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Old 07-06-2011, 09:50 PM   #1
BIG ED XT FAN OP
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Question Yamaha xs 850 vs Suzuki gs 850

Hi, Theres a gs 850 suzuki near by for a good price. Also,Yamaha XS 850 stardard. for under $1000.00. I am a yamaha guy, so go with the Yamaha, or is the GS 850 better? What do you think??? ED
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:11 PM   #2
Fubars
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Even though I'm a Yamaha guy, their 850's are kinda rare around here in SoCal. I'll see a GS 850 listed at least once a month. My buddy at work picked up a nice one last December. I did a tune up on it, since it had been sitting for a while. I flushed the tank, pulled apart the carbs and cleaned all that out. Did an oil change, balanced the carbs and it screams. The Suzuki GS's had a good reliability record. I believe it. Buy it if it's in good shape, but check the voltage at the battery (while it's running) when you go look at it again. Some of the air cooled GS's had stator problems back then. Post photos after you score it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:32 AM   #3
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Get the GS...probably the best all around bike Suzuki ever produced. With minimal maintenance they can go for tons of miles and are a smooth running engine.

I am also a Yamaha guy, but I still own a Suzuki GS550EF (85).

Kenny
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:45 AM   #4
larryboy
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GS850 over the XS850, the triple wasn't that great.
The GS850 is a great bike!!
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:51 AM   #5
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Yeah, that is easy, the Yamaha is a tripple and they had problems and were slow. The GS was a four and fast for the days, and more much more so, reliable and way way easier to find parts for. Plus, I think the Yamaha is a shafty and in those years they shaft jacked to the Moon when ridden hard. The XS tripples sucked for anything but cruising. Even though the Suzuki was also a shaft they didn't jack as bad as the Yamaha.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:02 PM   #6
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Gs850

Buy the GS850.

If the stator is a problem, it can be replaced with a modern unit. You may want to do this anyway and then not have to worry about it.

The GS850 has the most comfortable seat ever put on a standard bike.

Easy to modify the handlebars to suit your riding style.

Ride it naked or put a windshield, some soft bags and you can go anywhere.

The Suzuki GS owner's website is one of the best owner's sites on the web.

www.thegsresources.com
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryboy View Post
GS850 over the XS850, the triple wasn't that great.<>
The GS850 is a great bike!!
Ditto. I borrowed a GS850 once for a 11 day trip down the coast and back,I beat that bike like a red headed step child and it worked great,totally comfortable the whole time.
The stators can be a pain but fixable.
The triples werent Yamaha's best effort.

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Old 07-07-2011, 12:10 PM   #8
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I too vote for the GS. I must confess I've never ridden one but I have always preferred the GS850 over the other GS's of the era for its shaft drive and simple 8 valve head. I like the GS engines in general for the simple, robust construction. Plus the 850 sounds cool and probably has tons of torque.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
Rob Farmer
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Never ridden the XS850 but I had a 750. Fantastic bike, went like billyo. great fun. I remember the heads of hex headed bolts that held the gear cluster in place were prone to snapping off causing the gearbox to explode. The thing to do was to swap the "made from cheese" jap bolt for a normal steel one and the problem was avoided. I've no idea if this applies to the 850.

The Suzuki's were pretty bland machines in comparison.

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Old 07-07-2011, 01:20 PM   #10
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Had a '78 XS750 Standard in '80. Way too short final drive gears in an effort to make it catch Suzukis and Kawasakis in the 1/4 mile ruined what could have been a decent touring bike.

I traded it after six weeks and 16k kms for a '72 Eldorado and '70 Triumph 650Tiger.

That was a great trade.

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Old 07-07-2011, 01:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lornce View Post
Had a '78 XS750 Standard in '80. Way too short final drive gears in an effort to make it catch Suzukis and Kawasakis in the 1/4 mile ruined what could have been a decent touring bike.

I traded it after six weeks and 16k kms for a '72 Eldorado and '70 Triumph 650Tiger.

That was a great trade.

