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Oldstyle Suzi: Gs850g Vs Gs1100g

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by backmarker, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. A mate and I are looking to get a couple of older bikes to have fun with. We have different aims, but my plan is (at this stage) to pick up an old shaft drive Suzi, one of the GS models. I love the style and want to experience the machines.

    Of course, when these bikes were sold new, I was in Primary School, so I'd love some advice from people who have a little experience with these bikes. I'm looking at either the gs850g or the gs1100g, on the basis that the 750 is older, rarer and more expensive, and the 1000 is older, rarer, more sought after and more expensive. This whole project has to be cheap - initial purchase price is going to be between $1000-2000.

    I've done plenty of net reading, including thegsresources. However, what I would love to get an idea of is the following: (btw, congrats for reading this far!)
    - my daily ride is a '98 gsx750f. How much difference in power am I likely to notice between this, and a 850g, or an 1100g?
    - and difference in torque? Note, I'm not after numbers, I'm after impressions, feel, that sort of purely subjective (and therefore probably useless) information.
    - I know these are reasonably large bikes. Is there any real difference in size between the 850 and the 1100?
    - and in the real world, is there much difference in the feel of the weight?
    - if you had your choice of the two, which would you chose, and why? No substitute for cubes?

    Thanks for any input!
  2. I did look at buying an old GS850G but I just found the 850 to be a big, heavy, pig of a thing to be perfectly honest. That's why I ended up buying a Katana instead (much like a GSX750F it's still a heavy SOB, but doesn't feel as heavy and sluggish as an 850G). The extra power of the 1100 might make it better, but I've no experience with those.

    Personally I prefer the GS650G, but so do a lot of other people (so they're nowhere near as cheap). Have you considered a GSX750ES though? Not shaft drive, but they're certainly cheap and not that dissimilar styling wise to a GS750G (it also shares a lot of parts with your current bike).
    • Like Like x 2
  3. jd is right, in fact and in word; the 850G is a big heavy pig of a thing

    if you want to do an old-style resto, buy something that's lighter, your back will thank you for it
  4. Thanks for your input, jd and hornet. I don't find my gsxf particularly heavy. Even when I laid it down gently on my ankle one day ( thought the side stand was down, but it had caught on a raised bit of bitumen - whoops) it wasn't that hard to get up. Around town and slow work is fine.

    In what way does the 850 feel like a heavy beast?

    I'll head off to do some google work on the gsx650es now.

  5. I haven't owned or ridden an 850, but when it was a current model my brother went from a Honda 400/4 to one and he says it was like trying to pilot an ocean liner on land by comparison

    not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, mind, but there are lots of lighter, and probably more interesting 70s/80s bikes you could restore, any of the old Yamaha XJ-series, for example.
  6. #6 jd, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
    Ocean liner does seem an apt description. I mean on paper it's not that much worse than a GSX750F, but whereas the 750F feels quite nimble for its size on the GS it felt more like any input had to first be relayed to the engine or steering room through a brass speaking tube.

    Oh and the GSX750ES I was referring to is this one, which is sometimes just referred to as a 750E (or E-III):

    Not to be confused with the other GSX750ES
    Which is when they "updated" the styling to mimic the Katana

    Edit: Oh and just a correction. Although the 750F was spawned from the later 750ES there was apparently a complete redesign of the engine between the ES and the E-III (even though they retained exactly the same bore and stroke and look very similar). So may not be as much parts interchangeability, except for the usual commonality amongst Suzuki's from back before they started gouging people on parts prices.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. If you're going to buy an old style air cooled bike, you might as well get the biggest one you can. After all, they're all heavy, high and have slow steering so you might as well go for something that will still flatten your eyeballs off the line and cruise in a reasonably relaxed manner.

    A 30 year old Suzuki 1100 will still stomp 95% of anything you're likely to find yourself next to at the lights and, given a pair of Konis, some stiffer springs in the forks and a bit of determination on the part of the rider, can be made to go surprisingly well on real world roads. You will have to work harder to maintain the same pace than you would on an up to date bike but that's part of the fun. The bike will also be less forgiving when you fuck up.

    So, if you're going to go for it, buy the 1100. I'd ignore anything made by Honda, not just because I dislike them as a species but because the only affordable big 'un is the CB900F which just isn't big enough. The Yam XS1100 is grunty and stylish but doesn't handle at all, in either of the flavours it came in. Kwak made some very decent shafties which are still very cheap compared to anything they made in the same era with a chain and are worth considering given that the popularity of other big Zs will help with spares availability.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Dunno about that. I followed a heavily modified and restored GS1100 through a windy stretch of road once and even though they were pushing the bike stupidly fast (ie scraping pegs and going far over the centreline on most corners), they were still holding me up considerably. And I was in the car at the time.

    They're a nice bike, but way behind in terms of suspension and frame design even compared with bikes from just a few years later (ie the GSXR750/1100). If you want to work hard to maintain a pace in corners just buy a 250. ;)
  9. The gsx750e looks like a nice bike, though I wonder if it will end up feeling a little too much like my current bike! I'll keep an eye out for them - not much around at the moment.

    Interesting to note that the gs850g and the gs1100g are virtually the same weight, but the 1100 has a tad (!) more go.

    I am looking for a different experience, and don't mind having a bike that's harder work, not overly quick through corners, but wouldn't mind a few horses on tap either. So Pat, your comments are interesting too.

    Cheers all. Please keep the comments coming.
  10. The GSX750E was basically just a GS750 with an updated engine - a stepping stone to the monoshock GSX750ES/Katana which in turn became the GSX750F. So shouldn't imagine it'd feel too similar given how many changes were made to the suspension, frame and even wheel/tyre sizes along the way.

    There is always going to be some degree of familiarity between oil-cooled Suzi engines though, but that's a good thing :). Of course you could always just trade the 750F in on a second-hand GSX1400 and have the best of both worlds (or worst depending on your point of view :LOL:).
  11. Depends who you're out to surprise. As a counterpoint, I've left folk on then-modern sports bikes (but who couldn't ride, obviously) trailing in the wake of the odd big aircooler and I don't recall holding up many cars.

    Sure, a twin-shock gaspipe wobblemonster won't handle like a modern bike or even its interim monoshock cousins but it won't embarrass its rider under most circumstances on most roads. If you really want to be covered for those particular circumstances an old twin shocker probably isn't the best choice of ride and probably won't be on your shortlist anyway.
  12. Don't think there'd be much risk of holding up a late 80's/early 90s family car, but an early 90s sportscar or any decent modern hatchback (with good tyres) is a different matter entirely.

    I just reckon these old bikes a best ridden more like a modern cruiser - ie ride at whatever pace you want, but be prepared to let others past if they're clearly faster through the corners (and don't overtake people on the straights just because you can if you're only going to hold them up later).
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  13. Actually jd, I reckon you've probably defined what I'm after there quite well. I'm looking for a standard bike, a naked, old fashioned, kind-of relaxed but kind-of mad bike, good for cruising but not a cruiser, fun in the hills but not for knee-dragging. The type of bike I would take out with a couple of mates for a relatively relaxed ride, or for a longer trip, and enjoy the experience rather than the adrenalin. Something I can work on to slowly restore and improve, and when I park I can look at and enjoy. Can't really do that with the gsxf! Looks are not its strong point!
    I love my riding, ride to work, to meetings, for fun, for travel, etc. I'm suppose I'm trying to enrich my experiences through different bikes without too much cost, especially as the f seems like it will last for ever and is worth nothing!
    Nuff rambling. Back to work.
  14. That being the case you might well be happy with an 850G, but you won't know for sure unless you ride one yourself. ;)

    You may find though that most of the late 70s-early 80s era stuff is pretty hard to find cheap these days though. It's either long since rusted away in a shed or been partly/fully restored by owners looking to recoup some of their costs. Better deals seem to be with the mid-80s era stuff like the early XJ900 Yamaha, GPZ900 Kwaka, FJ1100 Yammy etc. All potential future classics (well maybe not the XJ), but seems fairly easy to find even reasonably good examples for under 3k. Of course that era of styling seems to be something people either love or hate (should be obvious where I stand given the bikes I own ;)).
  15. I did my full license on my huddy's GS1000G, I am 1.58m tall and 50kg, it handles like a dream, the only thing that got to me was very uneven surfaces and standing still while maneuvering on this uneven surfaces. They are very strong off the line due to the old 8v(eight valve) configuration, very good commuter and very good cruiser, not bad riding hard, does not have the handling and stability of a GSXR but not in the back off the class room either, If you are holding someone up in corners in their car then you are a poor rider, nothing to do with the bike. I loved them he loved them will buy a good one in a heart beat.
    1. Shaft drive
    3.If well maintained super economical, town riding-20-25km/L, open road upright nothing over 130km/h 35-38km/L open road bullet nothing over 130km/h 43km/L
    Way better than the fuel injected bikes of the same capacity.
    4.Babe magnet both ways.
    5.Engine and drive train is bullet proof, if you could see the red pipes and burnouts my hubby has done on his most people here will cry.
    Watch out for the exhaust when mounting and dis mounting she will mark you.
    On very hot days the engine heat can be slightly overwhelming, to the rider the bike can handle it.

    So from me go for it, 850,1100 does not matter just be patient and buy a good one.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. #16 nobby, Nov 24, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012

    Something like this perhaps, it's the latest addition to my sons stable ... . not bad for the $$$$'s
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Not me. Bikes should be ridden and ridden hard. Shits me to tears to see good machinery that was street boss in its day do nothing but bimble around at 80 km/h. It happened to Brit twins, it happened to early Japs and now it's happening to the bikes that I cut my riding teeth on.

    Thrash those bastards until they break, then fix 'em and thrash 'em again because, if you don't, you might as well have bought a bloody lampshade.
  18. You mean I shouldn't buy one, polish it and mount it it the lounge room?

    Back to the drawing board!

    On a serious note, went to look at a gs1100 at a stealership this morning. Way too expensive for the condition, but good to have a look over and get a better idea of what I'm looking at.

    That bike had a very heavy clutch - outrageously heavy! Should I be building up muscle in anticipation, or would this be a symptom of old bike sitting for too long, unlubed cable etc?
  19. Most probably not maintained properly, one thing I could do is watch my hubby service his bikes, the detail and the things he would do that no dealer would do.
  20. He tried to break them but I thing his maintenance prevented and failures.