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Suzuki GS500 Naked Motorbike Review

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Suzuki GS500E motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 2

Having been around since Adam was an embryo, the Suzuki GS500E may be a trusty workhorse but it tends not to inspire passion in riders due to drab handling, gutless performance, dreadful finish and its perpetual association with L plates. The GS500E looks ok and they’re dirt cheap but, for a few hundred pounds more, you can do a lot better these days…

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

A sturdy lump, if ever there was one, but it’s ancient and lacking in power. The Suzuki GS500E probably performs best in town where a bit of low down grunt can see you out of any nasty entanglements. Elsewhere, however, the GS500E's a chore to get it up to speed. High mileages are common, which is a good sign, but the whole set up needs to be updated to keep the Suzuki GS500E in touch with modern competitors.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3

Oh dear. The soft, wallowy suspension makes for laborious riding and bad handling whilst lack of feedback means the rider’s unable to corner with confidence, let alone speed on the Suzuki GS500E. Furthermore, it all gets worse over time. Brakes are dreadful but the gearbox is good.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 2.5

The Suzuki GS500E os a basic package and, for the money, you can’t really complain. Comfy seat, wide bars, a grabrail and an adjustable brake lever almost cover it. The fuel tank’s pretty huge on the GS500E and, for Category A licence holders, a restrictor kit is available.

Suzuki GS500E (1989-2008)

Detail Value
New price £3,349
Dealer used prices
£1,420 (2002) - £2,300 (2008)
Private used prices
£1,280 (2002) - £2,070 (2008)
  View full used price info
Engine size 487 cc
Power 47 bhp
Top speed 110 mph
Insurance group 7 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 2 rating is 3.5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Ride & Handling rating is 2 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 2.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 2 rating is 3.5
Value rating is 3 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Whilst the engines are proven, the rest of the bike suffers from famously-bad build quality. The paint on the GS500E is thin, scratches easily then quickly rusts. Similarly, metal parts corrode rapidly. The welds are a particular weak spot on the Suzuki GS500E: it may be sensible to invest in shed loads of WD40. On the plus side, it’s said the old Suzukis crash well… !

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

It’s ludicrously-cheap asking price is the Suzuki GS500E’s saving grace. What’s more, it’s in a very low insurance group and does millions of miles to the gallon, making big savings over other bikes. However, owners of the GS500E may find tweaks to the brakes and/or suspension necessary, which could raise their outlay considerably. Find a Suzuki GS500 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 7 of 17

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Model History

1989: Suzuki GS500E launched as an unfaired roadster. Very few, minor tweaks (front forks became adjustable, as did the brake lever, it got lower bars etc) until 2001 when it was discontinued.
1992: A fully-faired version of the ‘E’ joined the stable.
2001: The new Suzuki GS500E was launched. It got a make-over with new bodywork, redesigned seat, larger fuel tank etc.
2004: Suzuki GS500E gets a catalytic converter. GS500F is launched with a full fairing.

Other Versions

Suzuki GS500F: faired version, whose current, jazzed-up paint job is influenced by the GSX-R range. Looks a bit antiquated but quite smart, all the same. Same basic spec as standard model although weighs in at 180kg, is slightly taller and has more ground clearance.

Specifications

Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.8 secs
Max power 47 bhp
Max torque 30 ft-lb
Weight 174 kg
Seat height 790 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Tank range 220 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 7 of 17
Engine size 487 cc
Engine specification 4v parallel twin, 6 gears
Frame Steel twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 130/70 x 17

See all Suzuki GS500 motorcycles for sale

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£995

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68500 miles

£890

Suzuki
GS500

7800 miles

£1,595

Suzuki
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12000 miles

£1,150

Suzuki
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47272 miles

£500

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(23 reviews)

