1983 Suzuki GSX 1100 ES, For Sale NOW $1500 WAS $2000

14 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 1983 Suzuki GSX 1100 ES, For Sale NOW $1500 WAS $2000
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF

There have been signs recently that big street bikes have entered the wtm age of too much. Too much horsepower and torque for their chassis to handle. Too much attention to chopper styling, which gets in the way of function.

Too much attention to different, futuristic styling, again, looks interfering with function.

We’ve seen motorcycles with more than enough power to run in the 10-sec. drag-strip bracket, except that power and potential is thwarted by wheelies, burnouts, lost traction and/or poor weight transfer. The rider is hampered by high handlebars/low seats/forward pegs or low handlebars/high seats/rearward pegs, all carried to the extreme, to the point of being too much.

Enter now the Suzuki GS1100ES. No one can mistake it for a cruiser. The styling is sporting, influenced by works endurance and F-1 machines, without going as far (too far, some would say) as the Katana. The GS1100ES has low handlebars, but they’re mounted on the upper triple clamp, instead of being Katana-style, back-straining clip-ons.

And the foot-pegs are normally positioned, not radically rear-set like the Katana’s pegs.

The GS1100’s half fairing mounts to a tubular framework that bolts to the motorcycle frame. There’s a short windscreen, sort of a cross between a racing bubble and a touring windshield, with a slight flip at the upper edge to direct wind upward. The fairing is plastic and has a snap-on lower section on each side.

The front fender, side-panels and tailsection are plastic, too. Like the lower fairing sections, the side covers come with cast-in plastic studs, which push into rubber grommets on the frame. The seat base is plastic and the seat can be removed by opening a lock built into the tailsection, moving two levers, one on each side of the seat, and sliding the seat rearward.

The GS is pearl white with semi-metallic blue panels on the sides of the fairing, tank and side covers. The engine is painted black with polished highlights, the carburetors are black, and the exhaust system is black chrome. The swing arm is polished aluminum and the fork sliders are painted black.

The cast aluminum wheels are black with pollished highlights.

GS1100 is the most powerful motorcycle on the market, fastest. What it is, is the quickest, thanks to an unmatched combination of seating position, suspension, weight, torque and clutch controllability. While others shoot the front wheel skyward or spin the rear tire, the Suzuki rockets forward, the rider able to fully use all 108 horsepower.

This is the easiest 1100 to ride at the dragstrip, as shown by consistently good numbers. We made six passes with the GS, all between 11.07 and 10.99 sec. with terminal speeds between 120.64 and 120.96 mph. The fourth pass was the quickest, 10.99 at 120.80, the first time a standard street motorcycle tested by Cycle World has run in the 10s.

Compare those numbers to the times and speeds recorded by the Katana (11.05 sec. at 123.64 mph), the CB1100F (11.13 at 120.48), the V65 Magna (11.07 at 123.62), the GPz1100 (11.22 at 120.80).

Some of the GS1100’s performance can be explained by weight. The Suzuki weighs 552 lb. with half a tank of gas, compared to the Katana’s 540 lb. the CB1100F’s 567 lb. the V65’s 579 lb. and the GPz1100’s 578 lb. The Katana has less weight than the GS1100 but is harder to launch and ride; it also is more aerodynamic, which shows up in higher terminal speed even though the 1983 Katana and GS1100ES engines are identical.

The CB1100F makes the same power as the Suzukis but weighs more, resulting in a slower ET and the same terminal as the GS1100sxES. The V65 makes more power, but is wheelie-prone and nearly impossible to ride down the strip at full throttle in every gear, although brute power gives it a high terminal despite terrible aerodynamics. The GPz1100 is heavier than the GS1100 and has a narrow powerband and grabby clutch, all three factors combining for a slower ET despite a nearly identical terminal speed.

The biggest source of the Suzuki’s superior rideability is the proven 72 x 66mm, 1074cc air-cooled, four-valves-per-cylinder, dohc engine, now in its fourth year of production. Like its predecessors, the 1983 engine has a cylinder head incorporating TSCC (Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber). Each pair of intake and exhaust valves is opened by a forked rocker arm, and lash is adjusted by conventional screw tappets.

Valve lift was increased for 1983, and intake valve timing was advanced by moving the cam sprocket holes. Along with larger airbox inlets and a less restrictive exhaust system, those changes boosted the 1983 engine’s output to 108 bhp at 9000 rpm, up from the 1982 version’s 105 bhp. Other parts were made stronger to better handle the engine’s power, including forged pistons; a larger diameter alternator taper; larger rivets and springs in the forged aluminum clutch basket’s backing plate; two extra drive (fiber) and one extra driven (steel) clutch plates packed into the basket to increase clutch surface area, all the plates made thinner (2.8mm to 2.0mm) to make room for the extra plates; and welds holding the pressed-together, roller-bearing crankshaft’s pins in position.

The rest of the engine specifications are unchanged for 1983, including the five-speed transmission and final drive ratios and the transistorized electronic ignition. The four 34mm Mikuni CV carburetors do have slightly different jetting to work with the intake and exhaust system changes, however.

It all adds up to street performance that one rider described with the words, contemptuous ease.

This is an engine that responds instantly, rocketing the motorcycle forward anytime the twist grip is opened, without any sense of strain or work, pulling strongly from 4000 rpm and leaving stoplights quickly at anything above 1500 rpm. Frantic isn’t in the GS1100’s vocabulary. The GS1100’s low-and-mid-range acceleration isn’t as violent as that produced by the V-Four Honda V65, but then the GS doesn’t have the V65’s acceleration-limiting chassis quirks, either.

