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Thread: What headlight/housing do I have?? 6" round on '81 GS1100E

  1. #1
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    Default What headlight/housing do I have?? 6" round on '81 GS1100E

    My bike is an 81 GS1100E, however previous yo my ownership someone did some work converting it into a bit of a cafe styled "custom" This included replacing the bulky OE rectangular headliight, housing, and large gauge cluster with a round headlight and some smaller aftermarket gauges. The round headlight housing bolts right up to the OEM original headlight mounting brackets (shown in image below) which seem to be specific to just the 80 and 81 1100E models.

    Since the housing on there bolts right up to the OEM brackets I had just assumed it was taken from some other GS of a similar vintage that used a round headlight, except that from the little bit of research I've done thats not the case. The light on my bike is almost exactly 6" in diameter (measuring the OD of the glass lense), whereas it seems most of the stock round GS headlights of the era were 7" models (with a few oddball 8")? Also this headlight housing/assembly has no provisions for adjusting the beam (up/down, left/right) beyond angling the whole housing up or down about its pivot/mounting bolts. From what I can tell looking at parts diagrams, all the OE round headlight assemblies have adjustment mechanisms built in to them.

    So my question is, any ideas or thoughts on what headlamp assembly is installed on there? I planning some electronics and lighting upgrades in the near future and trying to figure out my options for headlights, but now it looks like ive got some goofy non-standard reflector? Any insight is appreciated.

    gs headlight brackets.jpg

  2. #2
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    You might have a light from an "L".

    That suspicion would have a little more merit if the housing is also chrome steel.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by phydeauxmutt View Post
    You might have a light from an "L".

    That suspicion would have a little more merit if the housing is also chrome steel.
    Did it use a 6" headlight reflector? The housing on my bike has a chromed steel front ring/bezel, but the main bucket/housing is painted a gloss black. That being said, it could have started off chromed and been painted to match bike's aesthetic by whomever installed it. I will take some pictures of the assembly and its constituent parts when I get home tonight. From my memory of how it goes together/comes apart and comparing that to parts diagrams for the '81 "GL", I don't think they are they same. But its been a few weeks since I had it off and apart so memory isnt crystal clear.

  4. #4
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    If it's 6", it's either from an L or another brand. As you mentioned, most others were 7", but I think the 1150 and maybe a couple of the 1100s had the 8" "train light".
    If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space.

  5. #5
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    INNNNNNNNteresting, had no idea the "L" had a smaller reflector, all the measurements/references I found were for 7". Now I can't wait to get home and get to the bottom of this. Just to make sure we're on same page, when you say "L" model, are you referring to the GS 1000/1100 GL models? Or the various smaller-dsiaplcement GS 300/450/550/750 L models? Both? I'm fairly new to the suzuki/GS lineup (this is my first one) so I'm still making sense of all the model years/iterations!
    Last edited by RocketScientist; 07-21-2021 at 11:08 AM.

  6. #6
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    FYI: The '80 and '81 11E rectangular light is called the "lunchbox," and is considered by old school old timers like myself, less attractive than standard round style. Ditto that for the gauge cluster.

    The '82 and '83 11E round light is called the "train," maybe because of it's large size.

    Have we seen pictures of your Suzi yet? Without using an outside photo-hosting site, you can attach one small pic to each post.
    1982 GS1100E V&H "SS" exhaust, APE pods, 1150 oil cooler, 140 speedo, 99.3 rear wheel HP, black engine, '83 red

    2016 XL883L Two-tone blue and white. Almost 42 hp! Status: destroyed, now owned by the insurance company. The hole in my memory starts an hour before the accident and ends 24 hours after.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob S. View Post
    Have we seen pictures of your Suzi yet? Without using an outside photo-hosting site, you can attach one small pic to each post.
    I've posted some pics in other threads. But heres one for the curious. Taken shortly after I got it, so she's been subjected to a hefty dose of elbow grease since then (cleaned, polished, various maintenance items sorted, etc). But all-in-all this is what she looks like

    PXL_20210701_222454464.PORTRAIT_2.jpg

  8. #8
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    Oh, that one. Can't say I'm a fan of exhaust tape, but after hearing that the previous owner customized it into a cafe, I think I speak for the vast majority of us in saying that we were pleasantly surprised. When we hear about a PO customizing or turning a bike into a cafe racer, 99.99% of the time it's a very sad disaster story of a project that never got completed. Your's is the exception to that rule.
    1982 GS1100E V&H "SS" exhaust, APE pods, 1150 oil cooler, 140 speedo, 99.3 rear wheel HP, black engine, '83 red

    2016 XL883L Two-tone blue and white. Almost 42 hp! Status: destroyed, now owned by the insurance company. The hole in my memory starts an hour before the accident and ends 24 hours after.

  9. #9
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    That looks like a plain old round 7" that came on many, probably most all, GS models, not the 6" "L" nor the 8" "Train light models.
    1983 GS1100E, 1983 CB1100F, 1991 GSX1100G, 1996 Kaw. ZL600 Eliminator, 1999 Bandit 1200S, 2005 Bandit 1200S, 2000 Kaw. ZRX 1100

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob S. View Post
    Oh, that one. Can't say I'm a fan of exhaust tape, but after hearing that the previous owner customized it into a cafe, I think I speak for the vast majority of us in saying that we were pleasantly surprised. When we hear about a PO customizing or turning a bike into a cafe racer, 99.99% of the time it's a very sad disaster story of a project that never got completed. Your's is the exception to that rule.
    I agree re. the exhaust wrap, especially on a bike (vs a car) where its not protected under a hood, so is going to get oil and road grime and water and everything else on it. But the wrap is mostly in decent shape at the moment, and from what I've peeked underneath it, looks better as-is than it would with the splotchy rusted pipes underneath exposed. Sorting out some new headers/exhaust is on the list, but with more important fish to fry before I get there, I'm leaving the wrap on for now more as a vanity coverup than anything else. And I'm on about the same page as far as the overall style/execution of the bike. I am not averse to the cafe style in general if done well, but most out there aren't. This bike is certainly not exactly how I would have built it had I been the one doing it, but the quality of the work is pretty good in most aspects (some rough spots) and I really like parts of it. The price was very right, for a running complete bike in overall pretty good condition and leaves a lot of room in the budget to change the things I am not crazy about. Bottom line, she is a blast to ride, and looks pretty OK, and cost me basically nothing. So its hard to complain!


    Quote Originally Posted by rphillips View Post
    That looks like a plain old round 7" that came on many, probably most all, GS models, not the 6" "L" nor the 8" "Train light models.
    It may LOOK like it, but when I measure across the OD of the glass lens, it comes in at 5.9895" (I rounded up to 6" lol). Unless people are reporting the OD of the entire housing when they quote a headlight size, this one is definitely not a 7"

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