1982 GS550LZ review

by Don Harper

Bike: 1982 Suzuki GS550LZ (standard)

Specifications: 4-stroke, in-line 4 cylinder 549cc.,air-cooled

Description: 6 speeds, one down, five up, speedo, tach, trip meter, digital gear indicator, idiot light for oil, center-stand.

Pricing: In the Houston area, I have seen these bike go from $500 ( what I bought mine for ), $750 at the local salvage yard, to $1000 from a local dealer. Most of these were in moderate shape. I am planning on repainting the tank, and maybe the frame, getting a new seat cover, and expect to be able to ask about $750-$1000 ( a bit much, but if a sucker wants it... :-)

History: I have had this bike for about 6 months now, and have logged 7K of mostly city highway driving with it. (driving the highways in the city) When I bought it, it had been sitting for about a year, and it took some work to get it happy again. ( chain & sprockets, oil, oil filter, plugs, etc ) The only major problems I have had with it is the generator went out after 10 years & ~35K miles ( the speedo was broken for about 2-3 years when I got it ). Some of the plastic is getting old, but still serviceable. The seat has lost its front pins and is cracked. To my knowledge, this bike has never seen the inside of a garage to live.

Modifications: Crash bars had been added to the bike before I got it, but I have seen them for it for about ~$60.00 at the local salvage yard new. The only thing I have done to the bike since I have gotten it is I switched the light/turn signal/horn control out. Then one I have one is from an '84 GS550, and I like the setup of the controls better. Cost- $10.00 from the local salvage yard.

Opinion: IMHO, this is a very good first bike. More than enough power off the line to feel good about dusting a Porsche once you know what is up, but not enough power to flip the bike on you. The top end, though, is only about 80 to 85 MPH solo, and about 75 2-up. It is very forgiving if you do not mess up too bad, and with the case guards on, it is very cheap to drop at speeds ( three drops, some total of *new* parts, $15.00 :-). This, however, is not a Goof2 or such, and is a little harder to push in the twisties ( what few I have found to play with :-) You can go 2-up without any problems, just don't expect to go dragging anything too seriously.

Cautions: Even though I have seen lots of these floating around down here on the road, you should be very wary about the possibilities of these bikes just sitting around and not being run. They will fire up with little hesitation, but they will run like crap until completely serviced, which may cost more that they you paid for it.