The GS500 is Suzuki's entry level sport/ standard bike and has been going strong with few major changes for 21 years now. Featuring a 487cc, four stroke parallel twin engine the GS500 is popular with beginning riders, commuters, and even racers. Weighing in dry at less than 400 pounds (180 kg) and sitting on a relatively skinny set of tires makes the GS500 very flickable in the hands of a skilled rider and capable of outmaneuvering faster bikes on twisty roads.
The GS500's engine is small relative to the supersport bikes and monster cruisers popular today, yet it can easily exceed highway speeds, accelerate more quickly than nearly all cars on the road, and still keep an incredible level of fuel efficiency- up to 70 miles per gallon(US) (3.4 l/100km)! Since its introduction in 1989, Suzuki has sold more than 30,000 GS500s, many of which are still on the road thanks to a bulletproof engine design and incredible overall reliability.
In 2004 Suzuki added a fairing and oil cooler to the GS, thus giving the venerable bike a more youthful appearance and solidifying its place as the "little brother" of the GSX-R series of supersport bikes. At one point, the GS500 has been featured prominantly on Suzuki's Fuel Efficiency website, although sadly, that site seems to be now defunct. See Model Year Changes for more information.
The GS500 is designed to run on regular gasoline. In the United States and Canada, this is 87 octane, because (RON+MON)/2 is used. In Europe and Australia the same fuel is 91-95 octane (RON). Octane rating information from Wikipedia. Some more on "Premium or Regular?" question
Most owners report an average of 50 miles per gallon(US) (4.7 l/100km), with a range (full to reserve) of 130 to 200 miles (210 - 320 km), depending on model year (later models have larger tanks), engine modifications, riding style, and terrain/wind. While on the track some riders find their mileage as low as 30 miles per gallon(US) (7.8 l/100km), riders with more conservative riding styles have been able to achieve upwards of 70 (3.4 l/100km) on long trips.
Top speed on unmodified (i.e. stock) bikes is drag limited and has been reported around 110 mph (180 km/h) indicated, with up to 120 mph on downhill roads. The GS500 speedometer typically reads 7%-10% high at high speeds. Reported speeds of 115 easily obtained.
There is no rev limiter on any year GS500, E or F.
What Does GS Stand For?
In Suzuki's naming scheme, GS is the abbreviation for engines with overhead cams. Names with an X denote a 4 valve/cylinder engine, and names with an R denote a race model bike. Therefore the GS500 has an (almost) 500cc engine with overhead cams. A GSX-R1000 is a 4 valve/cylinder race bike with overhead cams and a 1000cc engine.