1982 GS650L review

by David Gibbs

Bike: 1982 Suzuki GS650L

Specifications: Inline 4, chain-drive, no fairing, air-cooled, and dual/single disk brakes. It seems to be a fairly heavy bike for a 650, and was fairly tall.

Information on the Bike

This was my first bike, and I owned it for three years. I put about 30,000 kms on it, include several highway trips, the first thing I did was put a wind-screen on it. It handled reasonable well up to about 140-150 km/h, then tended to develop a front end wobble, though this may have been partially due to the poor aero-dynamics of the windscreen. (Which was fork + handlebar mounted.) I was generally happy with its power and handling -- neither was startling, but I did scrape the pegs a couple of times in turns (though not on purpose.)

Instrument panel was fairly normal, tach + speedo, high-beam indicator, single turn signal indicator, neutral indicator, and gear indicator. Turn signals and high/low beam controls were all on one button, which made them a little difficult to manipulate, but otherwise controls were easy to use.

I did several longer trips on this bike, and found it a bit buzzy at speeds in excess of 120 km/h, but it still had reasonable acceleration at speeds up to 160km/h, though this did deteriorate noticeably if I put the larger of my two windscreens on it. (Though that screen really was larger than I should put on, I used for colder weather only, when I needed more protection from the wind.) Gas tank was a little small, needing re-fills between 160 and 190 km, depending on my driving style.

Cautions: This being a GS series Suzuki, I, of course, had charging system problems, and had to replace both the stator and the regulator/rectifier. (I had one replaced with a second-hand Kawasaki part that was cheaper than new, and never caused me problems.) It also picked up an oil leak late in its life. I retired it when I stripped the main drive gear, though this may have been my fault, since I let it get low on oil on a trip (ref: oil leak).

I was happy with this bike most of the time, and found it good for doing whatever I asked of it, from commuting to highway, and it was a good bike to start with, if you have already learned to ride. I wouldn't suggest learning to ride on it, since with its height and weight, it will be difficult for an in-experienced rider to hold up if he stops with the bike angled poorly, or if he goes off-balance while duck-walking it around.