Chris Scott
Page updated 13-Oct-2014

October 2014: Adventure travel writer Chris Scott recalls Gus Kuhn's in the late 1970s in his recently published ‘motobiography': ‘Adventures in Motorcycling'. As Chris writes …

‘In the spring of 1979 I was 18-years-old and had just completed my first lucrative winter's despatching. Still living at home I had plenty of money. I'd just ditched a CB400T Dream which I'd bought new a few months earlier from Mochecks down the road. Before the Honda I'd been working on a Bonneville and so, while a sensible choice, the Dream proved a little too bland for my tastes. Once it was gone I bought myself a lovely Ducati 900SS – and from Kuhn's a week later, a silver Suzuki SP370 trail bike for £750 [above]. Kuhn's had a great reputation as a successful BMW outlet at the time, but were also briefly dabbling in Suzukis and even Laverdas. After the sour experience with Coburn & Hughes over my new Triumph a year earlier, I didn't want to risk another shafting by someone like Aeros in Norbury – the main Suzuki dealer in the area.

As I recall in the book, Kuhn's were more like a modern motorcycle dealer. Everything was very professional, with none of your sullen 'Yesmate, what can I do you for?' attitude that was prevalent at the time. I even recall the mechanic inviting me into the spotless workshop and detailing what he's done to my bike. Back then that was a very progressive attitude – I wonder if riders from that era recall just how hated most London bike shops were? Hughes in Wallington, anyone?

It so happens the Ducati was ill-suited to the congested southeast, but the Suzuki opened up the thrills of off road riding while also being a nippy work bike. Trail biking led to travels in the Sahara and later on books like Sahara Overland, Desert Travels and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook for which I am best known. A couple of years after the Suzuki I bought a smashed up R100T and while reassembling it paid regular visits to the GK spares department in that parade over the road. So I have a soft spot for old Gus Kuhn's.