1986 Suzuki GS550L from United States
I spent more time tinkering on it than riding it
This bike has serious carb issues. From 1983-1985 Suzuki used a twin 2 barrel carb setup on the GS550L models. This has made it quite difficult to get proper replacement O-rings and/or jets. When I first got the bike, it ran like a dream and didn't have any issues. However when it came time for carb service, it became quite apparent that this carb set up is finicky at best. You MUST remove the tamper caps covering the mixture screws to completely clean the idle passages, and resetting them is a long tedious process of trial and error. You know it isn't a good sign when you take it to a local mechanic with a great reputation/years of experience, and he looks at your carbs and goes "Huh, that's strange".
When the carbs are not performing up to snuff, there is a dead spot just after take off that borders on dangerous when it finally powers through. That being said, once they are dialed in, it powers up to speed much stronger and smoother than I thought a bike of this size could. The handlebars are just right and the stock seat is soft and comfortable. I keep my adjustable suspension on the softest setting as well.
The handling is great for low tight parking lot maneuvers. The position seems high compared to modern bikes, but the added visibility and better vision in traffic compensate for me. I can flat foot with a little to spare with a 32 inch inseam.
This is a great starter bike as long as you're mechanically inclined or have the money to have it done properly. DO NOT buy this bike if you intend to add aftermarket items like engine guards etc. You will find that these items do not exist for a direct fit to this bike.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 26th February, 2013
2nd Apr 2013, 20:37
I am a newbie. I bought an '85 GS550L for $1500 off of Craigslist. After doing some research, I may have paid too much. The seller loaded my bike on his friend's truck and got it to my house. It started up fine and I took it for a spin the next day. First problem: Battery was low. Needed a jump start.
Second problem: After charging the battery, it would not start.
Bought a Clymer repair manual and changed the spark plugs and a fuel line that was damaged. It started up great!
Third problem: When accelerating, it loses power and I am unable to gain adequate speed. It may need a valve adjustment, right now I am just speculating. I have been successful with troubleshooting some Chinese scooters I have owned, so I believe I will be able to get this old classic up and running like a champ. I don't regret buying the bike... if you have some mechanical abilities and the bike isn't a piece of crap, it can be a good move to get one...