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My latest motorcycle is a one owner ’83 Suzuki GR650 “Tempter” purchased about two months ago for $500. The original owner rode it for about 15 years putting 18,000 miles on it. He laid it down on the right side taking off the right turn signals, mirror and slightly scratching the right pipe. The guy had it hauled home where it sat untouched in the garage for over 15 years. He died in January of this year leaving it to his daughter from Colorado Springs where I bought it from a Craigslist advertisement.

The Tempter was only imported into the US for the model years 1983 and 1984. They were Suzuki’s answer to the British vertical twin cycles made by Triumph, Norton, BSA, etc. The GR650 featured an air-cooled DOHC parallel twin engine producing 62 horsepower with chain drive and was designed for nimble handling. It featured a two-stage flywheel which used a centrifugal clutch to lower flywheel mass above 3,000 RPM. This is intended to provide easier take-off at low RPM and better responsiveness at higher RPMs. It also featured an adjustable progressive mono-shock rear suspension that just glides over the bumps.

I've been looking for one of these for a couple of years to give you an idea of how rare they are. Way back in the day, when I managed a Suzuki shop while going to college, and had my choice of road bikes to ride as my own, I selected a GS550 because of its handling characteristics. I appreciate a light weight nimble bike. In the past few years I've owned a BMW RS1000RS, a Yamaha V Star 1200 Classic and a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic as road bikes. They were all nice bikes in their own right, but heavy and slow to handle. I like the Temptress more than any of them.

I started the process to get this old girl back on the road with the fuel system. The carburetors were fouled with varnish from the long ago evaporated gasoline. A thorough cleaning, replacement of all the fuel system hoses, a couple of carburetor rebuild kits, and rejetting for my altitude brought the system back to usable.

A new battery, replacement of the turn signals, oil change, and mirrors brought the rest back to road worthy status. A couple of days work on the electrical system brought all the lights and signals to working order. A tachometer cable was the last item to get everything working again.

I replaced the tires because I know the old tires are at least 15 years old showing dry rot and are weather cracked. I’m very cautious of my speed and the stress applied by fast curves. I really wanted to get tires that were made for a little traction on gravel roads, but the 16” rear tire limited my choices to street tires or one that was made for 40% dirt which made it a little too gnarly for road use. The new street tires make this old bike handle like a dream.

I loved this bike so much, that I bought another one from down near Houston TX. A good friend is bringing it to me near the end of the month. It has not run in at least ten years, so I get to go through the same procedure as the first one.
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