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Middle Child Blues: 1983 Suzuki GS1100ES for Sale

1983 Suzuki GS1100ES R Side

The GS1100ES was the last-hurrah for Suzuki’s twin-shock sportbikes, a forgotten middle child sandwiched between the classic, Wes Cooley era GS1000S and the modern icon GSX-R. But for a few years, this was as good as it got.

1983 Suzuki GS1100ES Rear Suspension

And it established the template for the later GSX-R: it wasn’t the most powerful bike, but it was light, stiff, and powerful enough, and provided a complete performance package. That complete package impressed the motoring press at the time, and it fared well in period tests, even against its more striking stablemate, the Katana.

1983 Suzuki GS1100ES R Side Front

This was the first Zook with 16-valve cylinder head, although it featured “shared cam lobes” that used forks to actuate a pair of valves each. A narrow included valve angle and specially-shaped combustion chambers led to a more efficient burn of the fuel-air mixture. Although the technology was not unique to Suzuki, they of course had to come up with a cool acronym for it, and dubbed it “TSCC” for “twin swirl combustion chamber.”

1983 Suzuki GS1100ES Engine Detail

The 1074cc engine put 108hp through a five-speed gearbox. Interestingly, the dash includes a gear position indicator, although I don’t think you’re too likely to find yourself selecting the wrong cog, considering the flexible power on tap.

1983 Suzuki GS1100ES Dash

The frame was conventional, but very stiff, allowing the suspension to provide the rider with good feedback and control. More a marketing gimmick than real performance items, anti-dive forks were added in 1982 and are clearly visible in the photos, but the bike handled well enough without them.

1983 Suzuki GS1100ES Front Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Suzuki GS1100ES for Sale

Up for auction is my well-preserved 1983 GS1100ES Superbike.  This was the machine to beat in 1983 with the final version of the bulletproof 1100 16 valve motor.  These motors are still used extensively in drag racing.  The GS1100ES helped start the true sportbike era with a small frame mounted sport fairing, lower than standard bars, and slightly rearset pegs. It was serious machinery in 1983 (having owned one back then I agree!).  This one runs and drives very well and has clearly been well cared for over the years.  It’s hard to find one that hasn’t been piped and jetted and beat to a pulp.  

Paintwork is original, except for side covers, knee fairings, and seat cowling which were professionally repainted.  All paint is in  very nice condition with very few minor chips and no fading.  Seat is original.  Frame and motor paint is very nice, wheels are clean, and pipes are in good, but not excellent, shape.  Recently serviced with oil change, air filter, plugs, valve clearance adjustment, carb cleaning and brake fluid flush.  No oil or gas leaks, tank is clean inside.  Rear tire is new, front is several years old but has good tread.   Several NOS detail pieces like new mirrors and grips.  Comes with original owners manual and toolkit. I removed the Lockhart lowers after purchase and stored them.

The listing also includes an extensive list of upgrades and maintenance performed, so pop on over to take a look.

Those fairing lowers, as the seller mentions, were not found on all bikes, but really complete the look and give the bike a clear place in the progression from GS1000S to GSX-R and beyond. I’ve never actually seen one with these fitted, and I think they make the bike.

The bid price is still below $3,000 but the reserve has not been met. There’s been plenty of interest so far, but there’s still time left on the auction if you want to scoop up this somewhat forgotten bit of superbike history.

-tad

1983 Suzuki GS1100ES L Side No Fairing

10 Comments

  • Honestly… Does anyone have any interest in this bike? It’s not that cool and would absolutely feel like a pig on the road. Of course, if you were at Alices with this thing people would pause and check it out, but I don’t think they’d be all that impressed. Anyways, this might fit into the rare factor, but definitely not the cool or a mild wow factor.

    • I do. I think the title says it all: it’s sort of forgotten now but, at the time, it was a superlative motorcycle. Those “in between” motorcycles are sometimes the coolest bikes, combining a bit of the old and a bit of the new. Plus, these early 80’s bikes are really starting to increase in value, so it seemed like a good bike to post. Don’t worry though: they’re not cool [or rare] enough to become a regular feature!

  • These were nice bikes back in the day. I had an ’82 1100E that I loved and would buy another one if it was close, in nice shape and dark blue. I twisted the crankshaft on mine. The ’83’s were updated with welded cranks. Good for an honest 140mph with a jet kit.

  • I always liked the ’83 750ES. A good looking, handling, and running (if the RPM’s were kept up) bike. But the press went crazy over the Interceptor. I have read Kevin Shwantz really liked the 700ES he was racing back in the day.

  • Not rare.They made thousands of them.

  • Many have interest in this bike. Go check out the GS Resources page. Neat bike that you do not often see that has not been beat or so-called modified. I like it. Then again I like Buells and tube framed Bimotas……

  • I have one of these in my collection. It actually is a very enjoyable bike to ride. Of course the brakes are not so great but then again what bike in 1983 had great brakes? It weighs quite a bit but handles very respectably and has a super fat mid range torque pull. Yes they made thousands of them but thousands of them are long gone now. When was the last time you have seen one of these? I think its pretty cool. Unfortunately the collectable factor of this bike is going to be very short lived in my opinion. The guys that want one of these are in the 50 to 60 year old range now. It will have a short term following for love and then fall out of favor relatively quickly. That being said I love mine, it will stay in my vast collection for now but probably be sold off by my heirs someday for peanuts. Buy this one or wait until I die and and buy mine at some shitty auction.

    • Pete, I love the cynical comments. So true. My shit will probably be sold for peanuts too, lol.

  • Had an ’83 GS1100E my father bought new. In ’83 they were the king of the quarter mile. It was nearly the price of a CBX–I wish my dad had gotten one of those…. Absolutely wooden brakes. Ended up replacing the master, putting on Hornet rotors and Tokico calipers and it finally would stop better. Carbs gum up easily and wrenching the carbs out is a 30 minute process. Putting them back in requires a lot of swearing and hoping the intake boots will go back on. After the first 5K miles it never needed a valve adjustment for the other 25K miles, only oil changes. Though heavy it handled well after doing shocks and forks. Surprised a lot of newer bikes on the twisties. Just not my idea of a bike I’d like to keep—it was my dad’s idea of the perfect bike.

  • That is actually my old bike (sold to current owner). The main pic with the Lockhart lower fairings is a pic I took in my front yard. Good power and very comfortable. I was offered $1k for the lockharts alone. You find very few in as good of condition as this one.

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