Posts by Category: Suzuki

Featured Listing May 14, 2021 posted by

Featured Listing – 1983 Suzuki Katana 1100

Found in New Jersey, today’s awesome 1983 Suzuki Katana is a throwback to what was the state of the art. Looking like a space ship – but rolling on caveman technology – the Katana made a serious statement to the world. This was a major score for Suzuki, and the entire world watched as the Hamamatsu manufacturer leapt to the front of the line with a string of successful models, including the forthcoming (and game changing) GSX-R. But in the first half of the 1980s it was the Katana making news and stealing the show.

Featured Listing: 1983 Suzuki Katana 1100 for sale on eBay

The radical lines of the Katana were penned by designer Hans Muth. They evoked a sense of motion with angular lines and a short, stubby windscreen. By all accounts the new Katana was not Gold Wing comfortable, but was no worse than the hyper sports bikes to come in the next decade (here’s looking at you, Ducati). Power came from an evolution of the big GS mill, with DOHC and four valve heads, but that is where brute force took over from technology. The big 72mm slugs displaced 1074cc, and slide in air cooled bores. These were fed by a brace of four Mikuni carbs, with the mixture squished to a compression ration of 9.5:1. All told, expect 110-ish HP from a stock unit (when new). The rest of the bike consisted of a steel double loop frame, and a twin shock swing arm arrangement. Brakes were big for the day, with 275mm disks up front and double piston calipers. When introduced ahead of the 1981 model year, Suzuki claimed the Katana was the fastest production motorcycle in the world.

From the seller:
1983 Suzuki GSX / Katana 1100. Listing for my father who has owned it since 1987. The engine was taken out and rebuilt in the 1990’s. It has a 1166cc big bore kit, Stage 2 port and polished head, megacycle cams, springs, and retainers, super hub clutch basket, 36mm mikuni RS carbs. Ohlins shocks, braced swing arm, powder coated wheels, large aftermarket performance machine front brakes, brand new Michelin tires, yoshimura header, dyna coils and MSD ignition box. We have most of the original parts for it including the original carburetors, shocks, seat, center stand, air box, swing arm, and a spare gas tank that is dented. Everything operates on the motorcycle except for the tachometer because of the MSD spark box. The box has an adjustable rev limiter. The motorcycle only has about 3000 miles on the rebuilt engine and has never been raced. Runs and stops great.

This particular Katana has benefitted from some very period-correct mods as well as newer technology. Read carefully through the seller’s description to find the deeper details, but essentially the GS motor responds well to a big-bore kit. This comes straight out of the dragstrip mentality of “bigger is better,” and by all counts the 1166cc upgrade is relatively conservative. The Yoshimura headers, the Kerker can, the braced swing arm, the upgraded carbs and the new cams are all old school trickery to make the Katana even faster (and thanks to upgraded brakes, it stops better too!); it all looks the part today. Even the MSD ignition seems to fit, itself a far better solution than the early-style, weak transistorized unit of the stocker. Sadly, said upgrade fails to communicate with the analog rev counter, making the tach inop. Many of the original parts are included in the sale, which is a plus for the collector.

The seller notes that this bike has been in the family for a long time – since 1987. That is great loyalty and longevity for what was initially thought of as a motorcycle oddity. Thankfully Suzuki experienced great success with the model, which spawned many variants including smaller capacities, different bodywork, and of course models crafted using similar design language (GS550 and XN85 Turbo, to name two). The Katana name was reused many times over the years as well, although never with such the impact as the original. This fantastic looking beast is prowling for a new garage or man cave to call home. And who wouldn’t want this sitting somewhere where it could be seen? Anthony can be reached by email here and is asking $15,000.

MI

Featured Listing – 1983 Suzuki Katana 1100
Featured Listing May 5, 2021 posted by

Featured Listing – 1986 Suzuki RG500 with CA plates!

