Posts by tag: TL1000R

Bimota September 12, 2018 posted by

Artful Dodger: 2000 Bimota SB8R

The masters from Rimini were on a roll: From the tube-framed madness from the cusp of the 1980s to the aluminum beams as the 1990s approached, Bimota has always been in the frame game. But unlike many bespoke frame makers who concentrated only on the chassis, these Italian artists disguised as motorcycle makers ensured that their bikes handled the stage of the visceral world as well as the paved one. As such, Bimotas continue to delight with their strong visual presence, coupled with legendary handling and performance. All of this comes at a price, however - making riding a Bimota a relatively exclusive affair.

2000 Bimota SB8R for sale on eBay

Introduced in the years following the V-Due debacle, the SB8R returned to Bimota's more successful business plan of stuffing a 3rd-party engine and transmission into a motorcycle of their own design. In this case, power is courtesy of Suzuki's ripping TL1000R v-twin. This Japanese homage to Ducati's 916 mill is well known for being potent across the entire face of the tach, excelling at a high RPM rush not unlike that of inline fours. Devoid of the rest of the TL package (including the funky rotary damper), Bimota engineered a beast of a bike that was lighter and more precise than the Suzuki that donated its guts. It also looked far less porky then the Japanese offering.

From the seller:
This is an excellent original SB8R in the configuration it left the factory with a couple of small modifications (improvements). The light switch was modified so the headlight can be turned off, foot-pegs were replaced with European fixed position pegs, and the fueling system was modified to make it more rideable in street configuration.The fairings have original paint, carbon fiber parts have no cracks, all lights, turn-signals are original and working, tires have little wear, although they are at least 2 years old, so may want to consider replacing. Shocks don't show signs of needing seals, engine has no leaks, runs great, once it warms up (these are cold-blooded beasts). Brakes have plenty of wear left, recommend oil change for the engine, something I intended to do, but haven't made time. Bike is kept on battery tender to keep the (lithium) battery up.This is probably as close a time capsule as you'll find for an SB8R.

More from the seller:
This bike was purchased new from Ducati Bellevue on 3/2/2002. The 1st owner was a local Seattle aerospace engineer who rarely rode the bike. There were only 2 owners prior to my purchasing it in 2015.

The 1st owner made only one modification to this machine. His one mod was having a custom fuel trimmer or potentiometer made to work with the existing wiring harness. These bikes are known to have fueling issues due to the massive throttle bodies and this is where the potentiometer helps out. Unfortunately the potentiometer is old technology and the adjustment range was limited. The second owner installed a PCIII that was tuned by Nels at 2 Wheel Dyno Works in Woodinville, WA.

PCIII was installed by second owner to permanently wash out some of the fueling issues that was typical of the SB8R model and its huge throttle bodies. This bike accelerates easier through the rev range than before. The fuel trimmer that had been installed by the first owner was only finite and could not adjust or reach some of these issues in the rev range. This modification alone makes it rideable if you get stuck in traffic.

Braided steel clutch and brake lines (stock ones were rubber).

As mentioned above, the first owner added an Out-of-production Evoluzione SB8R fuel trimmer provided by a Bimota enthusiast in Colorado. This unit is more precisely calibrated with nearly infinite settings between 0 and 999. The Bimota trimmer has 8 positions total.

The arrow exhaust on the bike has been cored for better performance and sound. The result is outstanding in that it essentially replicates full racing pipes with much better performance and sound.

Always assembled with top-shelf suspension and brakes - Paioli and Brembo in this case - the SB8R reeks of class. From the huge snorkels that force-feed the air box hiding under the tank cover (the actual tank is the back half of that structure and extends downward centering/lowering the mass), to the way the huge exhaust cans poke out of the back seat, to the carbon-composite join plates of the frame to the exquisite swingarm with the embossed logo, everything looks expensive - and indeed it was a far more expensive motorcycle than its Japanese counterpart when new.

