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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently looking at and considering buying an '82 GS1100GK that's been sitting in my neighbors garage for about 30 years. The bike has 35,110 miles showing on it. Its been sitting covered up, the carbs and fuel tank were supposedly drained when it was parked. (Both are bone dry now, the tank looks super clean). The tires look good but they are 30 year old tires. Its got two seats, the original, that was never used and a Corbin brand aftermarket seat. He's got all the keys, the original owner's manual, a factory service manual, and several sets of spare plugs and air cleaners.
He's telling me to 'make him an offer'? I've got no clue what something that old is worth, I'm thinking since I'm going into it slightly blind, with no clue what shape it's really in, plus the facts that its got 35k on it and has been sitting for so long, I feel comfortable gambling no more than about $500 or so on it.
These were a two year only model, Suzuki from what I can tell took their existing GS1100 and added a touring package to it. I like the fact that its air cooled, shaft drive, and that it sits pretty tall, excellent for a guy with long legs. (I've owned several Goldwings and found them all very cramped on long rides due to the low saddle and control position. No to mention several issues with rear suspension and swing arm bearings).

Cosmetically the bike is near mint, original paint, no signs of damage or rust. Having been stored in a heated garage all these years has preserved it well.
No doubt things like the seat foam and various rubber parts will show age once put back into use. Under my 400lbs I wouldn't suppose the saddle or foam will last long. I've owned GS1100's in the past but not a touring model. I did have some issues with my old bike with the cam chain tensioner. At around 30k that bike broke its cam tensioner spring.

I'm basically looking for a bigger bike size wise, my Boulevard S83 is too small for me, its just not built for a guy with long legs.
The GS100GK fits the bill for the most part. (Air cooled, shaft drive, tall, and fairly light for a bike this size). I'm not particularly after a touring bike but this came available. I was really looking for something in the 900cc range, to stay under the 1000 cc threshold for cheaper insurance. (That seems to be the point where insurance costs double, I can insure a 900cc bike for under a $150 per year, they want $365 per year for my 1400cc Boulevard for just liability.

The GS won't save me any insurance money but from what I can tell just sitting on it, it'll save my knees and back a lot of pain on longer rides.
I'm just not sure what an old bike like that is worth. NADA and blue book are way high on all bikes, if I go by that, my $200 Boulevard is worth $3k with 3,400 miles on it. I also have to think about whether or not I want to sacrifice low miles for a more comfortable bike that needs some work to make it a daily rider again.
 

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I think $500 is a fair price. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I made the offer, he said he's gonna think about it. If he wants more, I think I'd have to pass. The possible costs of a bike at that mileage could be more than I care to spend on something that old.
I'm always looking for bikes, when I find something I really like, it often stays with me for a while but I rarely keep them very long but I'm getting tired of starting over from nothing every year. I sort of want something to run around town on, something smaller, easier to handle and something that's not worth a ton of money so it won't be such a theft risk.
There seems to be a lot more older touring bikes than anything else out there for cheap right now, not many in the mid size range though.
 

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$500 is exactly what I was thinking too. For a complete non-running bike with a turning engine that's fair.
 

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They are cheap because modern youth can not keep them running.

We need to be able to clean the carburetors, sort out faulty wyring connections, and make the brakes work.
Plus change all the bearings. That seems to be what I am always working on. Exhaust pipes can be another issue.

UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I rarely buy 'running' bikes, I look for bikes that are cheap with common issues that likely need a simple fix.
I'd also rather not buy a bike that's been doctored up for resale by an owner just trying to dump it either. .
The problem is around here I find a lot of bikes that have been flooded in bad storms.
Rust, owner abuse, neglect and bad repairs are all too common.
It always amazed me what extent some people will go to just to fix it the wrong way or to save a buck or two.
Fix-a-flat, duct tape, and car parts are pretty common lately.
I've even run across a few bikes that were doctored up to look like clean original barn finds but they were put together with painted up junk parts just to make a sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I heard back from the guy with the GS, he said he talked to his son and his son told him he looked the bike up online and he feels the bike is worth $4,500 the way it sits and more if it were running. So much for that idea. I told the guy that even in good running condition I couldn't find a book value anywhere close to that.
I just told him my offer stands, at least until I find something else.
Not wanting to make an argument with a neighbor I just left it at that. If he comes to his senses, fine, if not, he can keep it in his garage for another 30 years I guess.
Its an okay looking bike but I absolutely refuse to throw big money at an unknown bike like that. I wouldn't give $4,500 for it even if it were running and road worthy.
The way I see it is that its worth about $1,000 to me tops, so at $500, I can afford to put on a pair of new tires, change all the fluids, buy a new battery and fix anything else that age and sitting has done to it. Most likely that would include a carb overhaul and likely a set of fork seals. Not to mention the labor, whether mine or someone else's.

