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GS500 v/s Kantana 600

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by engineer151515, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. engineer151515


    Nov 3, 2003
    Soooo... I've been reading up on Moto Club threads about starter bikes. I'm a first time owner but I'm no kid. At 43 years of age I don't need a thrill ride. At $2.00/gal and climbing, I'm looking for a ride to work and an occasional 45 minute trip to the beach. The ride to work is a fairly long ride 65 miles and 1hr 15 min along wide open country roads. This ride is not permanent, but will go on for another 6 months at least.

    I read up (from multiple sources) that a Suzuki GS500F is a good starter bike. (Kawasaki EF500 also a good starter .. but that's another thread). I head out to my local Suzuki dealer to check it out.

    Well, he's sold out. OK, that's understandable. He quickly sizes me up and says that "I'll be a little big on that GS500". I'm 6'-1", 215 lbs, average looking slightly tall guy. He shows me over to a Kantana 600 and says that this bike will be a much more comfortable ride, more powerful, more stable, you won't "outgrow" it's capabilities in 4 months time, and its a little more money. $1000 more money. ;P

    OK. I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish. Is it really worth the extra grand for the next larger model, or am I being target practice for good salesmanship? Maybe if the GS500 wasn't such a good deal, he wouldn't be sold out of them and I can try one on for size. I have a source that will sell me a 2005 GS500 for $4788.50 delivered (minus local sales tax and tag). Seems like a sweet deal but if I'm gonna regret the smaller bike, I'd pass.

    Let me know your opinions.
  2. BrianM_G21


    Aug 18, 2004
    Manchester, GA
    I've been riding for over a decade now (I'm 30), and over the course of my riding career I've gone to smaller and smaller bikes. Started otu on an 1100, then to a 750 (which has been the bulk), and now I have an EX250 that I ride most of the time (it's my wifes, and I still have a 750.. but it's sat in the shed for the past 3 months while the 250 gets all the miles). So I'm a direct contradiction to the 'you'll out gorw it in XXX months' statement... you'll outgrow a bike that you WANT to outgrow. Behing older and hopefully wiser than myself, I imagine that you have the common sense to not get all hot and bothered over the newest, latest and greatest. That means you can really buy any bike you want and outgrow it only when you find t=yourself wanting to modify your current bike to fit a the abalities that another bike my do better stock (like picking up long distance, 2-up touring...)

    As for size, I'm 6'4" and 280 or so. Again, I ride a 250 (and have put about 5k miles on it this year)... size isn't an issue. The GS500 will do exactly what you say you want it to do and easily. It'll even do a bit more if you ask it... the bike has been arround forever (in E form, F is new for '04) and there are lots of spares/knowledge/upgrades should you need or want them. It's a lighter bike than the Katana, a little more 'standard' oriented to the Katanas sportier nature (though were' splitting hairs on the differences). Both have dead reliable engines, reasonably comphy ergos and the Katna has good weather protection (haven't ridden the 500F to compare). I haven't checked specs, but I'd guess that the Katana is heavier and probably a little more stable at higher speeds, while the 500F is a little more nimble at slower speeds. It's really just which one you like best... if the lower cost is more appealing than the other differences, then choose the 500f. If you see something in the Katana you like better than the 500f, then go that way. Yuo absolutly cannot go wrong with either choice.

  3. RBR


    Apr 18, 2001
    What kind of riding you see yourself doing should dictate what class of bikes to consider. If your going to be doing a lot of freeway riding then a cruiser or sport-touring bike might be better than a more "focused" sport-bike. The SV650 is a good bike (V twin) to consider also in the 600cc class.

    Though less intimidating to start on, a small bike can leave you wishing for more. If you can exercise restraint & caution while learning then there's no reason not to consider a larger (1000cc +) bike. I'm not saying go buy a ZX10 or R1 and see what happens. Some bikes I would consider are Kawasaki ZRX1100/1200, Suzuki 1200 Bandit & Yamaha FZ1 (but I'm partial to sport-tourers).

    I would shop for something used, get some experience, and then maybe buy new. It's Fall/Winter and there should be some motivated sellers.
    Make sure to buy some decent gear to wear also.
  4. 45acp4me

    45acp4me Pissed puppet

    May 11, 2001
    Farmington, MI
    It's a starter bike so I'd go for the GS500 for three reasons:

    1. It's cheaper to fix if it falls off it's stand or if you crash it. Bikes with lots of plastic cost big $$$ to fix the cosmetics.

    2. It's cheaper to buy in the first place, if it's a starter bike and will likely get sold in a couple years, why pay more and take a bigger depreciation hit?

    3. It has plenty of power, race a couple corvettes and see who wins for the first 1,000 feet.

  5. 4eyes

    4eyes Provocateur

    Dec 20, 2003
    redneck heaven
    Both the GS500 and Katana 600 are air cooled, old tech bikes and neither are very comfortable for the 65 miles of your commute. Probably the best new bike for your use in this price catagory is in the same Suzuki stable.


    For less money and better value, there are always good used bikes on the market.

    Also, the distance from seat to foot pegs is a critical ergonomic area for longer distance riding. Most of the "sport type" bikes have very short legroom and bend knees uncomfortably for long sit times.
    If where you live is flat and boring, consider a small cruiser with a wind screen.

    Don't be fooled into thinking that a cycle is less expensive to operate than a small econobox. Motorcycle component prices are considerably more expensive than similar component parts on a car and those on a car generally last longer.

    Most of us ride to have fun and elevate the adrenalin rather than to save money.
  6. engineer151515


    Nov 3, 2003
    Thanks everybody. I appreciate the responses.

    I just thougt I might be "taken for a ride" by this dealer but I'm beginning to believe this may not be the case.

    pun intended ;f
  7. Eyespy

    Eyespy Proud Infidel

    Sep 2, 2004
    Southern California
    For your first bike, I recommend you purchase a used Kawasaki EX500 or Suzuki GS500, learn how to ride it, sell it later at no or little depreciation, and move up as your skill and experience allows. Don't start on a new bike, or more displacement, on the basis of the notion that you will only outgrow a lesser choice in a short while.
  8. 45acp4me

    45acp4me Pissed puppet

    May 11, 2001
    Farmington, MI
    A used GS500 goes for less than SV650. The SV650 isn't exactly the pinnacle of leg room either. My Bandit 600 has much better ergonomics than a SV650 for anyone that's taller than 5' 10". My knees are bent pretty bad on a SV compared to the Bandit.

    Both bikes are still to peppy for a new rider though.

  9. MikeG22

    MikeG22 CLM

    Jun 24, 2002
    San Diego
    Yea, skip getting a brand new bike. Find one that's a few years old that you can beat on for a while and learn to ride and also find out what you like and don't like as far as riding position. After you get some miles under your belt you will look at new bikes in a different light and can get something that will fit you best.

    When your learning older bikes that are already depreciated are good as well as ones without fairings. The new GS's have full fairings now right? That sorta works against you in a few ways. Whatever you end up doing get a good set of frame sliders on it before you start riding, on slip and they can save you hundreds of dollars in torn up plastics and other parts.
  10. GenoTac Ind.

    GenoTac Ind. |KYDEX GEAR>

    Jun 22, 2004
    Louisville, KY Check out a Yamaha yzf600r. The best in it's class, and a comfortable multi purpose streetbike. I've ridden many hours a stretch and carved mountains at the same time. And with a price tag of less than $6000 for a brand new one, you just can't beat it.