This particular bike looks to be in nice shape. With only 5,000 miles under the wheels, it has a reasonable number of miles and has been ridden without having been used/abused/trashed. There is plenty of evidence to know that the TL platform holds up well, making this one barely broken in. The haters will comment on the picture quality which makes it difficult to tell if we are looking at reflection or imperfection in the bodywork, but what we can see looks good. The seller appears to be knowledgeable about the machine and has 100% positive feedback, so I'm sure questions posed by serious buyers would be answered to satisfaction. With an opening ask of only $5,000, this Bimota is starting this auction in the basement. Interested parties should get in on the action now. This is the TL that Suzuki should have made; we're just lucky that the boys from Rimini were still around to give the TL motor some love. Good luck, and be sure and share your thoughts in the comments.

MI

Artful Dodger: 2000 Bimota SB8R
Suzuki April 24, 2018 posted by

Future Classic: Clean, Low-Mileage 2001 Suzuki TL1000R for Sale

Look, here's the thing. If you're buying bikes [or cars, for that matter] that were hyped to be "instant classics" when they were introduced, thinking you can flip them for a profit... You may be waiting a while. Consider all the folks who bought the MV Agusta F4 750 Serie Oro when it was new, hoping it would be a valuable investment. That was almost twenty years ago and those are still selling at a significant discount, especially when you factor in inflation... So if you're trying to buy low and sell high, you need to to look around the fringes, find the slightly forgotten and overlooked bikes. Maybe bikes that got universally blah reviews and didn't sell all that well when new, but have strong performance, distinctive character and, if possible, a face only a mother could love. Something like this very low-mileage, banana-yellow Suzuki TL1000R.

When introduced, pretty much every review I read of the TL1000R was damning with faint praise. Billed as a "Ducati killer" it was too heavy, handling from the still-rotary-damped-dammit-Suzuki-stop-being-stubborn suspension wasn't as good as the 996, and styling was... odd. Sort of like the designers looked to the animal kingdom for styling inspiration, and found... the platyus. Still, the 996cc motor was a excellent, and made plenty of power with the fat midrange for which v-twins are justifiably famous.

See, when they're new, bikes get reviewed in context. But decades later, they get to stand on their own merits, without being compared unfairly to the bikes they were supposed to outperform. I'm joking a bit, but it's true: reading some magazine comparison tests, you get a sense that "if you ain't first, you're last" and I think many very competent sportbikes have been unfairly overlooked because they made a couple horsepower less than the class leaders, had questionable styling, or had handling that tried to kill their riders.

The TL1000R looks oddly bulbous, but it makes a great road bike, and a set of aftermarket cans like the Yoshimura bits seen here liberate some pretty great v-twin throb. The 135hp won't see you winning any stoplight races against newer tackle, but if you can't have fun with that much power on road or track, maybe you should choose a different hobby. The package was high-performance enough for Bimota to use in their SB8R, and Performance Bikes did a series a while back, turning a nice TL-R into a literal Ducati-killer with a wild big-bore engine build, new gearbox, and lightweight bodywork.

Significant upgrades to the power might be elusive or at least expensive for those of us without engine building friends or contacts with the gearbox specialists at Nova Racing, but fit some carbon panels and maybe a slimmer solo tail, change out the rotary damper at the rear for a more conventional unit, swap in a later GSX-R1000 front end for better forks and brakes, and you might be surprised at how much fun you can have on this affordable, reliable, easy-to-maintain v-twin sportbike.

From the original eBay listing: 2001 Suzuki TL1000R for Sale

It's time to scoot your computer chair a little closer to the screen..... grab your reading glasses and prepare to view the cleanest Suzuki TL1000R on planet earth!!  This is no exaggeration, view any of the provided photo's below and you will see what I mean.  This bike was purchased brand new in 2003 by an elderly car / motorcycle collector and parked inside a carpeted and climate controlled garage it's entire life.  This bike has NEVER seen a race track and has never been ridden past 8,000RPM's, ever.  This is the most babied and well taken care of example you'll ever see, anywhere.  Literally looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor - as the photo's clearly show.

