Category: Suzuki

Beautiful MaSheene: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Ex-Barry Sheene Race Bike for Sale

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene R Front

Today’s Suzuki GS1000S was touched by the hand of a master, the late Barry Sheene. In an era of sullen, sanitized superstars, it’s easy to forget that there used to be some really charismatic racers, folks who not only seemed to enjoy racing, but enjoyed life. But you certainly can’t expect guys barely out of their teens to have fully-developed personalities, and “early-to-bed, early-to-rise” is the name of the game so riders can stay in peak physical condition because racing is big business, and these guys are professionals.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene L Side

With so much money on the line, modern riders are endlessly coached: it’s pretty difficult to remember to name-drop all those sponsors without practice. And it’s especially difficult to remember that long list just thirty seconds after competing in a grueling, dangerous race.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene Fairing Detail

But back in the 60s and 70s, some of the most high-profile racers on two and four wheels were basically party animals… Chief among them was Barry Sheene. He was a popular character both on and off track and an outspoken champion of rider safety. He partied with notorious driver James Hunt, married a Penthouse Pet, and eventually succumbed to cancer, a likely result of his years of smoking: he once famously had a hole cut in the chinbar of his helmet so he could smoke before a race…

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene Dash

While much of his career was spent on purebred two-stroke racing machinery, today’s bike is a highly modified GS1000S prepped by “Pops” Yoshimura.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Dunstall Suzuki GS1000S Ex-Barry Sheene Race Bike for Sale

The machine offered here for sale was raced by Barry Sheene at the August bank holiday meeting at Oulton Park 1979. UK importer Heron Suzuki was interested in promoting production-based racing and asked Paul Dunstall to enter a Yoshimura prepared factory GS1000s Suzuki in TT Formula One events in 1979. Barry Sheen was the Texaco-sponsored Heron Suzuki teams number one rider in Grand Prix and his dislike of racing heavyweight four strokes was well known, once referring to them as ‘muck spreaders.’ Nevertheless Barry acquitted himself with distinction in his one off ride at Oulton Park, Finishing a close 2nd to Honda mounted Ron Haslam. Indeed the Suzuki star might have one had he not been balked by a back marker on the final lap For its first foray into Formula 1 racing Suzuki adopted a relatively cautious approach to tuning the GS1000S roadster. 

The machine offered here for sale was raced by Barry Sheene at the August bank holiday meeting at Oulton Park 1979. UK importer heron Suzuki was interested in promoting production-based racing and asked Paul Dunstall to enter a Yoshimura prepared factory GS1000s Suzuki in TT Formula One events in 1979. The machine was sent from Japan to Pops Yoshimura in California where the engine received special cams , larger inlet and exhaust valves , high compression slipper pistons, self generating ignition, close ratio gears and a stronger clutch basket , The crankshaft conrods and bottom end being left in stock . Retaining the standard 28 mm carburettors a Formula One requirement. The 1000cc tuned GS produced around 114 bhp with a wide spread of usable power .

As well as other additions to inside the engine which were a Kawasaki KZ 1000 idler wheel fitted into the cylinder head below the intake cam and an inverted stock GS 750 idler roller was installed into the GS 1000 cylinder head to help keep the cam chain under control when revs were 10,000 RPM plus, reduced valve stems and enlarged valve seats, 10.5 -1 high compression slipper pistons, confirming this is an original Yoshimura race tuned F1 engine (by Pops Yoshimura). Changes to the chassis included a shorter Peckett and mcNabb swinging arm and RG 500 fork yokes. Period photographs of the Sheene Suzuki racing at Oulton Park show it equipped with only a cockpit fairing , whereas photographs taken later in the season show the type of full fairing that it also wore. It can also be seen that this machine was equipped with a right foot gearchange as were many of Barry Sheene’s bikes.

