Suzuki GS 500

Review: Suzuki GS 500E (Baujahr 1996)

Can a bike work for 900 euros?

imagePhotos: Historical: Suzuki

Since we are not only testing new machines, we have allowed ourselves the extreme this time: This Suzuki GS 500E actually has 24 years on the hump, no electronic driving aids, but choke and gasoline tap. Let's go to the test and the answer to the question whether 900 Euros are enough for the purchase of a motorcycle.

Starting at 200 Euros

Motorcycles like our Suzuki are traded from 200 to 2,500 euros. The respective condition is correspondingly broad: Everything from the well-maintained first-hand bike of a trusting pensioner to the rocked carrot from eight hands is included. It turns out that the Suzuki is still extremely popular today: 27,000 copies are reported by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority as still in existence, a very high number.

Our test machine was carefully selected when the current owner bought it about three years ago. She has only 27,000 kilometres down, and the previous owner donated fresh tyres, a set of chains and a new TÜV badge. He wanted to have 950 euros for the machine, he got 900. The questions of all questions: Is this worth it? Financially, but also technically?

In our case, we must answer the first question in the affirmative. After the purchase, the new owner did not drive excessively many kilometers, but apart from gasoline and fresh TÜV only zero euros (in numbers: 0 euros) had to be invested. That's a deal! It is therefore smart to take the time to search: tyres, chain sets and TÜV, which have been newly purchased today, would almost double the cost price. And: A Ducati driven by us in our team is so expensive in maintenance that you could have bought one of these Suzis every year in three years. And the decline in the value of the Duc is not taken into account at all.

To answer question two, is it worth it in everyday life? - let's start the test right away. But first a round around the bike. There were the 500s with their two-cylinder in-line engine in three power levels: 27, 34 and 48 hp. Ours is the golden middle with 34 horses. The maximum torque of 34 Newton is available at 4,600 rpm. In terms of design, it is a Naked Bike, although this designation did not exist at the time. During the construction and lifetime of the Suzuki GS 500E it was ... Motorcycle. And everyone knew something about what the bike would look like.


Used check for the Suzi

Over the long construction period, Suzuki changed a lot, but the basic shape remained the same. Even the economical electronics did not multiply, except light and ignition sparks, the 500E is analogous to the bones. This also applies to the analog instruments made of rev counter and speedometer, whose current description repeatedly comes to mind the word "retro". Round headlights and the orange block blinkers were considered chic years ago.

Incidentally, the Suzi seems somehow familiar to many not quite young motorcyclists, as it was often used as a driving school moped. Nostalgic feelings arise.

What should you pay special attention to when purchasing a Suzuki GS 500E? We give a brief summary, please note: Each of these points can lead to total economic damage:

  • Rust on the frame
  • Rust on the exhaust due to poor paint quality
  • Rust inside the tank, especially during the first years of construction
  • Fall damage
  • Spring elements at the back as standard lax, have they been renewed?
  • Oil loss on the engine. Sweating is ok, drops are not
  • With regular maintenance, the engine achieves mileage of more than 50,000 kilometers without any problems. In the first two years of construction, however, some childhood diseases appeared as failed camps of the compensation wave.
  • The machine is not fully gas-resistant. Let's ask the previous owner ....
  • Howling gear gears occur - exclusion criterion!

As I said, the Suzi we drove does not have all this. It dates back to 1996, so it has undergone the important model maintenance in 1992, which is why it carries improved spring elements.

And now? Sure, go.


Almost like a modern machine

The engine starts immediately (don't forget choke) and the exhaust system gives a satisfied bolter, which could indicate much more than the actual 487 cubic centimeters. One tester even compared the noise to the life expressions of a fish cutter. Well, everyone may hear that for themselves. Should the Suzi slowly die again – don't forget to turn up the gasoline tap. Its reserve position replaces the tank clock. As it used to be.

The seating position is mediocre: medium high, medium sporty, medium comfortable thanks to the tight bench. Unlike many modern Naked Bikes, the Suzi is fully suitable for social use, at least with the improved rear springs. The then trendy M-handleise is quite narrow, as the bike looks rather small overall.

The start is easy, no control element is difficult to handle. After the warm-up, it becomes apparent that the power is mainly available in the middle and upper range. The chassis is astonishingly stable: Japanese motorcycles of this era have long been under the general suspicion of possessing powerful engines, but they were stuck in unstable frames and lax landing gears. Except for the already mentioned too soft damping at the back, our Suzi shows itself at its best and pulls its course stable.

What you should know: The brakes, only one disc at the front, were at the time, but today they go through as mediocre at most. This is so important because the performance is relatively weak compared to today's motorcycles, but objectively with an acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h of a good five seconds. Contemporary supercars such as the brutal Lamborghini Countach or the first Porsche Turbo were not faster in the zero hundred discipline.

If you have a few euros left, you can invest it in a comfortable bench, because the thin and hard padded production bench is really not the first choice.

For beginners? Well, yes....

So what remains? In our case, the question of whether a motorcycle can work for only EUR 900 must clearly be answered in the affirmative. And more: Little Suzi is really fun. Of course, she is especially noticeable when it is brakes, but she has no real flaws. If you want or have to ride a motorcycle cheaply, you would have a long time with this Suzi for the narrow thaler.

Two things about it: It worked in our case, because the buyer had been informed exactly what to look for. It should not be concealed that a portion of luck can't hurt: If a previous owner often turned the Suzi out cold or driven it over the runway at full throttle, this conclusion would probably not be so positive.

The second is the concept of an entry-level machine, which is often attached to machines such as the Suzuki GS 500E. Of course, you don't want to spend a lot of money and gain experience first. But whether you should do this with a motorcycle that lacks any electronic safety feature?

Everyone has to make up that with themselves.

Price / Availability / Colours / Years of Construction

  • Price: In the year 2000: 4480€
  • Used from 200 to approx. 2,500€
  • Years built: 1988-2007
  • Availability: very good
  • Colours: initially

    red, black, blue, white, later also in purple and green


Zubehör für die
GS 500

  • Moneta
  • Polo
  • Amazon

Pro & Kontra

  • Handy
  • Low seat height
  • Suitable for everyday use
  • Value for money
  • Excellent spare parts position
  • No electronic helpers
  • Rust-prone
  • Back weak damping

New registrations of the GS 500

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New registrations of the GS 500

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Von unserem Team geprüft:




174 kg
790 mm
1,410 mm

Driving Performance & Range

Tank contents
17 l
177 km/h

Motor & Power Transmission

Number of cylinders
487 cc
45 HP