Posts by tag: TL1000S

Suzuki May 11, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: Suzuki TL1000R Racer/Track Day Special for Sale

In the 90s, Ducati captured the imagination of race fans and road riders alike with their exotic, race-winning v-twins, and the Japanese were forced to play catch up on track in in the showrooms, as they'd largely been relying on highly-developed, but less emotional inline fours in World Superbike and endurance racing. The rules of World Superbike certainly favored v-twins at the time, and the Japanese seemed to believe that was all there was to their success, "If a tiny little company like Ducati can do it, we can too!" Unfortunately, both Honda and Suzuki missed their opportunity to cash in, producing "Ducati-killers" that failed to understand exactly why people bought Ducatis in the first place. The Honda SuperHawk was a very good motorcycle cursed with a tiny gas tank and handling that was never really intended to measure up to the track-focused 916, with handsome but fairly bland looks. And Suzuki's TL1000R was a massive failure in terms of its Ducati-slaying ability as well. They'd already built their road-focused TL1000S, so the TL1000R should have been a no-brainer. But while the 916 was narrow, sleek, and very focused on speed, the TL-R was bulbous and heavy, with handling limited by the controversial rotary rear damper carried over from the TL-S. The rotary damper worked fine in theory, but overheated in practice, resulting in sometimes scary at-the-limit handling. Luckily, today's Featured Listing, a track-ready TL1000R goes a long way towards rectifying those shortcomings.

Why use a rotary damper in the first place? Well a bike with a 90° v-twin is generally very narrow [unless you're on a Moto Guzzi], light, smooth and torquey, but presents packaging challenges. Ducati's front cylinder lies nearly horizontal, making for a very long engine and a correspondingly long wheelbase. Suzuki rotated their engine back in the chassis, but that left little room for a traditional rear shock, and they used a compact rotary damper in its place. It was a proven concept, but the execution left a bit to be desired...

Although the TL1000R was considered a sales flop at the time, low prices and that absolute peach of a v-twin have made it a very appealing roadbike. Keep in mind that Suzuki used this engine to power a whole range of their own bikes, and it was used by plenty of other manufacturers as well. It is reliable, reasonably powerful, and sounds great with a set of aftermarket cans. The TL1000R was a fundamentally sound bike, with all of the elements to be the everyman v-twin Suzuki advertised, but the execution was flawed. Power is never going to rival modern Ducatis, unless you throw a ton of money at the engine. But pounds can be shed, and handling improved with a swap to a more traditional rear shock and good suspension set up.

Today's Featured Listing goes back to the TL-R's original stated intent and systematically fixes problems: a complete modern GSX-R1000 front end with a Brembo master cylinder, lightweight bodywork, updated rear shock by Penske, and an Aprilia RS250 solo tail that lightens the bike visually as well, making it the sleek machine it always should have been.

From the seller: TLR1000R Race Bike for Sale

TL1000R for sale, bill of sale, no title, was built frame up piece by piece. Specs follow:

Engine - stock internally, Sharkskinz airbox, M4 full exhaust - rear sections have been modified to pull the exhaust closer to the swingarm for cornering ground clearance, Power Commander III. Yes, I know it's not really a superbike with the stock motor, but the rest of the modifications mean it's not SS legal.

Chassis - LE rear link and Penske shock, 04 GSXR 1000 forke/triples - LE valved and lengthened, Woodcraft clipons, Vortex upper triple clamp, Ohlins steering damper, Sato rearsets

Brakes - Brembo radial m/c, 04 GSXR 1000 calipers with spacers to run 320mm TLR rotors, rear caliper is a Wilwood PS-1 in a captured spacer setup (Pro Fab did the swingarm modification and all the machined parts), Goodridge stainless lines

Body - Sharkskinz body with Honda RS250 tailsection. Rear subframe is all fabricated aluminum.

Misc - Wire harness has been thrifted and ECU has been relocated to the front in fabricated aluminum holder. Clutch m/c is a brembo radial. Throttle is from Yoyodyne, probably more little stuff that I'm forgetting.

$6500, located in Indianapolis

Email is best for me: at

I love the Aprilia RS250 tail section, and the Gulf Racing colors work for me too: I'd love to do a track Ducati 916 up like that! Honestly, $5,600 seems like a heck of a deal for such a fully-developed bike. I've no idea if it'd make a competitive racebike, but if you like twins but don't want to risk your precious 998R in the fast group at a track day, this might be just the ticket. I fully understand why folks would choose something like a GSX-R or R6 as a trackday ride, but it's the funky stuff like this that interests me.