If you're a true motorcycle enthusiast, this particular bike will bend you at the knee's.  With with only 2,583 ORIGINAL MILES, it's probably the lowest mileage TL left in existence too.  Look anywhere you can think of...... Cycle Trader, Craigslist, Ebay, Offer up, or anywhere else you can think of and you will see how rare these bikes truly are.  Most of them have been highly modified, raced or stunted and abused.  Primarily because they are so well built and tough - they can handle the abuse of people beating the hell out of them.  As sad as that sounds, you will have nothing to worry about in that department with this bike.  Look over all of the provided photo's in detail and you will see what I mean.  This is the closest you will ever get to showroom perfect as they come.  And SURELY the cleanest 2001 TL1000R on the market - anywhere. Hands down... Guaranteed!!  You absolutely WILL N O T find a cleaner TL anywhere.  This bike is SO clean you could eat your steak dinner right off the engine.  I have provided close up images showing the inner wheel hubs, the engine cases, coolant lines, chain, seats, trunk, dash, brake levers, shocks....... everything you would hope to see if you were buying a bike.  Look closely at the images provided and you will see what I mean.  Being garaged and covered it's entire life, there is no rust, no corrosion and no discoloration from road grime or road salt etc.  This bike looks just as clean underneath and inside the fairings as it does on the outside.  The paint condition and quality is (literally) like new.  No pit marks or chips on the front end and no (dirty rag) swirls or marks on the body.  As I said - this truly is the cleanest one you will ever find.  This bike is so clean it could be parked on the showroom floor at a Suzuki dealership on a display stand just to show it off.  Unsuspecting customers would mistake it for a brand new bike....... it's THAT clean!! 

Although there are no internal motor modifications, there are a few bolt on upgrades:
- Dealer Installed Yoshimura RS-3 polished slip on dual exhaust
- Dealer Installed power commander
- Custom rear fender painted to match
- Carbon fiber brake & clutch levers
- Zero gravity smoke tinted windscreen
- Smoke tinted flush mount turn signals
- Smoke tinted rear tail light lens
- Brand new front & rear tires (just installed 4-18-18)
- Rear under tail fender setup painted to match (never installed)

Being a collector bike, all stock parts were saved, packaged, boxed up and will go to the new owner.  If the new owner would like to put everything back to OEM stock condition, the parts are here and can easily be re-installed.  It comes with the original sales contract when it was purchased new, the original TL1000R owners manual and original TL1000R CD service discs.  It comes with a matching yellow helmet, only worn twice.  There's a custom motorcycle cover too that will go to the new owner.  It fits the bike like a glove!!  I even saved the original OEM tires that came on the bike when new.  The tires were still in good condition, but I wanted to install brand new one's for safety.  Not good to ride on old tires in my opinion, so I just had brand new tires installed front & rear.  All of the extra's that come with the bike are shown below in the photo's.  
 
Flaws:
As with any pre-owned motorcycle or vehicle, normal signs of wear & tear may be present.  Scratches, nicks, chips, dings etc.  If you have any questions as to the condition of this bike, by all means - bring your mechanic and feel free to inspect it in person prior to bidding or purchase.  The only noted flaw I can find on this entire bike is on the left mid section of the fairing there is a small scratch in the chrome TL-R graphic.  Not even sure how it happened, but it's about the only noted flaw I can find.  Replacing the TL1000R left side logo sticker would eliminate this completely. Also on the back edge of the left fairing just above the letter "K" where it says SUZUKI there is a small mark.  At one point in the bikes past, the fuel petcock sprung a tiny leak and some gas ran down this specific edge of the fairing which caused the smudge area.  This can most likely be rubbed out or buffed back to yellow with ease.  Also there is a tiny smudge on the back left outer edge of the Yoshimura slip on.  Looks like it was done from shoe rubber.  Will most likely rub off with a bit of effort.  You would have to be sitting on the pavement looking eye level at the side of the bike to notice either of these imperfections.  However, it is Ebay and I value my reputation as a seller so it's something I wanted to point out. Aside from this, the bike is a close to mint as you will ever find.  This bike looks like it has barely been ridden. 