The Dunstall Suzuki teams regular riders were Steve machin and Bob Smith but Sheene’s 2nd place at Oulton park would be its best result in 1979. The Ex-Sheene Suzuki was later sold by Tony Robinson (who was involved in the running of the Suzuki Dunstall team) to Martin Jones of Muswell Hill London then sold it to Mike Ryan of Cheltenham in April 1998 then purchased by Richard Ford in June 1999, since 2002 the Suzuki has been on display in the Lake land motor museum . This Suzuki has not been run since being loaned to the museum but has just recently been recommissioned by Dyna tech and the present owner, only requiring new tyres to be able to race this one off classic machine .

Believed the only Japanese  four -stroke ever raced by the late ex-world champion  (he did race a Seeley Norton in 1970 retiring with gearbox problems). This is very rare ex-factory production racer is now offered with various bills of sale and period press cuttings tracing its history back to  Tony Robinson with a bill of sale and internal engine photo’s previously sold by Bonhams as the original bike raced by Barry Sheene.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene R Rear

What’s it really worth? Well, this is a one-of-a-kind machine that appears to be in perfectly-preserved condition, and and is ready to race. Just add tires. Sorry: “tyres.” And while it certainly isn’t as desirable as one of Barry’s two-stroke race bikes would be, it was ridden by the man himself in competition, and looks great in Heron Suzuki livery: he rode for Heron Suzuki until after the 1979 season and his famous battle with Kenny Roberts at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone would have been on a bike with these colors.

A beautiful piece of racing history and touched by the man himself.

-tad

1979 Suzuki GS R Side

All-Original GP Machine: 1982 Suzuki RGB500 Mk7 XR40 for Sale

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side

Ridden by such luminaries as Barry Sheene and Randy Mamola, the two-stroke Suzuki RGB500 was eventually developed into the dominant machine you see here, but it went through a significant evolution following its introduction in 1974. As you’d expect, the bike always had power to spare, but high speed handling was suspect at first…

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side Naked

By the time the 1982 bike rolled around, Suzuki had moved to a “square” 54mm x 54mm engine for a grand total of 495cc. It was far more reliable than previous iterations and featured the same stepped cylinders seen on the RG500 Gamma road bike that had the rear pair of cylinders raised up slightly higher than the front pair. With a dry weight of 292lbs and 120hp, the bike could reach speeds of up to 170mph, which is pretty terrifying considering the tire technology of the time.

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side Grip

Fascinating details seen in the photos include the square-four’s complex throttle cable assembly and the anti-dive front system on the front forks.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 RGB500 Mk7 XR40 for Sale

This is not a street bike folks, this is the real deal, A real factory Suzuki GP road race bike… This bike has the stepped square 4 motor with magnesium crankcases, magnesium carburetors, and dry clutch… The Chassis is loaded with magnesium, Titanium and Aluminum, stuff you would expect to find on a factory race bike… First year of “Full Floater” monoshock suspension… Chassis number 42 motor number 49… Bike is in unrestored, excellent condition, just as it rolled off the race track in 1982… This bike from part of the team Heron Suzuki stable, bike has been museum store in Japan since last raced… these bikes are tad more rare than a TZ750 and much more powerful… It is the perfect bike to dominate vintage racing and is eligible for the “classic TT” in Phillips island This is a rare opportunity to own a real factory GP bike, don’t let it slip by, you’ll be sorry if you do…

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side Front

With a beautiful period paint scheme and tons of rare, race-spec parts, this bike may not have been ridden by any famous racers to any notable victories, but it’s also available at a price much lower than you’d expect to pay for one of those machines. Bidding is just north of $25,000 there’s a ways to go until we hit the $65,000 Buy It Now price. It’s in impressively original condition and would make a stunning collector’s piece, but hopefully, the rise in popularity of vintage racing will see this bike returned to the track.