Suzuki December 7, 2015 posted by

The Italian Alternative: 1999 Suzuki TL1000R for Sale

1999 Suzuki TL1000R L Side

In the late 1990s, manufacturers of sportbikes had basically given up on the v-twin like the one that powers this Suzuki TL1000R. Twins could still be found in smaller bikes, but serious sport machines had mostly moved onto the inline-four configuration. Except, of course, for Ducati and they probably stuck with it because they couldn't afford to develop an all-new four-cylinder engine. But the highly-evolved Pantah engine, now fitted with water-cooling and four-valve heads made a big splash in World Superbike racing in the 851 and 916 that followed, thanks to good aerodynamics and rules that favored big twins. So other manufacturers stepped up with their own v-twin sportbikes, and the TL1000R was the bike Suzuki hoped would compete against the bikes from Bologna.

1999 Suzuki TL1000R L Side Front

Introduced in 1998, just a year after the half-faired TL1000S, the TL-R was built for just a few years and production ceased in 2003. The bike itself was a bit of a failure, as it didn't really compete with the 916 in terms of sex appeal: that duck-tailed styling is a bit odd, and the broad fairing feels more inline-four and less v-twin.

1999 Suzuki TL1000R Dash

And the handling was an even bigger problem: to save space and keep the wheelbase short, Suzuki fitted a rotary damper to their twins. The concept is certainly sound, but the TL's was too small, which caused the unit to overheat and lose its dampening. The result was a tendency to tank-slap and the original S was considered a bit of a "widowmaker."

1999 Suzuki TL1000R Tank

But you can't really argue with the engine, and that 135bhp lump found its way into a pretty wide variety of machines over the years, including a couple of Bimotas. When the TL-R was introduced, some reviewers felt it was almost inline-four like in terms of its power delivery, with a top-end biased delivery. But its still torquey, reliable, and sounds great with a set of aftermarket cans.

1999 Suzuki TL1000R R Side Tail

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Suzuki TL1000R for Sale

Up for sale is a fantastic condition fuel injected 1999 Suzuki TL1000R with 15,900 miles on it. This bike has great personality, tons of highend power, 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 is faster than just about any bike in the twistys. Its a fantastic mixture of lightweight body/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. Full M4 Stainless steel exhaust system with Carbon cans (This exhaust sounds just like a Jap bike should)

2. Carbon Fiber Rear Hugger

3. Carbon Fiber look Air Dam Surrounds

4. Shorty turn signals front and rear

5. Smoked Windscreen

6. Tank Protector

5. Chrome swingarm spools

Here is a list of recent maintence items done to the bike (All done within 100miles)

1. New Avon tires installed (Front and Rear)

2. Brand new oil and filter (Synth oil)

3. Chain adjusted and oiled

4. Steering stem bearings cleaned and repacked with fresh grease

5. Front and rear axle bearings cleaned and repacked with fresh grease

6. Valves checked and found in spec at 12k

1999 Suzuki TL1000R L Side Rear

The seller also includes a helpful startup and walk-around video.

These change hands for shocking small sums these days, so it's a pleasure to find one that's so clean. Mileage is relatively low and, aside from the pipes and those questionable front turn signals, appears to be pretty stock. The seller doesn't mention whether or not this bike has had a conventional shock fitted to replace the rotary unit, a modification that is well-worth doing and generally solves the issues with the handling.

I prefer these in traditional Suzuki blue-and-white colors, but no matter what color, the TL-R makes a great, charismatic roadbike with v-twin sound and Japanese reliability, all for chump change.


1999 Suzuki TL1000R R Side

The Italian Alternative: 1999 Suzuki TL1000R for Sale
Suzuki August 23, 2014 posted by

Budget Widowmaker: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S

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.

1997 Suzuki TL1000S L Side

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.

1997 Suzuki TL1000S FR

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale

A 1997 TL1000S. This V twin super sports bike was only made for a few years and this just happens to one of the cleanest one's around. This bike has never been raced or molested. It has some tasteful upgrades and that's it. The bike has a full Vance and Hines carbon fiber exhaust, not just slip on's. The rear has a turn signal eliminator kit on it, the turn signals are in the brake light. It looks very clean. Tires are good there are currently no issues with this bike at all. It is one of the cleanest TL's still around. This bike is has one of the most unique sounding engines due to the factory gear drive timing. If you’re looking at this then you know what you are looking at. This bike has a cult following. Here is your chance to pick up a very nice ride!

This is a very clean bike, it has been garaged its whole life! Must see to believe. There are no paint or decal flaws

1997 Suzuki TL1000S Dash Front

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 I would have expected: the bulbous 90’s styling is handsome at the front, although the rear is still a bit awkward to me. This example is in very nice shape, with under 11,000 miles. With bidding at $3,300 and just three days left, this represents a ton of performance and character for very minimal outlay of cash. 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.


