Registration Issues: email manjul.bose at gmail for support - seems there is a issue that we're still trying to fix

Main Menu

'89 GS500E First Bike Project (The Spartan)

Started by IAmSpartacus, January 17, 2013, 01:19:22 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Hey Guys, great site here! I'm a new motorcyclist and picked up an '89 Suzuki GS500E with headlight cowl and belly pan with 9k original miles for my first ride. I'm a sucker for the rare/odd/unique (I drove an AMC Pacer back in college many moons ago) so I was eyeing a Buell Blast for my first bike, but stumbled upon this GS on craigslist for a decent price ($1200- which is decent compared to the average price for a Blast), low miles, seemingly rare fairings and clip on bars and better performance and features than the Blast. I'm pretty happy with my decision (and I'm sure you all are as well).

Even though I'm completely new to bikes, I have a propensity for tinkering and "improving" things- so naturally I can't just slap some new tires on the GS and ride it (though I am doing that as well, opted for stock sized Pirelli's). So in my down time waiting for my MSF course, I'm tinkering. Here are my project breakdown:

The bike is in good condition, but has been repainted and could use a good sand down and paint job as decals are missing (and I don't like white). I plan on a solid paint scheme of charcoal gray with burnt orange wheels. Final paint selection was Rustoleum Charcoal Gray and Sienna Mist.

Minor body work
Needs a dent popped on the top of the tank, rear center fairing cover replaced, right crank case Suzuki sticker and a few small cracks in fairings repaired.

Cosmetic body alterations
1. Remove headlight cowl
2. Reshape the tail plastics by rounding the sharp, angular cuts. This is a fairly simple process, but I have not found anyone who has done it before, so I'm looking forward to the results.
3. Install bar end, short stem mirrors
4. Replace stock front fender with Airtech fender
5. Replace stock turn signals with aftermarket LEDs
    - Front blinkers are short stemed and round to match the headlight
    - Rear blinkers are flush mounted/integrated into the tail fairing, allowing for an "uber fenderectomy"
6. Corbin Gunfighter seat
7. GSXR modified pegs for rider and passenger
8. Cut inlets/vents into tail fairings- this will flow with the belly pan styling as well as pay homage to the F model.

1. Fiamm Highway Blaster horn
2. K&N "lunchbox" air intake
3. Yoshimura R-77 carbon fiber exhaust
4. 40/147.5 rejet
5. LED flasher relay and diodes (
6. Pro Grip 724 grips (black w/gray)
7. Perelli Sport Demon tyres
8. Back Off Brake light module
9. Motion Pro SV650 throttle tube

I'll post progress pics as they come. Any input or words of wisdom from old sages are welcome. UPDATE: She's pretty much complete, though I'm sure I'll continue to tinker. She has now been dubbed "The Spartan" for obvious reasons  :D


You're lucky to have the original OEM headlight cowling and belly pan. Those are rare.
Front fender: actually all are the same though later years did not have the fender extender (and mud flap) on the back end. Not sure how you mean you ordered a different type of fender.
Tank appears to be original paint as those are the original pin stripes and logo. The tail plastics have been repainted. There was a brand new original white tail set on ebay for about $65 last week. It would match the tank's original design.

I've always liked the original 1989 white with the blue/black stripes.

There are lots of resources here on the board. If you need parts, always check here as there are a few parts whores with loads of parts in storage.

Enjoy your new toy!


Yeah, I was curious about the fender as well. All I know is the ebay auction was listed as a fender from a '91 GS donor bike and it is most definitely NOT the same style as my '89 fender. Here's a pic from the ebay listing:

I found a pic online of a GS that appears to have this style (or very similar) of fender, but no info on it:

Any guesses?


That looks similar to the airtech after market fender.

The red bike has a GS500 engine and frame, but the tank, seat, tail and front end are off a different bike. Very cool actually.

Please don't mess with the original 1989 white. You have a nice specimen of the best looking "E" model with all the extras.


Good call on the fender- I believe you are correct. It appears to be an Airtech aftermarket part.

Quote from: Bluesmudge on January 17, 2013, 04:52:33 PM
Please don't mess with the original 1989 white. You have a nice specimen of the best looking "E" model with all the extras.

Haha, I knew there would be a few purists who would rain on my parade!  ;)


That's not a true OEM GS500 fender. It is the Airtech.
As a suggestion - post want-to-buy's on this board. I have one of those airtech fenders - brand new - and I can't find anyone that wants it. I bought it at a steal but prefer the OEM fenders, so it sits on the shelf.


I'll keep that in mind- but for a newbie like myself who doesn't even know what he's looking for until he sees it, trading on forum boards isn't always the best bet. Maybe you should list your Airtech fender on ebay and see if you can finally get rid of it  ;)

I know it's all a matter of preference, but I really like the design of the Airtech.


First thing I would do with that is take off that windscreen. In my opinion those are very ugly, the naked look is much better, just like with women.  :thumb:

Nice looking though, you did get a steal. How does it run?
I am into buying bikes that people have given up on and fixing them up!

RIP Patrick Lajko, I miss you man.


Quote from: IAmSpartacus on January 17, 2013, 04:38:44 PM

Not much left of a GS500 there: Different forks, headlight, gauges, tank, airfilter, seat, tail, shock, pillion pegs, swinger, rear tire... list prolly goes on to include exhaust and other things... Unless its just a different bike altogether, as I'm not familar with the GS lines that went over seas.  One example is the GS450 looked awfully similar to the 89-00 gs500s, and has a lot of compatible parts.