-tad

1982 Suzuki RGB500 L Side

Unrestored Race-Replica: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for Sale

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Front

Originally designed for the European market, where handling and agility often trumped straight-line speed, the Suzuki GS1000S offered the best of both worlds, although the US received only a handful of these well-balanced machines: just 500 were imported in 1979 and 700 in 1980.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley L Side Engine

A race-replica from the 1970s Superbike era, the GS featured Suzuki’s famously rugged, 997cc air-cooled inline four in a relatively lightweight, very stiff frame. Lighter than the GS750 that spawned it, this engine went on to serve for many years in Suzuki’s line up, and while it wasn’t the most powerful of the Japanese fours, the complete package offered up an impressive balance of handling, braking, and power that allowed bikes ridden by Wes Cooley and tuned by Pops Yoshimura to win the hotly contested AMA Superbike Championship in 1979 and 1980.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Dash

The bike seen here was never officially associated with Wes Cooley, but the link was undeniable and the name “Wes Cooley Replica” stuck.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for Sale

Up for sale is my Super Rare Unrestored WES COOLEY GS1000S, the bike is unrestored and has 22k original miles but looks almost brand new and runs like brand new and if you didn’t look at the odometer you would think it is a 1000 mile bike, there are no scratches, dents or chips in the paint and the chrome pipes look new. If your looking at this motorcycle you probably know all about it as bikes of this caliber and rarity do not come up often so don’t miss your chance, bike is all original and unrestored. Pictures speak for themselves

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Engine

Bidding is very active on this bike and is currently north of $7,000 with plenty of time left on the auction. These were pretty rare to begin with, and their practical nature means many have racked up pretty high mileage or been ridden hard and put away wet. This example is about as clean as you’ll ever find, and is claimed to be completely original, striking the perfect balance between a usable machine that’s been ridden and a museum-perfect collectible.

-tad

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley L Side

Vintage Grand Prix: 1982 Suzuki RGB500 for Sale

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Front

When Suzuki dipped their toe back into Grand Prix competition in the early 1970’s, it was with a production-based, water-cooled two-stroke twin from the T500. But while that bike did see some success, it was clear early on that a ground-up redesign would be needed. What followed was the twin-crankshaft, disc-valved square-four format that we all know and love from the RG500 Gamma road bike. In racing trim the RG500 was extremely successful in the hands of riders like Barry Sheene and variations the bike were a dominant force through much of the 1980’s.

1982 Suzuki RGB500 L Side

Of note are the air-assisted anti-dive forks, something that I’m sure works well here or they would never have been included, although roadgoing versions are of dubious value. Also of note is what appears to be a coolant expansion tank on the inside of the front fairing, something I haven’t seen on other examples.

1982 Suzuki RGB500 Dash

This one comes to us from our new best friend Gianluca over in Italy and is clearly photographed, something you’d expect when we’re looking at so rare a machine, especially considering an ex-racebike could be in very tatty condition.

1982 Suzuki RGB500 L Grip

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Suzuki RGB500 for Sale

model year 1982

VIN 10003 
Engine 10072

This is an Iconic model and does not need any presentation. The bike advertised has a very low VIN number, it was rebuilt 15years ago and rarely used, just paraded, it comes also with original cylinders. This is the bike bought and used my Riondato (Italian Champion in the 350cc class) beetween 1982 and 1984 in the Italian and European Championship including the 200miles of Imola. 

Race and collect! Bulletproof investment.

Bike is currently located in 33080 Roveredo in Piano, Pordenone, Italy but I can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem.

1982 Suzuki RGB500 Clutch

Clearly photographed and in beautiful, but well-used condition, what more could you ask for in an eBay listing? The original listing also includes some period photographs of the bike in action, although the paint scheme has changed since then to a more traditional Suzuki blue-and-white design, a decision that works for me: racebikes get crashed, painted, re-painted, torn apart, and rebuilt, so “originality” is pretty relative anyway.