Obviously, I'm not really suggesting the TL1000R is a great investment opportunity. But they're surprisingly affordable, offer great everyday performance, and really should increase in value over the next decade or so. Maybe not as obvious: for all the cheap shots I've taken at the TL1000R, I like them. This example has seen just 2,600 miles so far, so you can actually do some riding on your duck-billed modern classic and still maybe make a few bucks when the time comes to sell it on to some sucker... err, collector, when values have really spiked down the road and you're ready to move on to the next forgotten superbike. And before you scoff too loudly, or in print in the comments below, remember that nice, first-generation GSX-R750s have pretty much tripled in price over the past few years. That may not be the reason you buy motorcycles, but it's nice to know you might at least break even on your weekend toy, after you factor in consumables and a bit of maintenance. The seller didn't set some wishful-thinking Buy It Now price either: bidding is very active and up to north of $4,000 as I write this.

-tad

Bimota March 31, 2018 posted by

A Better Italian Twin? 2000 Bimota SB8R for Sale

 

Ducati has come a long way in terms of service costs and reliability. The four-valve Bologna twins have always offered good power and a bulging midrange, sure. But you really had to pay for it in the era of the 916. These days, 15,000 mile intervals between major services help keep costs down and the bikes on the road instead of in the shop but, back in the late 1990s, if you wanted a sports v-twin you could ride every weekend, you were probably looking at something like the Suzuki TL1000R. The duck-billed styling may not have appealed to everyone, the bike was a bit porky, and handling was a bit variable, owing to the rotary damper, but the engine was powerful, flexible, and made the right thumpy big-twin noises with a set of aftermarket cans fitted. That fact wasn't lost on Bimota when they went looking to build the SB8R their own v-twin superbike, although I'd bet it was more likely that Ducati wasn't interested in selling them any 4V twins, since I doubt Bimota was really worried much about reliability and cost...

Of course, for a while there, it seemed like the liquid-cooled, four valve, 996cc Suzuki v-twin was the small-block Chevy of the era, since it was used by Suzuki, Cagiva, and Bimota, and probably even a few others I've forgotten, and got stuffed into everything from sportbikes to roadsters to sport-touring bikes. Backed by a six-speed gearbox, the 138hp engine was plenty powerful and very reliable, especially compared to the charismatic, but sometimes temperamental Ducati unit. The biggest issues with the TL1000S and TL1000R were their slight weight problem and the packaging problem "solved" by an innovative but underdeveloped rotary rear damper that had a tendency to overheat and stop damping, leading to the lethal reputation of the earlier TL-S.

Bimota solved both problems. Reducing weight was pretty simple, since that's always been Bimota's thing anyway. It helped that the rear subframe didn't need to be engineered with a passenger in mind, and the bike was otherwise liberally sprinkled with lightweight materials. Of course, their other thing has always been frames, and this one is deserving of the Bimota name: it's an exotic composite unit, assembled from aluminum beam and carbon fiber elements for maximum strength and minimum weight. That new frame allowed a traditional shock to sit alongside the engine, like a Panigale, and solved the packaging issues. Styling is... different. One of the trademarks of a sports v-twin is the overall narrowness of the package, a result of having only two pistons. Sure, one of them is usually thrashing away at 4,000 feet-per-minute, pointed at your crotch, but that's a small price to pay for for torque, aerodynamics, and character. But somehow the SB8R is positively bulbous, although it does make much better use of the original Suzuki headlamp. It's a good-looking bike, but those intake tubes that snake over the tank from their inlets at the top edge of the fairing completely block your view of the controls, so new riders may fumble around a bit and errantly honk, cancel turn-signals, or shut the bike off until they memorize their location.

From the original eBay listing: 2000 Bimota SB8R for Sale

Limited-production track ready motorcycle. #3 of around 150 produced total. Aluminum & carbon fiber frame. 1,000cc engine producing 135hp and 5 speed manual transmission. 3,245 miles shown, but the title is mileage exempt

"1,000cc engine producing 135hp and 5 speed manual transmission. Revs kinda high on the freeway, but it's Italian!" Obviously, this is a dealer reselling the bike, but you think they could at least get the basics right... Anyway, aside from the fact that we're apparently missing a gear in the gearbox, it's mostly what you'd expect from a 3,245 mile bike, and includes a set of Arrow carbon cans, along with a few anodized accessories of dubious taste. The broken turn signals are a bit of a concern, since they appear mismatched, are non-standard, and could easily have been repaired before posting the bike up. It's a minor issue, but it suggests that maybe this bike isn't quite as carefully preserved as it appears. Bidding is up just north of $7,000 with another day left on the auction. Mid to late 90s Bimotas are currently at a low ebb in terms of value, so if you aren't afraid to buy a bike that might need a bit of attention to turn it into something that really performs as it should have straight from the factory, or if you're just looking for some very cool garage jewelry on the the [relatively] cheap, now is the time to buy.

