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.

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...

Robert Wetzel
9/17/2011 11:22:38 PM

I bought a 1983 GR650 in June 2011. I am the third owner and the bike had 5975 miles on it when purchased. It came with a wind screen. I was told that the bike was cold blooded when starting but I have never experienced that. I have put 2200 miles on the bike and the only thing I have done is replace the rear tire. This winter I would like to change the sprockets to a 36 rear and 16 front as I agree the motor seems to run hard at cruising speeds. I have gotten 55 mpg at the high end and 47 mpg at the low end. seems to average about 51 mpg This is my first road bike and my decision to buy it had to do with the condition and price. I paid $1500 and had to do nothing but ride it. It seems to be needing a valve cover gasket as its seeps oil. The local motorcycle mechanic gave it a listen and said that it sounded good to him. I was looking at newer bikes but I am enjoying this and it is paid for. I am looking for a rack that would fit.

Dave Reiss
4/2/2011 12:26:40 PM

sorry that 60's Honda s90 was a single thrown in the mix...but been riding twin street bikes ever since.

bike on highway

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