1980-83 Suzuki GS1100 E/ES
Under the Radar
The 1980-1983 Suzuki GS1100 E/ES.
Suzuki GS1100 E/ES
Years produced: 1980-1983
Claimed power: 108hp @ 8,500rpm (1983)
Top speed: 140mph (1983 test)
Engine type: 1,074cc air-cooled DOHC 16-valve inline four
Weight: 552lb (w/half-tank fuel)
Price then/now: $4,350 (1983)/$2,000-$4,000
It’s fair to say that the basic design criteria for today’s four-pot, racer-on-the-road sportbikes were established in the early 1980s: Kawasaki introduced fuel injection on its GPz bikes (Kawasaki GPz550, Kawasaki GPz750); Honda gave us liquid cooling in the VF range (1984-85 Honda Sabre VF700S, 1985 Honda VF1000R); Yamaha pioneered a peripheral frame in the Yamaha FJ1100; and Honda was also first to fit 16 valves on a four-banger with the Honda CB750F. But after trailing the pack as the last of the Big Four to abandon two-stroke technology, Suzuki leapt to the front with its 1977 Suzuki GS750 and Suzuki GS1000. In 1980, they moved the bar higher still with the Suzuki GS1100.
The GS1100E can truly be called the first “modern superbike” because of its use of a four-valve cylinder head with a narrow included valve angle and wedge-shaped squish band combustion chambers — technology first used by Cosworth in its race car engines. Suzuki called its version TSCC, or “Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber.” It made the GS1100E the fastest bike on the strip when introduced in 1980, and good enough to be named Cycle World’s Superbike of the Year for three consecutive years from 1981-1983.
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