-tad

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Engine

Blue-and-White Bullet: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Replica for Sale

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Side Front

Suzuki’s blue-and-white bullet, the GS1000S was, in spite of the hulking style, dual shocks, and bulbous fairing, really more of an all-rounder than its looks would suggest. It was originally intended to appeal to European riders but, while road riders here in the USA prize straight-line stability and torque over handling, racers saw the appeal, and the GS1000S became the basis for Suzuki’s AMA Superbike racing machines.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Engine Detail

Compared to the Kawasakis and Hondas of the same era, the Suzuki wasn’t as quick, but it made up for its power deficit by being nimble, with a stiff frame and excellent brakes. None of these bikes were really featherweights, but the difference was noticeable both on and off the track.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Front

Race bike building was handled by the iconic “Pops” Yoshimura and ridden to victory by Wes Cooley, both of whom transitioned from Kawaskakis. The relationship was beneficial to everyone involved, and Wes won the AMA Superbike Championship two years running. The GS1000S was never officially associated with Wes Cooley, but riders in the States dubbed them “Wes Cooley Replicas” after the fact and the name stuck.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Dash

Specification-wise, the bike isn’t particularly exciting: a two-valve, 997cc air-cooled four putting 90hp through a five-speed box, 525lbs wet weight, and a 130mph top speed. But it’s really the package that made this work and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Replica for Sale

If you had the resources to rebuild a classic, limited production Superbike and fit it with every upgrade available back in the era when this bike ruled the streets, this is what you would have.

NOTE: This is a 1980 Wes Cooley Replica. It was produced for only the years 1979 and 1980 with production numbers estimated to be in the 750 range for 1980. The factory rear-set foot controls fitted only to the 1980 version makes this a one-of-a-kind frame as all of the other GS1000 standard chain drive bikes had the same frame. The 1980 version cannot be “faked” because of its unique frame, unlike the ’79 version that used an ordinary frame.

This bike was a frame-up rebuild which included the following:

ENGINE:

– New Valve Job 

– Freshly honed cylinders with brand new OEM Suzuki rings

– Valves adjusted

– New Mobil One synthetic oil and Fram oil filter

– New NGK spark plugs

PERFORMANCE EXTRAS:

– Dyna Tech electronic ignition

– Dyna 3 Ohm (green) coils

Taylor ignition wires (brand new)

– Yoshimura Replica stainless steel exhaust (cost $750 shipped here on eBay)

– Aftermarket wire wheels with stainless spokes – wider than stock

– Aftermarket Rear sets. Especially rare as these only fit this one exact year/model bike

– Braided stainless brake lines with clear covering (that won’t scratch paint)

– Adjustable Clutch Lever and dogleg front brake lever

There’s more information about the build over on eBay, so pop over for a look. The Buy-It-Now price is set at $12,000 which honestly seems like a very nice price for a bike with this much work put into it. Yeah, you can find a decent Wes Cooley for less, but they’re appreciating in value, and this one has been comprehensively restored and tastefully upgraded. These are extremely rugged motorcycles as well, and that makes them especially appealing to collectors who want to actually ride and enjoy, rather than display their pride and joys.

-tad

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Side

The Wes Cooley-ist: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S for Sale

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side

Today’s blue-and-white Suzuki GS1000S “Wes Cooley Replica” is a throwback to another era of racing, an arms-race by Japan’s Big Four as they built bigger, better big fours.

Twins and singles are generally limited in terms of absolute displacement, barring balance shafts and other, more modern trickery: get much bigger than 500cc’s, and a single will likely shake your motorcycle to pieces, and twins often have similar problems. But manufacturers began adding more cylinders, smoothness improved, and displacements soared. For a time, that additional power made attempts at weight savings superfluous, and pounds were added along with the horsepower. That weight helped to increase stability as manufacturers worked out how to make these bellowing behemoths handle.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley L Side2

Watching jockey-sized pilots wrestle with 600lb superbikes in the 1970’s was thrilling, although Suzuki included handling in the mix as well. The 998cc GS1000S may not have had the straight-line speed of other bikes, but it could also go around corners and, with engines developed by “Pops” Yoshimura, it saw significant success in the hands of rider Wes Cooley.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Speedo

Although it was primarily designed for the European market, Wes’ success led to the GS1000S bike being referred to as the “Wes Cooley Replica.” Just about 1200 were made: 500 in 1979 and 700 in 1980. 1980 models like this one originally featured electronic ignition, a stepped seat, slotted brake rotors, and other cosmetic changes.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Fairing

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Replica for Sale

Nice rare bike less than 1000 sold in the United States from what I can find out. Clear Tennessee title in hand.

