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Old 12-24-2012, 11:10 AM   #1
LandPirateMBC OP
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New bike advice?

I'm currently commuting daily on a 1978 Suzuki GS400. It's got enough power to pull me at 70- 75mph on the hwy without crazy vibrations or struggling too much , six speed tranny and has never failed me. Yet It just doesn't seem like a bike i'd want to spend more than a hour or two on the hwy with. I've been considering the Suzuki S40 due to the fact I'm sure it will have the same rock solid reliability as my GS but seems as if it would be slightly more confidence inspiring. I love how simple it is, Air cooled thumper, one carb so no syncing, Belt drive would take less maintenance then my current chain. Seems like it would be a real simple bike to wrench on. Plus, Customization possibilities are endless and easy. I've owned everything from vintage italian scooters, 1100cc cruisers, Japanese liter bikes and even a few two stroke racers and at this point i'm basically just looking for a good solid, simple bike that can be ridden daily, maybe taken on the occasional out of state trip and keep me from buying a cage. I don't need to set any speed records and after owning a R1 I'm sure the S40 would feel plenty comfy and more economical. What i'd like to know is will the S40 be a solid replacement for my GS or will it leave me disappointed? My GS puts on 28hp on the dyno and Suzuki is claiming 32hp out of the S40 which weighs 50lbs less than my bike. What would you fellows do?
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:18 PM   #2
rider33
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I think you'd miss the twin more than you'd like the added displacement, a bit too close in. A nice clean DL650 would be a lot more flexible. I never quite warmed to it but many do & it's light years from a GS400.
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:27 PM   #3
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Why not find a used one for sale and test ride it?
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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How tall are you? The S40 is a small bike. Oh, and it used to be called the Suzuki Savage 650. The bike has been unchanged for decades.

It's a fun little thumper -- I have a friend who has two of them and has ridden them tens of thousands of miles. However, at 6'2", it's simply not for me...
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:39 PM   #5
JustKip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandPirateMBC View Post
I'm currently commuting daily on a 1978 Suzuki GS400. It's got enough power to pull me at 70- 75mph on the hwy without crazy vibrations or struggling too much , six speed tranny and has never failed me. Yet It just doesn't seem like a bike i'd want to spend more than a hour or two on the hwy with.
This is exactly why I would suggest you go with a larger displacement. Unless your current GS400 is a european spec bike, it's 37 horsepower (in the US) measured at the crankshaft, like the Savage's 32 hp. You will be loosing a pretty big percentage of total power, and a gear too. So you'll have less gear/power overlap. In short, performance will be noticable lower.

If it's a cruiser for longer trips on the highway you're looking for, I'd suggest a 40 hp Yamaha/Star 650 V-twin as an absolute minimum, and a Honda Shadow 750 or Kawasaki Vulcan 750, 800 or 900 would be a big step up from there.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:14 PM   #6
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I rode an '80 Suzuki GS450L for many years, it was my first new street bike. Sadly, there is really nothing out there today to compare it to. Adventure bikes are too big and top heavy, you feel like you are sitting on top of them. Sportbikes are nothing but torture devices, great for the track, or a fast run up a curvy mountain road, but certainly not long distance. Todays cruisers are seriously down on power from late '70s/early '80s cruisers, but are still probably the best way to go. They will not be light and nimble like your GS400. Even a V-Star 650 is a big heavy bike, but slow. If you fit it, and don't need a lot of power, the S40 is a very good choice. It is still air cooled and carbed, so there is very little to go wrong with it. But it will not feel like that GS400. I have a Vulcan 750, bought new in '02, and currently have 75,000 miles on it. It has been a good bike, and has taken me all over the country, it has plenty of power for a 750, but it is not as maintenance free as many people think. I would prefer to maintain a chain drive than tear the whole rear end out of the Vulcan every 10,000 miles to maintain the shaft drive.

I hate to say it, because I think they are the ugliest bikes on earth, but a new CB500 might ride more like the GS400 than anything else. But I just can't get past it's looks. I want a motorcycle not a spaceship.


EDIT: One bike that might be a good replacement for the GS400, still looks like a motorcycle, and is definitely capable of long distance highway travel is the Kawasaki Vulcan 500. It is a liquid cooled 500cc parallel twin that dates back to 1985, and was the replacement for the 454LTD, which was a replacement for the 440 LTD. It puts out over 50 hp, and is very comfortable. It's no longer available new, but it was made through '09, and there are a lot of nice ones still out there.
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Old 12-25-2012, 11:43 AM   #7
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@page62 im 5'11 180lbs. So not the biggest dude but space could become an issue on long treks. I considered that 250sf of yours but they are rare on the used market and priced above the cbr 250r which would me more fun in my area if I decided on a 250. If the savage would put out less power than my GS then it's out of the question for sure. I love the look and simplicity of a single so I wouldn't miss a twin too much. However the only way I would consider a power drop would be for a cbr 250r. and as far as more power I'm not willing to get it at the cost of additional weight so I suppose sticking to the GS and maybe upgrading it will be the best bet for the time being. After owning a virago 750 and 1100 I've realized I belong on a nice light simple bike. The wife rides a nighthawk 250 and its also nice for my bikes to no drastically overpower hers so that I don't have to hold back a lot.

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Old 12-25-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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Check out the Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Decent power and comfortable. Also about the same size as your GS400. But if you can keep the GS400 going I would definitely do that for as long as possible. It is a better bike than anything made today.
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
Check out the Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Decent power and comfortable. Also about the same size as your GS400. But if you can keep the GS400 going I would definitely do that for as long as possible. It is a better bike than anything made today.
+1
They quit making it in '08 or '09 cuz it couldn't pass new and stricter smog requirements. It uses the same engine as the Ninja 500 - a pretty big jump in power over the GS400 (about 20 more, IIRC).

If it's new you want it would be hard to beat this one from Honda...
http://powersports.honda.com/2013/cb500x.aspx

15 more hp than your current ride and only a couple of pounds heavier. It gets better mpg and has a bigger tank. Modern and low maintanance, and at a pretty acceptable price. I love this bike and am considering it for a 6 month trip to south america.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:00 PM   #10
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S40

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