The best things in life are free

It has often been said that the best things in life are free. Love, tropical sunsets, and now Suzuki GS motorcycles can be added to the list of what can be had for nothing. Today’s feature bike, a 1982 Suzuki GS1100E, started out as a clapped out gift from one friend to another, and ended up a restomod show-stealing superbike. The journey even took the owner, Joe, all the way to having his own bike workshop VJ Motorcycles. With the bike as the flagship of the VJ workshop, Joe won’t suffer from a shortage of interested customers.


After a friend lost interest in the big GS, Joe put his hand up to adopt the neglected machine. A few weekends of workshop tinkering, and the bike was running like a GS should. Happy to keep the bike in stock form, Joe kept the bike standard for the first few years of ownership. Soon though, Joe had a bad case of spanner itch and knew he couldn’t keep riding the bike in it’s then current form. In the words of the builder himself; ‘as with any vintage machine, the stock suspension was down right scary when paired with the engine’s capabilities’. It was time for a restomod.


Parking the bike up in the shed, the whole machine was stripped back to a bare frame and Joe got to work. The main priority of this build was to remedy the suspension issues, and bring the bike up to show spec. With a design brief to swap out the lackluster factory suspension, the GS had it’s entire suspension replaced with later model components. The factory front end is gone, in it’s place sits a GSXR1100 forkset with Racetech 1.0kg fork inserts fitted. This more sporting setup is strengthened with an ABM top clamp kit and Jay’s custom forkbrace. The front brake set is also courtesy of the GSXR1100, with SBS pads fitted and CORE MOTO carbon brake lines bringing the pressure. To pull the big bike up both front and rear are GSXR1100 EBC XC series contour units.


At the rear of the GS sits a Bandit 1200 swingarm, the Bandit also donating both front and rear rims, wrapped in Michelin 2CT rubber. All that power from the 1100cc motor needs to get to the ground efficiently, so a SuperSprox 48t is fed DID Gold brand o-ringed chain. Keeping all that power grounded is a set of Ohlins SU1430 piggy back shocks. To keep with the sporting aesthetic, and more importantly to be able to ride in full race position, a set of ZX12R rearsets have been fitted.


In the engine department, Joe felt the 1100cc powerplant was adequate for the bike’s purpose. Due to this, the engine itself has not been fettled for more power. Instead, some thought has gone into the longevity of the engine and some smart mods made. With the 82-83 model GS bikes known for having oil issues in the head, Joe utilized a fellow GSResources forum member’s fix. Greg’s top end oiler mod is an upgrade that pushes the flow of oil directly onto the cam area, allowing for better lubrication and cooling. To complement this, a GS1150E stock oil cooler and lines have been fitted for better cooling ability. The engine has been treated to a fresh coat of high temp gloss black, and a stainless bolt kit fitted.


The fuel system has been given a bit of a touchup, the factory and carburetors long gone. In their place sit a set of Mikuni BS36SS from a GS1150E, packing K & N pod filters. All that air going in has got to come out somewhere, so a MotoGP Werks custom 4-1 exhaust has been built for the bike, mounted on a modified Rometech stainless hanger.


Aesthetically, the lines of the bike look as good as when the GS rolled out of the factory in 1982. However, the muscular bottom half of the bike looks like it rolled out of the factory and rolled straight into the gym. The complete body is as Suzuki intended, freshened up with a new set of decals. The Rizoma parts bin has been raided, with a set of gold bars, mirrors and end caps bringing a bit of flash to the build. The stock brake master cylinder and perch have been ditched, in their place sits a unit from a Yamaha FZ8N. To keep a proper eye on the speed, an 83 model 140mph meter cluster has been mounted, beneath the stock headlight is flanked by Oberon LED directionals.


From an unloved lump of high quality Japanese steel languishing in a shed, this GS has found a new lease on life. The average factory suspension has been swapped out for something a little more stable in the twisties, and with a showbike finish there is no chance of this bike changing owners for free ever again.


A million thanks to Joe from VJ Moto for taking the time to provide the info and pics on this awesome bike. A quality build from a quality builder, get in touch to see what VJ Moto can do for you. You’ll find them at

For more info on the GS series of Suzuki bikes, head to the fountain of knowledge at

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