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On August 17, 1996, I purchased a new, leftover 1994 Yamaha GTS-1000A. Yamaha-USA had been quite helpful, supplying me with a list of dealers in my area with new bikes in stock.

The day I picked up the bike, literally on my way home, I began modifying the thing...I installed a pair of wide-angle adjustable mirrors.

Here's a list of the various things I've done to the bike since...


I ride with a passenger a lot, and I actually want to hear what she's got to say! Originally, I moved my J&M intercom from my old bike to the GTS. Over time, I became less satisfied with the sound quality. In 1999, just before an extended tour of the Alps, I installed a Eurocomm intercom, manufactured by Autocom. It was expensive, but overall I've been happy with the unit. The sound quality and volume are better than the J&M, and the speakers/microphone are more comfortable in the helmets. I did have the intercom unit go bad after about 1 1/2 years, probably due to water getting inside. The American distributor for Autocom offered me a pro-rated replacement/upgrade.

Electric Jacket/Vest connections

Nothing fancy here, though I'll probably be installing Heat-Trollers soon.


I had plans to go up to Canada from New York city for the annual Canadian Assault, followed by a week's travel thoughout New England. However, there was one problem looming...
The GTS did not have saddlebags, though I knew from the 'net GTS mailing list that they did exist. One thing I appreciated very much from my BMW were hard saddlebags, and I had set out to find a pair even before riding the bike home. Yamaha-USA didn't have any leads, and the larger Yamaha parts dealers didn't have bags available. Finally, I ended up purchasing what I was told were the last set of GTS bags in Canada! Due to complications with shipping (US Mail to ease the customs issue), I didn't receive the bags until the night before I was due to leave for Canada. It was quite unnerving to be sitting outside in the semi-dark, drilling holes in the plastic bodywork of my new bike! The bags fit fine, and work great!


Small, adjustable, wide angle mirrors that stick onto the stock mirrors with self-adhesive tape. Now available from any decent auto parts store. I got my set from:
Tulsa Enterprises
7722 Talbert Avenue
Unit E
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

714-841-7047 (fax)

Multi-view mirrors (Small)
Part number Y15400

Reviewed in Motorcycle Consumer News

Lever Skins

Rubber grips that fit over the clutch and brake levers. Improved feel (particularly in the rain), looks, and the levers aren't a cold. About $8.00.


I purchased a "Black Widow Plus" motorcycle alarm from Huntington Honda. The alarm, manufactured by Peter ??? at ProTech. It took about 4 hours for a slow, careful installation.

I cannot recommend Peter highly enough. Though I bought the alarm from a dealer, not from him directly, he has consistently helped me out. I've had some problems with the system, mainly related to the remotes. Over the 3+ years, Peter has sent me replacement components, with free upgrades along the way. I would buy a current model from Peter with virtually no hesitation.

Corbin seat

Yeah, I had the usual litany of problems with my Corbin: expensive, didn't fit the rider or bike at first, and awfully heavy. However, with ~55,000 miles on it, I appreciate it more and more. It's comfortable for long rides, and lets me move around when the road gets twisty.

That said, I'd probably try a custom seat from someone else if I was buying a new seat today.


I've got a single FIAMM horn (the low tone) in place of the pathetic stock horn. It's powered directly from the battery, with a relay triggered by the stock horn button.


The GTS has a fine low beam.
The GTS has a fine high beam.

Unfortunately, the GTS headlamp lens and reflector assembly is a poor combination. It's very difficult to find a setting that's appropriate--if the lamp is aimed correctly for the low beam, the high beam is great for spotting on-coming aircraft. If the high beam is correct and not blinding other drivers, then the low beam is pointed too far down.

Initially, I replaced the stock headlight bulb with an 80/100W bulb. I also installed a ceramic H4 socket and high-temperature leads, to deal with the increased heat output from the higher wattage bulb. This combination was fine, but I wanted more. More, more, more!