-tad

A Better Italian Twin? 2000 Bimota SB8R for Sale
Suzuki February 12, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: Resto-mod Suzuki TL1000R

SOLD IN 24 HOURS! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

The Suzuki TL-1000R was a bold but flawed stab at stealing big v-twin superbike dominance away from Ducati. The bike was a bit of a misfit, impressing neither road testers nor road racers, as it was overweight and fitted with a mystifying and dangerous radial damper rear suspension. Aside from a few privateers racing at the club level, the bike never achieved much on the track, and its street sales hurt as a result.

Superbike Universe aimed to solve that problem, taking on a used TL-1000R as a project and producing the bike you see here. It has been relieved of its butt-puckering rear suspension and given a traditional Penske clicker shock. The front end, heavy as stock, has been tossed in favor of a set of upside down forks off a 2009 Gixxer, which have been treated to custom internals. The brakes also got more than a once over, with stainless steel lines, Brembo Monoblocs and a radial master cylinder taking over duties.

From the seller:

Here is another result from the long brutal winters here in the Northeast. I started out with a stock TL1000R and set about stripping everything I could off of it to lighten it up. The super heavy front end was replaced with a 2009 GSXR1000 front fork with 25mil K-Tech internals. The brake set up is truly one finger amazing. I used a Accossatto Radial master cylinder, custom Core stainless lines and a set of Brembo Monoblack calipers from a 2014 GSXR1000. Those massive Brembo's clamp down on a set of 330mm PVM superbike rotors. Out back I ditched that crazy Suzuki rear suspension box/spring thing that didn't work and weighed about 30lbs. I replaced it entirely with a custom Penske triple clicker and a one-off billet Linderman linkage. Not only did I loose a ton of weight up high but the rear end works perfect now!. The bike rolls on a rare set of 5 spoke MARVIC magnesium wheels that allow for amazingly quick turn in. A very rare 2 in to 1 Yoshimura exhaust helps get rid of burn fuels and again a shit load of weight. All brackets for the rear sub frame and passenger accommodations were cut off and trimmed accordingly. A fiberglass single seat Sharkskin tail and a custom under tray tidy up the rear of the bike. In all I lost over 108lbs off the original bike. They say that the TL100OR weighed just 424lbs in the original bike specs but that is complete bullshit. It weighed 493lbs fully wet when I started this project. Now with it weighs a super light 384lbs fully wet and with three gallons of fuel. If you push this around you feel the super light weight. I had an awesome Lance Johnson Paint Worx Yoshimura paint scheme applied to the stock /aftermarket bodywork. It looks fantastic and rides great! Certainly one of a kind and is exactly the bike Suzuki could have ended up with if they continued development. Put this Superbike Universe special in your collection now for a fraction of the cost of development.

The real eye opener is the claimed weight loss: more than 100 pounds off the stock bike, via a combination of suspension, wheels, brakes and body work. The whole package, complete with a ton of one-off and rare parts, will set you back $7,500. If you have an affinity for odd ducks or under dogs, or just like the idea of a howling Japanese v-twin, this thing is your mount.

Featured Listing: Resto-mod Suzuki TL1000R
Bimota December 29, 2017 posted by

Race History: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale

Both a flamboyant racer and a cautionary tale, Anthony Gobert was a hugely talented rider who fell from grace after a failed drug test. Several times, actually. Racing today is obviously a far cry from the wild days of the 60s and 70s, where playboy racers partied with stewardesses well into the night before getting up the following morning to risk life and limb while nursing a hangover. Today's riders generally treat racing as the serious profession it has become, instead of as a way for daredevils to travel and booze it up on someone else's dime. I'm sure Gobert's missteps would have been laughed off in another era, but a failed test for marijuana, of all things, ended his MotoGP dreams in 1997, although he continued to race in Superbikes events in a variety of classes. Somewhere along Gobert's slow downward spiral, he got a ride on this Bimota SB8K and managed to make an underfunded machine from a tiny manufacturer briefly competitive, a testament to his talent.

