Gary Scotti’s 1170cc 16-valve GS Restomod…
In 1978, Suzuki entered the 1000cc inline-four arms race with the 90-hp GS1000. The 8-valve engine was developed from that of the excellent GS750, bored and stroked to 997cc, and actually lighter than its smaller displacement sibling due to the lack of kickstart and shorter / lighter crank. Says Suzuki Works Trained Mechanic Peter Rotherham, who bought one of the first GS1000s to arrive in the UK:
“My own GS1000 was one of the best machines that I have owned, (and I’ve had many of all types). Despite a huge power output, and a (tested and proven at a Government Testing facility – MIRA) 160mph top speed, it was very controllable and comfortable.” –SuzukiCycles.org
Suzuki also put a strong emphasis on handling, with the bike debuting on the company test track under the eye of engineer Hisashi Morikawa, who’d developed the GS750. Soon, the GS1000E appeared with updated gas/oil rear suspension.
“Correctly set, this GS1000 handled better than any other Japanese liter-bike.” –Rider magazine
Soon the big GS was proving itself on the track, sliding and screaming beneath a young rider destined become a legend of American superbike racing:
“The best fit for the liter-size bike in mid-Seventies racing was the new Superbike class, and a young racer named Wes Cooley turned both Superbike racing and the GS1000 into major attractions. Wes popped wheelies, smoked tires and flamboyantly won races aboard a GS tuned by the legendary “Pops” Yoshimura.” –Motorcycle Classics
Of course, the air/oil-cooled literbikes would soon be ousted by liquid-cooled, aluminum-framed machines that would change the face of road racing and sport riding forever — leaving us to wonder how these air/oil-cooled monsters would’ve performed with more modern suspension, wheels, tires, and chassis knowledge…a question that helped birth the restomod movement.
Enter our new friend Gary Scotti of Ontario, Canada, who’s been resto-modding superbikes since the early 1990s:
“I’m your typical baby boomer building the bikes I lusted over but could not afford in my youth.”
This GS1000E restomod started with a frame a late friend had given him, and Gary kitted it out with a 16-valve GSX1100 engine, GSXR forks and swingarm, and a mix of proven aftermarket and homegrown parts. Highlights include the Wiseco 1170 big bore kit, welded crank, Mikuni RS36 smoothbores, braced frame, Gixxer 1100 front and rear ends, and bodywork hydro-dipped in carbon fiber with OEM decals…and much, much more.
Gary is particularly proud of the garage-built parts, such as the billet motor mounts and homemade top end oiler:
“I am proud that this did not turn out to be one of those builds you see where every part was ordered and assembled like Lego. There were a number of things that I chose to build and do it like it was the 80’s and we were building bikes in the garage.”
Gary says the bike now weighs 452 pounds — nearly 60 pounds lighter than stock — and though it hasn’t been on the dyno yet, he expects it to make a stout 125 rwhp based on previous builds. As you might expect, smiles are just a twist of the grip away!
“The increase in power is immediately apparent. From the time it starts and you hear the familiar ‘clack clack’ of the RS smoothbores at idle to the high speed roar coming from that Hindle pipe at full throttle….this thing puts a smile on your face!”
The GS took a 2nd place at Toronto’s International Motorcycle Supershow this year. The winner? Gary’s black Katana, which we hope to bring you soon. Below, Gary gives us the full details on the build.
Suzuki GS1000E Restomod: Builder Interview
I’m your typical baby boomer building the bikes I lusted over but could not afford in my youth. I have been resto-modding bikes since the early 90’s. This particular bike started as a donated frame from a friend who recently passed, as well as some components left over from previous builds. I refer to this one as a shop “clean-up” build.
Here are some highlights:
Wiseco 1170 Big Bore Kit in the 16v 1100 motor. Cam Motion G3 cams, mild porting, Mikuni RS36 smoothbores, K&N filters, Hindle Stainless 4 Superbike pipe with GP silencer, welded crankshaft, welded clutch basket with APE backing plate, APE manual cam chain tensioner, high volume oil pump gears, custom top end oiler.
Late clutch pack with the extra plate, period Derale cooler, custom oil catch tank, billet motor mounts, Unit 5 racing sprocket cover, 520 O-ring chain conversion, Dynatek ignition, coils and wires.
Custom wiring harness with extra relays for coils, headlight. GSXR Switch Gear, new OEM stator fed into a Compu-fire 55402 reg/rec. Power distribution module from Eastern Beaver and lithium battery.
