1983 Suzuki Tempter GR650-X

| 1/12/2011 10:34:00 AM

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tempter 1 
The 1983 Suzuki Tempter GR650-X Model in red with aftermarket
windscreen and backrest/rack.

Imagine the weight and handling of a classic British twin. Then update the suspension with a rear hydraulic swing arm style mono-shock and adjustable front air forks. Make the bike look good with chromed exhaust and fenders, contrasted by black cylinders and frame, pay homage to the classic Triumph twins with a teardrop tank and clean lines, and oh yeah, keep it affordable – very affordable. That’s what you have with the 1983 Suzuki Tempter GR650-X, and with all it had to offer it failed to catch on in the U.S. I have yet to see another besides the one parked in my garage. The country was gripped in a recession at the time, and U.S. buyers who did buy new bikes flocked to four cylinder bikes with their wallets, including Suzuki’s own GS models, and in doing so they missed the GR650. Too bad – it’s a very sweet bike, as many Europeans can testify as they snapped them up. I bought my used Tempter in 2004, so this review may be a bit biased – I think it’s a terrific bike and it's a shame the marketplace missed a real gem.

tempter 2 

The Suzuki Tempter GR650-X was produced in two models, the budget “X” model pictured has traditional spoked wheels, a single color paint scheme and non-adjustable front forks, all out the door for $2,149. The upgraded “D” version got a two tone color paint scheme, magi style wheels and upgraded adjustable front air forks for $2,399. Cycle World’s test boasted, “For a little over 2 grand you can own a real, honest-to-gosh, full-size, brand-new undented motorcycle.” Today a low mileage model will run about $1,500 – and most well under that reasonable sum – if you can find them.

tempter 3 
The upswept dual chrome exhaust help creates the look
of a classic British twin.

1/21/2018 1:23:21 PM

I have an "X" model, just like in the pictures. I am the second owner of it and I think I bought it in 1991. It is in mint condition with very low miles. It has not been driven in a number of years but I hope to get it back on the road this summer. Great bike !!!!

1/21/2018 1:23:19 PM

I have one. I think I bought it in 1991. It is in mint condition with very low mileage. It has not been on the road for a number of years. I hope to get it back on the road this year. Great bike.

Martin Buck
3/15/2013 11:02:01 PM

When this bike first came out, I (ab)used my friendship with the salesman at Wellington Motorcycles (the late great racer Robert Holden, who perished at the TT), to borrow a GR650 for the day. I was amazed at the comfort from the thick seat and Full Floater rear suspension. The engine gave few signs of the transition between heavy (low speed) and light (higher speed) crank weights. It was creamy smooth, impossible to stall from take off, and rich with mid range torque. It was agile, capable and fun. There has been some fragility in the recently available used models, with oil leaks from the heads, the usual Suzuki electrical faults, and the very high mileage of some examples. But to me at the time it was the perfect bike. If only I'd had the money...