1997 Suzuki TL1000S R Side


Budget Widowmaker: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S
Sport Bikes For Sale August 12, 2011 posted by

Dr. Jekyll Or Mr. Hyde? Original And Low Mile 1997 Suzuki TL1000S

Dr. Jekyll Or Mr. Hyde? Original And Low Mile 1997 Suzuki TL1000S

How do you remember the TL1000S ?  Was it a worthy Ducati alternative with innovative ideas and a very nice 90 degree V twin or the widow maker from Hammatsu?  It is definitely a bike with a sorted past but how much is real and how much is legend?  I remember stories of violent and unexpected head shake that would scare even those with the highest of testosterone levels.  I've read of issues with the rotary damper rear suspension.  There apparently were general quality control issues with the initial model year bikes as well.  That is the Dr. Jekyll

The Mr. Hyde?  Well,  for the most part people absolutely love the darn things.  Most say though, ditch the rotary damper rear suspension as soon as possible.  For a bike released in 97 it had some  nice features.  The frame is a light weight trellis design and the engine featured fuel injection and a back torque limiting clutch.  From the reading I did the bike could be summed up in a word: "Fun"!.

If  the Dr. Jekyll still has you worried,  this bike did go through the Suzuki recall program.  I believe the recall was for the steering damper but I also saw one for the fuel tank as well.

If you've waited, this is the one you want.  Almost 100% original and only 2,300 miles.  The only changes are a tasteful exhaust system and a fuel injection update.

The details:

Up for auction is an extremely clean example of a 1997 Suzuki TL1000S in the rare green color.  This bike is as close to new as you are likely to find anywhere, only 2300 miles on it.  The photo shows 2200 something but I've been riding it, this bike runs awesome and is a blast to ride. The sound is absolutely addicting!  I don't think it's possible to ride this bike and not be smiling, it's that much fun!  The bike is all original except for the stainless steel/carbon fiber exhaust.  I do have the original pipes, mufflers, brackets and rear seat pad.  All are included to the winning bidder as well as a Yoshimura fuel injection adjuster, factory service repair manual, and an owners manual.  The bike has a brand new Yuasa battery this season. There are NO scratches dings or dents, again very clean, very original.  No disappointments if you are looking for a sweet TL1000S.  I do reserve the right to end the auction early as the bike is for sale locally.  Thanks for looking and good luck!  Please email me with any question that you may have.

The bike did have all the original recalls done as proven by the "Suzuki OK" sticker on the right side of the frame.  Yes this bike does have the factory steering damper installed.

As I've said before, it impresses me when an "average" bike has been taken care of this well.

I think the styling has held up well.  It would look just fine in a showroom in 2011.  You may know Suzuki sold these engines to Bimota for the SB8K but did you know they also sold them to Cagiva for the V-Raptor and Navigator?  Don't feel bad if you've never heard of those two.  They never made it to the United States.  Knowing Cagiva, they probably barely made it out of the factory.

A quick spin of the internets revealed there aren't a whole lot of TL1000S's for sale.  It turns out to be a bit more rare than I thought.  I didn't come across a single one that was as nice as this example.  If you aren't spooked then  check it out here.


Bimota July 21, 2010 posted by

Mint 2006 Bimota SB8K in Los Angeles with 177 miles!

Mint (as in 177 miles!!) 2006 Bimota SB8K for sale in Los Angeles.

The SB8K is one of my favourite Bimotas, pairing the charismatic v-twin engine from a Suzuki TL1000R with a hybrid carbon (check out those carbon chassis side plates)/aluminum beam frame from Bimota.  :

Bimota has been making exquisite hand crafted road and race motorcycles for almost 40 years, true functional pieces of rolling art. This factory original Bimota SB8K SantaMonica is derived from the same race platform that Anthony Gobert won the World Superbike race in Phillips Island. It uses the same incredible composite frame with twin aluminum spars. This beautiful frame is graced with 43mm Ohlin forks with radially mounted Brembo brakes. Power is provided by the wonderful Suzuki TL1000R V-Twin motor that produces 143hp. Just as the chassis utilizes the most advanced materials of its day, the engine boasts important technological advances as well. The most noticeable and striking feature is the radial motion of fuel injectors that perfectly mimics the movement of the butterfly valves. This innovation maximizes performance by ensuring a perfect fluidity and consistency of the power delivery over the complete RPM range of the engine. Carbon fiber is also used for the fairing and the fuel tank. The attention to detail is a hallmark of all Bimota motorcycles. This bike is in showroom condition and has only travelled 177 miles from new, perfect in every way.

Aside from the usual expensive lashings of Ohlins suspension, Brembo radial calipers, CNC machined bits, carbon fiber fairings and fuel tank(!), the most innovative feature of this bike has to be the overhead "shower" radial injectors perfectly mimics the movement of the butterfly valves.  Here's a video of the injectors in action (although it's not very clear):

Here's a brief write up on and a past article by Roland Brown for Fast Bikes. My only nit pick about the SB8K is that it looks like a first gen Suzuki SV650s from the front - other than that, this is one exotica that hopefully will find its way into my garage some day!!