old slabside GSXR 1100... it's more than just scary, it's
uh... POOH your pants SCARY!!!"
A report by the owner:
Todd O'Neill (editor of DoctorDanger.com)
ridden light weight sports bikes for years I thought it
would be a real challenge to knock around on a big old slabside
gixxer. I've always wanted one of those monsters ever since
Suzuki released the GSXR 1100 way back in 1986.
Research: After conducting
a bit of investigation into the economics of owning one
of these big fellas, things started looking good... cheep
classic insurance (circa £200 p.a. for me and my points),
circa £2000 purchase price, big powerful and dependable
engine (who could over-stress one of those?), pretty much
zero deprecation... and that was enough, I just had to get
one. It took ages to find one that was near to the original
condition (seems most have been 'Streetfighter-ized') but
eventually I found one which was advertised locally (bonus).
owned the bike for just a few months now, it is taking me
a while to get used to the Suzuki's power output and the
way it handles (or should I say the way it doesn't handle).
The power output is pretty seriousl. Its possible one of
the previous owners might have put a big bore kit in this
old machine because according to the Dyno test it's producing
a whopping 131.7 bhp at the rear wheel - lovely-jubblie!
I'm still experiencing the odd unexpected wheelie when I'm
gently rolling on the throttle in second gear, in fact this
happened the other day when I was putting my visor down,
prompting my first ever one-handed wheelie - yahoo! The
power output continues to impress me, but it might have
something to do with the fact that I have a long history
of riding little screamer sports bikes which didn't deliver
much in the way of torque. Perhaps Chris (who has a Yamaha
R1) and Ricky (Suzuki TL1000S) might find the power of this
old gixxer a bit flat when compared to their modern one-litre
machines, we'll just have to wait and see.
Scary: Now for the
scary stuff - the handling. Well it doesn't really. The
old GSXR 1100 never had a reputation for being good at handling
but I think that's part of the charm of this classic bike.
I don't know about you, but I enjoy a good challenge and
for some bizarre reason I like a scaring the pooh out of
myself, so I guess I've chosen the right bike for me . If
you think getting your knee down on a Yamaha R6 is exciting,
you should try cornering at speed on an old gixxer - God
it races my heart just thinking about it! Despite the minor
suspension upgrades the GSXR's high centre of gravity, flexi
frame, considerable weight and 1980's technology ensures
the GSXR's handling is far from being as sharp or responsive
as modern day machinery. You could say it's a bit wallowy
and that's on a good day. The GSXR seems to handle a bit
better with some weight on it. I'm a bit of a light weight
(I weigh 10.5 stone / 147 lbs) and I found the GSXR handles
much better with my girl friend on the back, it feels much
more planted, and less twitchy and wallowy through the corners.
Right finger: The
front brakes are EXCELLENT. The Harris AP Lockheed conversion
uses big single callipers but boy do they scrub the speed
off quickly. If you are thinking of getting one of these
old Suzuki's, you should put a brake upgrade at the top
of your list! It could be a lifesaver!