Bike has been owned by a good friend of mine for over 20 years, always dry inside storage (until I got it June 6th, it is still on the trailer under a cover, haven’t had time to make a spot in the garage for it). Last was started about 2 years ago, not sure if or how far he may have rode it. I have not tried to start it, petcock is leaking, I am sure the carbs need to be cleaned, front brakes do not work and the battery is dead. The ignition switch is missing the lock cylinder but I do have a key that fits the gas cap and seat lock.

Has escaped the normal Krylon paint job, appears to be all original paint, does have a couple of dings in the tank, the fairing has some road rash on the upper left. The inside of the tank appears to be in good condition from looking in the gas cap area, no tank sealer to clean out. Chain guard is cracked. The instrument cover is damaged as shown in the photo and a gauge cover is cracked. No idea of why the seat and tail section alignment is so bad, I can’t see anything that looks badly bent or broken.

Has 2 seats, one with the optional Elvis velour insert and it has a very small surface rust area on the base. Have another seat not on the bike and that seat base has rust issues and the seat cover is torn.

Pipes are from a 1000L model and have rust on the head pipes.

I have tried to show all of the damage I can in the photos. if you have a specific area you have more questions about or need more photos just ask.

I do have a new NOS windshield, NOS upper fairing mounts and a pair of NOS mirrors.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Fairing

There are just a few hours left on this auction, with bidding up to just north of $1,600 and the reserve unsurprisingly not met. Obviously, this one needs a bit of work before you head off to relive superbike fantasies, but it looks like most of the work is cosmetic or well within a competent garage mechanic’s abilities.

-tad

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Panel

The Turbo Kid: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo for Sale

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo R Side Front

Getting away from the race bike theme today, we’re headed back to the wild and wooly 1980’s with a nice Suzuki XN85 Turbo. Built for just one year in very limited quantities, with only about 1200 produced, the XN85 was an odd, developmental dead-end for Suzuki, and a very strange bike to produce with the iconic GSX-R750 likely already on the drawing board…

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Side Rear

But it gave Suzuki a player in the very weird Turbo Wars of the 1980’s, where every manufacturer needed a boosted model to remain relevant, and the word “turbo” became a byword for “cool,” even when you weren’t talking about cars or motorcycles. At least I’m assuming that the character named “Turbo” in the movie Breakin’ didn’t actually have a Mitsubishi TD04HL-19T in place of a heart…

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Side Engine

In any event, unlike what Kawasaki’s did with their Z1R-TC, Suzuki didn’t simply slap an aftermarket kit on a very dated platform, and the XN85 was very much state of the art, with clip-on bars, rearset pegs, 16″ front wheel, and a monoshock “Full Floater” rear suspension. The engine was a 673cc four cylinder that gave the bike the 85hp for which it was named…

And check out those 80’s-riffic LCD boost, fuel, and oil temp gauges!

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Suzuki XN85 for Sale

This is a one owner bike that was found in a barn.

Please Google Suzuki NX85 to read all about the bike.

We had gone completely through the bike and everything works like it should. It starts up with a push of the button and purrs like new.

Brand new tires with zero miles.

Inside of the tank is brand new.

The miles are correct and was never raced on a track which is what it was intended for. If you are competing in the vintage road course races this is a must have and you will not see another one.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo R Side Rear Suspension

Although it is a little bit disconcerting that the seller calls it an “NX85” in the listing and talks about some non-existent racing heritage, this does look like a very nice example of a pretty rare motorcycle. In spite of their eminent usability and practicality, the prices for many early 1980’s Japanese sportbikes remain relatively low, and, assuming you’re okay with the so sharp you might cut yourself styling, these are very cool. Although “relatively low” ain’t what it used to be, with this example apparently bidding up to $8,500 at a recent Mecum auction.

