August 2010 Bike Of The Month
1980 Suzuki GS1100E
Owner: Tom Martin
A Note From The Owner...
I bought this 1980 GS1100E from a GS Resources Forum member (Mike Bradford - thanks man!) and went to John Wilson at Akron Suzuki Motorworks for the restoration. I worked my butt off to afford the work done and I'm very happy with the end result, the completed bike is amazing! I'm not an expert wrench and couldn't have ever brought this E back to the high level of mechanical and cosmetic condition seen above.
I was fortunate enough to have had an '80 GS1100E just like this one when they were brand new. I remember I had a very hard time deciding whether or not to buy the GS1100E or GS1000S. My local dealer had one of each on the showroom floor and I was flush with hard-earned paperboy money. I really wanted the "Wes Cooley Replica" but the dealer insisted I "just had to ride this new 1100!" He was right and I was hooked, that '80E was one of the very best bikes I've ever ridden. Two years later I sold my '80E to upgrade to the champagne '82E and have kicked myself ever since... Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the '82E also, but the '80E was my first "Superbike" and it will always have a sentimental place in my heart.
As for the restoration, finding parts wasn't too bad but the available supply is dwindling, there won't likely be many more restorations like this. Boulevard Suzuki says this was their "biggest order of parts for an '80 Suzuki, ever!!". Believe it or not that's an original exhaust (a survivor, if you will), it was a real find and came complete with heat shields. We found 4 broken exhaust studs when the PO's header was removed, not a huge deal since the head was coming off anyway to repair a leaking gasket. The original tank, seat and a broken side-cover were replaced with excellent condition pieces from an '81 GS750E (they're identical). The cases, swingarm, wheels and other shiny bits were hand-polished to a high lustre. Shed loads of little parts and pieces were repaired or replaced, having been changed to non OE over the years.
From a purely economic point of view, restoring the '80E back to its original condition isn't going to produce a profit. We restrained ourselves and didn't go nuts, finding deals on parts and watching the budget, but this wasn't inexpensive. I don't plan to sell her and expect to put a lot of miles behind me. The "Silver Streak" will be cruising the streets of New England, please wave or say hello if you see me.
Tom Martin (aka 1100E)