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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a newbie looking at bikes to purchase and have narrowed my choices down to two. Obviously those are the GS500F and the SV650S. I just have a couple of quick questions if anybody would be willing to answer them...I would appreciate it. My biggest concern with the GS500 is that it's not water-cooled. I know that it's supposed to extend the life of the engine and is overall better for it and also lowers maintenance. Has anyone had any problems whatsoever with this? Fuel injection is another issue I have. The SV has it and the GS does not. Is that any kind of problem that I should be worried about? What would be the positives and negatives about these bikes? I've done a lot of research and know what I think, but maybe there is something else I haven't thought of or come across that an experienced rider of these bikes would know. I appreciate any info that one could give...thanks in advance.

Nate
 

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First generation SV's are not fuel injected. '99-'02. and they look the best ;D wish I could help you on the other Q's good luck. I got my sv as my first bike.
 

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I would definitely recommend the GS500F. I would not be too worried about FI right away. You shouldn't notice any of the issues associated with carbs that some speak of. The GS is about .5 an inch lower to the ground, so it's a little better suited for the new rider. Also, I tend to think the SV is not very forgiving to new riders, despite what some might say. The gs is a great bike and will allow you to learn the intricacies of the motorcycle without worrying about over-doing the throttle. Just an opinion.
 
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I would say a GS500, F or not(the fairing is simply just stuck on the original naked bike architecture), is an easier bike to ride then a SV650.  That does not mean the SV is any harder for some people to learn on.  But don't get too caught up on FI or carbs, in MOST cases, carburated bikes have smoother throttle response then FI-making it a little easier to ride at very low throttle positions and transitions.  Most FI bikes are JUST starting to get close.  FI bikes have computers trying very hard to emulate what air naturally does in a carb.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Josh that is a fantastic bike(starter or otherwise) for the money you have there. If I had the room and I was close I would buy that just to, well, have it. ;D
 

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Hi and congrats on getting into motorcycling! My first bike, besides a few scooters, was a '99 GS500e - basically the same as the GS500F w/o the fairing. It was/is a great first bike. Light weight, nice riding position, easy maintenance and enough power to get you going. I used it as a daily commuter and weekend ride, putting about 22,000 miles on it in 4 years. Now, I rarely rode in temps over 85 F, usually at lower elevations and I was more a cruiser than a racer, but I never had any issues with the engine being air-cooled and carbureted. The GS engine has been around for, what, 10-15 years? So you can expect it to be quite reliable. The rest of the bike has proven as well made - other than damage from vandalism, I've never needed any repairs beyond the normal oil change/chain cleaning/tire replacement.

That said, I have had my '05 SV650 for a week now and love it. Although the riding position is similar, it is a very different bike from the GS500, mainly due to the engine and the frame/suspension.

The SV has a much more responsive throttle - it is downright twitchy compared to the GS. Throttle control is more difficult on the SV, which could get a brand new biker into trouble if they don't take it easy to start with. Engine braking on the SV is far more pronounced. The SV has more power, and torque, at every RPM than the GS, which makes it easier to get up to speed if you miss a downshift. The SV also feels more stable through turns, both fast and slow speed. It handles normal bumps in the road better both on the city streets and freeway.

If the SV had been available when I bought my GS, I would likely have gone with that instead. However, I do think that the GS is an easier, more forgiving, bike to really learn how to ride in all situations and get experience with and I've had a great time with mine.

Which ever you go with, you'll still end up having a smile on your face when you drive away from the dealer :) Enjoy!

oh yah, be sure to get some good riding gear as well - comfortable, safe equipment will have as much impact on your fun as the bike. Nothing worse than a helmet too small or gloves too big.
 

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kevinb120 said:
Josh that is a fantastic bike(starter or otherwise) for the money you have there. If I had the room and I was close I would buy that just to, well, have it. ;D
not my bike, but its a good deal eh? ;)
 
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Discussion Starter #9
yea he could buy that, any gear he wants, powerdercoat the wheels white(dont know why I like that look so much with blue?), get some other shiny bits, pay for the MSF, good insurance, and STILL be well under the price of a 'newer' used GS500F :p
 

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GS 500s have a reputation for being basically bullet-proof.
Air cooled and carburetted means it doesn't make as much power as a similar capacity FI water cooled engine could,
but it also means there's that much less to go wrong with the engine.

Carberruted engines when well set up are at least as smooth as FI engines, and they're much easier to
mess around with if you decide you want to do your own maintenance.

As for water-cooled. well, you'll get longer maintenance intervals and more power, but the maintenance is slightly more complicated.

Rather than bad.. think of Air-cooled and carburetted as old school and simpler...
If you want to learn to work on your bike as well as ride... old school would probably be a positive thing.
 

