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GSXR streetfighter build


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Right, the idea is that I post a thread about turning a very old and tatty GSXR1100K into a streetfighter on the cheap. I hope to do most of the work myself with the more specialist items being done by professionals. I started the project 3 years ago when I got the bike but then due to finances, the other bike, the cars and a house move I haven't really had a chance to do anything. I have mine, my wifes and my daughters car to keep mobile plus the VTR and the cockroach which have always taken preference over the GSXR. I will post some pics and info upto now and then hopefully continue to post as it progresses.

I haven't really undertaken much more than routine maintenance and swapping components before so be prepared for it to go disasterously wrong at any moment. It is more something to do than building the perfect bike so some bits may get a little bodged upon the way. Will accept all advice willingly and all constructive criticism but please don't slate me or the bike purely because it isn't your cup of tea. I have already purchased a few bits and lots more will come as and when money permits.

So lets start at the beginning ..............

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Ok bought 3 years ago from a mate for £250 the '89 GSXR1100K had about 54,000 km on the clock and had been ridden all year round. It had also been dropped crashed and neglected and was in a bit of a sorry state. The wiring has been cut and altered, the carbs were seized and the bike didn't run. First job was to get it running, fault was traced to the CDi and a secondhand one was tried. This was when I found that the carbs weren't great so they were stripped and cleaned and hopefully put back something like they should have been. The bike fired up and the exhaust self destruted with rust flying at high velocity everywhere.

And so it began ..........


starting to strip


wiring, you can also see the state of the rear shock in this one


Notice the sledgehammer holding it up


Nearly there


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I found a problem with the engine when removing the exhaust. Most of the studs were seized in and a mixture of stud extractors and drilling out was required. However one of the bolt holes had partially disappeared. Only I could lose a hole! This will need to be filled with ali weld and re-drilled and tapped. The bottom hole should look like the top one.


The frame has now (yesterday) gone to Sooty to have lugs welded on for a subframe from an '04 RSV. I also have a nice set of Showa forks from another aprilia and they are gonna go on once a stem is made to allow the aprilia yokes to be used on the Suzuki headstock. Will be a couple of weeks before I get them back.


Have sanded the tank and seat plastics but can't progress with them as they have gone to Sooty's to help with alignment. Will try and do something this afternoon but where do I start? Maybe take the head off which I really didn't want to do. The reason for not wanting to split the engine was two fold. One I'm lazy and two I didn't want to fork out loads for gaskets when I know the engine runs. Oh well better get the dog walked and crack on ....

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looks good, can't you get the old suzuki stem pressed out of the yolks, and into the @prilia yolks..?

if the engine runs i'd leave it for now, i'd look at cleaning up the brakes, and wheel so you can make a rolling chassis..

have you got a replacement rear shock??

try Oldskoolsuzuki.info for ideas and some very good advice.. but keep your thread on here,

and what is the cockroach....? i've heard of the CX being a Maggot, but then it is prob the only bike to survive an A Bomb, so could be a cockroach...??

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The stem is far larger on the Aprilia so no direct replacement. It needs a new one turning.

Haven't decided what swingarm and wheel to use yet, I have a couple in the garage and will have a look at using the blade rear I have as it is similar spoke design to the aprilia front.

I have stuck the old suzuki swingarm and wheel loosely on for now so we could get a proper look at seat height for the subby lugs.

I do go on oldskoolsuzuki and a couple of streetfighter sites, a good knowledge base on all.

The cockroach is what my wife said my winter hack looked like. It shall remain a secret for the time being as I'm too embarassed to say what it is! Will be fitting new tyres on it soon if there is enough wheel left under all the corrosion and may take some pics as I do it. I shouldn't really slate it as it's the perfect bike for my 125 mile a day commute and it performs faultlessly in all conditions. It does however look like it was used in some ill-fated attempt to bring banger racing to motorbikes!

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I hate to say this but as of yet i dont have much practical knowledge that could help you to be honest but i am sure to be following this thread as i find this kind of thing very enjoyable :D

Have my 125 engine in the kitchen as we speak... if only i could find that darn head gasket and bits i got for it but i put them somewhere safe for christmas and well yeah...

Maybe i should start a thread on interfering with a 125 for anyone else out there who needs work done on their bikes and finds the thought of doing it themselves a little imposing?

I have to say, to take on that whole bike, your pretty brave but i can understand the journey is half the experience and well worth the late nights :)

Enjoy and keep us posted :)

Best regards

Chris Jvr

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Bravery doesn't really come into it. I have quite a good selection of tools and a tiny bit of knowledge. If any aspect goes wrong I will get help or pay someone to do it. A bit of common sense goes a long way, also labelling things and taking pictures can help. I made the mistake of not labelling some bits as I didn't think it would take years to start putting it back together. Haynes manual is very handy for exploded views etc especially if removing something under spring tension and it boings across the garage!

