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Suzuki GS 500f: A Good FIRST Motorcycle?

This topic has 12 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 10 years ago by AvatarLoki.
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  • #3950
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    splittrain
    Participant

    Okay so I need YOUR help :-(

    I am a 19 year-old college student and I am interested in buying my first bike! For starters, I am 6′ 0″ and weigh 175 lbs (BTW I am a MALE, sorry creepers). I completed my Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course this past Sunday and now I am on the hunt for a bike.. I am looking into beginner 250~500cc bikes that fall into the category of SPORT. Specifically, I am looking into bikes that I will be able to own for the next year, be able to go on the highway with ease, and that looks sMexy. I am stuck on the 08 Kawasaki Ninja 250r and the Suzuki GS 500f (or any other decently looking ‘beginner’ bikes). I have read that the GS 500f is a great beginner bike because it is light-weight, has a low ride height, easy to handle, and it also is more upright seating posture than most sport bikes. I have also read that the Ninja 250 is like the best thing ever for beginners. I showed my dad a picture of a 2004 GS 500 and he said that it looks like too much “bike” than I need for my first bike. So he thinks that the GS 500 is too much for my first bike and he’d rather me get something smaller.

    I need help. Coming from a riders perspective.. Which one is the best for me (considering my experience/size/interest); and if you suggest the GS 500, how do I convince my dad that its better than most other starting bikes!?

    Thanks in advance… :-)

    #26374
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    Jeff in Kentucky
    Participant

    I would sit on both- have the sales guy hold the bikes up so you can put both feet on the pegs. One will probably naturally feel like it “fits” you better, and you can change footpegs, handlebars and seats to make it even better for you.

    The technology is better for the newest 250cc Ninja- it will start easier and not have a long warm up to run right, and it will probably get better gas mileage. The 500cc Suzuki is a little heavier and has a little more power, so it might be better with a passenger or at 75 mph compared to the 250cc Ninja. The insurance is probably less for the 250cc Ninja.

    #26375
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    WeaponZero
    Participant

    the GS500 is an excellent first bike. But technology-wise its a bit behind the times and the fact that it is air cooled rather than liquid cooled to me is a turnoff but might not be a big deal to you. The kawasaki ninja 250 and 500 are more high tech and just better overall street bikes IMO.

    #26377
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    splittrain
    Participant

    Now you got me thinking… Have any of yall sat on the new Ninja and the old Ninja?.


    @Jeff
    in Kentucky: I rode the old Ninja 250 in the MSF course; and I sat on the new Ninja before the MSF course. If I remember correctly the new one felt better but ehh there has been soo much good things said about the 08 Ninja 250 that I cannot take for granted…


    @WeaponZero
    : thanks for the tip, I didnt know the 500 was not liquid cooled..

    now the question for me is used vs new ninja :-/

    #26379
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    Gary856
    Participant

    I’m about the same size as you – 6′, 170 lbs. My very first bike is an ’01 GS500. I still believe it’s the perfect beginner bike. Physical size wise, it felt great in the beginning (easy to flat foot, with knees comfortable bent), but with 16 months of riding experience on 4 different bikes, I now feel the GS500 a little small – the seat is 1.5-2″ too low for me. I think its size is perfect for someone between 5’8″-5’10”, with 28″-30″ inseam.

    Take a look at the review and user comments (a few from me) on this site about GS500:

    Suzuki GS500 Review

    #26397
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    Jeff in Kentucky
    Participant

    The newer 250cc Ninja looks more modern, has a better suspension, and has fuel injection.

    The older one (before 2008) is less expensive, has taller and more comfortable handlebars, and an older suspension design that does not work quite as well, and older carbs instead of fuel injection.

    Go to the last recommended reading on the right side of this page for more comparison info.

    #26398
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    CBBaron
    Participant

    The Ninja 250r does NOT have fuel injection in the US.
    There were significant changes for the 2008 model year. Biggest was the new plastic, also improvements to the suspension and a move to 17″ wheels. The engine is tuned differently with a slight loss of peak power and worse fuel economy but supposedly improved mid-range power.

    Sitting on the bikes the riding position and size is very similar however the seat is quite different with a two piece on the new one and the biggest thing for me is the lower and more aggressive cut in the fairing for the knees interferes with my long legs making it somewhat uncomfortable.

    Craig

    #26479
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    madjak30
    Participant

    I wouldn’t write off the GS500 because of air cooling…they have been around for over 20 years, and are one of the more reliable bikes out there…of course I am biased, but I don’t think a bike would survive if it was a piece of…

    I just finished my first ride on my GS and I don’t know if I would like a bike with any less power than it has. The 200cc bikes from the course are good for around town, but as soon as you hit any kind of speed, they loose steam…but the bonus is manouverability, man the light bikes turn on a dime and make change…I haven’t sat on the Ninja 250, but I sat on a Ninja 650R and it was tighter feeling than my GS…I’m 5’11” so not that far off of your height. Like Jeff said, sit on all of the bikes that you are considering…think about how they all felt, then go sit on them again…remember that you will probably be sitting on the bike for an hour or two when you are riding, so try to imagine if you would be comfortable for that length of time in the saddle…

    I thought my GS500 was pretty roomy, so I bought it…after sitting on it for a couple of hours today, well it wasn’t bad, but it could have been better…

    It will come down to what you prefer…you can alway just stop more often…you need to like the bike that you are riding. It is part of what puts the smile on your face when riding it…

    Take your time making your decision and have fun…

    Good Luck!!

    #26503
    Avatar
    splittrain
    Participant

    I have actually hit up a guy on craigslist earlier last week and am planning on seeing his ’04 GS 500f on saturday. am excited ill keep you posted about my sit on/test ride with it.

    ps i have not given up on the gs 500 cuz the air cooling! ;-)

    #26517
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    gitchy42
    Participant

    The nice thing about new is that you get to break it in yourself, you know all of the history of the bike and it will be covered by a full factory warranty. If you can find a new bike in a shop that is 1 or 2 model years old you can get it for a good price.

    The great thing about a used bike is that it has already been broken in, a previous owner may have already installed upgrades and the price is almost-always better than new. If you manage to get a used bike that is 2-3 years old, you can keep it for a season or two and usually sell it for what you paid for it.

    Nate

    #27536
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    ctruzzi
    Participant

    Great read, I am actually taking the course next week and thinking about these two bikes as well. While I would rather get a new one as I have had many people try to sell me a used car that was complete BS (bad fixes, broken things they said were working right) and with no bike experience I would believe anything someone said. I would love to hear what you are seeing for prices for the gs 500 even if you live some where else.
    -different Craig

    #27538
    Avatar
    madjak30
    Participant

    So our prices are higher than the States…but the GS500, in either style, seem to be anywhere from $2800 to $3500 for a bike in good shape. Those prices are for anywhere from 2000 to 2005…newer models go up from there…new the bike has an MSRP of $7100 ish…the used prices in the States is probably about $1000 cheaper…you just have to keep an eye on the classifieds and online…you will know a good price when you see it, and take a friend with you to help you with the bike knowledge, and to help you not get too excited…

    Good Luck!!

    #27572
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    Loki
    Participant

    The gs500f was my first bike. A great learning bike and you can also have lots of fun with it to. But that also means more trouble sometimes. Dont expect to be racing, stunting, or flying down the interstate at highspeeds!

    Great bike tho

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