Bimota's SB8 was really the TL1000R that Suzuki wasn't able to build, and one of their most successful models. There's no doubting the liquid-cooled, 996 v-twin engine's prowess: it's been used in various iterations by Suzuki since 1997 to power both sports and touring models. More importantly, both Cagiva and Bimota saw the potential for the engine to power some serious sporting hardware, and just needed to work around the layout challenges posed by the v-twin. As can be seen by the Ducati Panigale's side-mounted rear shock, a transverse 90° v-twin is very long, making it difficult to package efficiently in a compact sportbike while simultaneously maximizing swingarm length. Suzuki used an innovative rotary damper with roots in Formula 1 to support the rear of their TL1000S and TL1000R. Unfortunately, while the concept was sound in theory, it didn't work so well in practice, as the undersized unit tended to overheat and cause handling to go from "stable" to "exciting" without much warning.

Bimota took that throbbing, 138hp lump of an engine and put it into a machine that could much more fully exploit its obvious possibility. As with all Bimotas, the SB8's real party trick was a state-of-the-art frame. While I'm a sucker for Ducati's classic trellis unit, the SB8 used a wild composite design based around stiff, lightweight aluminum spars with carbon fiber side plates and a self-supporting carbon fiber tail section. You can see Bimota's solution to that rear suspension issue, peeking out on the right side of the bike from behind the main frame spar. Ultimately, the SB8 weighed in at nearly 50lbs less than the TL-R, although the bike is uncharacteristically broad and bulky for a v-twin, ironic considering the amazingly slim design of the Ducati 996. It's exotic for sure, but not especially pretty, and the carbon air tubes on the original SB8R also meant you'd better know where those hand controls are without looking, or you'd be craning your neck awkwardly trying to find the high-beam switch or cancel the turn signals. Best not to use them.

Of course, the locations of headlight and turn signal switches matter little in this particular case, since this is the updated SB8K version that did away with the massive carbon tubes in favor of a more conventional intake system. And this bike doesn't have signals or lights anyway, since it's the very World Superbike machine that Gobert used to win at Philip Island in 2000, reminding everyone of his talent, if not his self-control. Many who worked with him feel he could have been one of the all-time greats, and flashes of his brilliance can be seen in results he achieved on the SB8K.

From the original eBay listing: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale

ex-Anthony Gobert, winning in Philip Island April 2000.

VIN: 00071

This is a legendary bike in a WSBK history for who remembers the victory in april 2000 in Philip Island when Fogarty ended his career... also it is an ICON for the Italian racing motorcyles enthusiasts and the Bimota collectors. 

Only 2 FACTORY bikes were built for the 2000 WSBK, frame #71 and frame #73. This is the only of the 2 fully preserved, complete (with telemetry) and owned by BIMOTA FACTORY from year 2000 to 2017. Full history know, fully untouched since the 2000 season ended.

The bike is fitted with SUZUKI FACTORY TL1000R magnesium/dry clutch engine but tuned then for Bimota by one of the TOP mechanics in the Italian motorcycling history, Franco Farne'... yes the Ducati legend! The bike comes with some spares: engine cases, 2 heads, spare rear wheel, box with bits and pieces.

Letter of verification by the FACTORY present.

Parade, race and collect!

Be sure to check out the photos in the gallery above. The shot of the injectors and one of the high-capacity radiator with the cutout for the front cylinder are especially cool. This is yet another ex-race machine being offered by the same seller as the YB4 racebike from a couple weeks back and, a bit of expected racing wear and tear and some significant discoloration on the swingarm, appears to be in very nice condition. There are several days left on the auction, and bidding is up to just under $9,000 with the Reserve Not Met.

