1999 Suzuki LS 650 Savage


Much worse than my buddy's chinese dual sport all the way around


Head gasket at 4700 miles $400.

Float in carb. at 4700 miles $178.

Clutch at around 4800 (didn't fix).

Headlight frame at 4100 miles (glued back together, $4).

Battery at 4800 miles (didn't replace).

General Comments:

This bike was the WORST bike I've ever owned, and I have owned my fair share of bikes. Anything from a 1973 Honda CB125 to a newer Honda VTX.

Out of all the Hondas I ever owned, I never had any issues other than regular maintenance. However this Suzuki was VERY poorly built and rode like a 1927 Harley made out of bubble wrap; always jumping about and backfiring at every gear change. At 35 until about 50 MPH, the bike would jump fairly hard forward; this made it miserable to ride through a city or a main road with a slower speed limit.

Every time I turned the bike off, I had to hope and pray it would start back up. This was an issue because many times I had to push this thing home.

The head gasket started leaking at around 4400 miles, and the dealer told me this would be a $400 job if everything went right so I opted to not have it done.

Then at around 4700 miles, the float in the carb got stuck, leaking fuel all over my driveway; luckily I'm not a smoker. The dealer told me it was because I had the bike on the PRI setting for the fuel which I took as primary, I guess I was wrong. This part cost $178 dollars to fix, and took 23 days to get it back from the dealer. 23 DAYS!

When I got the bike back, the battery had died for some reason the dealer couldn't tell me, so they wanted some more money to have it replaced; I opted out of that one as well. By this point, I have had it with this bike not starting, being pushed, backfiring, jumping at lower speeds and just not handling good at all.

This bike had a stock pipe, which other than turning everything blue somehow, was really big, so if you leaned hard to the right, get ready for a wild ride.

Now I know I lean harder than most people, but I'd also like to be able to lean without worrying if my muffler hit the pavement hard enough to jump the bike tire out from under me.

This bike was terrible to own, I will never own another one or another Suzuki again. From here on out it's Honda or nothing.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd September, 2010

2nd Feb 2011, 23:05

For anyone who read this review, this poor guy got a bike from someone who had no business owning one. It was most likely abused/neglected by the previous owner and had problems before 5k. This is why we buy repair manuals, perform break-in maintenance and procedures (like re-torquing head bolts), and drain fuel before storage (so they don't gum up).

All the big four brands build many VERY tough bikes. Not everyone can fix/maintain them, but anyone can break them. The LS650 was based off the early SP500, DR600, DR650 dirtbikes, so I know they're tough enough. You can even swap some heads and pistons. There's no reason a detuned LS650 shouldn't do 60k easy. I would know.

2003 Suzuki LS 650 Savage


A sweet bike that will certainly put a grin on your face!


I have only had the bike for 2 months now; the bike has operated well since I have had it. Except for the occasional backfire and mildly strong vibration, the bike has ran great!

General Comments:


The Savage LS650 (now the Boulevard S40), is a single cylinder, 652cc bike, and people commonly refer to this bike as a "thumper".

Acceleration is fairly strong in the lower gears, and the power band is fairly broad. Once the bike hits about 65mph, acceleration slows down, and you can expect to top out from 85-95mph. The bike does have fairly good passing ability on the freeway, and is great for around town cruising. The bike has a rated HP of 31, 33.6 ft/lbs of torque.

The bike has a wet weight (gas, oil) of about 380lbs, making it about the lightest weight bike for the size of engine you are getting. Due to the lightweight nature of the bike, it is extremely maneuverable, and is great on tight curves!

Braking is quite good, with a front disc, and a rear drum brake. This is largely due to the low weight of the bike, and its relatively low positioning toward the ground.

One item to note is that most people (including myself) have found that the Savage tends to have backfire (generally mild) on deceleration (this is due to Suzuki making the bike more EPA friendly to meet the requirements with its carburation). Simple modifications to the carb can completely take out the backfire, and exhaust upgrades can also help with this issue.


The bike has a wonderful cruiser style to it, and up until 2004, before the bike changed to the S40, it came with the sissy bar and back rest, as well as the buck-horn bars. Suzuki had intended this bike (I believe) for people of shorter stature (generally under 6ft tall). Myself, I am 5'10", and weigh just short of 200 lbs. I find that the bike fits actually pretty good. Some people have noted the buck-horn bars not being their cup of tea, so they change it out for a straighter type handlebar. The bike has some chrome on it, but its not near as generous as some of the larger bikes out there.


The seat, while fairly large, is fairly uncomfortable after about 30-45 minutes of continuous riding. A gel seat is definitely recommended for longer rides. Also, the pillion seat is quite small, and your passenger may complain of being too cramped. For taller riders, you might consider having highway pegs put on the bike, so you can stretch out a bit.


The Savage has always been touted for its high rate of reliability. This can largely be attributed to its belt drive, its single cylinder (thus its single carburetor, and no need for synching with other carbs), and its relatively uncomplicated design. With a Clymer manual in hand, regular maintenance is a simple thing to do, as well as minor repair.

Aftermarket Products:

Unfortunately, aftermarket products are relatively scarce (but not near as bad as they use to be) for the Savage, as many people view the bike as a "beginners" bike (certainly not always the case!). Fortunately, eBay offers the Savage owners a lot of options, from exhaust upgrades, to gel seats, to handlebar change outs, to dressing the bike up!


The bike sports a 2.77 gallon tank, with a reserve capacity of 0.66 gallons. On average, I get about 55mpg, and have to fill up about every 145-155 miles. If you ride real hard, you might only average closer to 50mpg, but I have read some people getting over 60mpg. To add to the cost benefit, a brand new S40 will run $4300 MSRP, but can be had through many a dealer for under $4k. If you buy used, like I did, you can often get a Savage for under $2500! For a 650, this is really a great deal!


A really neat bike, especially for someone new to the world of bikes. Even experienced folk will enjoy its playful nature, and appreciate its great maneuverability and gas savings! A highly recommended bike!

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th February, 2008

16th Jun 2009, 13:18

I get the backfire too, but otherwise the bike rides fine and is very maneuverable, almost like a bicycle.

7th Jul 2009, 13:27

Other than backfiring when shutting off the engine, the Savage is an excellent bike and is fun to ride.

22nd Jul 2009, 15:09

Does any know if anyone makes a sissy bar for this bike? (2009 LS650 Savage)

1998 Suzuki LS 650 Savage


This is a great beginner to mid-level bike!


No major mechanical problems yet, although I have only had it for a year. The Savage has a reputation for being relatively low-maintenence.

I'd be happier with a larger gas tank, though.

General Comments:

The seat is uncomfortable. I replaced it with a gel seat and I am happier with it now. Although it is a cruiser, the seating is more upright than most cruisers, making for a more comfortable ride.

This bike has very good steering and braking, in fact the rear brake can lock up very easily. This is probably due to its very light weight.

At highway speeds the engine vibration is strong, but I have not had fatigue issues from it. It's just noticeable.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th May, 2005

22nd May 2006, 04:43

I bought mine from a very close friend of mine. Believe it or not, she rode that little bike from Little Rock AR, to Sturgis, SD! It was my first bike and I loved that little thing, but it was a bit too small for me. 2 bikes later I have a Road King, but I'll never forget my Savage.