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Suzuki’s oil cooled GSXR1100 range have continued to grow in interest within the classic motorcycle community as an often cheaper alternative to the first and second generation GSXR750. The GSXR1100 didn’t have the racing backstory of the GSXR750 within the superbike series, however they did see action with the formula extreme and the Isle of Man races during the late 1980s.

It could be argued that the GSXR1100 lead to large capacity bikes being banned from the Isle of Man for many years after Phil Mellor‘s fatale crash during the 1989 IOM race, in addition to his teammate Jamie Whitam also crashing in the same race.

This left the ‘hyperbike’ category primarily continuing to create hugely powerful race inspired bikes for road riders, and 1990 GSXR1100 L ‘Slingshot’ model was the next iteration of the IOM banning large capacity machines.

After Phil Mellor’s fatale crash the GSXR1100 K start to receive a lot of negative press, often cited as a ‘lemon’, which impacted the development and future sales of the range. In reality the GSXR1100 range make great road bikes, a torquey engine, smooth gearbox, and reasonable road manners. If you have ever ridden one of these old monsters you’ll know they can’t be ridden like a modern superbike, where you’ll need to plan ahead when throwing these into a corner and standing up to blast out of the other side.

The frame and geometry date back to older bikes, using a cradle frame to hold the engine, rather than perimeter box frames which became the norm on the Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda of the same era.

1990 Suzuki GSXR1100 Slingshot for sale

The 1990 example has been off the road since 2011 and would require a complete overhaul to resolve some previously known MOT issues (headstock bearings, fork seals, manifold gaskets) before considering riding again. The good news for the GSXR1100 is the amount of spares that are currently available to restore, including pattern and second hand OEM spares.

Many of the parts over the years can be interchanged between different models, so if you are not too worried about 100% originality there are lots of ways to rebuild your bike, and potentially improve using later parts. There is also lots of parts to improve performance if you are chasing more power, the GSXR1100 was a staple of many drag racers over the years which has created many performance parts from big bore kits, carburettor kits, and turbo kits for insane 200bhp+ performance.

The engine is one of the biggest plus points for the GSXR, engines are generally regarded as extremely reliable with servicing which is accessible to home mechanics. Another upside is the lack of water cooling, with only high pressure oil cooling, which makes servicing easier, however oil needs to be changed more frequently as a consequence. Many owners also fit secondary cooling to the engine, additional oil radiators and camshaft link coolers, but in reality should only been needed for tuned engines or bikes being raced.

Bidding on the GSXR1100

Are you planning to restore to stock, create a streetfighter, maybe a donor bike? If you are planning a restoration in your home workshop, you may want to take a look at our workshop tools article for inspiration. Getting your workspace organised before a project is always a good idea to avoid being stuck during the dismantling and reconditioning, and also making life a bit easier when handling large components. If you are planning to bid on this GSXR1100 we wish you the best of luck, and we’re always very interested to know what your plans are for the bike.

Ride safe,

Al (barnfindmotorcycle.com)


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