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GS1100 Cafe Racer Project "Romesy"

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by oohsam, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. It is with great honour, that I introduce you to the newest member of the oohsam family. "Romesy".

    Lately, a passion has been instilled deep within to build myself a cafe racer. I think it was inspired many years ago, when I was obsessed with motorcycle build shows such as, biker build off, and Orange County Choppers, I would sit wide eyed infront of the tube, and watch them purely for the artistic creation that is born and bred into a motorcycle that one can truly admire and adore.

    I often feared that I could build nothing close what I saw on these shows, however, after scouring the internet and forums, and found typical Joes building, or should I say, rebuilding bikes that were lost in time, and making them look bad ass, classy, and somewhat unique, i thought "hey, I can do this".

    If you're anything like me, once an idea is planted deep within, its impossible to stop, and my wife knew the world of trouble we were in when I mentioned the words "Hunni, I think I want to build a cafe racer". She knew it was too late, so she joined the hunt to find a suitable bike.

    I stated a thread maybe 2 days ago asking for advice on a suitable base bike to begin this build, and the response was overwhelming and I took the expertise from bikes with more experience than I, and dived deep into the hunt.

    So without further ado, Here she is. Romesy....


    Attached Files:

  2. So let me add.

    The engine does not run, but it does crank over. So first thing's first to get to the bottom of that.
    There are no handlebars, headlight, or brakes. Which is fine, as I would have replaced all of these anyway.
    The wiring loom is there and in tact. However Further investigation and possibly rewiring the entire bike is in order.
    I have been told that the engine was running, and has been cranked over regularly to ensure it does not seize (using a hotwire technique that he also taught me!) and have been given a gentlemans assurance that the engine is in good condition.

    The shaft has been fully rebuilt/reconditioned and recently assembled, and inspection shows it looks brand new.
    The headers, although rusty, are in good condition, no holes, but will need a good blasting and then I'll decide what to do with them.
    There is no top triple clamp, So i'll need to source one of those...

    I have also been given a brand spankin new workshop manual with this. The owner of the bike has built a few bikes and assures me this is a great bike to learn on as its fairly straightforward.

    The frame is just beautiful. I already have a vision with what to do.
    I love how big and heavy this bike is. I'm a big guy, 6 foot 3, and feel cramped on almost every bike I ride.
    The struts have been fully reconditioned and are in excellent condition.
    The rear shocks are also in great condition.

    I think I've got a good solid foundation, given that I can get the engine running. Then stripdown will occur.

    I really know nothing, and am starting from a totally clear canvass, So i'll be utilisting as much help as I can get from anyone who is willing to offer.

    If anyone can point me in the right place to start sourcing parts for this, I'd be extremley grateful :).


    Some more pics...I know how u netriders love bike p0rN.

    Attached Files:

  3. Excellent start! One of my all time fav machines and have one myself put aside with a view to doing exactly what you have planned.. actually mines the chain drive version....

    Ill be watching waiting for inspiration...

    Good luck!
  4. You'll love this - I had the 850G version and started cafeing it out but sold the project when something else caught my eye... didn't lose money but I sure do regret it.

    I'm a big guy as well (6'2"/92kg) and the big Suzukis fit me well so I wouldn't worry in that regard.

    You may want to check out dotheton.com for some more caferacer ideas and tech support for the bike. thegsresources.com is also a goldmine for the gs series from suzuki.

    Cheers - boingk
  5. I can see your reasoning given your physical size, but, given that light weight is part of the cafe ethos, choosing to cafe the beached whale that is the GS, does seem somewhat strange. Best of luck, I hope you keep us in the loop as the job progresses.
  6. Have fun with it Sam. It's extremely satisfying breathing new life in to one of these monsters. I'm also a tall guy, and while the likes of the CB750, and indeed your GS are large bikes, you've got to be comfortable riding them. Smaller bikes may suit the genre better, but that's little comfort to us with our knees in our chest. Here's one I prepared earlier :wink:


    More of a restoration than 'project', but let me tell you (as a Honda guy), these things pull like a 15-year old school boy! I thought the Honda motor was bullet-proof, but these zookis take it to another level.

    I'd suggest, before you tear into it too much, you do a compression test to help you determine how much motor work you may need to do. Unless of course a rebuild is part of your plan anyway?

    I was surprised how many parts for these are still available new from Suzuki. Much better support than my CB900's have. You may also find a lot of later model parts will transplant without too much trouble. Brakes and the like are always a good upgrade. My experience with the GS's brakes were 'interesting' to say the least. Boink has also given you a couple of links that you will find very useful too. Bookmark them.

    We're here rooting for you fella, so just yell when you get stuck.

  7. Cheers bikeboy (ian), thanks boink for the links...checkin em out now.

    Before the teardown starts, I will make sure im 100% satisfied with the engine. A rebuild is not in my scope, as the engine was reco'd recently, but I'll test out the compression and everything else that needs a checkin.

    Yes, I noticed genuine suzuiki parts are still for sale, i thought they were knock off's but have been reassured they are genuine! Surprising! Cant wait.
    I'll let you know how it all goes with lots of pics.
  8. hahaha...thats not me. Thats the bloke I bought it off :)
  9. I had better put a bid on it then cause he's stilll tryin to sell it...oops....

    This is what I have stored in the shed... put aside for a rainy day... Im not really going the cafe racer route... in fact im not sure what Im going to do with it or even when.... just a project for later on.... thinking about taking a mold of the Duke tank for use on it as well....Its a chain drive GS 1100.



    Keep up the good work...
  10. This is going to be a great thread, love the starter bike (makes my CB750 look small and I bought it 'cos I am a big guy too).

    Looking forward to seeing what is next on your cafe racer build project. And if you are looking at bringing some parts over from any cafe racer suppliers in the US of A let me know and we could combine an order.
  11. Thats better... your bike is safe...auction has been ended early... I seriously thought it might have been a scammer who had stolen your pics... its been done.....

    On with the project!
  12. Oh snap.
    That is lovely piece of machinery there man. I didn't know they came out in chain drives!
    I see you have no Airbox on either heheh...arn't you worried bout stuff getting into the carbs? That fuel tank is super sweet....maybe...I...could...borrow...the...tank...to...make...a...mould...for my cafe racer ? heheh...

    I've been working on mine lately. I went down and got some fresh oil, oil filter, gear oil, and plugs.
    I thought before i try and start her up, might as well get all the internal elements down pat first.
    I ordered a new air filter from Suzuki, which they actually have in stock...amazing!

    I have a feeling the guy was trying to start her up with either no air box at all, or no air filter, in which case, too much air would have been getting into the carbs, and thus, running lean, and not being able to ignite and start up...
    This is a theory only. There could be other things like the jets etc....but from what I've red, if the bike isn't jetted properly it should still start, but just run like a dog. Which is fine with me.
    My goal at the moment is to get her started and idelling....

    But then I could be wrong, I dont know much about engine schematics, and i've never ever in my life dealt with a carbie engine before..its all been fuel injected.....am i showing my age ??? :p
  13. Nah they start ok without the airbox, mine usually has pods on, dont know why they arent now. I noticed them on the shelf, best get them back on.

    If you were nearer you most certainly could borrow the tank to make a mold, but Im nearly the other side of the world from you...oh ok, lots of K's anyway.

    This old thing runs and I have ridden it, its just low on compression on the centre 2 cylinders. A squirt of oil in the cylinders during compression testing tells me its a ring seal issue as the compression immediately came up.

    Ill get round to it one day.


    PS, the designation G at the end of the model indicates shaft drive, so mines a GS1100 and yours is a GS1100G.
  14. Ahh...Ok roger that....

    I bought pods for mine...do you think they'll start up ok without being rejetting the carbs??

    Also. You wouldn't happen to have a spare top tripple clamp would ya? I'm having a bugger of a time finding one in Aus. Might have to settle getting one from US of A, their cruiser version forks are the same as the Ausies 1100 and 850...and there's a ton of them on ebay..
  15. Sorry mate I have no parts at all for this beast, not yet started collecting bits for it, hence I am interested in how you get on 8-[.

    These have a stupid fuel tap. It will catch you out, make sure fuel is flowing to your carbs as this tap is vacuum operated and when the engine is off it stops fuel flow...AMHIK...](*,)

    This means that unlike most bikes where you turn the taps on and wait until fuel flows into the carby bowls, with this one you have to actually crank it and have vacuum at the right parts of the tap and from the right ports on the manifold before your bowls will fill up.

    Stops em flooding if you have forgotten to turn the taps off etc etc. Mongrel idea.

    Then the clutch plates will rattle and it will be bloody big and heavy..... but once you are used to all that, it will go like stink and be almost absolutely bullet-proof.... Gotta love that...
  16. All good.
    I dont really need much OEM parts. Most of the stuff can be replaced with aftermarket.
    I've called everywhere for a triple clamp, no ones got em, I'll be buying it from the states. Other option is to find a bike that has a triple clamp that will fit but cbf researching.

    I read all about the valve in the fuel tank and having to prime the carbs...but thanks for the heads up!

    haha! cant wait
  17. 2 different bikes you guys have, The blue frame is the same as our GSX1100's 80 + from the tank shape, the 79's had a different shape at the back, 4 valve heads, the GS1100 is a 2 valve design, Frame and running gear is basically the same tho..
    there is a 'prime' position on the fuel tap,

    edit -after thinking on this for a while Mine has, but i seem to remember some of them didnt..
  18. Id just go the right one from the states, our dollar value makes this a viable thing these day... have fun.. I dont know about you but the chase and finding stuff plus the building is what gets my juices flowing... for want of a better description....8-[

    Thanks foot, the blue beast is an 83 model.
  19. I'm surprised that no-one's pointed it out Artie, but yours isn't a GS1100 at all, there's no such beast. Yours is a GSX1100, indicated by the square tappet cover ends rather than the round ones on the OP's bike.

    The GS range all had the round covers and were a 2-valves-per-cylinder engine. The advent of the 4 valve engine brought about the addition of the "X" to the designation as well as the totally different tappet cover ends. The GSX was only available in chain drive, Suzuki continued to run the two lines concurrently, the 2-valve "G's" marketed as touring bikes and the 4-valve "X's" marketed as performance bikes.