restore to it's original spec. I have built up some bits and pieces over the last few years but only got it into my own garage at the start of this year to begin the full strip down.

This is a pic of the GT (and a Lambretta that my Dad has since fully restored) before it left England.

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I then got it up into my own garage to start stripping it down. Over a few weeks I got everything off the frame.

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There were a few bits on the frame that needed welded so my Father in Law helped me get them addressed and then it was off for powder coating. Once returned, I made up a bench to work on the bike and save my back.

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While everything was off for powder coating, I had nuts and bolts away for zinc plating and spindles etc for chrome plating.
I had enough bits then to begin the rear end and got the swing arm built and fitted along with the rear mudguards, light and also fitted Hagon shocks.

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While I was making progress on the back end, the wheels were away getting refurbished. the original rims were chrome plated, hubs cleaned and polished and new bearings pressed. I built everything up again with new components and lastly fitted the rear wheel.

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The oil tank was then cleaned up and I fitted it along with the battery box

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Attachments

Peter

RMS Regular
The forks were not in great condition with the stanchions being pitted so they were sent away for hard chroming and in the meantime I built up the front wheel.

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The forks were then returned in almost new condition

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I had the tank and side panels repainted for a few years so tried a side panel on to see what it would look like. Also a picture of the tank with NOS badges and fuel cap.

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I had most bits gathered and refurbed for the front end so got it put together an evening

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also got new frame stickers added before areas become inaccessible

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I fitted the refurbished brake caliper and the bottom section of the brake hose. This is split in three parts. Currently waiting on clips for the centre hose.

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In the meantime, the loom is keeping me busy. Cleaning the plugs was made easy in the ultrasonic cleaner with some carb / parts cleaner. It brings them up like new.

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Will post more updates as I make some more progress.
 

Apis

RMS Regular
Location
NW
Drives
various
Very nice, I'll be keeping eye on this. It's looking very clean and I like the sprocket; looks chromed?
I have a 550, so pretty similar. Not as clean yours though!
 

Peter

RMS Regular
Thanks for the comments guys!

Very nice, I'll be keeping eye on this. It's looking very clean and I like the sprocket; looks chromed?
I have a 550, so pretty similar. Not as clean yours though!
Yeh the sprocket is chrome plated. It’s the original sprocket and when I sent it away, I wanted it to be zinc plated but it made it into the chrome plating batch. I will see what it looks like after it gets a chain around it and how the chrome holds up. Not a big deal to replace it.

550 is a great bike too! What colour/year is yours? They’re very similar to the 380 but with addition of electric start which is handy!
 

Apis

RMS Regular
Location
NW
Drives
various
Thanks for the comments guys!


Yeh the sprocket is chrome plated. It’s the original sprocket and when I sent it away, I wanted it to be zinc plated but it made it into the chrome plating batch. I will see what it looks like after it gets a chain around it and how the chrome holds up. Not a big deal to replace it.

550 is a great bike too! What colour/year is yours? They’re very similar to the 380 but with addition of electric start which is handy!
It's a blue 76 A model. I have a starter but only 5 gears compared to your 6!
 

Apis

RMS Regular
Location
NW
Drives
various
Nice! Any pics? Is it running and you use it?
Was restoring it and now about 90% finished, but gathering dust till I get the time.
It wont be a concours item, but hoping to have it looking presentable but not too good to ride. It has been an absolute money pit with all that chrome to replace, but hopefully better than money in the bank, being a big triple 2 stroke.

Had it out for a few short runs on the down low (no tax/mot, lol). Must get some pics up soon.
 

Peter

RMS Regular
Was restoring it and now about 90% finished, but gathering dust till I get the time.
It wont be a concours item, but hoping to have it looking presentable but not too good to ride. It has been an absolute money pit with all that chrome to replace, but hopefully better than money in the bank, being a big triple 2 stroke.

Had it out for a few short runs on the down low (no tax/mot, lol). Must get some pics up soon.
Sounds great! Look forward to seeing it sometime! I'm dreading getting it wet at all, if you look at the chrome the wrong way it rusts.
Did you have your engine rebuilt over here or was it already running? My engine and exhausts still need done.
 