Braced frame with relocated top shock mounts. Custom seat on stock pan. Seat stitched in blue to match striping. Wheels and engine covers powder-coated in gloss black.
GSXR1100 front end with Ducati 996 calipers on custom adapters, Apex brake lines, Nissin radial master cylinder and custom top clamp by Topyokes. Carbon fibre bars from Driven Racing. Instruments are Suzuki GS500.
GSXR1100 rear end with Kawasaki ZRX rear shocks. Entire bodywork hydro-dipped in carbon fibre before all new emblems and pinstripes applied and buried in clear coat. All new OEM tank and side cover emblems.
I am forgetting so many small custom touches!
I took two bikes to the International Motorcycle Supershow in Toronto this year. The bikes finished first and second in class. This bike was runner-up to my Black Katana.
• Any idea of weight or hp numbers?
The weight is down to 452lbs from the original 510lbs.
I have not put the bike on a dyno as of yet. There is only about 50km on it after an initial shakedown ride. I have used this motor combination a few times and they produce 125hp at the rear wheel. I expect this will be the same.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
It puts a smile on my face for sure. Other than the physical resemblance to the GS1000’s I have had in the past…it is a completely different feeling machine. Modern 17” wheels with radial tires transforms the bike. It turns in easily and maintains the line with light effort on the bars. The frame bracing has made it stable at the limit with no sign of a wobble or head shake. Braking is vastly improved! The increase in power is immediately apparent. From the time it starts and you hear the familiar “clack clack” of the RS smoothbores at idle to the high speed roar coming from that Hindle pipe at full throttle….this thing puts a smile on your face!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I am proud that this did not turn out to be one of those builds you see where every part was ordered and assembled like Lego. There were a number of things that I chose to build and do it like it was the 80’s and we were building bikes in the garage. The billet motor mounts done with a drill press and a small lathe even though I could have bought a set of CNC ones…I like the less than perfect “I did it myself” look.
The top end oiler is also put together by me to be a little more attractive that the bulkier unit you can buy.
• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
For sure…I would like to thank Ben Gartner of ProStar Motorsports here in Canada. Ben is a wealth of information about all things vintage racing as well as the source for some of the components I used.
I would also like to than the members of the Ontario Rizen Sun Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Group on Facebook. These guys are passionate and were always willing to help source parts.
With that 1100.1157cc motor…would be better titled would be GS1000/1100 YEHA Resto-Mod.
Excelente motocicleta. Me encanta los componentes modernos en lo retro de la motocicleta.
Really nice build, huge amount of work and dedication.. Fair play to you, well done. 👍
Terrific stuff. I agree it’s you building philosophy as well, turned out very well!
As a great fan of restomodding, I would LOVE to give my own 1979 GS 1000 E some of these upgrades, especially the engine and the front end. Brilliant build!
With such an increase in performance, does not the rider slide on such a smooth seat on acceleration and on braking?
This is awesome. No offense to AC Sanctuary, who does restomods like this, but this one is more unique and not so predictable like AC Sanctuary’s. Great job!
kind of over kill. but not bad. i dont like the front end/wheel
the original GS models were very nice.
Can you tell me more about what it takes to swap the swing arm . I would like to do mine . I just don’t wanna get it wrong and ruin the frame.
This bike reminds me of the old days, early 1980s, when “Harry Maillet” built a number of Kawasaki-derived big bores at his shop in Canoga Park, CA for his rather well-to-do clientele.
It’s very well turned out, and executed. I’d only want a bit more pullback on the handlebars, no doubt K&N’s in black chrome. Other than that it sure brought back wonderful memories.
I will be selling my 1979 Suzuki GS1000L in the spring. Unfortunately I can longer ride due to 26 reconstructive surgeries on my legs. Yes, it really sucks having to sell my baby. Anyways, it’s got 20,000 original, mostly highway, miles. It is all stock except for highway floorboards and a throttle lock. The condition of the bike is excellent. It runs and looks great! It’s a beautiful bike. So sad. So if anyone is interested send me an email and we can discuss price. It’s covered in a garage and always has been. It’s a rocket too!! Super-fast. The NADA book price is $4400, very good, to $8300, excellent. I’m starting out at $6500, which is more than fair for such a classic bike in such great shape. It has newer tires, new chain, new padding under original seat, and I have lots of goodies that goes with it, 3 helmets, xl rainsuit, saddlebags, tank bag, cover, fairing, and the manual. If interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. First come, first serve. 30 miles North of Detroit. Cash offers only, no checks, or cashiers checks. Have a custom plate that I could transfer. 79SZK.