Hey peeps. After owning 2 GS500's (naked) and coaching a mate who is learning on his own GS500F, I thought I would give a quick spiel with the most important information. Now, quickly... I do feel that despite the weight that the GS500 is a fantastic starting scoot. Aside from a few things its proved to me to be rock solid reliable, cheap and easy to maintain by yourself and can potentially be attractive. The last two I have owned (both naked, late 90's models) accumulated over 100 000km each on original engines with no repairs, only scheduled work. While they weren't the most thrilling ride, with a pipe on the back, and kept lively enough through the revs they gave me plenty of enjoyment. Recommended modifications: Honestly, while it is a budget commuter... the GS benefits massively from a good set of shoes, pads, and rebuilt forks. Aside from this I added braided lines and a slip on to mine. The suspension can be a little pathetic, especially in the front end, though with a simple rebuild of the shocks it improves greatly. While I'm not skilled at this, there are plenty of sites showing how to upgrade the existing forks. Maintenance: Honestly I found the GS to be bloody unbreakable, aside from one thing... batteries. If you are a stop-start rider, invest in a trickle charger and a new battery. On longer distance riders it doesn't seem to be as much of a problem but on frequent starting my GS's and my friends have loved to eat batteries. The only other things that are really needed is general maintenance especially oil. The engine is simple and seems to take anything you throw at it. Riding: When I first ride a GS500, it was after coming off a GPX250. To me it felt heavy as a pig and really upright. After having experience with around 26 other bikes now, I've realized it is a really stable platform with pretty confidence inspiring handling. While it is not a supersport, it has the potential to develop your riding skills as a learner, or to provide a really stable platform for commuting. Fuel economy is excellent, returning around 5.0/100 despite being thrashed on many occasions. Cons: Batteries can be eaten alive, basic (but reliable and efficient) engine, temperamental in the cold when first starting. If you have a GS or have ridden a GS, please add your own experiences or opinions.