If you've been following along, you know that I picked up this 1970 CL450 Honda with the intention of giving it to my older nephew, Kyle, next year (when he turns 16).
As I've worked on it and ridden it around, I have begun to wonder if this bike is a real good choice as a first bike for someone who mostly wants transportation; not a hobby. This was driven home to me, the other night, as I was starting it up so that Brad and Randy could ride it around before we went to see Machete
, at the theater. It took me about 20 kicks and 5 different tries on the choke lever position to get it going, and I've had 35+ years experience with bikes.
So, I decided to see if I could find something newer, something which was built after the watershed years of the mid-80s when motorcycles became much easier to deal with. What I was looking for was something classic, but not vintage...beginner friendly but not boring.
I found this:
It's a 1995 Suzuki GS-500 E. It has a vertical twin engine, displacing 487cc and producing right around 50 hp, and weighing about 450 pounds with a full tank of gas. That's a good enough power-to-weight ratio to allow it to get out of its own way, and hold its own in traffic. At over 55 mpg, the 5.3 gallon fuel tank should allow for some good, long, cruises between refills.
If you look closely, you can see a bit of damage to the tank, from a spill, sometime in the past.
Here"s a close-up. I will either find a new tank, or fix this one and paint it. I plan on talking to Kyle before making a decision on that.
It has disc brakes, front and rear; cast wheels and tubeless tires...In other words, this is a modern motorbike. I feel better about this, as a first bike for a 16-year-old than I do the vintage Honda.
It's a good-looking bike, similar to this:
The Trident is a 1996 model...the Suzuki is from 1995.
Side-by-side, the two bikes are obviously contemporaries. I really want to repaint the Suzuki, mount the Buell windscreen I have propped up on it in this picture, and turn it into a smaller version of the Trident. They are so similar, to start with, that it would be pretty easy to make them a matched pair.
It's a fun bike to ride, and good-sized chassis for a middle-weight bike.
My first road bike was a 1977 GS400, the first 4-stroke twin Suzuki ever built. This bike is the direct descendant of that bike. That may be one reason I like it so much. I have a bit of a soft spot for these.
I hope Kyle likes it, too.