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If you have no previous riding experience, then the GS500 is better of the two. It is a proven design that's pretty bullet proof. Insurance will be cheaper, and the naked model (GS500E) doesn't have pretty plastic to scrape up or need to be repaired if you drop it. Power is down from the SV of course, but that is a good thing for a noob.

Buy a year old used GS500. With the money you save on insurance and purchase price, go take MSF and buy some gear. Welcome to the riding community and have fun.
 
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My first bike was a '04 gs500f. It is a great bike however it is gutless past 60 mph. After 11 months and 10,000 miles I was dieing for more power so I traded it in for my 1KS.The gs would be better for you to start on but don't buy it new, go used you can pick one up really cheap and try to pay cash. That way if you want to upgrade later on you're free to do so.
 

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The lack of water cooling means next to nothing in terms of reliability. It's a design decision more than anything else. The advantage is that the motor is less complex and lower maintenance. If the bike falls - no $500+ radiator to potentially replace.

Also - the GS motor has been around for a LONG time and has a reputation for being stone-ax reliable.

The only real criticisim I can give what must be the perfect starter sporty is that they're cold-blooded as heck. Meaning - they run pretty rough for a pretty good while when cold. From the factory - the carbs are lean 'n lumpy to make the engine meet emissions.

Any decent mechanic can adjust the air/fuel mixture to make it more user friendly. Fuel injection is nice - but a million miles away from necessary. Just look at what NASCAR gets for performance out of carb'd engines. Like 'em or not - they get some serious power out of those things.
 

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Ruefus said:
The lack of water cooling means next to nothing in terms of reliability. 
Don't agree with that statement.  Water cooled engines last much longer than thier air cooled brethren.  Normal engine wear is all heat related.

If you are serious about the GS500 (good choice) also check out the Ninja500 which is water cooled.
 

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I may (or may not) get flamed for this, but the SV was my first bike and I don't regret it for a second.  I've had it for about 3 weeks and over 1000 miles so far.  I did at least take the MSF course, hopefully you have as well.  A word of warning though;  After riding around on the little 125's in the course I was caught a bit off guard by the throttle response on my SV leaving the dealership I picked it up at.  A couple guys I know that have ride CBR600s were even caught off guard by it when I let them take it around the block. :eek:

The torque curve on an SV does make it a bit easier for a new rider, as gear selection isn't as crucial.  But it doesn't take a wrist full of throttle to get into it's powerband, so be careful.
Plus with the SV you get a wonderful board like this one. 

I'm sure you'll have plenty of fun with whichever bike you end up with and if you get tired of the GS500 after a year you can probably sell it for about the same price you picked it up for (if you got a used one).  Then you can move up to an SV, or a 600 of your choice.  ;D
 

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My first bike was a GS500. I picked it up for about 1000 bucks, and it lasted me well over a year. Its more than fast enough for a beginner, and is VERY confidince inspiring. Even in not-so-hot shape, they're very capable of teaching you the things you need to know in order to ride a bigger, more capable machine.

Try picking up an early 90s model, ride it for a year or so, then turn around and sell it for what you paid for it. Just try to get one that doesnt burn oil (too badly). My bike developed a fatal oil burning problem after about 9 months. Granted, it was high mileage, had been through *lots* of owners, and I was flogging it daily, but still. It died, and I bought my SV. Still havent decided weather to resurrect the GS or scrap it for Ebay.
 

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we picked up a 2002 GS500 for my roommate for $1300. Ran great, and still does. It was his frist bike, and insuracne is cheap on it. It all depends on how much you really want to spend.
 

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The GS500 is a lovely first bike. Easy going power, fun to ride, cheap on insurance. Can't go wrong.
 

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I'm going to agree with the ONE other post on this and recommend the SV! My very first bike was a GS550. I think the SV is a lot easier to ride and more fun! It is a bike you will be able to grow into and not feel like upgrading in a short time. Also, I agree that water cooled engines may be better suited to warmer areas. I live were the daily temps can get into the 110 - 115 degree range in the summer and that is HELL on an air cooled bike. So, lots of things to consider and if price is an issue, then it is hard to beat a good deal! Either way, fun is in your future!
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all of the input. I appreciate all of the information that you all have provided. I think I'm gonna go get the ZX-6R now....nope, not quite...i wish. I found a GS today and was able to sit on it and I like the way it felt. I also sat on a Ninja 500R and I really liked the way that felt as well. I'm not as fond of the styling in the Ninja as I am with the GS500, but I think it did fit me a little better. Does anybody have experience on the Ninja? It might be the best of both worlds for me in that it's a pretty good starter bike and it's water-cooled. Thanks for the help...

Nate
 
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