2003 Suzuki LS 650 Savage from United States of America


Pass on this one, not worth owning


Oil leaks pop up here and there, some disappear on their own, other persist.

Eats batteries, at least one a year.

Being a thumper, it is very sensitive to riding speed as to how much vibration you can stand.

If you let it sit without riding much, you'll have a lot of fuel delivery problems.

General Comments:

Very uncomfortable bike to ride for more than about 20 mile trips, a complete redo on the seat helped.

The lack of a trip odometer is inexcusable; cheap, cheap, cheap.

I've owned over 24 motorcycles, been riding almost 50 years, and this is the only bike that I would not buy again. Handling is awkward, suspension is really bad. Good for a beginner because of the low seat height and low weight.

Suzuki should scrap this bike. If I had not owned other Suzuki's before I bought this one, I would never buy their products. If you can afford to spend a little more money, and must have a Suzuki, try the SV650, it is one of the finest bikes I have ever owned, I'm looking for another one right now.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th March, 2011

8th Jan 2015, 18:01

I have a 650 thumper. It's a great bike. I have had mine for 9 years now. Very dependable. It's not a real powerful bike, but it gets you to where you need to be.

Upkeep is low; oil changes, charging the battery, etc. Every 2 to 3 years you may have to change the cam chain, which is a bit pricey at around three to four hundred dollars.

It's fun to ride. Sometimes I forget where I'm going to because I am having a fun ride. It's like riding a mini chopper. I am always getting compliments on its style.

All around it's a great bike, and it's lightweight, so on the expressway you may get knocked around.

It's a great city bike. Good on gasoline; about 50 to 60 miles a gallon.

I have no problems with this bike. I've been riding for 16 plus years.

24th Aug 2015, 11:48

If you visit the Savage forum, you'll find a fix to that cam chain problem. One of the members makes and sells a modified slack adjuster that more than doubles the cam chain life. It's an easy fix and a LOT less expensive than having the cam chain replaced. Google Verslavy.

8th Sep 2015, 23:06

I have looked at the cam chain extender and slack adjusters to extend chain life.

However, both of these modifications may not give you a much longer life, because both of these modifications make the chain bending angle sharper, which makes the rate of chain wear even faster. Besides, installing slack adjusters or modifying adjusters, adding 1 more hole, may not be such a simple job; adding 1 more hole requires you to do a welding job; installing a slack adjuster makes you remove other parts to clear the area, and the cost of a slack adjuster may not be so cheap.

Modifications may give you a little more chain life, but not too much I think.

4th Mar 2018, 23:48

The Verslavey cam chain tensioner has been around for a while, and is a superior set up to the stock cam chain tensioner. Will last the life of the bike. Suzuki Savage dot com is about the most extensive Savage site you can find. Lots of great advice on there.

Thanks, Tom W.

1999 Suzuki LS 650 Savage from United States of America


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.