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Old 02-02-2013, 09:13 PM   #1
mrbreeze OP
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Suzuki M50 Marauder

Tell me about the M50. My daughter's boyfriend bought a '05 model with about 20k today. Is there any kind of maintenance issues he should be aware of? How long do they last?

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Old 02-03-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
ZZ-R Rider
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Not aware of any specific maintenance issues with the VZ800 ... valve adjustments are a PITA from what I hear ... The '05 M50 is essentially the same Bike as the previous gen VZ800 Marauder 'cept with shaft drive and a few other minor diffs ... the newer ones since the latest re-styling are really cool looking Bikes!
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:23 PM   #3
JerryH
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The '05 Marauder is indeed a nice bike. It's engine design goes all the way back to the 1985 Intruder, and is well proven. It is liquid cooled, shaft drive, and has tubeless tires. It also has fuel injection, which is either good or bad depending on your preference. I like carbs. Nothing specific to look out for, just the usual stuff. If properly maintained, it should last over 100,000 miles. As was said, adjusting the valves in a pain, because the engine fits tight in the frame, and it is very difficult to get the valve covers off. You have to remove a lot of other stuff first.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:15 AM   #4
Mattbastard
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I would actually like to make counter-point. Not to piss you off here but my GF has an M50. I did a thorough amount of research, unfortunately after she bought it. Turns out the new M50 (and maybe the Marauder I dunno) gets its cam chains from China. Everyone knows China makes cheap crap. Well, the cam chains only seem to be good for about 25K miles. After that the tensioner stretches them long enough and the tensioner bottoms out. No more tension on the chain. Eventually further stretching loosens it up and it's flopping around in there, eventually breaking and causing all kinds of hell.

Again, not trying to scare you. Run it IMO.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:57 AM   #5
JerryH
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Originally Posted by Mattbastard View Post
I would actually like to make counter-point. Not to piss you off here but my GF has an M50. I did a thorough amount of research, unfortunately after she bought it. Turns out the new M50 (and maybe the Marauder I dunno) gets its cam chains from China. Everyone knows China makes cheap crap. Well, the cam chains only seem to be good for about 25K miles. After that the tensioner stretches them long enough and the tensioner bottoms out. No more tension on the chain. Eventually further stretching loosens it up and it's flopping around in there, eventually breaking and causing all kinds of hell.

Again, not trying to scare you. Run it IMO.

I don't doubt that for a second. Cam chains have almost always been the weak link in any bike that has them. And manufacturers always design their engines so the cam chain is not easily replaced. Since the advent of automatic cam chain tensioners, their failure has also been an issue with many bikes. I have never believed in internal chains in an engine, especially since you can't replace them. A LONG time ago, cam chains COULD be replaced without tearing the engine down, because they had a master link, just like drive chains USED to have. Manufacturers seem to be designing bikes that are less and less serviceable. I consider ANY chain to be a wear item, just like brakes and clutches, and they should be replaceable. There are a lot of ways to operate valves, belts (Goldwing) pushrods (Harley and a few Japanese bikes), and gears (older VFR750/800 and a few other bikes) all of these would work well in a low performance v-twin cruiser engine. But a Chinese cam chain is really pushing it. Hard to believe Suzuki would do something like that with one of the most critical parts in the engine. When the cam chain goes, it usually takes the rest of the engine with it.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
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Not trying to start an argument here, but other than hearsay, can you or the other poster cite a source stating that the cam chains are a substandard Chinese item? As I understand it, when the Japanese manufacture bikes or parts in China, they are held to the same quality standard as the Japanese factories. It just seems unlikely Suzuki would go to all the trouble to make a high quality bike, and then install a substandard critical component like a cam chain.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
ZZ-R Rider
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I know that the cam chain tensioner is a known issue with Suzuki's veteran model the LS650 (Savage/S40) ... poor design, but no issues with the chain itself per se ... a tech guru and LS650 owner over at suzukisavage.com has re-engineered the cam chain tensioner to deal with the design flaw ...

