1981 Suzuki GS1100E | Me & My Bike

Name: George Beavers IV
Age: 47
Home: Redondo Beach, CA
Occupation: CEO, Oceanroadbuilders.com & classicsuperbike.com

I grew up with Superbikes. My dad, George Beavers III, built racebikes and sponsored guys like Mike Baldwin and Hurley Wilvert in the 1960s from our home in Darien, Connecticut. Dad bought this GS brand new in 1981. I told him “leave it alone, and let’s just ride it,” but he didn’t listen. Shortly after its break-in service, dad added a 1230cc piston kit, a racing cylinder head, a Murray pipe and 33mm Keihin carbs. The motor was a bit much for the street so he detuned it to a (barely) manageable 1168cc. The bike was loud and fast. My friends always heard it coming from across town. It wheelied as effortlessly as the BMX bike I’d just graduated from. A weapons-grade 1980s Superbike: the perfect ride for an 18-year old kid. Thanks, Dad.

I rode the GS around New England for years, but left it behind when I moved to New York City. Then, in 1994, I brought it to Los Angeles with me. After a few years sitting outside by the beach, it was in sad shape, so I tore it down to the frame. SoCal superbike racer and tuner Cary Andrew went through the engine. I cleaned and painted everything and shoved it back together for canyon racing duty. After one too many close calls while tearing up roads in the Santa Monica mountains, I realized that it was time for the racetrack.

I started racing the GS in 2005 in the Willow Springs Motorcycle Club’s Vintage Heavyweight class. It was clearly the fastest bike in its class, and I won the very first race I entered on it. In January 2006, I decided to chase a vintage championship. Eleven months later, my dad was at the Willow Springs finish line when I crossed it first on my GS, clinching the championship.

My GS’s development continues. It now has a welded crank, and 40mm Mikuni flatslides. The chassis features a braced frame, Works Performance shocks, and a 520 chain conversion. Fellow Willow Springs racer Rick Carmody laid out the Wes Cooley-inspired paint and graphics. Ed Milich adapted a 2006 GSXR front end with radial calipers, Brembo rotors and 17-inch Marchesini forged aluminum wheels with Dunlop slicks. I just dynoed it at 130 rear-wheel horsepower, and it’s just over 400 pounds with fuel. It takes some effort to muscle around. It’s a big, scary, fast, old West Coast Superbike. My best time on it at Willow is a 1:32.00, close to a 100 mph average.

I’m going back Willow Springs next month with my GS to attempt the Heavyweight Vintage lap record. After that, I want to monoshock the swingarm and make a custom titanium pipe. I’m approaching my fourth decade of ownership, and I’m still enjoying the heck out of my GS1100.

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