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Motorcycle Poll: Which 1983 Superbike Would You Buy?

by Richard Backus


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poll 83 superbike 

Which 1983 Superbike Would You Buy?

They may seem tame today, but when they were introduced, yesterday’s air-cooled DOHC inline fours were fearsome machines. In 1983, if you wanted a really big, really fast four, three machines that really stuck out were the Honda CB1100F, Kawasaki GPz1100 and Suzuki GS1100SD Katana. Compared to earlier fours from Japan, these were strikingly styled motorcycles with prodigious levels of horsepower and technological wizardry. Ignored for years, they’re increasingly coming back on the radar, and good ones are hard to find. So the question is, if you could buy just one, which would it be?

 

timkern
4/30/2015 2:41:50 PM

Well, I now own an XS-11 and KZ-1100 Spectre, but for pure performance, I'd prefer the '83 VF750F that I had ten years ago.


jhutbeer
4/10/2015 11:27:01 PM

All great bikes! Like two others comments below I ended up with a 1983 BMW R100RS, not as fast but a good ride!


welshman
4/9/2015 4:23:54 PM

Major issue with the Honda is the cam chain tensioners (anyone see a trend?) If the rear tensioner wasn't adjusted properly the chain WOULD saw a slot through front block on cam tunnel


welshman
4/9/2015 4:21:20 PM

Without a doubt I would have a Hans Muth Katana I rode quite a few when they were launched. It was the first bike I rode that could be drifted on Pirelli Phantom's without falling down (anyone who rode the original Phantoms knows they offer almost zero feedback before they 'let go' big time)


triumphdave2
7/14/2011 3:15:29 PM

None of these 3 bikes really appeal to me although I am sure they are all fine bikes. I have owned many bikes from Japan and by the 80s all 4 major brands were building bikes of equal quality. If I was buying one of these 3 it would be based on the best deal only.


reckless73
6/27/2011 11:25:30 AM

I"ll go with the honda the body work looks much like that of the 700 nighthawk which had the best seat I"ve ever experienced. the honda wins on looks for me.


tom hart
6/24/2011 7:37:21 PM

went with the honda simply because i have owned several,no 1100s just cl160,ca305 ,but if you backup one year 1982 i would add my current pride and joy the yamaha xj1100j there not many modern rockets out there today that can touch it all of those BIG bore four cylinder U.J.M. rock!!


tim kern
6/24/2011 1:06:31 PM

Well, I owned an '83 VF750F, and I think that, goofy valvetrain aside, the VFR was head and shoulders above any of the liter.1 bikes in the poll. On any course other than a dragstrip (even a longer straight), it would eat the beasts alive; and even at the strip, it wasn't more than a quarter-second off the pace. Bigger isn't always better.


steve
6/24/2011 10:50:38 AM

I went Suzuki, I have an '82 1100EZ, which is the model Honda cloned to make thier 1100! Thay're so similar it's uncanny.


eric
6/24/2011 8:48:59 AM

1983 was a good year for bikes. I still have an 83 GS1100E that I bought back then. To me that bikes style is timeless. I have it set up with 4" rise bars and a tank bag. Otherwise it's stock (except for progressive springs an a K and N) I didn't like the looks of the Katana so much. The Honda and the Kawasaki are both good looking bikes.


king bee racing
6/24/2011 7:52:45 AM

I won't choose any of the "Superbikes" listed...instead I would opt for a 1983 Kawasaki GPz 750...if it was good enough for Wayne Rainey/ Wes Cooley to teamup and win an AMA races, then its good enough for me. It's quicker off the line than the GPz 1100 and on shorter tracks you can keep the throttle "nailed" wide open + there's less bulk to hoist around the track all day.


rob
6/24/2011 5:03:19 AM

I had to vote for the Kwaka. I bought a B2 (2nd model with fuel injection) that had been built up as an Eddie Lawson replica. Awesome in Kwaka racing green, marzocchi shocks and satin black engine/gearbox/exhaust. Beuwdiful! or so I thought at the time. Mine had a bit of work done one it so it was at least as quick as the honda. I admit to lusting after the 900 Bol d'Or which predated the CB1100F. Rob


dewey fisher
6/23/2011 10:53:01 PM

Well I just happen to own an "old mule". (1981 KZ1000 M1) It's almost totally restored. This week I bought a set of Wiseco 1045cc pistons. Boring .060" over. The bike would hit 85 mph in 2nd gear with the old 31 year old motor. I ported and polished the head this week and the cylinders will be ready in a couple of days. My guess is 95 -100 mph in 2nd gear with the new build. I don't plan on ever riding "THE MULE" wide open throttle in 5th gear. It's a street runner only. Burns rear tires out every 2500-2800 miles. But' I sure turn a lotta heads cruising the back roads.


alan h.
6/23/2011 9:29:29 PM

I wouldn't buy any of these three.......I would wait one more year, and buy the Yamaha FJ1100


don lubbers
6/23/2011 4:56:38 PM

Go back one year and I would definitely go Kawasaki mainly because the twin shock GPZ1100 from 1982 looks much sweeter. I could also pick the 1982 1000R, and the KZ1000J too! What a great year for Kawasaki.


terence danner
6/23/2011 2:52:45 PM

I had a CB 1100F It would smoke the Kawi and was an equal the GS. I still have a set of Onterio Mototech stage two cams for an 1100F, those cams and a Bassanni comp header, it was the fastest thing around here.


scott williams
6/23/2011 2:29:12 PM

You really couldn't make a bad choice from those three. I like the performance potential of the Suzuki, but I'm also very partial to Kawasakis, and the Honda is just gorgeous.


alan scott
6/23/2011 12:53:15 PM

Drop back a few years and give me the Yamaha xs1100


tonycarlos
6/23/2011 12:42:34 PM

The Honda is probably the best bike of the three, but I'd take the Suzuki just based on it's unique looks and rarity. But I'm with Tom, when it comes to opening my wallet, I bought the BMW R100RS.


david wimprine
6/23/2011 11:41:28 AM

the 1983 CB1100F has to be one of the best motorcycles Honda has ever built


tomjohnston
6/23/2011 10:28:29 AM

Wait A Minute...Where's the R100RS BMW . That's what I'd Buy...Wait...I Did!!!


bob hadden
6/23/2011 9:34:40 AM

The Kawi has the swoopiest design of the three, but I used to ride with guys who had KZ900's and 1000's and I just never liked anything about those bikes. These guys always put Kerker 4-1 pipes on and they were loud and fast, but they couldn't keep up with me and my XS650 in the curves. Nobody I knew had the Honda or the Suzuki so I don't know that much about them other than to me they're pretty ugly. I'll take a 900 Darmah or 100 LeMans from that era anyday.


grumblejones
6/23/2011 8:48:19 AM

I rode TRIUMPH'S and NORTON'S. The Norton's would eat these up on a scramble track. I could stay with them on a Flat track,Not beat them ,BUT stay with em.


albert stegbuchner
6/23/2011 8:34:11 AM

This was the hardest poll by far that you guys have presented. I have owned two of them, the GPz and the Honda, and at the time I was working for a Suzuki dealer. Ahh the memories.