1983 Suzuki XN85

When I first saw this bike, I thought of the two “motorcycle” that Starbuck and Apollo rode when they finally arrived on earth in 1980. There might have even been some re-runs playing in Japan as the designers from Suzuki were working. I bet that the 1983 Suzuki Turbo XN85 also has the turbine whine that Starbuck and Apollo’s Gallactic rides had.

From the seller

For sale is a museum quality Suzuki Turbo XN85 in perfect condition. We received this bike from the original owner, with documentation, service manual, all original keys, tools, etc. This bike was kept with a larger private collection in a heated environment and started every year. With only 4,330 original miles, this Suzuki rides like the day it was produced.

With only 300 of these rare birds imported in the United States almost 30 years ago, finding one in this condition is truly remarkable. For comparisons sake, roughly 3600 VJ23 RGV250’S were produced and that is considered a rare bike…and that was 10 times the production as the XN85.

With only one year of production, the rarity that the seller points out is not just limited to the fact or numbers imported into the US, but also a factor on how long they where made. Looking at the spec. for the XN85, it appears that the name may have been derived from the 85hp offered up by the 673cc transverse, in-line 4. Your standard UJM engine layout offered DOHC, with 2 valves per cylinder, driving a 5 speed transmission, which would sprint up to the advertise ¼ mile time of 12.3 sec and a speed of 106mph. The seller also highlights some additional features. 

More from the seller

For those of you who remember the 1980’s, Suzuki entered the Turbo wars with full force. While Honda and Yamaha created Turbo bikes with a sport-touring intent, and Kawasaki’s turbo was the equivalent of a muscle car, Suzuki went straight for the sport bike jugular and clearly combined speed and handling to outperform the competition. Chiseled from the same mold as the GS1100 Katana with its sport fairing and clip-on bars, the XN85 included such period go-fast pieces as a Full Floater rear suspension, anti-dive front fork, and a GP-inspired 16 inch front wheel. Although heavy by sport bike standards at 550 lbs wet, the XN85 was a comparative missile when the road turned twisty. It has a unique instrument pod, complete with speedo, tach, fuel gauge, boost gauge, and oil temp gauge. Boost builds by approximately 5,000 RPM, and these models pull right up to the 10k redline. There are more ‘turbo’ stickers on this model than any other turbo bike of the era (including a backwards one on the front of the fairing). The bike has 85 horsepower (hence the name), and offers a smooth satisfying jump when the boost kicks in.

I did find a number, 1153, for the total production run. So with attrition, of the 300 imported to the US, it is likely that you will never see a XN85 in this condition again. All the major Japanese manufactures found that the Turbo motorcycle was a concept that was not widely accepted, but a niche design. But like most niche, they have to be scratched, and this 1983 Suzuki NX85 may be the only think that will scratch your desired niche. BB

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