Pick this up and you will likely generate lots of attention, although it will probably be from 50-year-old dudes coming up to you at bike nights, telling you, “I used to have one of those…”

-tad

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Side

Vintage Race Bargain: 1969 Suzuki Hustler T250 Road Racer

1969 Suzuki T250 R Side

Well, it’s the dead of winter, and good bikes have been a little thin on the ground of late. Interestingly, some nice vintage track bikes like this Suzuki “Hustler” T250 have been popping up. Maybe racers just plan a bit further ahead than other motorcyclists, clearing out their garages in preparation for the upcoming season?

1969 Suzuki T250 Front

The T250 was launched in 1969 and, in spite of the “Hustler” name that conjures up images of supersonic Cold War bombers, isn’t really the most exotic model. But don’t let the workmanlike mission of the bike fool you into thinking this is some stamped-steel cheapie step up from a scooter: as was typical of Japanese motorcycles from the period, even this relatively basic motorcycle featured a pretty high-level of specification, with the world’s first production motorcycle six-speed transmission and automatic oil-injection for the air-cooled two-stroke.

1969 Suzuki T250 Engine Detail

That sweet six-speed allowed the rider to make good use of the narrow, stroker powerband and could push the 247cc bike to almost 100mph. Although the bike had little punch down low, it could pull smoothly through the lower part of the rev range until things got more exciting.

1969 Suzuki T250 Dash

This one has been converted to a racing machine which, although it seems an unlikely choice at first, makes plenty of sense upon reflection. These were raced when new with reasonable success when new, and the lower-specification and relatively unstressed nature of the motorcycle means less maintenance during the season. It may not be the fastest little thing on the track, but it should be reliable, and while “win-or-crash” riding can be great to watch on TV, it’s consistency that wins championships: you have to actually finish races to earn points…

1969 Suzuki T250 L Side Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1969 Suzuki T250 Road Racer for Sale

Suzuki T250 racer. Last raced MidOhio Vintage Days 2014. Bike runs great, has good power, shifts flawlessly and handles well. Tires not new, but still good for racing. Has been raced in Ahrma and WERA.  Not the fastest bike out there, but will hold its own. Also a great bike to start vintage racing. Selling due to old age, me not the bike. Time to move on to a more sedate hobby.  With slight modification to pipes Yamaha DG pipes will work.  Runs great as is never exceeds decibles allowed. Engine is basically stock, rotor windings have been removed and bike runs total loss. Battery is under the seat hump. Bump start only, but fires right off. Has not been raced alot, but has been to Daytona and Mid Ohio a couple of times. 

1969 Suzuki T250 Gauge

With just a couple days left on the auction, there are plenty of people watching this listing: a $1,500 Buy It Now seems like a steal for such a ready-to-go little machine. Not the most illustrious model, but it’s prepared for the track and in really great shape, considering it’s difficult to find any models from the 1960’s in this kind of condition.

And if you’re a road-only type of rider, I don’t think it’d be too hard to track down a charging system and some lights to return it to road use.

-tad

1969 Suzuki T250 L Side Front

Brawn and Brains: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S “Wes Cooley Replica”

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Side

Back when fast motorcycles were defined by two chief virtues: speed and stability, the Suzuki GS1000S was one of the speediest and stable-est of them all. A hulking motorcycle with four air-cooled cylinders, it formed the basis for Suzuki’s AMA Superbike racing efforts, and riders hustled the big brute around with surprising skill.

Until this point, Japanese big bikes had largely been freight-train like straight-line monsters, but the Zook brought a new trick to the party: handling. The GS1000 wasn’t the fastest of the Japanese liter bikes, but it was a real jack-of-all-trades, with a stiff frame, and solid brakes. It wasn’t particularly light, but then neither were its rivals.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Front

Race bikes were developed by the famous “Pops” Yoshimura and ridden by Wes Cooley who’d previously been using Kawasakis in their racing efforts, to middling results. But the new GS1000S put them on the podium and the won the AMA Superbike Championship in both 1979 and 1980. The S was originally intended for the European market, but was available in limited quantities in the US, with just 500 imported in ’79 and 700 in ’80.

Although never officially named as such, the S model became known informally as the “Wes Cooley Replica.”

