Update 8.23.2022: Sale concluded at $13,900! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc
One of the most iconic, era-defining sport bikes of the 1980s, the mighty GSX-R became the new yardstick when it came time to measure motorcycle performance, focus, and race track prowess. These were THE bikes to have for amateur racing in both the 750cc and the big bore classes, and Suzuki rained down the contingency prize money to build popularity. Motorcycle publications of the day raved at the serious sport nature of the GSX-R, the lightness and handling, and use of exotic materials such as the exquisite aluminum frame. Today, finding a clean, slab-sided original example (the early generation bikes are referred to as a “slabbie” due to the flat side panels) is very difficult. Most of these bikes were modified extensively as the performance game continued to push the envelope. But today’s Featured Listing 1986 Suzuki GSX-R1100 from RSBFS reader Jon is stone stock, wearing original exhaust, airbox and light, age-appropriate patina.
The ultimate high-tech weapon, the original GSX-R actually utilized low-tech air cooling, but with an oil-cooling twist. By the mid 1980s most serious sport bikes had jumped on the liquid cooling bandwagon. Compared to air cooling, liquid cooling allowed for smaller window of temperature variation, which in turn allowed for tighter engine tolerances – which produced more power more consistently. But liquid cooling brought with it complexity and weight. Besides lugging around coolant, radiator, fan and associated hardware and plumbing, liquid cooling requires jacketed cylinders and heads, as well as a power-robbing engine driven water pump. Air cooling requires none of that. And since engine oil was already present and necessary, Suzuki simply upped the oil capacity, enlarged the oil cooler, and implemented oil squirters for the back sides of the pistons to keep them cool – technology that evolved out of the XN85 Turbo project. To ensure reliability, the Suzuki Advanced Cooling System (SACS for short) utilized a second oil pump and split the oiling duties between the cylinder head, and essentially everything else (crankshaft, piston squirters, tranny, etc.).
From the seller:
1986 GSXR1100 – near original condition including the original exhaust, airbox, carburetors, and grips
The bar ends, brake and clutch lines, turn signals, and the windscreen are not original.
It has a clean Nebraska title and 17,861 miles.
The bike comes with the Suzuki owner’s manual and the two original keys, as well as the Suzuki Service Manual.
I purchased this bike in 2010 from the Chicago area, from the original owner’s family.
Battery is new, tires will need replacing at some point.
Gas tank is beautiful clean inside and I’ve always run premium gas.
The bike starts right up, runs and rides excellent.
Plastic and paint are not perfect, but in VERY good condition. Always stored indoors, and it shows.
There is a small crack on right side near the rear grab bar, a small dent in center tank (barely noticeable) and some expected patina.
In 1986, the biggest of the Gixxers growled out a stonking 130-ish horsepower, pushing approximately 430 pounds (dry) of bike. Editors waxed poetically about the power and refinement, the race-bred handling, and the aggressive looks of the dual headlights and single exhaust. Even today this bike looks fast, purposeful and ready to rip. Owner Jon notes there are a few replacement changes from factory, but everything looks in line with an OEM appearance. Being only the second owner since new certainly helps this nearly 40 year old with maintaining the OEM like condition, as far too many examples have been passed around, abused and poorly maintained. If you want proof of how coveted this bike is to the current owner, just check out that housebroken picture in the gallery below!
This 1986 Suzuki GSXR-1100 is currently on eBay, looking for a high bidder and a new home. There is NO RESEVERE but several interested parties are already in the mix. If a minty, original slab-sided GSX-R1100 strikes your fancy, jump into the auction soon before it is gone. We don’t see many honest Gen I bikes like this pass our way these days, and one would expect values on these models will to continue to climb due to the magnitude of the impact Suzuki made with this release. Thanks for supporting the site, Jon, and good luck with the sale!