There are few more iconic motorcycles than the mighty Suzuki RG500 Gamma. This bike is the essence of a 500cc GP machine when two strokes ruled the racing circuits. Never imported into the United States, the big twin crank, square four rocket remains a rare find for smoke hungry American riders. Today’s Featured Listing is not only a rare RG500, it has been breathed on by none other than Rick Lance (RIP) who is known to be the ultimate guru of these machines, it has been the subject of a complete and comprehensive refurbishment AND it carries with it a CA plate meaning that it can be legally owned and ridden on the street. This is not just a unicorn. This is a unicorn carrying a leprechaun while towing Santa’s sleigh. The seller is known to RSBFS readers thanks to a gorgeous ’87 Suzuki GSX-R Skoal Bandit replica that sold on these pages last year. You will find this 1986 Suzuki RG500 to be of the same high standards and quality.

Featured Listing – 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma!

From the seller:
This extremely rare and pristine RG500 completed a 2-year frame off nut and bolt restoration in June of 2019 and comes with a clean unobtanium California title in my name. The bike is currently registered and enjoys the odd sunny afternoon out in the California mountains. This is a Rick Lance bike built in his California workshop in the early 90’s. Before Rick sadly passed away, we were able to exchange several emails about the bike and talked at length on the phone, his passion for these bikes still evident after all these years. Originally imported from Canada, the bike was kept in an LA collection for most of its life and has extremely low miles. However it had lost much of its original bodywork and had been severely neglected, so the decision was made to give it a full OEM restoration while retaining its original period correct Lance Gamma modifications. The bike was stripped to the frame and every single component refurbished, painted or plated before reassembly. The engine when disassembled confirmed the low mileage, but was rebuilt with new components to ensure reliability and maximum performance. As with my other restorations this bike was built to ride and I’ve included a link to a recent canyon carving video as evidence of that. The bike handles beautifully with its more modern GSXR750 running gear, and the engine pulls strongly through the entire rev range, peaking with that heart pumping powerband you anticipate but are never really ready for. Alternatively you can just sit back and admire it as a piece of beautiful art and for the motorcycling history it represents.

Restoration Details:
Chassis/Suspension: Frame fully stripped, cleaned and all new bearings fitted. While the frame has the Rick Lance oil tank and battery box conversion within the original airbox location, I did convert the oil tank back to OEM with additional heat shields because I wasn’t a big fan of the oil level sighting tube and wanted the comfort of an oil level sensor. Its easy enough to convert back if you prefer. All running gear including forks, headstock, wheels, brakes and radiator were originally converted to 1990 GSXR750 by Rick. Forks were fully stripped and fitted with new seals. The rear is fitted with Rick’s iconic braced swingarm and period correct Fox Twin Click remote shock. Swingarm and front forks were re-polished to maintain period correctness.

Brakes: Front and rear calipers fully stripped, refinished & rebuilt with new seals/pads, rotors refurbished/refinished, all brake masters rebuilt with new seals. The 6-pot Tokico calipers are a little overkill for such a light bike, but stopping is not an issue! Wheels were fitted with new bearings, painted and shod with Diablo Rosso II tires. New chain and sprockets. All fasteners replaced with NOS or re-plated.

Restoration Details :
Electrics: Wiring loom gone through, rewrapped and in perfect working condition. Switchgear and gauges refurbished, speedo converted to MPH. Fitted Japanese OEM turn signals with smoked lenses, because they look cool! New battery.

Engine: Stripped to the cases, new seals, gaskets and complete top end rebuild (Cylinders still on their original bores, were honed and well within tolerance!). Rebuilt power valves and rotary intake valves, replaced clutch and reconditioned auto lube pump. Power valves and auto lube work exactly as they should from factory! Carbs ultrasonic cleaned, rebuilt with new gaskets, and Lance Gamma ball valves, then balanced. Lance Gamma jet kit and TriPod air filters. Bike has original Tommy Crawford chambers and has been tuned to give the best compromise between rideability and performance. Fuel tank petcock rebuilt, tank internals in excellent condition, zero rust.

Fairings/Body Panels: All OEM with the exception of the screen. No missing tabs, poppers or cracked mounting holes. All panels taken back to plastic and sealed with two stage primer. Traditional Suzuki Blue/White base coat from RS paints in the UK. New decals from RD decals. 3 Coats of clear, then 3 flow coats, wet sanded and polished for show quality. Seat and butt pad recovered.

More from the seller:
This could be one of the best examples of a Rick Lance RG500 in the country but you are more than welcome to see for yourself, I am located in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact me if you would like to view before the auction closes.