For now, I'll keep looking around, what I'm really after is a mid size bike for running around town on, something quick to hop on and go. My biggest problem is finding bikes that are suited for a big guy, at 6ft 3in tall and with long legs, fit is an issue on most bikes. It took me a while that I don't fit well on the cruiser style of bike, at least none that I've tried so far. I'm also more a fan of an inline motor, whether two, three or four cylinder. They're just easier to work on. The goal I suppose is to rethink what bikes I keep for my own, as I get older I'm thinking that maybe a nice older touring bike plus a smaller mid size runabout is more what I should be keeping in my garage.
One for local running around, another for longer trips.
 

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I have four Yamaha XS1100. $1,500 for a sweet running one, about 8 years ago. Had a fairing and bags. $200 for a spare parts bike, complete. Bought it today. $100 for a spare parts bike, some pieces missing. And a 1980 model in mint condition, with original fairing and bags and top box. Free.

If I found another one in good running condition, $500 would be my top price. I think the Suzuki would be in the same price range. I rode one of them when they were new. In some respects it might be better than my Yamahas. Certainly handle better. But I wanted a shaft drive.

UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Suzuki GS1100GK is a shaft drive. They only made that model for two years if I remember right.
It sits taller than the Yamaha or Honda.
The plain GS1100 was chain drive though.

I'd gladly take a Yamaha XS, I prefer the Yamaha in general to Suzuki in general. Back when they were new, a buddy had a sweet looking XS1100 Midnight Special edition in black and gold.
The only Yamaha I had the chance to ride from that era was an XS750 with a touring package on it, a neighbor of mine was in the Navy back then and he asked me to bring his bike up to him in Rhode Island one summer. The bike ran great but if felt overloaded with me on it with all the attached luggage, huge fairing, and a duffel bag behind me on the seat. I suppose the 1100 would have been better.

What I really liked about the Suzuki is its size, it sits taller than most bikes, its got more ground clearance and more distance between the pegs and the seat. The seat isn't cut down so low. Its probably not the best for center of gravity but for me its comfortable.

I've owned several touring type bikes in the past. I had three Goldwings, an 84 XL1200, a 93 XL1500, and a 1999 XL1500, I had a 1994 Yamaha Venture Royale, and a 1997 HD Heritage Softtail. The HD was the most comfortable but I didn't like the rear suspension much, I really liked the Yamaha's power but the charging system gave me trouble and it was plagued with other electrical issues. None were likely the fault of the bike, it had been through several owners before I bought it really cheap. The last owner added a second battery in the right side bag for night riding. The bike's alternator never seemed to keep up with the lights at night. It also had a slew of other issues. It had 8K when I got it, I kept it only to about 12k and traded it in on the 97 HD in 1999. I kept the HD till I moved two years later and bought something more suited for the hilly, winding road filled area I had moved to at that time.
All of those were heavy bikes, the Suzuki is fairly light in comparison, somewhere around 600 lbs or so. That's at least a 100 less than the HD and probably 200 less than the Yamaha I had. My last Goldwing was close to 900 lbs.
To me, the GS1100 tourer is sort of a compromise model, its not a full on touring bike, so its lighter, quicker, and more nimble than the others. For the type of riding I do now, it would suit me fine.
The bottom line is that I'm not picky, I'll take what ever comes along that I can afford, if I really like it, it stays for a while, if not, I'll use it for the season and flip it the first chance I get once I find its replacement. Of all my past bikes, the only one I regret selling is my CB900C, I sold it after it became the third bike in the garage one year. I had a CX650 sitting next to it with only 1200 miles on it, and I had just bought the Yamaha Venture Royale with 11,880 miles on it and the CB900C had almost 80k, plus I needed the room.
The dual transmissions on the CB made it well suited for the mountains and for long trips. It was a good all purpose bike. They made a 1000cc version of it too. When I sold mine, I thought mine was getting a bit rough around the edges. I've looked at a few lately and so far everyone has been 10 times worse than the one I sold years ago.
 

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I suppose in another 10 years of collecting dust that bike might be worth more than $500. I'd walk and never look back. Unfortunately, Spring has arrive and everyone will think their used bike is suddenly worth more. But you may find more to choose from now too. So good luck and just keep looking. You'll score at some point.:thumbsup:
 

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Thank you for the info on the Suzuki shaft drive.
Both of my spares bikes are midnight specials.
Exhaust pipes are getting hard to find. Mac makes new pipes for too much $$ and they are not very good. Yami did not run well with them on.
The XS1100 weigh around 555 pounds.
The front forks are too skinny, they need a fork brace. $100. Got one on the bike I bought yesterday.
I have ducks disease, so usually cut an inch out of the forward part of the seat. The 79 Special has different front brakes. Silly design and requires different pads. All the others have matching pads front and rear, and much easier to replace. The electrical connections can corrode and not transmit power. The motors are great. I have three. Correction, forgot about the mint 1980. Four total, two in running bikes and 2 spare. I have enough parts to make a Midnight Special, but that will be a down the road rainy day project. Got to get the stupid brakes apart on the 79 Special next.

