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  1. #1
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    '86 Kawasaki 454 LTD
    Location
    Shelton, WA
    Posts
    52

    '87 Suzuki Savage LS650 vs. '86 Honda Shadow VT 500

    This is a first bike purchase. Both bikes have been dropped, however the wear and tear is not that noticeable on either one. I rode both today and liked each one.

    The Suzuki is not as pleasant to the eye (not as well kept but no obvious damage), but handled nicely. It is not as heavy as the Shadow which perhaps is why it was more easy to handle. It has 32,XXX miles and backfires when shut off. She is asking $1,500 with some wiggle room.

    The Honda has been taken care of but upon inspection you can tell it's been dropped. It has 52,XXX miles. The left turn signal wobbles and the right rear turn signal is taped in place, both work. The Honda handled nicely as well, felt more solid than the Suzuki and left me with a more positive feeling. He is asking $1,500 OBO.

    KBB & NADA shows the Savage @ $1,115 and $1,150 for Excellent, respectfully.
    " " " " shows the Shadow @ $1,205 and $1,445 for Excellent, respectfully.

    If I understand correctly, Suzuki's are easy to work on and this does play in as I'd like to learn how to to do minor repairs and so on.

    Thank you in advance for any and all advise given.

    Noekae

    P. S. I've heard it said that it's question of if, but when you'll drop a bike. Well, that was answered today. I dropped the Shadow while make a slow left turn, I became confused and laid it over on the left going about 5 to 10 mph. I told the seller as soon as I returned. He was more concerned for me that his bike.
    Last edited by Noekae; 08-01-2012 at 11:49 AM. Reason: I typed in the wrong amount for the bikes being sold.

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  3. #2
    Handlebar Consultant
    My Bike(s)
    2005 Suzuki M50 Black
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    628
    $15,000??? or $1,500??? Seems to me the Honda is a safer bet than the Suzuki. That Zuke backfiring may be because it needs some carb work or something of that nature. The Honda having no major mechanical issues would be my choice. Turn signals can be replaced pretty easily, and for very little money. Works out good that you felt more comfortable with the Honda, because that sounds like it is the better bike. If the asking price is $1,500, I would lead out with an offer of $1,000 citing the need for new turn signals and the mentioned KBB value. Good luck!


    And yes, everyone goes down at some point, if you're lucky it is at a slow speed like you just did...welcome to the club.
    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure...

  4. #3
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    '86 Kawasaki 454 LTD
    Location
    Shelton, WA
    Posts
    52
    dantheman,

    Thank you for pointing out my typo (15,000), I've made a change to my original post to reflect $1,500; what's an extra zero anyway. Also, thank you for your advice.

  5. #4
    Handlebar Consultant
    My Bike(s)
    2005 Suzuki M50 Black
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    628
    No problem. Have you narrowed down your search to these two? Or are you still looking?
    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure...

  6. #5
    Just Won't Go Away !
    My Bike(s)
    several
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    5,197
    Personally, I would not pay a dime over $750 for either of those high-mileage, 25-year old bikes. 52,000 miles is not a lot for a Goldwing, but it is really high mileage for a little 500cc machine. Neither is anywhere close to excellent or even average condition with drop damage, cosmetic issues, and mileage that high. The NADA excellent price is for a bike in perfect condition, with low miles, from a dealership. Bikes from a private sale are worth less- a dealership wil linspect a bike before selling it, and has a reputation to protect. A private sale is cash and carry, buyer-beware.

    If you look around you can find both Suzuki Savage and Honda Shadow models in the $1500-2000 price range, newer models with less than 10,000 miles on them. There is a 2001 Savage on my local Craigslist for $2000 with less than 5000 miles on it, and a 2003 Savage with 13,000 miles on it for $2100 or best offer. There is also a 1986 Shadow 500 for $1000 OBO with 12,000 miles on it. If your budget is $1500, you can find something with a lot less miles on it that either of those bikes for that kind of money.
    You MUST obey the pug dog!


  7. #6
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    '86 Kawasaki 454 LTD
    Location
    Shelton, WA
    Posts
    52
    Dr. Bob,

    Thank you the sage advice.

    Noekae

  8. #7
    Super Moderator

    My Bike(s)
    '10 Kaw Vulcan 900 Custom
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    8,848
    Quote Originally Posted by Noekae View Post
    If I understand correctly, Suzuki's are easy to work on and this does play in as I'd like to learn how to to do minor repairs and so on.
    That might be true of the models that you are presently looking at but you can't generalize.