Apis

RMS Regular
Location
NW
Drives
various
When I got her she started on second kick but middle cyl wasn't running well. Nikasil bore was peeling so I replaced the barrel. I stripped engine myself for vapour blasting and built it again myself. But I gambled with the crank and just replaced the two outer seals, not the inner ones. Leak down test after rebuild with new rings shows perfect gas seal but not sure how long it will hold up with the old crank seals. Anything I read about a crank rebuild points to one or two specialists in England at around £600+. I hear the 380 and 750 are slightly simpler and cheaper bearings, seals etc. Not sure why.
So engine is running fairly well, but a bit hard to start for some reason.
I've given up on trying to find the perfect exhausts. 76, UK spec with no cross link pipes; they are like hens teeth. Last perfect set I saw on ebay was £2000! Or a set of Higgspeed are £700. Again, 380 and 750 ones are more common but don't fit the 550.
Mine are servicable but some pitting and a few small dents.

Got the tank and panels painted at Paintbox portglenone and they look amazing. Just sitting around waiting on me getting time to finish it. I keep the chrome sprayed with a coat of ACF50 which keeps the rust at bay.
 

Peter

RMS Regular
Don't think I'd be brave enough to tackle the engine myself. The exhausts are expensive no matter which route you go. My centre pipes have loose baffles so they'll need split but apart from that should be able to rescue them.
 

Apis

RMS Regular
Location
NW
Drives
various
my gt550 ad.jpg
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There's a few random pics. First one is the pic from the ad when I bought it. Doesn't look too bad from 10 feet away, but up close differnt story. The last one is how it sits today. Just needs fettled a bit and might replace the seat.

Taking the engine apart is fairly easy with it being a 2 stroke. Getting the thing running again and the carbs sorted is the black art to success.
 
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Peter

RMS Regular
Looks great! Davy does a cracking job on the tanks and the decals. He did mine as well. I can't wait to get my engine vapour blasted and back to new! I have a full new seat coming from P and K seat restorations so will post some pics of it when it arrives.
 
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Jamie-g

RMS Regular
Location
Portglenone/Hatton
Drives
Leon cupra/120d
Looks great! Davy does a cracking job on the tanks and the decals. He did mine as well. I can't wait to get my engine vapour blasted and back to new! I have a full new seat coming from P and K seat restorations so will post some pics of it when it arrives.
He’ll be glad to hear of another happy customer. Wee bike looks well.
 

chrisQ

RMS Regular
Location
Newtownards
Love restoration threads like this...wish there was more off them. Fantastic work the bike is coming on well. Keep us up to date on the progress.
Who done your chrome plating and your zinc plating? I currently have a 1977 XL125 Honda waiting patiently in the corner for restoration which I'm hoping to start in the coming months...getting parts gathered up for it gradually bit by bit. Will put a thread up when I start to it.
Keep up the good work
 

Peter

RMS Regular
Love restoration threads like this...wish there was more off them. Fantastic work the bike is coming on well. Keep us up to date on the progress.
Who done your chrome plating and your zinc plating? I currently have a 1977 XL125 Honda waiting patiently in the corner for restoration which I'm hoping to start in the coming months...getting parts gathered up for it gradually bit by bit. Will put a thread up when I start to it.
Keep up the good work
Thanks!

I used Walkinshaw chrome for mine, but to be honest there are loads of guys on the mainland. My zinc plating was done by a Suzuki specialist at his house. A lot use RTC engineering in Cookstown for zinc plating. They can do it all in one big batch.

I can say you are doing the right thing by gathering bits before starting the build. It goes together much faster when you're not waiting on chrome bits or another part getting refinished. Chrome platers will be busy now though over the winter months.
 

Apis

RMS Regular
Location
NW
Drives
various
Peter, where did you get the Avon Roadriders? Somewhere in NI?

They were my first choice for replacing my old crossply Avons. I was finding them hard to get and ending up buying Michelin radials instead. They just don't look as good though.
 

Peter

RMS Regular
I got them on ebay from MandP. McKillops can also get them in Dervock. He fitted my tyres and did a great job without marking the rims. Another tyre that looks the part and also performs is the Bridgestone BT45
 

Peter

RMS Regular
In between some wiring my seat arrived today. These are hand made from scratch and come with a fibreglass base which means it won't rot unlike the original.
Was surprised that a hand made item lined up with the brackets but very happy with the fit and finish.
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