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Suzuki GR650: super sweet Tempter!

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by mattb, May 28, 2008.

  1. Fee (my partner) has so far owned my old postie, then my SR185, and on the day recently that her L's were due to expire (after 2 1/2 years) got her P's. In preparation we were looking around at LAMS suitable bikes at the start of the year, with the idea of having the pick of the bunch before they increased in demand. When buying for myself I've always kept an eye open for a suzuki GR650 (Tempter), well we found one nearby: 48,000km, great condition, $1500!!! Fee thought it was ugly, but I said 'take it for a ride' - so we did, and she loved it! I've mentioned it in a few posts, and wanted to take it through the Yarra Valley for a ride myself to give a proper review, but I'm not getting the chance (got it on the road two weeks ago - just needed a new front tyre for RWC!), so I'll review it based on city riding, the Kew Boulevard, and the old round-a-bout testing.

    It's a great bike! We've fitted more rear-ward cruiser bars for Fee's comfort, and the bike is of the soft-chopper / cruiser genre, and was described by an over-excited mechanic on Elizabeth street as "The poor man's Bonneville!" It does what it is meant to do really well. It has very comfy suspension and seat and just cruises along happily. It has adequate power, and revs low which inclines you further to ride it according to its virtues (if you're me - if you're Fee that lead wrist can't help itself!). Staintune exhausts give a nice note. There's a dual flywheel system which makes the flywheel heavier below 3000rpm and disengages for lightness above that; genius! You can have it at a low idle, and with no throttle whatsoever release the clutch smoothly and it will not stall but pull you down the road chugging away. No way my bike could do that! It's reputed to be highly reliable over a long life-span. Fee and I dragged one another - first to 80 - the other night. My excuse is that my carbie needs a clean...she managed to clearly beat me! :cry: She also pulls away from me easily at 100 :cry:

    If you are looking for a LAMS bike, or if like me you prefer older middle-weights for their adequate power which provides a pleasure which gets lost as you go up into bigger power, and if you like the sound of pistons moving in distinct succession, consider this bike. It's no sports bike in the corners, nor is it trying to be - its a cruiser/commuter/tourer, though we haven't tightened the suspension yet and I think it could corner well properly set up, though even that perception is a relative matter - one of the most fun rides I've done was between Cape Schank and Apollo Bay at dusk, leaning and pushing as hard as I could the GR's little brother, the GN250: big wide bars, neutral pegs, speed and a bit of old-time wobble can put quite a smile on your dial on a windy set of sweepers!

    Lucky I'm a secure male:
    His : SR500 500cc around 33hp
    Hers : GR650 650cc around 53hp


    I will post a pic of Fee's when we have one, but here is one just like hers except she has wire wheels

    This is what I would like to do to it, except Fee hates matt black; you can see the bobber potential...

    there's even a cafe racer
    and a chopper

    Some reviews
  2. Great review :)
  3. I was this () close to buying one 6 months ago (wire wheeled model). Got a second chance offer on ebay, but the guy didn't get back to me after teh initial phone call. guess he had second thoughts.
  4. Good Review !
    Don't stress about her having more power.. behind every powerful woman, there's always a man cursing :LOL:
  5. Just posted this review on the GR site and thought I'd add it here, in case anybody is searching the forum with thoughts of buying a GR. It's a post that exposes the GR's vices so it might be useful.

    I did a mini-tour on the GR this week. Thought I'd share my experience and thoughts. Over two days I rode 1000 km from Melbourne (Aus) to my home-town of Nyah, zig-zagging across the state. I took in twisty roads the first half, and straight, flat empty roads the second (rolling through some rather deserted towns on the way, in places where everybody nods or waves as you go past). I'm really happy with the way the GR held up, though I noted a few troubles and things that could be improved. I like the high riding position, but it was quite a blustery day and I find that presents a challenge on a jelly-framed skittish light bike. The bike revved at about 4200rpm at 100km/hr which was a bit high for my pleasure, though the bike sustained it no worries for a 7.5hr ride the first day, and 5hr ride the second (temperature was moderate, about twenty five degrees). It can clearly sit on that rpm endlessly with ease, and it seemed to loosen up and relax at that rpm, or maybe I just got used to it. I commute on the bike so it's a bit of a dilemma, but I think I'd like to change the sprocket as per the 1984 Cycle World review, which brought rpm down to 3600rpm at 100km/hr, an rpm at which the Tempter feels super-sweet!

    I've got no fairing and rather wide bars, and as usual wind-resistance andits consequent fautigue is a bit of a problem on a longer jaunt. I counter this somewhat by tucking my feet back onto the rear pegs, sliding my bum back, and leaning down a bit. This is fine providing I'm far away from traffic, where I hopefully won't need to emergency brake. A windshield at the least would be very nice. The peg position also needs looking at - as the ride wore on the pegs felt more cramped. I think some forward highway pegs might be an idea, though I don't know what that will be like with the wind fighting me. Another thing to change is the seat. It too seemed to shrink as the day wore on - it needs to be longer in the sense of getting rid of that hard ridge that seperates rider from pillion, and creating a longer or bigger space in which to move around sliding backwards and forwards, rather than having to encounter, and having to sit directly on, the dividing ridge. Also, the seat which is armchair comfy on short country rides lacks firm enough support on a longer ride. I'll be looking seriously to modify these things. Though I guess a full working day in the saddle is a long time and a sore cramped bum is to be expected.

    Some extra highway lights would be nice for safety or at least re-assurance, though from what I hear the electrical system might not handle it??
    All up the bike did the job admirably, at least for a 23 yr old $1500 650 with low gearing. While the bike has a nice sound at lower rpm - the sound of individual pistons firing which you lose in four cylinder bikes, it is still smooth at higher rpm. It is no road hugger of course, and I found myself weaving about too much which is tiring after a time and is a bit of a flaw when it comes to touring. When far away from any possible Mr Plod I thought I'd go for the ton, and while it quickly jumped to 140km/hr with ease and more to go, the front end felt light enough that I feared a tank-slapper and backed off. Not that that's a problem - I figure if I ride mostly like granbpa maybe I'll live long enough to be a grandpa! I must admit I expect far from perfection in a bike, and am very prepared to overlook flaws as character; within its limits it is a fine performer, not without faults, but despite them it certainly proved itself tour-worthy for the budget motorcyclist such as myself. Indeed it's flaws contributed to the experience that I was on a motorcycle, in the elements, having to ride it rather than being taken along by it. I like that!

  6. Hi gents,
    I know this is a very old thread but it came up searching the forum for GR650 info.

    Looking to get myself a bike and I've spotted a well maintained one at a decent price and was wondering if you learned fellas might be able to answer a few questions for me.

    I stumbled upon this GR650 listing while doing a general search and it looked promising but then I realised when searching specifically for GR650's that there are no others listed on the site, the model doesn't even exist on bikesales in the suzuki section and even the Wiki info on the model is quite limited. Why would this be?
    Were they not sold/marketed in Aus? Were they particularly unpopular? Are they technically not Suzukis? I'm at a bit of a loss here?
  7. Maybe they have a different model number is Aus?