The LS650 has been around essentially unchanged since it's introduction in 1986 ... I know it's a low budget machine, but for Suzuki to continue to manufacture this model 26 years on with a known and well documented design defect is inexcuseable ... especially after a backyard mechanic has come up with a solution!
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:36 PM   #8
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My friend had a 05 M50, FI is nice, smooth running bike. If I was in the market for a sporty-ish cruiser I'd consider one.

OPINION: The large front tire makes the turn-in somewhat heavy for my taste but all in all a good runner. His had some aftermarket exhaust that made it wayyy too loud for me as well.

I'll confirm the cam chain issue. The cam chain on my friends did stretch out around 27k, and you'll know it when it starts making an audible clanking noise. The rear stretched right past the range of the tensioner. He took it to an independent shop that did the job right, but it wasn't cheap by any means. I will note the pistons/cylinders were all in GREAT shape when they pulled it apart.

I set the valves on it with the motor still in the bike, which is a PITA even with small hands.

No bike is perfect by any means, and short of the valves and cam chain, it was a fine bike and I could see it lasting every bit of 100k fairly easy.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:42 PM   #9
JerryH
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Originally Posted by ZZ-R Rider View Post
I know that the cam chain tensioner is a known issue with Suzuki's veteran model the LS650 (Savage/S40) ... poor design, but no issues with the chain itself per se ... a tech guru and LS650 owner over at suzukisavage.com has re-engineered the cam chain tensioner to deal with the design flaw ...

The LS650 has been around essentially unchanged since it's introduction in 1986 ... I know it's a low budget machine, but for Suzuki to continue to manufacture this model 26 years on with a known and well documented design defect is inexcuseable ... especially after a backyard mechanic has come up with a solution!
That is common in the motorcycle industry. The Vulcan 750 had bad cam chain tensioners from it's introduction in 1985 through the end of production in 2006. All those years use the same part number. It is a well known defective design. Someone on the vn750.com forum came up with a design for manual cam chain tensioners, and a company called TOC started making them. They sold like hotcakes. Pretty much every one on the forum has them. I've had them since 14,000 miles, when the stock tensioners started to fail, allowing the chain to become noisy. I'm now up to 77,000 miles, and have only had to adjust them once, and only a tiny bit. The Vulcan has what are called Hy-Vo cam chains, they seem to hold up better than average, since it is still running at 77,000 miles. Then there is the LS650/S40. Then there is the KLR650 with the doohickey problem which was apparently not fixed even after the '08 redesign. The 1200 Goldwing starter drive was defective the entire four years the bike was made. On the other hand, Yamaha did fix the defective starter drive on the Virago as soon as they found out about it.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:53 PM   #10
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I absolutely love mine! I've riden so many different bikes since I bought my used 2006 m50 for $4k 3 years ago, and it still puts an ear to ear grin on my face every time I get back on it.

I put about 7k miles since I got it. I use it around town, bike nights, short cruises (under 100 miles) and commute to work (20 miles round trip). This bike is really a fun city cruiser.
It's no touring bike, thought. I can't do much more than 200 miles per day on it (granted, I don't have a windshield or even an aftermarket seat on mine).

It needs a few comfort mods off the bat, especially if you're over 5'10:
2 inch forward controls
2 inch handle bar risers
Seat - for some, others like the stocker for what they do, and I'm one of those.

That's it!

A reason not to chose this bike is if you live out in the country and travel long distances on the highway or if you plan to do several hundred miles of touring often. The engine gets buzzy on the highway because of the gearing and it's just not pleasant for extended periods of time over 65 mph.