    I think that Honda overall does a better job of making their bikes easy to service.

    Getting to the things you need to for routine maintenance is a breeze on my Shadow 600......compared to the Suzuki S-50 that I have where getting to things like the air filters is a major pain in the ass. That model Zuki might be an exception though.
    Don't believe everything that you think.

  9. #8
    Just Won't Go Away !
    My Bike(s)
    several
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    5,197
    The Savage/ S40 is exceptionally easy to work on: only one cylinder, air cooled, maintenance-free belt drive- everything is right there in the open, and there is not much to it.

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is that the '86-'88 Savage had only a 4-speed transmission. Suzuki soon came to their senses and put a 5-speed in it, so the 1989-2012 models are MUCH better bikes, better able to utilize the limited power of the engine.
    You MUST obey the pug dog!


  10. #9
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    '86 Kawasaki 454 LTD
    Location
    Shelton, WA
    Posts
    52
    Dr. Bob or Easy Rider,Knowing what you know. For a frist bike, which one would you choose? Does the milage 52,XXX on the Honda limit its life?

  11. #10
    Just Won't Go Away !
    My Bike(s)
    several
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    5,197
    Like I said, I would not buy either unless you could get it for $750 or less. 52,000 is a huge amount of miles on that little Honda- I don't recall ever seeing one with that many miles on it. For that matter, 32,000 is a lot for a Savage. But as a first bike, you will outgrow either one very quickly, so if it has to be one or the other get whichever one you can get cheapest. Ride it for the rest of the summer, then sell it for what you paid for it and buy something better.

    But again, used, low-miles small displacement beginner bikes are very common. Most people ride them for a year or less, so there are plenty of them on the market with less than 10,000 miles on them, and often with only a few hundred miles on them. You can get a bike that is 4 times better (newer, nicer, more life left in it) if you up your budget to $2000 from the $1500 they are asking for either of these.
    You MUST obey the pug dog!


  12. #11
    Super Moderator

    My Bike(s)
    '10 Kaw Vulcan 900 Custom
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    8,848
    Quote Originally Posted by DrBob View Post
    Suzuki soon came to their senses and put a 5-speed in it, so the 1989-2012 models are MUCH better bikes, better able to utilize the limited power of the engine.
    Should I mention that I actually LIKE the 4 speed in my Shadow........naw, probably not.
    Don't believe everything that you think.

  13. #12
    Super Moderator

    My Bike(s)
    '10 Kaw Vulcan 900 Custom
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    8,848
    Quote Originally Posted by Noekae View Post
    Dr. Bob or Easy Rider,Knowing what you know. For a frist bike, which one would you choose? Does the milage 52,XXX on the Honda limit its life?
    Yes, likely.

    Pay attention to what DrBob is saying.
    I have been sorry EVERY time that I didn't !!

    The answer is NEITHER. Keep looking.
    Last edited by Easy Rider; 08-01-2012 at 11:08 PM.
    Don't believe everything that you think.

  14. #13
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    '86 Kawasaki 454 LTD
    Location
    Shelton, WA
    Posts
    52
    Thank you both. I'm glad I found this forum.

  15. #14
    Just Won't Go Away !
    My Bike(s)
    several
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    5,197
    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Rider View Post
    Should I mention that I actually LIKE the 4 speed in my Shadow........naw, probably not.
    LOL! I like the 4-speed on my FLH-80 also...but trust me, that single cylinder Savage really needs the 5-speed, as the power band is just too narrow for the 4 speed. I love that little VLX of yours- for years it has been my favorite bike to recommend as a first motorcycle...or even as a 'keeper' for people of diminutive stature.
    You MUST obey the pug dog!


  16. #15
    Handlebar Consultant
    My Bike(s)
    2005 Suzuki M50 Black
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    628
    NoeKae, both of these guys know their stuff. I'm not very familiar with the older bikes like these, this is where I tip my hat to wisdom they have most definitely earned. I think Bob has a good point on raising your budget a little. Many dealers have a wide variety of starter bikes. Things like the Honda Rebel 250, Kawasaki 500 LTD, Shadow 600, maybe a V star 650 if you are a big guy, and many other styles besides these cruiser styled bikes. Many can be had for around $2-3k, and they will be MUCH newer. Most are less than 5 or 6 years old and have decently low mileage. Besides, if you look at some newer bikes I might feel relevant...
    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure...


 

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