I love my GS500F - 2004; it rides well and it handles great in corners.
I have never had any problems with the motor as was suggested; the only problem I do have is that centre stand scrapes around corners when you lean into them hard. As long as you don't take corners too hard, though, no problem. I am planning on removing the centre stand as I want to get some extra performance in cornering.
As for fuel economy, etc... wow... 320km out of my 15lt main tank and my old CB250 gave me 350km... can't complain at that :)
To respond to the comment that the engine is "unreliable" and has been in the shop 3 times, it should also be noted that the GS's twin cylinder engine has been around since at least 1989. It is considered a "work horse" engine due to it's rugged reliability.
The "noise" mentioned is a fairly common issue with these engines; it has been identified as cam shaft play and the dealer's have been given the information how to fix the problem - just contact them or Suzuki, and they should be able to fix it. The noise itself is just "play" and is not said to be damaging from what I've read, heard, or seen.
I own a 2005 GS300F, it is a great little bike, in my opinion.
This is my first bike, thus no hard corners to scrape anything.
It has been reliable and gets around 60mpg.
I have had no engine problems, my only gripe is the kick stand sensor doesn't always operate properly, causing the bike to die when starting the day in first gear. This is usually corrected by lowering the kick stand and raising it again.
I've just purchased a new 2005 GS500F after owning a 1997 GS500E for 6 years (70,000 km).
The original NEVER ever let me down and the new one has already done 8000 km.
The new model is not quite as fast as the first model, but quite capable especially if you use the engines inherently revvy nature to the full.
Consumption is good at about 61 mpg, but build quality is only average and does require regular cleaning etc. My model was made in Spain unlike my first one that was made in Japan, and the paint is a little thin in places.
The new “F” model is a little top heavy compared to the naked GS500, but both represent reasonable value for money as a day-to-day work horse bike that can do most things quite well – looks good, has reasonable “road-presence" (it’s quite big), good commuter, good learner, good mini-tourer (I’ve just completed an 1100 km run on it) and even good for an occasional “scratch”.
Recommended - but if you have the money consider a Suzuki SV 650, or Kawasaki ER-6 (the new 650), or a Honda CB 500F (water-cooled and better performance).
I have just purchased a 2004 Suzuki GS500F. This is an excellent starter bike, looks good, is reasonably priced, and has enough power to get you where you need to go. I would recommend this bike to first time riders. Although I must admit, after spending a week on my Buddy's Yamaha R6, I now crave 600cc performance. The GS is a great bike and I do not regret purchasing it, however I am now ready to step up to at least a 600cc engine.
I recently purchased a 2006 GS500F to use as a commuter. I own a Kawasaki Concours four touring and find it too big for slow tight traffic. Obviously the GS isn't as fast and responsive, but I really like this bike. It is light and responsive in the turns. I came back to motorcycles after 30 years and have found this a great ride for the size and price. Stylish, and looks good on a 54 year old geezer.
I'm 19 and have just bought my first bike, a GS500F 2k5.
While spending a lot of time with friends that ride GSX-R's and R6's, I've found that I'm a lot faster through through mountains due to my ability to take turns fast and accelerate sooner, so power isn't everything. This bike is a perfect example, the bike teaches you to be faster and allows you to get comfortable by adjusting the handle bars. I know I won't stay with this bike for long, but I know that my ability to ride is greatly in part to the 487cc bike that Suzuki put out.
Also, has anyone has found an exhaust. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the brand and part number.
The GS500F is an excellent beginner or all-around small bike. I own this as well as two 1150's, and find that anywhere below 70mph the GS500 is superb and quite at home. It is nimble and comfortable.
I'm 41 years old, and after burning through sport bikes, avoiding tickets and having insurance revoked, want to enjoy where I'm going and not just focus on the lines in the road. This bike is much more comforable than the R6 or any other comparable sport bikes (comparable to R6). The GS500 is apt to get you in much less trouble than the higher-end bikes, all other things being equal.
The engine has been around for years. I owned a GS450 in 1984, which is the same casting bored out to 487cc. The thirst for power and speed has blinded many good riders. I work in the OR and saw many riders out-classed by their own bike and ability to handle them. This bike gives very reasonable performance for experienced riders and provides a cushion of safety for those who don't know better yet.
I bought this bike for my daughter, who is learning to ride, but find myself enjoying it just as much when she's not on it. My wife and I ride 2up with no problem. I'm 155lbs and my wife is 100 lbs. For a heavy person or two larger people, I'd look at another bike.
The center stand drags on corners - get rid of it. The rear brakes are known to squeak, and ours does. The seat is a little hard, but if you have a custom seat, the riding position of this little machine will allow you to do week-end trips with no problem.
The front forks are soft.
The freeway (sustained speeds 70-90) will feel a bit less comfortable than 55-65. I personally try to get off the freeway whenever possible anyway. That's why I ride.
There are no serious detractors about this bike. I love it, and plan to get another for myself. At 60mpg, it's an awesome commuter and it looks great.
I bought a new GS500F K5 a year ago and have found it to be an absolutely superb machine.
I also own a 20-year old GS250T, which shares a very similar design of power plant. In fact the older GS250T is an eight-valve engine with all the complexities that brings, whereas for the GS500 the Suzuki designers bravely opted for a more reliable (though lower power) 4 valve design, which makes it even more reliable than its 250cc predecessor.
The engine design on the GS500 therefore has a very long pedigree, and I would be very surprised if there were any major design or manufacturing flaws remaining. That said, my GS500 engine did exhibit a knocking sound when the bike was leaned to one side – I took it back to the dealers and they told me it was a known problem with this engine. They got a complete set of parts to fix the problem which, after fitting, completely cured the problem.
Incidentally, the problem is cam shaft float – it does not affect the performance or reliability of the bike, it's just a bit annoying and would obviously make it difficult to sell the bike on.
So my advice to anyone who buys a GS500 is to listen out for this noise and take it straight back to your dealer – Suzuki know all about it and they won't argue.
I have done 12000km on my bike in the last year, and if I take it easy on the run to work and back (30km each way), I can get close to 80mpg. Yet the GS500 will go like stink if you wind open the throttle and let it rev towards the red line – certainly plenty enough power unless you are a very experienced rider and can handle more.
The handling of the bike is outstanding, it feels very reassuring even in the wet, and I have never had a slide out of it.
You can reckon on 15000km out of a set of tyres if you don't burn rubber too hard.
The brakes work well, though the rear does squeak a bit unless you apply it hard.
My GS500 has started first touch of the starter every morning for the last year and has never let me down.
It's powerful and comfortable up for two-up riding, though if the rider and passenger are on the big side I think it would struggle a bit.
I intend to use mine to do some touring as well as commuting, and am really looking forward to that.
If I have one gripe, it is build quality – you have to be prepared to keep this bike sprayed with anti-corrosion spray on all the vulnerable parts (you'll find out which they are if you keep an eye on them and watch for corrosion to appear - then give them a squirt regularly and youll be OK. This is especially important in the (English) winter when they salt the roads – if you’re not careful your bike will look like a real dog by the end of the winter.
Regarding after-market exhausts – in the UK try Predator (Google it and you'll find it easy enough) – they do a nice stainless exhaust for around 300 quid which should see you alright for many years (better than the mild steel job that Suzuki put on, which is never going to last any time at all).