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Serious Slabbie: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R1100 for Sale

1986 Suzuki GSXR1100 L Side
A mix of big-bike power and light weight, Suzuki’s GSX-R set the tone for the modern superbike. At the time it was introduced, more and more bikes were being cooled by a strange new substance known as “water,” but the GSX-R remained uncluttered by hoses and unburdened by awkward heat-radiating devices: in an effort to slash unnecessary weight wherever possible, Suzuki kept the bike air/oil-cooled. When it debuted in 1986, one year after its littler brother, the 1052cc “1100” weighed a modest 434lbs and produced a stout 137hp. While obviously that’s a bit of a yawn for riders used to reading about 200bhp road missiles, those 137 ponies offer up midrange-rich pull that can still entertain, especially once you throw a set of curves at it…

1986 Suzuki GSXR1100 Front

Stopping wasn’t a problem: braking was handled by Suzuki’s “Deca-Piston” setup with a pair of four-piston calipers up front and a twin piston in the rear. And the bike’s suspension was certainly state-of-the-art, at least on paper, and featured Suzuki’s “Full-Floater” rear suspension that used a set of linkages both top and bottom for a much more progressive action than what you’d typically find on a stiffly-sprung sportbike. But while the bike was definitely more nimble than the big-bore superbikes it replaced, the 1100 was really much better in a straight line than in the corners.

These days, the big slab-sided Gixxer is probably less a canyon-carver and more a very fast nostalgia machine. Suzuki fiddled with the suspension from year-to-year but the GSX-R1100 was never really known for its handling, at least in the positive sense, and those 18” wheels just make things more of a challenge, since good rubber is hard to find in that size…

1986 Suzuki GSXR1100 Dash

Today’s example is surprisingly clean, and those braided brake and clutch lines look new. GSX-Rs of all stripes sold well, so they certainly wouldn’t have been very rare at the time. But thirty years of use and abuse have seen most of these blown up, ridden into hedges, or left sadly to rot.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R1100G for Sale

The bike is 100% stock. It has new spark plugs, fresh Motul RBF600 brake fluid, fresh golden Spectro 10W40 oil. It has new brake pads and tires. It has a new drive chain and a new clutch, along with a new Shorai battery. It has fresh powder-coated calipers and Galfer stainless steel brake lines. It has a new stock air filter. It has a Suzuki brand new wiring harness. The front fork brace is a custom made piece made from 7075 aircraft aluminum, the fork seals are new and there is fresh fork oil.

The bike is all Suzuki parts with the exception of the ignition switch and the brake lines. The windscreen is also aftermarket. The stock exhaust is ceramic coated inside and out. It comes with a Suzuki-branded sportbike cover and, if the buyer wants, an extra complete stock motor and a set of virgin, untouched carburetors for an added fee.

1986 Suzuki GSXR1100 Rear

Mileage isn’t all that low at 18,000 but, considering the obvious care that’s gone into the bike, shouldn’t be too much cause for concern. Examples like this are few and far between, and starting to attract serious attention from collectors, but it looks like the seller is aiming a bit too high, with no takers yet at a $7,750.00 starting bid. And there’s that sinister dark side not often mentioned when discussing the GSX-R: although its combination of accessible, reliable, affordable performance may have helped to usher in the modern sports motorcycle, the “Gixxer” may also have helped to spawn the very first primitive examples of the notorious Squidus Americanus that frustratingly clog both highway and YouTube…

-tad

1986 Suzuki GSXR1100 R Side

 

6 Comments

  • What a stage setter! Cool, but I’m a small dude so these made me feel simian with all the crawling around on the damn thing to get it to fall over to get it in cornering mode… Really was, (and is), a cool factor machine. Best instrument layout as far as a rev-counter goes, but, sigh, they just don’y make ’em like they used to!

    • Speaking of instrument layout: I’ve said it before but I love all the 80s and 90s sportbikes where the dash is sort of modular, laid out so the speedo and idiot-light cluster are or at least appear to be easily removable, leaving the tachometer and temp gauge for track-day cred. One of the reasons I prefer the early Aprilia RS250.

  • Blaming the gixxer on the rise of the squid is not exactly accurate. It was the Ninja, and the Ninja alone that gave birth to the squid. From that bike spawned many squids. But the OG squid rode a Ninja and let everyone know.

    • Convergent evolution, man. Convergent evolution… Two bikes, spawning the same sort of rider by providing affordable speed and sporty looks. It’s science!

  • The ‘Gixxer’ has always been the squid-machine in the current generations’ minds. These are neat and have never actually ridden one. The 2nd Gen oiler was excellent so I suspect these are too. Tis unfortunate the top ends on the early gsxr’s were essentially consumption items compared to the Kawi, Yamaha, or, Hondas of the era.

  • Why do sellers state 100% stock then detail all the parts that are not stock? I think this is important to point out to potential buyers on RSBFS to be aware of sellers that make false statements.

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