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Front

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S for sale

This Suzuki GS1000S is my baby, bought new in Reno, Nevada in 1979. I rode this great bike often during good weather for about 10 years, putting weekend fast road miles on it throughout the Sierras and into Washington, Oregon and Idaho, without any issues, malfunctions or failures of any kind. During the past 20 years or so she has been my second bike, most often superior in most ways to the newer bikes I bought, and sold, always less impressed with them than with the all-around qualities of this Ballerina Queen of the road. Among the bikes which have come and gone from my garage, a wonderful 2005 red Suzuki Hayabusa and an equally stellar lime green 2005 Kawasaki ZRX1200R which were great, but never instilled the passion in me this old Suzuki has. Still immensely capable canyon carver and sports-touring ride but my garage is full and she needs a new home. I am not interested in selling this bike to anyone not intending to keep it…. I love this old bike and hope to find a good home for her.

He also lists updates and maintenance that’s been done and is obviously a sympathetic owner. With 35,000 miles on the clock, this is clearly no garage-queen, but these are built like tanks and it should have plenty of life left in it: Suzuki’s big four cylinder was a mainstay of drag racing for years and could handle all sorts of boost and spray without exploding. Interestingly, the 997cc motor was a development of the GS750 engine, but was actually lighter than its smaller sibling.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Rear

The four-into-one exhaust is not original, but I think it looks great and definitely makes the bike look a bit lighter and more modern. Interestingly, the list price for the S was $3,679 when it was new, just $20 less than the Buy-It-Now price… This is a very fair price for a very handsome, practical machine.

-tad

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Side

Sunday Night Rotary Weirdness: 1975 Suzuki Re5

1975 Suzuki Re5 R Side Front2

Like the rash of turbocharged motorcycles in the 80’s, Felix Wankel’s rotary had its brief moment in the sun as motorcycle “fad of the moment.” And Suzuki went all-in, getting famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro to pen the bodywork for the hat they tossed into the three-lobed, apex-sealed ring.

1975 Suzuki Re5 R Side Front

Unfortunately, while his cutting-edge designs were generally loved in the world of automotive design, Giugiaro’s motorcycle designs were far more controversial, and the poor reception of the Re5 was blamed on his design. A much more conservative update didn’t do much for sales, so perhaps his slightly ludicrous flourishes weren’t to blame. In any event, they make this design very funky for classic enthusiasts: check out that wild, cylindrical dash [with hinged cover!], and matching taillight!

1975 Suzuki Re5 Cockpit

Made for just three years, from 1974-1977 the bike “displaced” a mere 497cc’s, although comparing the relative displacements of rotary engines and their reciprocating counterparts isn’t really useful. The bike performed well, but was far more complicated than it should have been in theory and offered no real performance advantage over more conventional motorcycles.

1975 Suzuki Re5 R Engine

From the original, very spare eBay listing: 1975 Suzuki Re5 for Sale

 

1975 Suzuki RE5 Rotary engine  RARE not running sat since 1990 Bike looks complete  chrome is fair seat has 1 rip  I squrted gas in AC  & it popped a couple times but thats as far as i am capable of going at this time  has title & manual  what I learned is that 5000 bikes were made from 75 – 77  all at 1 production run  great start for restore project as it is so complete & origional

The simplicity of the rotary sounds like an ideal candidate for a motorcycle powerplant: fewer parts could mean lighter weight and the low vibration means you avoid problems that plagued parallel twins and necessitated work arounds like Norton’s “Isolastic” mounting system.

1975 Suzuki Re5 L Engine

Unfortunately, rotaries in practice can be complicated beasts to make work, and the Re5 actually featured a very complex cooling system that included three separate oil tanks, including a total-loss system to lubricate the apex seals of the engine’s rotor, traditionally a weak point of Wankel engines.

1975 Suzuki Re5 R Side Rear

This one “ran when parked” but looks to be very complete. Do some research to be sure parts are available for the engine, but this could be a chance to get a very weird, very rare motorcycle on the cheap.

-tad

1975 Suzuki Re5 Dash