-tad

Race History: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale
Suzuki October 24, 2017 posted by

Bad Reputation: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale

By the early 1990s, pretty much everyone making a hard-core sportbike was using an inline four engine for their regular production motorcycles. And why not? An inline four is a relatively compact engine, is capable of making excellent power for a given displacement, is smooth-running, and can achieve much higher revs than configurations using fewer, bigger pistons. But Ducati stuck with their sports v-twin, likely because of both budgetary and marketing reasons. With some pressure on various race series' governing bodies, they were allowed a bit of additional displacement compared to inline fours to keep them competitive in terms of outright power, and the wider spacing between power pulses gave them an advantage in terms of traction. But for street riders, the big benefit of a twin was character so, by the mid-1990s, the Japanese manufacturers wanted in on all that sweet vee action. For Suzuki, that meant the introduction of their stylish, half-faired TL1000S.

As has been discussed before, a transversely-mounted v-twin motor is very narrow for good aerodynamics and the perfect primary balance means it's a smooth performer, but packaging in a modern sportbike can be an issue. Ducati refers to their 90° engine as an "L-twin" to differentiate it from other v-twin sportbike engines, and it references the fact that the front cylinder is virtually horizontal, with the rear cylinder sticking almost straight up. Looking at the bike from the right hand side, the engine does indeed look like a capital L instead of a V. The problem is one of packaging: it's a long engine and, with a conventional set up, it results in a long wheelbase or a short swingarm, neither of which is ideal. Notice that, on the Panigale, the rear shock and linkage sit alongside the engine. To get the wheelbase they wanted, Suzuki rotated their own  90° v-twin backwards in the frame to clear the front wheel and used unconventional but very compact rotary damper setup at the rear. The theory is sound but, as many original owners discovered, it didn't work out all that well in practice for the TL.

The issue was that the damper worked fine up until the pace heated up, along with the oil inside, which caused it to quickly loose its ability to, um... dampen. This led to an unenviable reputation for scary tank-slappers and terrifying on-the-limit handling. A larger capacity unit would probably have solved the problem, but several companies have stepped in and developed a compact spring/shock that replaces the stock Suzuki unit and gives predictable performance, allowing the bike's otherwise excellent design to shine.

The TL's handling may have been suspect, but there is no doubting that engine: in various states of tune, it's powered a variety of Suzuki sport and touring models, along with a gaggle of Bimotas and Cagivas. It's powerful, reliable, and makes all those v-twin noises without the occasional frustrations that came with Ducati ownership at the time. Ducati service intervals are even longer than some Japanese makes these days, but when the TL was introduced, Ducati ownership required real commitment to deal with the recommended 6,000 mile valve adjustments. You might be lacking the famous dry-clutch rattle but, fitted with a good set of carbon fiber cans as seen here, the TL makes all the right noises.

Many TLs have led hard lives: they were billed as affordable Ducati-killers and people certainly treated them that way, so it's nice to see one that's been used, but well cared-for.  Some of the aesthetic upgrades may not be to your taste, but good carbon fiber is never a terrible idea, and you can probably find someone willing to swap for the stock parts if you're interested in originality. Something I wouldn't change is the rear shock conversion that's been fitted to sort the handling, the steering damper that should cure any errant bar motions, and the carbon cans fitted to bring out the expected big-twin boom.

Reading the seller's detailed description, there's something strangely familiar about it though...

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale

Up for sale is a fantastic condition fuel injected 1997 Suzuki TL1000S with just over 21k on it. This bike has great personality, tons of low-end power and mid range grunt. Super fast but easily controllable and has great handling. This bike would make a great weekend twisty runner, commuter bike, or fully at home on the track. It is extremely fun to ride. It rides very smooth and can keep up with most sport bikes thru the twistys. Its a fantastic mixture of lightweight body/frame (gotta love the trellis style frame) and the perfect amount of power for the street. You wont be disappointed with this bike. Thousands of dollars in aftermarket goodies and hundreds spent on recent maintence items. This bike is ready to hop on and ride.