- Bboy

Sonic Springs, R6 Shock, R6 Throttle Tube, Lowering Links, T-Rex Frame Sliders, SW-Motech Alu-Rack, SH46 Shad Topcase, Smoked Signals, Smoked LED Tailight, ZG Touring Windscreen



She runs like new as far as I can tell- that is to say, you have to choke the hell out of her on a cold day. But once she's warmed up, she purrs and revs smooth. I'm not crazy about the windscreen/cowl either, but I can't quite give it up either just because they are so rare on these bikes. Life is full of difficult decisions... Maybe I'll swap it out for a Monster mini windscreen rather than alter the stock one- that way I can go back to 100% OEM body if I ever want to sell.


Yeah, I was only using that pic as a reference for the front fender design. If it's any consolation to the GS Purists, I intend to keep 95% of the parts original on my build.


Don't feel like anyone is bashing your build.  In fact most of us readers, love to see the builds on here (MANY PICS are a sure way to win over the crowd).  Nice original machines are few, but they aren't unique.  They often cost much more to keep or return to original than anything else.  While anyone can appreciate an original piece, its not economical for most... and original may not suit your needs, or be what you wanted out of a bike in the first place...

So definately keep up the posts and pics, you'll have a following (including the purists), all of us appreciate craftsmanship and quality handywork.

Just keep in mind, that there are parts whores on the board that may want OEM parts if you decide you don't need or want anything... or if you decide you need anything from updated years, you can buy them there too.

- Bboy

Sonic Springs, R6 Shock, R6 Throttle Tube, Lowering Links, T-Rex Frame Sliders, SW-Motech Alu-Rack, SH46 Shad Topcase, Smoked Signals, Smoked LED Tailight, ZG Touring Windscreen

The Buddha

The GS old timers will cut their arm and both legs off for a original 89 ... My first one was a white ... some others I know were the black, and NO REAL gs FAN will ever repaint one of those.

For the choking like crazy and takes forever to warm ... The carbs need rejetted ... what else is new.

I run a business based on other people's junk.


Quote from: The Buddha on January 18, 2013, 01:51:51 PM
NO REAL gs FAN will ever repaint one of those.

Shoot Buddha, does this mean we can't be friends? Man, I'm not on here but a few days and I've already fallen from grace with the moderators!

The way I see it, we have 3 options:

1. A real GS fan buys my bike for an offer I can't refuse, I then find another bike to suit my needs

2. I give in to anonymous internet peer pressure and allow others to live vicariously through me, suffering for the greater good of the GS community

3. GS purists swallow their pride and recognize beauty is in the eye of the beholder and give me their blessing to follow my heart ;)


Do what you want as long as you don't turn it into a POS.

I find the inner beauty of the GS500 and work to make all my bikes the best GS500 they can be. You can browse the photos of Phenix and when you find pictures of Junior - you'll see he has gone through a few different sets of clothes - though all are GS500.

I've painted an OEM headlight cowling - it was that god awful teal which isn't very appealing.
As for cutting it up - DO NOT DO THAT! An OEM is worth quite a bit. There are many many aftermarket headlight cowlings you can cut to your heart's desire. There is one by Skidmarx which is very close to the OEM and cheap. Get that, cut it up and sell the OEM.
You'll be $'s ahead and won't piss off the buddha.

Whatever you do, go slow. Too often people jump in, cut up everything and then realize it was a bad idea. Take your time and do things that really make sense.


Quote from: IAmSpartacus on January 17, 2013, 07:21:33 PM
I know it's all a matter of preference, but I really like the design of the Airtech.

I like the airtech as well.
If god intended us to drink beer, he would have given us stomachs.


Quote from: PatheticPuma on January 18, 2013, 04:28:58 PM
Quote from: IAmSpartacus on January 17, 2013, 07:21:33 PM
I know it's all a matter of preference, but I really like the design of the Airtech.

I like the airtech as well.
I have one. Want it?



Good advice. I could certainly pass the OEM cowl on to someone who wants it... Though the Skidmarx is listed at around $125 USD on their site- hardly cheap for a bit of plastic. What would be a fair price for the OEM cowl if I tried to sell it to recoup my losses? Or is there a better place to look for an aftermarket cowl?

Quote from: adidasguy on January 18, 2013, 04:24:35 PM
Do what you want as long as you don't turn it into a POS.

Duly noted.


Skidmarx is fiberglass, like the OEM. There are lots of generic headlight cowlings for 7" headlight. I've had others and passed them on to other people because I didn't need them. I got some from the UK but postage from the one company got too expensive. Probably google "headlight cowling" or "bikini fairing" or someone else may know of current sources.

I've bought kind of crappy OEM's for $75+. If yours is in really good condition, it could go $125+.

I think most of us would say that a rare OEM part is worth saving just because it is a rare OEM part. Preserving history.

While you can cut it up, but you would not make any friends over it.

For posterity, even if you don't recoup your expenses if you buy another cowling and sell the OEM, you will make friends by preserving the original part. Once you cut the OEM - you'll never get another chance. Buy a new aftermarket one and if you mess up, just buy another one.


Well I started the dismantle today.

The plastic was spray painted- right over the factory decals. So I'm definitely stripping this paint down. The tank is the only thing that still has original paint on it. As I took the fairings off, I realized there was quite a bit of overspray on the frame and engine as well, so a lot of my afternoon was spraying Goof Off all over and rubbing the bike down as best I could. I also notices a few bolts and screws missing from random parts as well as, uh, a hose that led to nowhere on both ends...

I'm definitely going to double check every wire and hose on this thing before I drive it. But first, all the cleanup work, new tires and paint. I also picked up a used Corbin (Dallas?) Gunfighter seat on ebay for cheap. Looking forward to slapping that on. More pics next weekend ;)

Obvious overspray:

Missing cover and more overspray:


Hah. I hope I'm not the only one to catch the Bruce Willis reference

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk