Suzuki Katana 1100  GSX F (1988)

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Nov. 1989 - Dec. 1997    8 seasons   2,750 - 15,524 miles

  Even though this bike was purchased in November, I couldn't get the seller to come down on the price.  But I still thought I got great deal.  Two seasons old and less than 3,000 miles for $3,895.  The unique feature of this bike was the electric windshield.  I figured it to eventually have some kind of problem, but it never did.  It never actually worked that well, though.  The upper position caused wind buffeting.  But it was cool to run it up and down at stoplights to show off.

  This bike was billed as a sport-tourer and had low-ish bars (but not as low as the Hurricane) and somewhat rear-set pegs.   At this time, the popular open-class bikes were a bit too radical for my tastes.  I didn't want to be bent over the bars and scrunched onto the tank.  And Gold Wings or Honda ST1100's went too much the other way, too big, too boring and too sedate.  Limited in performance and sportiness.

  This bike was kept in completely stock trim.  It was a solid performer for 13,000 miles and never had any problems, except for a suddenly dead battery on a Sunday ride.  A jump from a car battery and a careful ride home followed.

  I sold it through an internet ad (cost me $10) to a guy from West Virginia.  We negotiated the entire deal through email and a few phone calls.  He picked the bike up on a frigid night in late Dec. 1997.  I had pulled the battery out for the winter so once I was sure he was coming to get it, I had to charge the battery and put it in, so it was ready when he showed up.  I showed him the bike in the driveway by shining a 60 watt bulb on it and even rode it up and down the street in below freezing weather so he could see it run.  I had warmed it up so it was easy to start when he was there.  He loaded it onto a small-bed pickup, using just two tie-downs and drove home in a snowstorm.  I got $2,800 for it.

 I had used the bike for 8 years for a depreciation of $1,100.  The ZX11 was already sitting in the garage waiting for spring so I was able to let this great bike go without hesitation or regrets.

  Another GSX 1100 F Katana (1993)

 In the fall of 2009, I found a 1993 version of this bike in Carmel NY and bought it for $1400.  It was listed on Craigslist for $2500, but wasn't running.  I offered the seller $1500 over the phone, then reduced that by $100 when I saw the bike and found it had a minor scratch on the left lower fairing, the seat was off and it had not been run in a few years (indicating potential carb issues).

  The bike looked quite good, though the tank was a replacement and you can see that the stripes didn't exactly line up with the fairing.  The wheels and chain cleaned up nicely and I never had to replace the front tire since it passed inspection.

  I was unable to get it running even though the battery was fine and starting fluid didn't work either, so the carburetors had to be the problem.  PCW Racing fixed the carbs and an ignition wiring issue but it cost $300.  I ended up also buying a petcock repair kit for $35 since the gas leaked into the oil two times (filter changed, as well, each time). The first kit sent was the wrong one so I had to find another one.  It was only a tiny rubber o-ring that had dried and ripped and not the rubber diaphragm causing the leaking fuel.  There is no 'off' position on the petcock (just ON, PRIME and RESERVE) so it could leak while parked. 

  I spent way too much time bleeding the front brakes since I didn't realize there was an inner bleed valve on each caliper. It sucked some air in the lines and I even took off the master cylinder thinking something was. (Too much time spent that year with single bleed valve Kawasaki's from the 1970's).

     

 

 
  I put about 1,000 miles on the bike and it ran strongly and smoothly.  The slightly lower Corbin seat worked well for me and the Yoshimura exhaust had a fine sound.  Sharper than stock but not biting or raw. I never ran it really hard since it had the plate from the CBX.  This bike was listed on Craigslist for the entire 2010 season and finally sold for $2,250 in August.

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Edited Jan. 29, 2011