Turn on the gas at 4000 rpm and traffic disappears, effortlessly.

The engine is smoothest just below 4000 rpm, a tad above 60 mph in terms of road speed, but even at its worst the vibration produced by the GS is less than that of a GPz1100 or any of the rigidly-mounted V-Twins.

Like anything created by humans, the GS isn’t perfect. Too much throttle below 2000 rpm produces a hint of detonation even on the best available pump gasoline. And the carburetion, while better than it was a few years ago, retains just a hint of off-idle leanness and low-rpm, low-road-speed surge in tight traffic.

The Kayaba forks have 37mm stanchion tubes and several adjustments, including three positions of spring preload, four positions of rebound damping and the usual linked air pressure fittings. The forks feature Suzuki’s brake-activated anti-dive, in which brake line pressure closes a spring-loaded plunger valve, which in turn re-routes fork oil through smaller compression damping orifices to reduce dive under braking.

That’s in theory. In practice, the anti-dive system does little more than subtract from the feel and progressiveness of the front brakes and makes bleeding the front brake system more difficult.

We tried disconnecting the anti-dive on a staffer’s personal GS1100 and found that brake feel and control were improved, with no increase in fork dive.

The rear suspension consists of an aluminum swing arm on needle roller bearings and two Kayaba shocks with adjustable preload and rebound damping. The shocks, like the forks, are unchanged from 1982, and the same staffer-owned GS1100 put in 10 hours of hard racing before needing new shocks due to fluid deterioration.

While the GS1100 is proven track-worthy with the suspension dialed up (front, #2 preload, #4 rebound, 16 psi; rear #4 rebound, #2 preload) for a 145-lb. pilot, the suspension remains taut, even at minimum settings, for touring use. Three years ago we would have described the GS1100’s suspension as plush for highway use. But this is 1983, and state-of-the-art has changed with the competition.

The GS doesn’t have the available-at-the-turn-of-a-dial cushy ride of the latest GS750 or the V65, but then again, the stock GS1100’s suspension stands up better to mile-after-mile of hard charging on twisty pavement.

The GS has the same brakes it started with in 1980. The brakes work, the GS stops, taking 32 ft. from 30 mph and 118 ft. from 60 mph. But the brakes feel mushy at the lever and don’t give the rider much feedback.

The calipers have single pistons and carry pads with moderate sintered metal content. The 10.8-in. stainless steel discs are not compatible with all aftermarket brake pads, as we found out when a staffer tried high-metal-content aftermarket pads in his GS1100–the discs were badly scored and blued in less than 25 mi. of hard riding. The bike didn’t stop as well as it did with stock pads, either.

Suzuki GSX 1100 EF
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF

The Suzuki is stable when run hard, as on the racetrack, and can win box stock and modified stock club races as delivered off the showroom floor. But once again the GS design’s age shows in the face of rapidly advancing competitive technology. The GS trades agility for its stability at speed, and, ridden after jumping off a CB1100F, seems to have heavy steering.

Its cornering clearance hasn’t kept pace with the latest GPz1100 and the CB1100F, either, dragging the footpegs and stands, then the sidestand bracket and exhaust heat shields and alternator cover when the others are just skimming the pegs. The Suzuki was first with the 17-in. rear wheel now seen on the other 1100s, and that size tire has been the object of serious development work by aftermarket high-performance tire companies. Which is good, because the Bridgestone L303 and G506 tires, introduced with the GS1100 in 1980, are out-of-date.

The Suzuki has a new instrument cluster this year, one that’s more compact than the 1982 GS cluster, but not as compact as the unusual Katana instruments. There’s a 140-mph speedometer that was dead accurate in our testing, and the GS happily spins the needle right up to the edge of the dial. The tach reads to 12,000 rpm and has a red zone beginning at 9000 rpm, a number the GS, unlike most street bikes, will pull in fifth gear, given enough room and a sharp state of tune.

There’s an almost-accurate fuel gauge, which doesn’t, happily, supersede a reserve setting on the petcock, and an oil temperature gauge. An LCD readout shows which gear is selected and a row of lights indicate turn signal use, neutral selection, side stand deployment, high-beam use and any failure of oil pressure, tail or stoplights, or low battery fluid. The ignition switch is on the upper triple clamp, just below the instruments, and incorporates the fork lock.

The handlebars are conventional, replaceable tubular steel, with a new, all-aluminum master cylinder, dogleg control levers, compact plastic control pods and new, softer grips replacing the blister-raising, ridged grips seen on previous GS models. The mirrors are rectangular with black cases, and mount rigidly to the bars.

It’s a long reach from the front of the seat to those bars, however, long enough to earn complaints from some riders. If the GS came with forged I-beam bars, that might be a bigger problem. As it is, a rider needing a shorter reach can switch to bars with more pullback.

The seat could be softer, for long rides, but it’s already better than the Katana seat.

It might sound, going over individual items of performance, such as braking, cornering clearance, agility, that the GS1100 has been left behind by its rivals.

In specific areas, it has.

But the really big things, the engine and frame and suspension, are right. The motor is brilliant, making tons of power at every engine speed without ever seeming to work at it. The GS accelerates hard without strain, and doesn’t overpower its chassis.

The suspension adjustments are effective, and while taut on repetitive highway bumps, the suspension is excellent under most conditions, in the city, up the canyons, around a racetrack.

Taken as a whole, as a complete motorcycle, the GS works, and works well.

Source Cycle World 1983

Location: Hinsdale

do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

Suzuki GSX 1100 EF
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF
Suzuki GSX 1100 EF


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