A Great Motorcycle for Beginners: Suzuki S 40 Boulevard (Savage 650)

A 120 mile ride to Philadelphia including the Suzuki Savage 650 (S-40 Boulevard) It is the second bike in the photo.

I ride a 2013 Harley Davidson Switchback, my wife rides a Sportster 1200 Low, but it wasn’t always this way. For 15 years my wife road her 2004 Suzuki Savage 650, which has been renamed the S 40 Boulevard by Suzuki. It is a perfect machine for the beginner, commuter or city rider.

These bikes are inexpensive with a sticker price of $5,799 and less than half that for a good used bike. This price point allows folks with modest incomes to gain access to the world or riding for much less than imagined. The motorcycle is set up with forward controls, allowing your feet to rest on pegs forward of your shoulders making a smaller bike feel a bit bigger. This feature also prepares a person for larger bikes down the road by experiencing forward controls.

A lightweight bike weighing approximately 380 pounds provides a machine that is less likely to be dropped while learning to ride. The center of gravity is lower which helps folks gain confidence in handling the weight of a bike. Its compact design provides features and controls within reach for tall or short riders.

Fuel economy is excellent. The single cylinder 40 cubic inch engine (650 cc) provides enough power to ride effectively while achieving 65 miles per gallon fuel economy. The motor is paired with a five speed transmission through a belt drive system. A reliable combination that has given my wife 15 years of problem free riding. The only drawback to this motor is that it will occasionally produce a loud backfire when backing off the throttle to come to a stop. It can be avoided by not closing the throttle entirely.

This is not a cross country motorbike. It is not a bike you want to ride primarily on highways at high speeds. This bike is best used on back roads with speed limits below 55 mph. While trip length will vary by rider, the bike performs best on rides of less than 200 miles that includes minimum highway time and mostly back country or city roads.

The weight of the bike at 380 pounds means that it can get knocked around a bit by the wind generated from larger trucks and vehicles on the highways. This will make new riders a bit nervous and may impede the growth of their confidence when riding, so highway riding should be kept to a minimum

The smaller engine and five speed transmission also limit the comfortable cruising speeds. The smaller design puts additional stress on the motor turning higher rpms when trying to reach higher highway speeds. Optional saddlebags and a windscreen are available which I highly recommend. The windscreen provides protection for the rider and the bags allow storage of essentials like sunscreen and rain gear.

This bike is an excellent starter bike or commuter bike. It is fuel efficient, comfortable to ride and easy on the wallet. Take one out for a ride and leave a comment below on your experience.

Go Have Some Fun Out There!

2004 Suzuke Savage 650 (S40 Boulevard)

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