  • Excellent Middleweight

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I've Probably ridden /raced / prepared over five hundred different bikes since the early sixties, so think I can give the GS500E a fair appraisal. Bought last September for £1,500 my K4 model had 3,000 miles and 9 months Road Tax and had been serviced on time intervals by the lady owner. Lack of wear on the original rear Bridgestone told me 'Not Thrashed'. Considering it had been parked outdoors under a cover from new, the finish was OK, anway a few rusty bolts don't affect the ride of this well balanced middleweight. The soft front forks are easily fixed by using more fork oil and a thicker grade sorts the damping. Rear suspension is fine once you get the preload set for your weight. Brakes are really good if they are maintained correctly. Get the wheels in line (don't use markers on swingarm), and it handes well if the tyres are not to old (there's a date code on sidewall of all tyres), with plenty of feel in the wet. Relocating the heavy tool kit from the seat tail to under the battery, or better still under the workbench!, also helps, as does not having a top box. Power delivery is fine for an aircooled 2 valve twin, although five gears would be adequate. Ever fancied something like a sixties British twin but without the dreadful reliability, brakes, vibration and oil leaks etc., yet want to maintain it yourself? Then have a ride on a decent GS500.

    08 March 2007

  • Good, cheap , all round workhorse

    mcrmike

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Had a 1995 from new, kept for five years, the only trouble I ever had with it was the rev counter cable broke. It was reliable, comfortable and "safe", if you want excitement buy a fireblade , if you want a cheap, good, reliable workhorse buy a GS500E. Strengths: Un-intimidating, user friendly, cheap to run, good fuel range. Weaknesses: Poor finish, built down to a price, if you use it all year round, be prepared to keep on top of corrosion.

    29 October 2006

  • Bought August 2005 £3499 had Honda Varadero 125 4 2 years prior clocked 78,000 miles no probs

    ZarazakM1bikeboy

    Average rating rating is 1.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Was really happy with bike until at 6450 had total engine failure, new engine fitted courtesy of Suzuki and I paid for fitting, then at 12000 bike bouldnt work and when had taken to agrage air cleaner was seriously wet - NO APPARENT REASON - however I heard that someone else who works for my company and has a 1000cc also had the same problem no apparent reason. Since then have had nothing but trouble with this bike like its jinxed big time - had trouble wtih the wiring - had to have a new relay fitted at 15000 which got WET now the bike is constantly stalling even after running for an hour if I slow sown and or come to a halt the engine stops dead and is a bugger to re-start with no apparent reason - I have re-booked bike into garage to see if they have an iota as to whats going on now, I do on average 900 miles a week. And this bike just eats oil, 5 liters of oil went in last month and only 1.5 liters came out. Strengths: Can't think of any. Weaknesses: It eats oil, the saddle is so uncomfortable its sometimes unbareable on long journeys I dont like this bike at all and its a bugger to sell on being made in Spain

    23 May 2006

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sandro650

sandro650says

General review

I got a 2006 gs500f Good: Easy to learn on Moderate torque Cheap in general/parts Easy Handling Moderate styling(2004 and up versions) Comfortable riding Great bike to learn mechanics, handling, and is fun (way better than a 250cc for a bigger bike) up to 120mph fairings will handle freeway Great commuter really cheap insurance Kick stand so that both wheels are up BAD: Rust almost every where metal soft suspensions also non-adjustable Carbs suck (fuel injections is better) Heavy chassis Brakes are horrible Non adjustable clutch, brakes, and foot rest (as comparable to other bikes) Cheap paint Cheap plastics notorious squeaky rear brake weak throttle response

20 January 2013 05:22

mjkazmierski

mjkazmierskisays

get a good'un, ride it like a 2-stroke

I had a 95 Speed Triple before this, loved it, but my licence/life was far too much at stake... Bought a new all-black GS500 for £2600otr, had it over a year, 13000 miles, not a bit of rust, no maintanance needed, terrible brakes, no torque, all top end, sounds great close to the red line (air cooled engines do that), handles well enough for our roads, holds 100mph in corners with a pillion, which is enough to see off sunday superbike riders on the A24 down to Brighton most weekends. Forget modern (bikes evolve, but roads stay the same), forget list price, forget your ego, forget depreciation, forget risk of theft, forget breakdowns, forget all your bike-mag inspired preconceptions - buy a new/well looked after GS (never touch a "dog", they always bite), ride it like a two stroke and smile like you was 17 again...

27 March 2007 12:40

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