Restoration photographs and a running video can be found here

And if all of that detail, all of the photographs and the documented restoration is not enough, how about a little absolute proof in the way of an onboard ride-along? Check out the fun (and function) in this video of the actual bike:

As seen with the previous Skoal Bandit bike, the work done on this RG500 is impeccable. This is a man cave bike ready to soak up the views from inside, but equally prepared for some hard riding in the real world. It is rare, it is gorgeous, it is Rick Lance-ified, and it is street legal in the most forbidding of DMV bureaucracies, the state of California. The starting bid for this one is right in line with what it is and how it looks, and although early days the watchers are filling the bleachers to monitor the fireworks. Check out all of the details of the auction here, grab yourself a case of castor oil, and Good Luck!!

MI

Featured Listing – 1986 Suzuki RG500 with CA plates!
Suzuki April 26, 2021 posted by

We ID – 1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23

Suzuki saved their best 250 two-stroke for last, with many updates for the VJ23.  Today’s RGV250 recently became easier to import because of its age but sparkles like a much newer machine.

1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23 ( South Africa ) for sale on eBay

A lot of interesting tidbits deep in the VJ23 specs, such as the narrower 70-degree vee, almost square bore and stroke, making almost all of the engine brand new.  The power valve and ignition are under electronic control, extending the mid-range powerband, and fresh air comes right through the frame.  41mm USD forks are fully adjustable, and brakes are actually 10mm smaller but still plenty for the under 300 lbs. dry weight.  Tire sizes are still staggered 17 front / 18 rear, and the ’96 came with electric start, somehow without increasing mass.

Coming from way off shore a pre-purchase look see will be tough, but the owner may not have factored that into his starting bid.  Luckily the photos are all one could ask, and the condition is too.  Comments from the eBay auction:

Thanks for taking the time to look at a unique rare piece of two stroke history.
This authentic full power V model is one of only 119 units produced.
The total number of VJ23,s ever produced is 2018 units (That includes the 119 V models).
Some of the features that defines it from the regular JDM VJ23 are:
  • Large black identification plate on the right side of the frame’s headstock.
  • 240 kph speedometer instead of 180 kph item.
  • Four teeth smaller rear sprocket (42 tooth instead of 46 tooth)
  • Light grey rear master cylinder cap instead of black.
  • Different exhaust and silencer markings.
  • Revised airbox lid.
She is in great mechanical and cosmetic condition. 
Both front and rear tyres have been replaced recently with a sticky fresh matching set of Pirelli’s.
Here’s what’s included in the sale:
  • Original full power factory exhaust pipes and silencers.
  • Pillion footrest hangers and pegs.
  • Pillion rear seat.
  • Tool kit.
  • Owners manual.

Since few stateside riders knew what they didn’t know, the RGV would live on the track and an occasional grey market import, until the market recently warmed up with the end of the EPA blackout period.  Not sure about CA, but 49-state registration shouldn’t take heroic effort.  Small parts for a big rebuild though, could take some time.  Nothing the new owner of this RGV should have to worry about anytime soon.

-donn

We ID – 1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23
Suzuki April 6, 2021 posted by

Rare Ghost: 1987 Suzuki RG400 Walter Wolf

From the wilds of South Carolina comes this tasty little morsel of forbidden fruit. Long regarded as the grayest of the gray market imports, the Suzuki and Yamaha four cylinder two strokes plagued the dreams of US riders with blue smoke and a peculiar sound. These were imported into the United States – usually over the boarder from Canada – and registered for street use. Today most of these pass through the 25 year rule for used motorcycles, but in some states registration continues to be impossible (here’s looking at you, Cali).

1987 Suzuki RG400 Walter Wolf for sale on eBay

While the 250cc Suzuki two strokes made due with a parallel twin, the RG400 and RG500 were full-blown twin-crank, square four affairs. Disc valve was used for induction, and liquid cooling was an accepted feature to help quell the seizing nature of the beast. And while the RG500 was the more potent of the two, the 400cc version was no slouch with 60 HP on tap (stock) and a dry weight below 350 pounds.

From the seller:
1987 Suzuki Rg400 · Driven 4,400miles

1987 SUZUKI RG400 GAMMA ORIGINAL CONDITION WALTER WOLF MODEL
1987 Suzuki RG400 gamma
Only 4400 miles or 7200km, miles new tires, good original condition, everything works good. 4 cylinder 2 stroke moto gp replica that only goes up in value. Bike is all original except for Sugaya exhaust ( excellent sound and performance) and pod air filters with carb jets changed for filters and pipes. original OEM body work is very good. ALSO INCLUDED IS A NEW SET OF WALTER WOLF AFTERMARKET BODY WORK

Walter Wolf was a Canadian businessman, entrepreneur and devoted fan of both motorcycle and automobile racing. His WW livery has adorned race bikes and F1 teams. And the WW variants of the Suzuki RG range are some of the most visually pleasing liveries adorned to these bikes. There are two primary colors – the deep blue/purple and the silver we see here today. Beneath the skin there is really nothing mechanical to distinguish a WW from a standard Gamma. Just bodywork and the WW-specific instrumentation.

These Walter Wolf RG400s are very rare in the States, which tends to draw a premium price. This particular RG shows as good, but appears to be well used. Not sure why the fairing lowers are not mounted, although they do appear as separate in one of the photos. The seller is including an aftermarket set of bodywork, however this is the alternate dark blue scheme. No notes on maintenance or whether the crank seals have been done, but this should be considered a necessary item on a 34 year old two stroke – despite the relatively low mileage. The seller is looking for $15k for this example – that is not out of the ballpark for a Walter Wolf RG, but does represent a pretty big investment for a rider. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Rare Ghost: 1987 Suzuki RG400 Walter Wolf
Featured Listing March 29, 2021 posted by

Featured Listing: 1983 SUZUKI GS750ES

The 1980s: A period of rapid and wild development that set the motorcycling course for the next several decades. It seemed for a time that every innovation was rapidly made defunct by the next quantum leap in engineering – or experimentation. From the end of the 1970s right into the 1990s the world saw massive jumps in suspension tech, chassis engineering, internal combustion enhancements, clutch and transmission improvements, and aerodynamics. Some of the innovations worked and became mainstream. Others were fated to be “one year wonders” as manufacturers rapidly pivoted to something new. In between the extremes some absolutely amazing motorcycles were created. Today’s Feature Listing is one such model: the 1983 Suzuki GS750ES.

Featured Listing: 1983 SUZUKI GS750ES

The Suzuki GS750 first bowed to the world in 1977. At that time it was more of a UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle), or what would be better known as a standard motorcycle. This was a response to Honda’s dominant expertise in the inline four game, and at which Suzuki was playing catch up. But catch up they did, steadily evolving the GS750 into an absolute gem of a sport bike; the ’83 ES variant enjoying a 16-valve DOHC head with Suzuki’s trademarked Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber (TSCC), a greatly updated chassis which included the cutting-edge Full Floater single shock setup in the rear, and trick anti-dive forks up front. And rather than the 18/19 inch combo front and rear carried by predecessors, the ES model now carried a 17 incher out back and a GP-inspired 16 inch wheel up front. The smaller front wheel did turn out to be a short-lived fad, but the reduction in rotational weight and gyroscope tendencies helped the smallest and lightest of the GS750 lineage turn and track like no other.

From the seller:
Completely stock, unrestored, unmodified and un-faded
Classic 80’s sport bike style
Two adult owners from new, 3,000 miles believed correct
As close to a showroom-new GS750ES as you’re likely to find
Original tool kits come with bike
Regularly and recently ridden

Price: Mecum Auction Lot F67 April 28 – May 1

Contact: Bob (superhawk65@gmail.com) or visit the Mecum Auction site

The 1983 Suzuki GS750ES was the last of this particular lineup; the economy stalled any further development and unsold units were sold off as 1984 models (unchanged). By 1985 H-D began the Great Tariff War and capacities were dropped to 700cc to avoid additional taxation. That makes this 1983 Suzuki GS750ES the last of its kind, and in about the best shape we’ve seen one of these retro machines. With 70-ish HP on tap and relatively modern components, the GS750ES is a great pick for anyone wanting to pick up some nostalgia – and who also wouldn’t mind riding it around. Suzuki did crank out a large number of the GS750 models (a definite best seller for the Hamamatsu manufacturer), but today few of them survive in this kind of condition.