Other than that, I don't see how I could have spent my $4k any better to get my first bike, used with only 4k miles when I bought it.
Right now I'm looking for a touring option, and no matter what I get, the m50 stays with me, because for 90% if my riding, it's perfect!
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:55 PM   #11
Davidc83
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I have a 2007 C50 Boulevard; brother of the M50 (same engine, basically same frame; different fenders). I bought my C50 with 1 mile on the odometer. It now has 58,000+ miles with no issues with the engine or cam chains. Matter of fact, 0 issues with any of the bike, and I just replaced the OEM battery a couple of months ago.
On the subject of inferior Chinese made cams; they are not inferior if they are made to the specs of higher quality bike manuf..(not the chinese clones). Case in point, I also have a 2009 BMW G650gs with the Chinese engine; it now has 32,000 miles on it; and I just changed the OEM sprockets and chain at 31,000 miles (and I could probably use the front sprocket and chain as spares-really no wear on them). That 805cc motor is a well built engine, and as long as maintenance is performed, it should last for many, many miles.

That being said, no one knows how long any bike will last-only a guess; just like cars, who knows, some are lemons from the time they are driven/ridden off the lot, and some last forever with minimum work.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:55 PM   #12
JerryH
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Glad to se someone else likes cruisers. I have no knowledge of quality problems with any Suzuki motorcycles, though they do get parts from China, as does every other motorcycle manufacturer. I could probably ride the M50 coast to coast with the stock seat, doing about 500 miles a day. While the seat is important, the riding position is a lot more important to me. Feet forward, high bars that you don't have to lean over to reach, and something to lean back against. A Beadrider seat cover would probably do wonders for the stock seat. I have done 2 SS1000s on my Vulcan 750 with the stock seat. I would not be interested in the C50, it's a great looking bike, but it has tube type tires and no centerstand, and that is one HEAVY bike. You are not going to support that thing with a piece of pipe stuck under it.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Davidc83 View Post
I bought my C50 with 1 mile on the odometer. It now has 58,000+ miles with no issues with the engine or cam chains. Matter of fact, 0 issues with any of the bike, and I just replaced the OEM battery a couple of months ago.
I have had zero issues so far too, and am very happy with this bike. 12k problem free miles has been nice. I have however not adjusted the valves yet, and I think adjustment is due every 8k or so?! I'm curious how often you have adjusted the valves on your c50 in the 58k miles you put on it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:09 PM   #14
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I have had the C50 valves checked every 6000-8000 miles (the manual states every 3000 miles) and the valves has never needed adjusted. The valves on the rear cylinder are easy to adjust (after you remove the tank, which is easy), but the front cyclinder is a PITA. JerryH, in the 58,000 miles on the C50, I have had one flat (picked up a horse shoe nail out in horse country); pulled the nail out, used SLIME per directions, aired up the tire and rode another month on the tire before replacing it ( and replaced it because of tread wear). To work on it, I have the cheap HF bike jack and it works great; the exhaust is above the frame and the bottom frame has dual bars-perfect for the bike jack. I have done many 800 mile one day trips and never had to work on it on those trips (did one last September-2000 mile trip-no issues).Oh, and I have never had to work on the FI either.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Davidc83 View Post
I have had the C50 valves checked every 6000-8000 miles (the manual states every 3000 miles) and the valves has never needed adjusted. The valves on the rear cylinder are easy to adjust (after you remove the tank, which is easy), but the front cyclinder is a PITA. JerryH, in the 58,000 miles on the C50, I have had one flat (picked up a horse shoe nail out in horse country); pulled the nail out, used SLIME per directions, aired up the tire and rode another month on the tire before replacing it ( and replaced it because of tread wear). To work on it, I have the cheap HF bike jack and it works great; the exhaust is above the frame and the bottom frame has dual bars-perfect for the bike jack. I have done many 800 mile one day trips and never had to work on it on those trips (did one last September-2000 mile trip-no issues).Oh, and I have never had to work on the FI either.
ok, thanks bud, good to know it's never really needed much adjustment. I will definitely check mine this spring. I learned on a c50, it's a very nice and stable bike, but once i got my feet wet I wanted something sportier so went with the m50, and no issues or regrets so far
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