Yes, and you were lucky to not have it long enough to crash it in a corenr from shaft jack, nor have the trans blow up and take out your right calf muscle! Hot rodded XS750s and 850s had a bad (a few actually) problems.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:40 PM   #12
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Wow! I was interested in the opinions since I rode a GS850 about 1500 miles once to deliver it for a friend. Normally I ride Beemers. I thought the GS was a heavy, gutless piece of crap. I thought the thing had no power down low and revving it had few rewards as well. I am surprised the Yamaha is even worse.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:02 AM   #13
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I absolutely loved the GS850 I had. It beat the snot out of the DOHC CB750C I had at the time. More comfortable, faster, smoother, with better throttle response and much much MUCH better suspension. Much.

Yamahas.... their electrical systems are garbage. Cheap crap wire that corrodes terribly. Awful charging systems and worse ignition systems. And the carbs... oh my God avoid the Yamaha CV carbs like the plague. My 79 XS650 had a superbly reliable motor... you couldn't kill it. But every single other part of that bike was trash. The bike would run fine one day, and like crap the next. Perfectly hot spark. Pull the carbs, there was nothing wrong with them. No junk in there, super clean, new floats, new screws, everything inside new. Put the carbs back on, suddenly it runs fine.

Went through that for months, before i just bought a set of regular carbsn (from an earlier model) off of eBay, bolted them on, and never had another goddamn problem -- with the carbs -- again.

The electrical system... hoboy... it would never start on the electric foot. It had to be kick started. It'd spin the starter, but there wasn't enough spark to fire the motor with the starter button pressed. EVEN WHEN JUMPING IT OFF A CAR. Replaced the coil, still no dice. It would not start off the starter unless the bike was hot. Even then, it barely would catch. Lights, signals, charging system, everything went on that bike, and i only owned it for a year and some change. This was 1998 or so, so the bike was only 19 years old at the time -- barely broken in for a Honda.

The XS vibrated so badly that adjusting the points was useless. They vibrated out of adjustment by the time you got to the end of the driveway. That's the only motorcycle I've ever owned with a reverse gear. Put that XS650 on the center stand and rev the motor, and it'd vibrate backwards, uphill, at a walking pace.


The early Viragos were junk too. I loved my 82 Virago 750... Rode the HELLS out of it. Replaced the starter spring about four times and the shifter linkage spring once, over the course of about 20,000 miles. Starter ALWAYS sounded like a bucket of quarters being chewed up by a garbage disposal. Ignition system died, and spark boxes were unobtainable from the dealer. I went through three used ones, all as bad or worse than the one I had, before I gave up and sold the bike for basically nothing. It's sad too, because I liked the monoshock, handling, power, and styling.

Anyhow, I avoid old Yamahas like the plague. I've had nothing but problems with late 70's / early 80's yammerhammers. Before or after that period they're fine, but you couldn't GIVE me another XS-anything.

Charles.

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Old 03-19-2013, 03:22 AM   #14
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XS would win for rarity - but it was a flawed design from the off.

The GS is a way better bike - faster, smoother, stronger, etc.

I've ridden both (years ago) - but whichever you go for, ENJOY
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:44 AM   #15
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I had an XS850 for about 20 years. Nice bike, very comfortable, good torque, reasonable fuel economy and a good tourer. The engine had a lovely pulsing beat and mine didn't vibrate much at all. The handling was heavy and it didn't do too well on dirt roads. I can't remember how many miles it had on it when I sold it, but perhaps 30,000 or so. It was one of my 'spare' bikes and didn't get much use and I lent it to my brother who used it for some years as his touring mount.. Never any problems with it, and it started first go after sitting for about 5 years when I eventually sold it to a collector in 2003. The the pic was taken when it came out of storage in the garage, minus the R90S style fairing and Krauser bags that I had on it. They were pretty rare here too and I vaguely remember that there were only about 50 of them sold in Australia. I've only ever seen one other one on the road locally. Parts would be difficult as a result.



The GS850 was very popular here and reputedly a fine bike; they still come up for sale fairly often, so they last well and would make a good old-style tourer. I had a look at a couple before I bought a Hornet. I only rode one once, back when they were first released and it didn't do much for me, but I was a BMW rider and heavy I4s weren't my bag. I can remember that it was comfortable, which is a good thing for a tourer, but friends I used ride with got pretty poor fuel consumption - 35-40mpg (Imperial) to the R75/5's high 50's.
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