Power Trip: 1985 Suzuki GS1150ES

When the Suzuki GS1150ES debuted in April 1984, it was the quickest production bike Cycle World had ever tested, running a quarter-mile in 10.94 seconds.

| November/December 2018

  • Suzuki vintage motorcyles
    1985 Suzuki GS1150ES
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    1985 Suzuki GS1150ES
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcyles
    1985 Suzuki GS1150ES
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    1985 Suzuki GS1150ES
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    Jose Rumbaut shows us another angle of his GS.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    1985 Suzuki GS1150ES
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    1985 Suzuki GS1150ES
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    Despite having covered more than 30,000 miles, Jose’s GS looks like new.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    Despite having covered more than 30,000 miles, Jose’s GS looks like new.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    Hidden behind the side fairings, the 1,135cc air-cooled inline 4-cylinder puts down 100 horsepower at 8,500rpm.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
    1985 Suzuki GS1150ES
    Photo by Doug Mitchel

  • Suzuki vintage motorcyles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcyles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles
  • Suzuki vintage motorcycles

1985 Suzuki GS1150ES

  • Engine: 1,135cc air-cooled DOHC inline 4-cylinder, 74mm x 66mm bore and stroke, 9.7:1 compression ratio, 100.44hp @ 8,500rpm (period test)
  • Top speed: 141mph (period test/half-mile run)
  • Carburetion: Four 36mm Mikuni BS36SS
  • Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive
  • Electrics: 12v, electronic ignition
  • Frame/wheelbase: Dual downtube cradle, round and box-section mild steel/61in (1,550mm)
  • Suspension: Air/oil telescopic fork front, Suzuki single-shock Full Floater aluminum box-type swingarm rear
  • Brakes: Dual 10.8in (274mm) disc front, single 10.8in (274mm) disc rear
  • Tires: 110/90 x 16in front, 140/80 x 17in rear
  • Weight (w/half tank fuel): 557lb (253kg)
  • Seat height: 30.8in (782mm)
  • Fuel capacity/MPG: 5.3gal (20.5ltr)/49mpg (period test)
  • Price then/now: $4,785/$4,000-$6,000

When Suzuki launched the GS1150ES in 1984, a single word succinctly summarized the machine — horsepower. There were 100 ponies chomping at the bit in the engine department, and Cycle World magazine pushed its test bike through the quarter-mile in 10.94 seconds.

That, said Cycle World in its April 1984 review, made the GS1150ES the quickest production bike the magazine had ever tested. Motorcyclist made similar statements. In fact, that magazine clocked the bike at 10.47 seconds in the quarter-mile.

Locomotion

Such prodigious locomotion wasn't lost on self-described two-wheeled street hooligan and adrenaline junkie Jose Rumbaut. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois, racing BMX bicycles, but as a young teen he longed for a two-wheeler with an engine to go faster. Luckily, his father, Jose Sr., owned motorcycles as a young man and was sympathetic to his son's dreams. His mother, Raquel? She just didn't want him to get hurt.

"I started off on a minibike in the eighth grade," Jose remembers. "I think it was a called a Fat Cat; it had a huge rear tire and the engine had tons of power. From that point forward, I always had a connection to motorized two-wheelers."



When he was old enough to ride on the street, Jose and his father bought a used 1978 Kawasaki KZ400. Capable with his hands, a skill Jose picked up from his father, he went through the KZ and soon became known among his friends for his tuning skills. Those talents were put to good use when he also took up dirt biking, riding hard on the trails and then fixing what broke. "I enjoyed riding on the street and in the dirt, but I also loved racing on the street and on the track and doing wheelies," he allows. "Pulling a wheelie was like second nature to me."

Bigger and faster motorcycles figured in Jose's life, and at one point he and his pals all rode Kawasaki GPZ1100s. That is, until a not-at-fault accident sidelined him. He quit riding for three years, but then in 1985 a friend showed up on an almost new blue-and-white Suzuki GS1150ES. With only 3,000 miles on the odometer, the Suzuki was for sale and Jose was smitten. "I fell in love with that bike, and my parents helped me finance it to make it mine," he recalls.



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