Good luck with finding a bike. I still agree with the $500 offer on the Suzuki. Kid is a dreamer. These bikes have just tipped the old age limit, where they need someone with a few smarts to keep them running.

UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The guy called me back this morning, he told me he thought about it a bit and he would take $3,500 if I came right over.
I told him it was out of my price range and wished him luck.
He's not a kid, he's in his 70's or so. My guess is that he bought the bike years ago and never really rode it much, he's still got the idea that he's got a new bike sitting there with low miles.
When it comes to miles, I don't look at bike miles like car miles. I'd rather buy a bike that's been running daily with 60,000 miles on it vs one with 20,000 that's been sitting for 30 years. The bike that's been getting used regularly isn't as likely to have as much sitting damage like dry rotted seals, leaking forks, bad shocks, etc. Not to mention carb issues.
I looked at a GS850GL this morning, also shaft drive, the guy said it was a running bike, what he didn't say was that it only runs at wide open throttle. He's asking $800. The throttle and cable are working fine, but it revs to 8k the instant it fires. My guess is that all of the throttle slides are stuck. The throttle cable snaps back just fine and the row of carbs seems to be moving in unison. Its got 24k on it, but has been repainted with an odd flip/flop purple-pink color that the guy seems to think is something special. I personally don't care what color it is but I won't pay him any extra for his expensive odd color paint job. He painted the bike before trying to get it running, that's on him.
The bike's overall condition is good, its got a few things that need attention, a bit of surface rust on some of the chrome and the seat has wear on the lower edges where it looks like it was slid across a concrete floor. The lights were also completely innop. I left that one at a $400 offer, just too many variables and its only an 850cc bike. Without the luggage though, its likely on par with the 1100 power wise. It felt like it sat lower than the 1100 though, but it was a different year and motor size. Its one of those bikes that I'd buy it if it were cheap enough, but I don't have to have it.
 

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No way! 3500 is way too much even if it was pristine and running.
 

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No way! 3500 is way too much even if it was pristine and running.
Agreed. My mint 80 XS1100 would be hard pressed to fetch that much. In Ozz it might get $9000. But it is not for sale. Next time it changes hands, it will be for the same price I paid. Zero. So it will go to a bike museum, and be a show bike until then.

The one I just unloaded is rusty. I can strip it and have the pros sand blast it. Then paint it and put it back together. $200 plus the blasting, new tyres, probably some bearings and we are off.

Pics later. UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There's plenty of rusty everything around here. Most of the bikes I look at have been kept outdoors their whole life or been in a flood. I could never understand how someone could buy a brand new bike and park it in front of their garage rather than putting inside or building it a shed. I'm in an area where the yards are 1/4 acre or larger, yet I see brand new bikes just parked in front of the house, unlocked, uncovered, and rusting. I've got a neighbor who bought one of those new water cooled Harley Street series bikes, it has sat in front of his house parked on a walkway to the front door since he bought it last year. He covered it with a tarp, but the tarp fell apart after the first snow. I saw him and a couple buddies out there all trying to get it to start the other day. I'm not in a sea shore area but things rust here all the same. I'm 15 miles as a crow flies to the nearest saltwater.
I keep my bikes in a 20x24 shed or in my enclosed bike trailer. Chrome has to be polished and waxed regularly and the bike has to be washed any time you ride anywhere near the shore or on salted or brined roads in the winter. If not, the thing will rust and rust bad.
My pet peeve is why manufacturers will chrome plate or use stainless steel on nearly everything on the bike and leave a dozen or so nuts, bolts, and washers unprotected to rust and turn brown.

Worse yet are the spokes on my Boulevard, they turn brown overnight, as fast as I can clean and dry them, they start hazing over with rust. Even a $200 bicycle comes with stainless spokes, I'd have thought that by now motorcycle builders would have caught on.

Used bikes here rarely run, at least those being sold by private sale. Every last bike I've looked at in the sub $2,000 range have been either completely dead from sitting, had a new battery and won't fire due to clogged up carbs, or ran so badly they weren't driveable. Usually the seller advertised it as being mint condition, ready to ride. I find the more adjectives they use to describe the bike, the worse it will be.
Personally, I'd rather have a bike in absolutely perfect cosmetic condition that needs a carb job or even maybe something more major than to deal with a rusty, worn out turd that'll take months or work and parts to bring back to decent shape. The problem is, I've not yet ever seen one here like that. Those that will let their bike get to an unridable state for any reason, aren't the type to take care of it cosmetically either. The best bet is estate sales but then you deal with the lost title issue which is basically impossible here. They won't even accept out of state registrations that come from any of the no title states now. (Nevada, Alabama, Vermont, etc.)


