1980 Suzuki GS850 Reviews

1980 Suzuki GS850 from United States of America

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2012
Acceleration marks 8 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 6 / 10
Handling marks 6 / 10
Braking marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired42000 miles
Most recent distance52000 miles
Previous motorcycleSuzuki LS 650 Savage

Summary:

The reliability surpasses my highest expectations

Faults:

I should start by saying this bike is stored outside, not far from the ocean.

Valve cover and breather gaskets replaced with aftermarket silicon versions, to stop the slight oil seepage.

Rear shocks replaced due to corrosion.

Starter rebuilt at 45k.

General Comments:

The bike sounds great with the factory 4 into 2 exhaust.

Handles decent, considering the 600lb+ weight.

Big enough for tall people (I'm 6'4").

Majority of parts seem to be very cheap and easy to find.

The seat is not comfortable enough for long rides.

Shim valve adjustment system requires some investment to DIY.

An incredible machine in terms of the mileage some people get out of these.

78 hp stock is not bad, considering what it is.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th February, 2012

1980 Suzuki GS850 from United Kingdom

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership1981
Most recent year of ownership2008
Acceleration marks 7 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 9 / 10
Handling marks 7 / 10
Braking marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance23000 miles
Previous motorcycleSuzuki GS750L

Summary:

A big hearted, loyal friend through thick and thin

Faults:

The connecting box on the exhausts rusted through in the first few years.

General Comments:

I bought this machine, it's a black 850G, new in 1981. I never set out to keep it nigh on 30 years, but it just became part of my life.

I ran it daily for the first five or six years, and then the demands of bringing up a family caused it to be put away for a few years. It has reemerged from time to time in the last twenty years to enjoy the occasional year in the sun. She always fires up straight away and forgives you for keeping her waiting. I've ridden 500 miles in one day without any problem at all.

I've recently cleared the accumulation of junk and boxes that piled up on top of it in the garage and got it our again. A new set of plugs and caps, and a degrease, and she is as beautiful as ever, and purring like a panther.

I fitted a Motad 4 into one some time ago, which gives it a lovely bassy sound, that turns to a howl at speed. I've also fitted higher bars, which I think more suits its colossal stature and gives more comfort and control.

It's a big old cruiser, you need strong arms at a quarter of a metric tonne, and long legs to handle it when stationary or at low speeds. 850 doesn't sound big compared to the massive CCs available today, but it's a big meaty engine that pulls its weight and anyone on it with ease.

I think the GS is a lovely machine, it ticks all the boxes that a real motorcycle should. It looks great and is way fast enough. It's a bike that has to be ridden with some thought and input; it won't do the handling for you.

It was described as a muscle bike in its day, and set new standards for reliability, cherry picking the best in-line 4 ideas from Honda and Kawasaki. They don't make them like that anymore.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th October, 2008

1980 Suzuki GS850 from United States of America

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2008
Acceleration marks 8 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 8 / 10
Handling marks 7 / 10
Braking marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired10000 miles
Most recent distance22000 miles
Previous motorcycleSuzuki GS650GL

Summary:

Highly reliable bike, with an excellent balance of handling and performance

Faults:

Nothing, zero, runs better than new.

Only items I've had to work on were normal maintenance (i.e. oil, tires, forks, carbs, brakes, lube, etc.). I've enjoyed working on the bike and getting to know its ins and outs.

Carb cleaning, tuning, and synching are very important to keep the bike running 100%. (Synching is not hard, and must be done if you want to feel how your bike is supposed to run).

Replaced my front brake lines with braided SS, and the bike now does stop like hitting a brick wall. I would highly recommend this upgrade: cost $110.

Replaced my valve cover and breather gaskets with Real Gasket silicone lifetime gaskets - again highly recommended - easy, cheap, and no more oil seepage at all.

Replaced my vacuum fuel valve with a manual Pingel valve and in-line filter. I personally like this, but can't recommend it unless you need to rebuild your vacuum fuel valve anyway. When I rebuilt my carbs, the bowls had a lot of sediment - that's the reason for the filter.

Replaced the front springs with pre-loaded Progressive. This again is highly recommended. I don't feel that it changes the handling much (other people disagree), but you won't ever have to fool with the air pressure front forks again.

General Comments:

I love it and will never give it up. Suzuki got it right the first time. Excellent combination of balance, handling, power, acceleration. I use mine as a commuter, and ride it every day I can, weather permitting.

The only complaint I have at all is the seat comfort. For me it is not comfortable for more than about 1 hour. My next mod to the bike will be new seat foam and seat cover.

If you can find one of these bikes in good shape, you should buy it - you won't be sorry. It does look dated, but to me that is a benefit since I'm not trying to look like everyone else on the road.

I believe it is the greatest value in riding out there. And when you're not riding, you can polish all that chrome.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th June, 2008

14th Jul 2010, 15:55

Agree completely. I had a 1982 model in 1993, and when I started riding again a few months ago, I hunted down a clean 1980.

Best road bike ever made.

Average review marks: 8.4 / 10, based on 6 reviews