The bike has thousands of dollars in aftermarket upgrades and accessories below is a list:

1. Devil Slip-on Carbon Fiber exhaust (This exhaust is exactly what a V-Twin sport bike should sound like)
2. Carbon Fiber look Rear Hugger
3. Carbon Fiber look Air Dam Surrounds
4. Shorty turn signals front
5. Smoked Windscreen
6. Pro-Grip Carbon Tank Protector
7. Integrated rear tail lamp assembly (brake lights, running lights, and turn signals)
8. Adjustable shorty levers (Silver levers with black adjusters)
9. Aftermarket rear wave rotor
10. Aftermarket front wave rotors (not currently installed)
11. R1 rear shock conversion installed (This fixes all the problems with the rotary damper totally removes it)
12. Renthal Grips
13. Aftermarket black Aluminum side mirrors
14. Weisco Fuel Management (dyno tuned for current setup, runs amazing)
15. Aluminum Pro-Tek front and rear brake reservoir covers
16. Carbon Fiber Exhaust boot shields
17. Stainless Steel brake lines front and rear
18. Fender Eliminator
19. Aftermarket Color Matched Undertail

Here is a list of recent maintence items done to the bike:

1. Brand new oil and filter (Synth oil)
2. Chain adjusted and oiled
3. Coolant Flush
4. Steering Dampener Replaced
5. Spark plugs replaced
6. TPS adjusted/recalibrated
7. Battery Tender Hook-up
9. DID chain
10. Front and rear sprocket

Bike comes with a tub of extras that include the passenger seat, all documents for maintence and tuner, some of the stock parts, as well as some additional parts for the bike. Look at picture to see all. Any questions please ask. Price is negotiable. Need gone ASAP.

Introduced in 1997 and made until 2001, the TL1000S was a shot across Ducati's bow. Tired of the Bolognese firm getting all the press for their sexy, thunderous twins, Suzuki did them one better: a reliable, low-maintenance, liquid-cooled v-twin that made the power of Ducati's 916 at the price of their air-cooled 900SS...

While 125hp may not sound particularly scary now, it was a pretty big number for a v-twin in 1997 and the grunty power delivery, combined with relatively light weight and a compact wheelbase, made for notoriously "entertaining" handling.

In contrast to Ducati's "L" twin, Suzuki rotated their 90° motor backwards in the chassis, allowing better packaging at the front of the bike. This left less room at the back for a traditional shock, so Suzuki whipped up a "rotary" damper that was far more compact than a traditional "linear" shock. Unfortunately, one of the reasons traditional spring/shock combos are so widely used is that they've got 70 years of development behind them and just flat work. When ridden hard, the TL's rotary unit gets hot and loses its damping ability, which may contribute to the bike's reputation for "tank slappers", unintended wheelies, and all-around beastliness.

On paper, the TL1000S should have stomped Ducati flat, but that really never happened. But while the first bike to house Suzuki's new twin may not have set the world on fire, the potential in the engine was obvious. It became the Engine That Powered a Thousand Bikes, finding homes in Bimota's SB8 and the Cagiva Gran Canyon and Raptor models, and it still thumps on in the Suzuki VStrom.

Later reviews toned down the emphasis on the TL's "widowmaker" tendencies, suggesting that things had been exaggerated just a bit at the time. And, if you do plan to really ride this bike hard, a modern steering damper will help keep things under control, and kits are available to change out the rotary damper for a more traditional unit.

The 996cc engine does sound amazing with a set of aftermarket cans fitted, and the bassy thump that pumps out of the twin exhausts is pretty distinctive, like a very good computer simulation of a Ducati, with added bass.

The TL1000S is aging better than most. The motors are pretty bulletproof, parts should be readily available, and would make a great day-in, day-out bike for someone who wants big twin noise and feel, but doesn't feel like paying for Ducati maintenance.

Or someone that really, really likes wheelies.

Look, Suzuki's TL1000S is a pretty cool bike, and historically significant as described above, but I'll be frank: the reason I posted this example is because the seller's description is basically a cut-and-paste of another post I wrote a while back! This isn't the first time that's happened and honestly, I'm flattered. Hey, if someone thinks my description of a particular model will help them sell it, I'm doing something right. Reading through it, I do wish I'd been a little less liberal with the quotation marks though... In any event, the TL1000S still offers up a whole bunch of bang for the buck. Nice ones are already pretty hard to find, but still don't command much money. The looks may not be to everyone's taste, but I think it's better-looking than the bulbous, more conventionally-styled TL1000R and, with the replacement of the rotary damper, should be a solid handler. The epitome of 90s styling, with analog big-twin power and tasteful upgrades at a bargain price? What's not to like?

-tad

Bad Reputation: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale




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