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Opinions on 1987 Suzuki Savage...

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All,

I'm going to buy my wife a small street bike of some sort. She's average height and weight and has a small amount of dirt experience on 2 wheels. No street experience. We'll do the MSF course when we can.

She sat on a couple of bikes and the one she likes the most is the Savage so far. I found an 87 model for a reasonable price. Anybody have any experience with these things? Is it too much (or little) for a beginner? Is the 4-speed tranny going to limit it too much? Should I be worried about a drum brake on the back? Does this belt-drive thing really work? :cry: Anything specific to this bike I should look for when I go look at it?

Any input welcome.

Thanks,

DDACT :cry:

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I can't say I've owned one, but I think that should be a good starter bike. Not too fast, who cares about a 4 speed trans. Belt drive is good. I'm sure if she enjoys riding it'll be a great one to learn on. Having a nice, low seat helps her be more confident about holding the weight of it up. I wouldn't worry about it's reliability any, so long as it looks like it's been cared for somewhat.

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Thanks for the comments.

Anybody out there have more specific experience with these bikes?

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I've had one for 5-6 years and ride it daily to work and around town. I think it is Japan's second best kept secret. It is a sweet running low maintenance bike that short legged folks seem to love. Every female that has sat on my bike loved it.

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My buell and my dads harley have belts, they are great. The savage would be a great entry level bike, yes I have ridden one, no I have never owned one. I would strongly suggest the MSF safety class.

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I worked at a dealership in the late 80's and early 90's. Test rode alot of bikes, the Suzuki Savage was one of them. The low seat height helped make them a confidence inspiring bike for new riders. It was fairly lightweight and made smooth power. In my opinion, this is very much a beginner cruiser type bike. Not alot there to get excited over, power or handling wise. It will get a person out there riding and building experience. If that is your wish, it is a good, reliable, cheap design. Not alot of service calls on them either working from memory.

You say she has a small amount of dirt experience, no street experience. Definately get her in a MSF course. As with any unskilled newbie rider, keep her out of busy traffic. Go out on back roads to build seat time. This particular model and style of design is not a great handling bike. Raked out cruisers are great for certain things but if she is trying to keep up with a group of sport bikes, she will get frustrated quickly. What do you ride yourself on the street? I assume you are wanting her to join you on street rides.

I recall the 4 speed being just fine for street legal speeds. I ran the bike up to 80-90mph before backing it down. It accelerates just fine for a beginner bike, but you aren't going to set any ET records. It fits the bill nicely for the rider you are describing. The raked out front end is fine for sedate paced riding but for sportier riding you are going to reach limits quickly. I found the limits quickly and easily, touching down footpegs and frame rails at slight lean angles. I was riding my own FZR1000 during the same time period. Totally different worlds.

The belt drive system should pose no problems. Lots of bikes with belt drives that last a long time. The rear drum does it's job just fine. It is plenty strong enough to lock the rear. I hope you realize that the primary stopping power is in the front brake.

It is really hard to know where a person is coming from sometimes on here given the limited nature of communicating in this medium. If I were starting a new rider out on the street....I would lean more towards a dual sport bike.

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