The owner of that GS called me again last night 'to see if I had changed my mind on his $3500 price'. I told him my $500 offer stands till I buy something else, but I told him that its getting close to riding season here and bikes are coming up for sale all over. I told him he could call me if he decided to sell if for $500, but if not, no problem, there's hundreds of bikes for sale all over the place this time of year. The more he pushes, the less I want it.
 

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Well, I heard back from the guy with the GS, he said he talked to his son and his son told him he looked the bike up online and he feels the bike is worth $4,500 the way it sits and more if it were running. So much for that idea. I told the guy that even in good running condition I couldn't find a book value anywhere close to that.
I just told him my offer stands, at least until I find something else.
Not wanting to make an argument with a neighbor I just left it at that. If he comes to his senses, fine, if not, he can keep it in his garage for another 30 years I guess.
Its an okay looking bike but I absolutely refuse to throw big money at an unknown bike like that. I wouldn't give $4,500 for it even if it were running and road worthy.
The way I see it is that its worth about $1,000 to me tops, so at $500, I can afford to put on a pair of new tires, change all the fluids, buy a new battery and fix anything else that age and sitting has done to it. Most likely that would include a carb overhaul and likely a set of fork seals. Not to mention the labor, whether mine or someone else's.

For now, I'll keep looking around, what I'm really after is a mid size bike for running around town on, something quick to hop on and go. My biggest problem is finding bikes that are suited for a big guy, at 6ft 3in tall and with long legs, fit is an issue on most bikes. It took me a while that I don't fit well on the cruiser style of bike, at least none that I've tried so far. I'm also more a fan of an inline motor, whether two, three or four cylinder. They're just easier to work on. The goal I suppose is to rethink what bikes I keep for my own, as I get older I'm thinking that maybe a nice older touring bike plus a smaller mid size runabout is more what I should be keeping in my garage.
One for local running around, another for longer trips.
I had one, years ago and it is an excellent bike. The son is thinking way too muck money, in my opinion. Especially for a non running bike!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A buddy told me that he thinks it was in a local shopper paper for sale last week for $4500 OBO.
The guy is dreaming. The ad said Mint clean GS1100 needs carb clean, tires, starter, and battery.
What gets me though is that there are some out there that will just pay what ever someone asks.
For example, I bought a wrecked Suzuki Intruder at an auction, it had sat outdoors for several years
but I needed a few bits and pieces off it and I only gave $50 for it with no papers.
I had a guy here a couple days ago who was here looking at another bike I had for sale, one that ran and had papers, for $3500. He saw the wreck sitting on a cart in the garage and asked if I'd sell that one. Not wanting to deal with selling something with no title to someone off the street, I said I'd take $1500 cash, and made it clear its just a parts bike because there was no title. He forked over the cash and he and his buddy tossed it in the truck. He said he didn't need a title, he already had a tag. I told him I had no idea if the motor was even any good and that both brakes were locked up but it didn't phase him a bit. The paint was decent, but it was faded to almost a pink color. I had taken the ignition ignitor module, battery box, both carbs, rear shocks and rear shock mounts off it.
There wasn't much left other than the front end and the motor, and both wheels were leaning against the wall. I had it sitting on a cut down shopping cart so I could move it around.
I sold the good bike the next day to someone else for my asking price.

Yet Ive got a super low mile Intruder here that needs tires and a carb cleaning that hasn't drawn so much as an email.
I sold a CL400A last week that had 79,887 miles on it and a rattle can paint job for $900 cash that hadn't run or seen the light of day in 30 years. The guy drove 700 miles to get it. What got me the most is that there's a handful of really nice examples of that same model around here for sale in turn key shape for about the same price or only a bit more. For $100 less, the guy bought mine instead.

I bought a running GS650 last night for $200, it was up on CL for a month with no takers, it was turn key minus an almost dead battery. I popped a fresh battery in it and took it for a ride this morning. I ordered it some fresh tires and gave it a new set of plugs. Its a 6 out of 10 cosmetically, but the paint is perfect and the seller just had the brakes all redone at a local dealer just last fall. Its not a keeper but I'll keep it around for fun for the summer I suppose. (Unless someone makes me a crazy offer I can't refuse, which in that case its gone). Its biggest down side is an aftermarket Kerker header and pipe that will wake up the dead.
 
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