I've now got an HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamp in place of the stock assembly. A High Intensity Discharge lighting system uses gas-filled lamps that produce light when a high voltage current (~35KV) produces an arc within the enclosure. The kit I got consists of:

an HID bulb (low-beam only) fitted with an H4 base, so no modification of the stock socket or wiring is needed
the igniter unit, about the size of 2 packs of cigarettes; the fixed cable to the bulb is about 12 inches
a relay
installation wiring and connectors
The light from the HID bulb is significantly brighter than the 80/100 bulb I ran previously, and the unit only draws 35 watts. Note that all HID kits are low-beam only, so you'll need some kind of high beam as well (they are idea for bikes with 2 headlight bulbs).

I got mine from HID Lights in Maryland, but there are a few other companies that sell HID kits for bikes.

Driving Lights

OK, so I've got the fancy-schmancy HID headlight...what to do for highbeams? I mounted a pair of PIAA model 1000 driving lights. They fit neatly using slightly longer bolts (included with the lamps) through the existing fairing mounting brackets.

At only 45W each, they provide a good driving light, letting me see where the road goes and hopefully, if there's Bambi in the way!

I installed the lights so that they are powered directly off the battery. A male H4 plug, connected to the stock headlight socket, switches the relay. This way, the stock wiring is unchanged, and the stock headlight high-beam swith controls the PIAA driving lights without overloading the switch.

This annimated image shows the bike without any lights on, with just the HID lamp on, and then with the PIAA driving lamps on. The wildly differing backgrounds are caused by the camera's attempt to expose correctly when the lights were on, severely underexposing the background.

My subjective impression is that the HID lamp produces much more effective light than the low-beam of an 80/100W halogen bulb. The beam is broad, smooth, and bright enough to extend further down the road. The PIAA model 1100 driving lamps aren't as narrow-beam as I originally wanted. They provide effective light up to about 150~200 feet, but the pattern is broad, lighting the trees overhead, the sides of the road, and the ground. This is actually good, as it lets me spot Bambi and the general curve of the road, rather than creating a narrow "tunnel" of light.

However, the HID lamp also exposes any flaws in the GTS headlight lens and mirror assembly. I don't know whether this is due to the very intensity of the HID lamp, the position of the lamp capsule on an H4 socket, or the shield that's added to the socket to block the "high beam" angle of the lamp.

Update: I needed to replace the HID bulb (ouch!), and got a bulb and machined billet h4-to-HID "adapter" from Casper's Electronics, and that adapter puts a standard HID bulb in a much better position than the previous bulb (which had an H4 base grafted on). The light output is brighter, more even, and with less glare.

Brake Light

I've got an auxillary high intensity LED brake light mounted just below the stock brake light. Every little bit helps...


I've had a ScottOiler on the bike since the first chain & sprockets were replaced at ~21K miles. At ~118K miles, I'm on my 4th chain & sprockets, and getting 35~50K miles per set.

I firmly believe that the real secret to keeping the chain alive is that constant flow of light lubricant. I'm using ATF fluid instead of the proprietary ScottOil. I think that sticky chain lubes actually hold onto fine dirt, turning it into a lapping paste that eats away at the chain & sprockets. The light oil from the ScottOiler washes that crud off the chain (and onto the sidestand, wheel, and inside of the belly fairing, but that's another story).

The upsides are:

vastly increased chain life
you'll never have a rusty centerstan
The downsides to the ScottOiler:
messy rear whee
adjusting the flow correctly
it's not self-priming if it runs dry (it's a pain to re-fill, but nothing you can't do in a parking lot in France with some transmission fluid and a turkey baster and a paper cup...and I don't speak French)

Accessory Shelf

I built a small shelf, mounted above the instrument cluster, to hold a radar detector and GPS mount. Here are some poorly lit photos taken with a camera phone:

Adjustable Windscreen Lip

I cut off the top few inches from a GTS screen to make a lower windscreen for summer riding. I used the brackets from an MRA Vario Touring Screen to attach the cut-off portion to the remaining screen to create an adjustable screen. This allows some control over the airflow, and is particularly useful in the rain. For cooler-weather riding, I mount the adjustable portion onto the stock screen, giving me a windscreen that can instantly become about 3" taller than stock.

Here are some photos of the dirty windscreen (it shows up better that way on camera!) at various heights:

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