1982 Suzuki GS850
Legendary air cooled 4 cylinder tourer
Silencers rotted through when I bought it.
No air filters fitted when I bought it.
Slight but persistent oil leak from rev cable connection on cylinder head at 19 000 miles; eventually cured with instant gasket compound.
Speedo drive in front wheel gave up at 35 000 miles.
Seat required recovering at around 35 000 miles.
Pistons in front brake calipers were badly pitted and were replaced at 25 000 miles.
All brake hoses perished and replaced with braided hoses at 25 000 miles.
Seems to cook batteries if run without lights switched ON. I modified the wiring to allow lights to be turned off to cure poor starting (US model GS850 GLZ has no lights on/off switch as standard)
This bike was in a sorry state when I first rescued it from a back garden in 2001 where it had laid for 3 years, but fired into life immediately after a carb strip down & clean up, a fresh battery, 4 new plugs and a gallon of fresh petrol, testament to the bullet proof nature of these legendary tourers.
The GLZ or L model is more of a custom style cruiser than the standard UK G model, but as it shares the same engine, I knew I couldn't go far wrong. Not as smooth as the V4 Honda I'd previously owned, but far more reliable, comfier, more economical and has much more character.
I've covered 25 000 miles on a 26 year old bike in six years, and it has never let me down, except when I dragged it out of the garage last year after the winter to find the battery was knackered, but that's only to be expected really.
Basic maintenance is just that - basic - change the oil & filters regularly, replace the plugs now and again and that's about it. Try to keep the engine 'full' of oil rather than let the level drop to the minimum mark, or they tend to give the regulator rectifier a hard time. And DO run them with the headlights on all the time; the regulator rectifier puts out too much power for the battery otherwise.
Suzuki replaced the GS with their V4 (the GSV Madura in Europe), but we never saw it over here in the UK, what a shame.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th April, 2008