Unlike a lot of motorcycles from the 1980s, it seems Suzuki GSX1100s generally avoid being restored to ball-achingly original specifications.
This is a good thing, especially if you’ve never ridden a stock Suzuki GSX1100ET before. The original bike is blessed with weedy forks, a cart wheel sizes front hoop, and brakes that were never up to the task of hauling the heavyweight air-cooled Suzuki to a stop.
There are good bits about the Suzuki though. One plus point is the 16-valve engine, and the other is the boxy good looks. This Suzuki GSX1100ET Special I stumbled on a few years ago retains all of the good bits, but removes all the bad!
The engine bores have been stretched and now house a set of Wiseco pistons. At the same time the chassis received some pulling about and tweaking. Suzuki Bandit 1200 running gear replaced the original GSX snowflake patterned wheels, instantly giving the bike a more modern look.
The big temptation with a special is to go wild with the paint scheme, but it often ends up backfiring. In this case, the decision to go with a standard paint-job was a genius idea. The only thing that shouts special is the bark from the stubby 4-into-1 exhaust.
The Suzuki GSX1100 family is a big one, and everyone has their favourite. The later EF/EFE model was the pinnacle of Suzuki’s air-cooled engine developed, while the Katana got the iconic looks. But it’s the ET model we have here that I always picture when I hear anyone mention a GSX1100.
What I really like about this build is the fact it initially looks like a well-kept stock machine until you get closer and discover how much more has gone into it. It’s a credit to all at Lucky Seven Motorcycles, Grumpy 1260, and proud owner Nigel Lenton.