Today’s Featured Listing will be enjoying the limelight at the Mecum auctions in Las Vegas, April 28 – May 1. With very few miles and sitting in stock, original condition, this bike will certainly catch the eyes of collectors. Interested parties might want to chat with Bob ahead of the auction to learn more. This bike is an incredible time capsule of the pinnacle of the pre-GSXR world, and will certainly be grabbing attention wherever it shows up. Whether you were there and had one, missed out but always wanted one, or just learning about the era now, this 1983 Suzuki GS750ES is worth the effort. Good Luck!!

MI

Featured Listing: 1983 SUZUKI GS750ES
Suzuki March 29, 2021 posted by

Gammarosity – 1987 Suzuki RG500 Gamma

Prior to the turn of the century, 500cc bikes were the ultimate Grand Prix class and Suzuki were regularly on the podium and occasionally the top step.  Here’s an RG that has been more carefully tended than most bikes, and pushing 190hp per liter.

1987 Suzuki RG500 Gamma for sale on eBay

Suzuki had won back to back championships in 1981-82 with the RG500 racer, but didn’t introduce the replica until 1985.  It was worth waiting for, with a complex rotary-valve square four engine claiming 95 hp.  28mm Mikuni carbs look into the engine from the side, and there’s only a kickstarter.  Suzuki’s automatic exhaust control tailors the downpipe volume to rpm, widening the torque band.  Though the chassis tubes are small section, they’re beefy and connect up to a massive steering head, all alloy.  “Deca” brakes have ten pistons, per bike – eight on the 260mm front discs and two on the 210mm rear.  Solid looks are partly due to the wide powerplant and tall 90 series tires.

From the garage background, this gulf coast owner is a real Suzuki fan, with a passel of dirtbikes thrown in.  The RG500 is in exceptional condition, with only one short fairing crack in its original good looks.  Naturally a grey import, but no ownership or maintenance history is offered in the eBay auction:

7,906 miles all original. Runs great. Speedo is in Kilometers.
Tail fairing has 1 small crack above left exhaust pipe.

Suzuki bowed out of a factory effort in 1983, but still supplied RG500 developments to the H-B and Heron teams.  U.S. rider Randy Mamola had been on the podium in the last few races of 1982 with H-B, but factory riders Uncini and Reggiani went to H-B’s first string for ’83.  At this point in race replica, square four, or two-stroke road bike history, the time to watch and wait may be behind us.  Just three bidders are testing this auction for the reserve, and if you intend to make some history with an RG500 this looks like a great example. 

-donn

Gammarosity – 1987 Suzuki RG500 Gamma
Suzuki February 27, 2021 posted by

New Lease on Life: 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22

The Suzuki RGV250 Gamma was a significant model for the factory at Hamamatsu. Original conceived as a parallel twin, the RG evolved into the 90 degree v-twin for the VJ21 and VJ22 models before morphing into the 70 degree vee of the VJ23. A favorite of racers, street riders and collectors alike, the RGV250 spawned the successful Aprilia RS250 as well as several Suzuki-specific themed liveries. Of the rare graphical packages, the Pepsi was perhaps the most rare, but the Lucky Strike livery continues to be the most popular. Today’s 1991 RGV250 VJ22 does not appear to have started life as a Lucky Strike, but looks striking after a much needed refurb (despite the lower resolution photos).

1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22 for sale on eBay

From the seller:
1991 Suzuki RGV250 M model. This an UNRESTRICED RGV250 VJ22

As shown in the before picture it was UGLY…. but has been transformed into a beauty.
New Lucky Strike paint job with four (4) coats of clear and a little pearl in the white areas.
Wheels stripped and powder coated white. New Dunlop Q3+ tires.
New Ohlins color upper fork tubes…NOT Ohlins forks but they look like them,,,however I added..
New Andreani Misano race fork cartridges with separate compression in one leg and rebound in the other.
New fork tube bushings (Racetech), Red SS brake lines, SBS brake pads, Sugaya street expansion chambers

More from the seller:
Calipers gutted and new internals installed with satin black caliper paint
New NITRON R2 fully adjustable remote reservoir rear shock
Tyga carbon fiber rear hugger and Tyga power valve covers with drains
Cougar power valves
Mild street porting and head work by Ed Toomey at Ed Toomey Designs. Renowned two stroke guru.
New 1st over pistons, rings, wrist pins, small end bearings and cylinder Nikasil coating.
Radial front brake master cylinder from a GSXR600, wave front brake rotors.
New Zeeltronic ignition controller with hand held programmer.
(If you don’t want the Zeeltronic I can put the original ECU back on. It is the upgraded 23D70 unit).
Carbs are clean and balanced. Carbs are the larger 34mm size
New Suzuki oil injection pump

Putting aside the sordid history that might have brought this bike down the road it traveled, the resto-mod approach with this particular example really works for me. This bike certainly looks a sight better than when the seller first acquired it, and there is no denying the visual impact of the Lucky Strike scheme. In addition to paintwork this bike has received some much needed attention to the chassis and systems, and now sports some important upgrades including suspension, exhaust and the all-important tuning to de-restrict the colony of bees and transform it into a hive of angry hornets. Figure 60+ HP from a stocker with the restrictions removed, and likely a tad more here if all components are working correctly together. Should be fun on a barely 300 lbs (dry) machine.

This bike is listed as “Excellent condition, as new, showroom condition” – although it might be fair to list it more along the lines of a restoration. And we should all be thankful someone is willing to undertake such a labor of love, as the world needs more of these bikes rescued and returned to glory. Not much action on this particular auction yet; opening bid is $5k USD with a reserve in place. There are a fair number of watchers on this, so perhaps everyone is sitting back and waiting for the fun to start. Check out all of the details here. While not completely original or stock, this restored and modded machine sure looks like fun. Good Luck!!

MI

New Lease on Life: 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22
Suzuki December 18, 2020 posted by

! obruT – 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo

Suzuki’s entrant to the turbo sweepstakes was sportier than the green or red models, still more of a GT all in all.  This Oregon example has been ridden some, displayed some, and made ready for the next rider.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo for sale on eBay

Suzuki designed a special engine for the turbo, only 673cc and 7.4-to-1 compression, but nicely oversquare with a 10,000 rpm redline.  Full injection ensures smooth running across the range and the advanced oil cooling system used squirters to cool the pistons.  The forward leaning chassis used twin downtubes, anti-dive forks with a 16-inch front wheel and Full Floater monoshock rear.  A little Katana-style goodness made for a distinctive fairing with sportier clip-on handlebars and footpeg location.

Any curator would be happy if their XN85 was in this kind of shape, undamaged and shiny pretty much everywhere.  The owner states he’s only the second, and it’s been in “his” museum for the last twelve years.  That might be worth looking into if you’re local to Portland.  Links to a few comprehensive videos are in – the eBay auction – interspersed with the owner’s comments:

The XN85 Has Been On Display For 11-12 Years In My Museum.

It’s Been Pulled Off The Display Floor And, Over Last 3+ Months As Time Permitted I Have Had The Following Service Items Performed By My Mechanic –

-New AGM Battery Installed

-New Oil & Filter Change

-Both Front And Rear Calipers Serviced – Cleaned & Brake Fluids Flushed From The Long Time sitting Idle While On Display

Recently un-mothballed in a loving fashion by my master mechanic.  The fuel system flushed with non-ethanol premium fuel.  Installed a new battery along with a new battery tender hook-up.  It started up in less then 2 seconds and runs great!  There are no fuel leaks. It idles perfectly.  It’s fuel injected. It Revs & Restarts fine.  It is ready to go and needs nothing  to go riding.  And/or it’s ready to go straight into another Museum.

Though a great engineering exercise, the fuel crisis passed, insurance companies got wind of the power vs. displacement issue, and none of the models survived to see 1986.  The XN85 was relieved for the ’84 model year in the U.S., but was sold abroad for a couple of more years.  Time has confirmed that Suzuki’s ideas about handling and de-tuning the turbo were correct, as the model has consistently reviewed well in the fun-to-ride and reliability departments.  Evidently the victim of a failed BAT auction, this particular XN85 would’ve been a bargain at that strike price, but likely this and XN85 owners everywhere are hoping for better.

-donn

 

! obruT – 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo