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Classic Motorcycles - The Suzuki GSX1100E






After the "power is everything" attitude of Japanese motorcycle manufacturers in the late 60s and 1970s, the 1980s saw potential legislation and handling concerns as issues that needed to be addressed. As far as legislation was concerned, manufacturers were beginning to realise that some bikes could be legislated off the roads, particularly when you consider the previously unheard of power-to-weight ratios available to people of just 17 years of age with little road experience.

This had already prompted Germany to introduce a 100bhp limit on bikes imported into the country which had already had Honda decreasing the bhp of its CBX1000 to 95 from 105bhp. As far as handling was concerned, the big new Suzuki was a step up from the plethora of 1000cc machines. Despite the fact that the frame of the GSX1100E was pretty conventional, with a tubular steel duplex frame and twin rear shock absorbers, it was the engine that gave it its edge.

Firstly, unlike its competitors, the Suzuki had four valves per cylinder and although the actual valve area was only a small increase over the GS1000, it improved efficiency with fuel economy of between 42 and 48 miles to a gallon.

Secondly, Suzuki introduced TSCC - Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber. This was a modification to the combustion chamber, making it tighter and providing a "swirl" effect which Suzuki claimed also improved efficiency.

The GSX1100E kept to all the agreements of the day and power was limited to 100bhp. However, a standing quarter mile in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of over 140mph meant that 100bhp or not, this machine could deliver. Not only that, but the power delivery was all the way through the power band with no "flat spots".

On top of all that, not had Suzuki only created the fastest bike of its day whilst limiting the horsepower, it had also come up with a machine that handled as well, helped by adjustable rear shock absorbers and up rated front forks. A new king was crowned.

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