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Ok so back out in the garage armed with tea, fags and music and I'm ready to crack on. Head needs to come off so out comes the haynes manual (and the fags). Clutch was also seized so will rip that apart as well.


Remove cam cover, cams, engine cover, etc and store safely (or carefully balance them on the edge of a workmate).


The head was a real pain to get off. The two oil pipes on the front had corroded and stuck fast. Care must be taken when hammering or levering not to damage the fins or head/barrel surfaces. After plenty of tugging, thumping, moaning, swearing etc it came off.


Head needs to be cleaned up and clutch can wait until I get a 50mm socket


Will do a little cleaning today and hope to get a 50mm socket and make up a tool to hold the clutch while I undo the nut. Will also have a look at heating the front mudguard a bit and trying to push out the small kink in it .. maybe

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Forgot to mention that the bores look ok but the cams are showing some signs of pitting. Will be looking out on Ebay but not too fussed as may do something with the engine once I have sorted all the other bits.

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Progress was slow yesterday due to fixing my daughters car and slow today due to unforseen orders from my wife.

Obtained a 50mm socket for the clutch and made a couple of clutch holding tools


Took the clutch out and found another wee problem



New plates please. The rest of the clutch looks ok so will just get the friction plates.

Found a head gasket for £20 so that's on its way. Trying to decide what to do with the engine covers. I don't want them polished so maybe spray them gold or gunmetal or bronze or ..... I sanded the scuff out of the clutch cover and then called it a day so I could put my lad to bed. Will be busy tomorrow so won't get to play with the bike but may do some bits Thursday.

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just thought i would leave a little thanks for you here,

very interesting thread i must say, this is something i cant wait to getting a chance to have a go at once i'm out of uni and have a garage (and maybe a little cash heh).

All the bext to you and nice job so far!


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  • 2 weeks later...

The cams from the K/L model oil boilers are quite sought after, don't be tempted to fit the later M/N cams as I believe they have a different spec grind. Some reckon the k/l models were the best of the oil cooled 1100 motors as Suzuki loss their way a bit with the M/N.

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OK all gone a bit quiet here. Back to work so just squeezing in little bits at the mo and still waiting for the frame and head to come back.

Was going to polish the clutch cover and other covers but decided to spray them instead.

Started to polish half the cover so I could show a little "look it's easy" thing about polishing with a before and after but some of the pics appear to have not saved on the camera.



Started painting, stripped the covers back to bare metal, one coat of etch primer, a few coats of high build primer, flat it back a bit then a couple of coats of colour and a few coats of laqquer a day later.


a bit of laquer but yet to cut and polish. Looks to be different shades but it's just the light/reflections.


All these bits are being done with rattle cans but will be using a spray gun for the tank and seat unit (probably).

Started to clean the exhaust up, just to see how it would come up. Was just killing time so played about doing little patches with wet and dry. While playing I noticed that the exhaust was broken.Looked at the silencers and found the bits that were missing still attached but they crumbled away to nothing when I undid the clamps. May try and get some stainless tube and weld them up but that's a job for another time.


They should clean up ok though with a bit more time and effort.


Hoping to get the frame back next week. Will post pics as soon as I do.

Oh btw, I got a head gasket for £20 which was good but the head has 6 little 'o' rings that go around the studs and I needed a couple more 'o' rings for the oil pipes too. Now that is eight 'o' rings. Eight little round bits of rubber. I visit the Debben performance website, order all eight, checkout, ....... inc VAT and postage ....... £45!!!!!!!!! Eight 'o' rings! (can you tell I'm not too chuffed about this?). The front tyre for the cockraoch was a similar price and that's a bloody huge rubber ring!

Oh well, suppose I gotta have 'em.

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Rang Sooty's today and the frame and head should be ready tomorrow. Can't get there this weekend but will hopefully get there monday. Will try and get a couple of pics with it mocked up when I stick it together to see how it looks ... roll on monday!

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I got the frame back today from Sooty's and I'm pretty chuffed. I mocked it up as it came out of the car just to see how it looked and yes I do know the front wheel is on backwards!

Looking to do the frame and swingarm black not sure about the wheels yet. The rear wheel will be changed, possibly for an early fireblade one which I am sure is hiding behind a load of junk in the garage. I'll dig it out and see how it looks/lines up sometime soon.

Also got the head back today and just have to wait for the 'o' rings to arrive and I will be putting the engine back together.




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Lookin good dude, I wish I had the space to store something like this.

Can you cut 1 of the arms off the rear swing? or will the frame not be strong enough? I love the looks of bikes with only 1 swing arm!

MC single siders utilise existing single arm swingarms such as the vfr and triumph, as they are made to take the streese and strains..

have a look at Oldskoolsuzuki.info got to infoboard and projects..

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