1983 Suzuki Tempter GR650-X


Tags: ,

Have something you'd like to share with your fellow Motorcycle Classics readers? Maybe it's a touring story, bike review or helpful tip you've gleaned from experience. Whatever it is, we want you to write about it and send it in. Just email Associate Editor Landon Hall with the subject line "MC Dispatch" and you might see your story here.  

tempter 1 
The 1983 Suzuki Tempter GR650-X Model in red with aftermarket
windscreen and backrest/rack.

Imagine the weight and handling of a classic British twin. Then update the suspension with a rear hydraulic swing arm style mono-shock and adjustable front air forks. Make the bike look good with chromed exhaust and fenders, contrasted by black cylinders and frame, pay homage to the classic Triumph twins with a teardrop tank and clean lines, and oh yeah, keep it affordable – very affordable. That’s what you have with the 1983 Suzuki Tempter GR650-X, and with all it had to offer it failed to catch on in the U.S. I have yet to see another besides the one parked in my garage. The country was gripped in a recession at the time, and U.S. buyers who did buy new bikes flocked to four cylinder bikes with their wallets, including Suzuki’s own GS models, and in doing so they missed the GR650. Too bad – it’s a very sweet bike, as many Europeans can testify as they snapped them up. I bought my used Tempter in 2004, so this review may be a bit biased – I think it’s a terrific bike and it's a shame the marketplace missed a real gem.

tempter 2 

The Suzuki Tempter GR650-X was produced in two models, the budget “X” model pictured has traditional spoked wheels, a single color paint scheme and non-adjustable front forks, all out the door for $2,149. The upgraded “D” version got a two tone color paint scheme, magi style wheels and upgraded adjustable front air forks for $2,399. Cycle World’s test boasted, “For a little over 2 grand you can own a real, honest-to-gosh, full-size, brand-new undented motorcycle.” Today a low mileage model will run about $1,500 – and most well under that reasonable sum – if you can find them.

tempter 3 
The upswept dual chrome exhaust help creates the look
of a classic British twin.

11/1/2018 8:32:25 PM

I'm late to this posting, but the Suzuki Tempter was indeed a very nice more modern Japanese version of the midsize twin cylinder bike made famous by the Triumph Bonneville. As mentioned below, Triumph also made other versions of the Bonneville - the 1979 T140D was a custom version with two-into-one shorty chrome exhaust, mag wheels and stepped seat. The latest version of the concept comes from Royal Enfield with the 2019 Interceptor 650. This type of bike serves the needs of many riders, whether as a classic or new.

11/1/2018 8:32:24 PM

I'm late to this post, but I totally agree that Suzuki's Tempter was a very nice Japanese modern take on the midsize twin cylinder bike made famous by the Triumph Bonneville. As mentioned below, Triumph tried several other version of the Bonneville; the 1979 T140D Special featured custom styling in the form of mag wheels, a two-into-one chrome exhaust and a stepped seat. Now Royal Enfield updates the same formula with the 2019 Interceptor 650. These past and present midsize twins are indeed very handy for the needs of many riders.

1/21/2018 1:23:21 PM

I have an "X" model, just like in the pictures. I am the second owner of it and I think I bought it in 1991. It is in mint condition with very low miles. It has not been driven in a number of years but I hope to get it back on the road this summer. Great bike !!!!

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter