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Thread: Why did the old bikes made more power than newer bikes (Suzuki gs550 )

  1. #1

    Why did the old bikes made more power than newer bikes (Suzuki gs550 )

    I'm doing the MSF next week and have been looking at bikes. I have been looking at the Suzuki boulevard S40, a 650 cc 350 lbs bike that makes 31 hp and the fuel injected M50 a 800 cc 560 lbs bike that makes 42 hp. But what I don't understand is why, when I was in college, my friends Suzuki gs550 at 450 lbs made 49 hp?
    I am confused why I would have to buy much heavier bikes to get enough power to go 2-up , when back then, a middle of the road bike, lighter gave us the power needed? Have manufacturers done this to improve safety or something else?
    Meanwhile, my two stroke Ktm 200 weighs 220 lbs and makes 39hp ( I know two stroke make more power, I don't want to plate that for the road . )
    I'm sure I won't be doing hill climbs on my starter road bike, but I was kind of hoping to find a light bike with enough power for two up like we had in the eighties?

    Oh well. The bike I really want is the moto guzzi 1400 California. But that will have to be my second bike, after I put 10 k miles on my first bike...

  2. #2
    RiderCoach 8000 Posts! WoodstockJeff's Avatar
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    It is very difficult to compare different genres of motorcycles on horsepower. And not all horsepower claims are real. 600cc race replicas from different manufacturers tend to be about the same horsepower, because the manufacturers made the numbers up.

    The Savage (S40) is a single-cylinder, air-cooled 650cc engine that spins to maybe 6000 RPM. Lots of torque, but not much HP because it doesn't spin very fast.

    A GS550 is a 4-cylinder that spins to 10,000 RPM or more (been a while since I was on one, so I can't remember what the redline was). Much of its HP is above 6000 RPM. Ride it like it was a Savage (low RPM) and it's going to feel like a real dog. Let it "breath", and you see that extra HP.

    Modern engines are even more specialized. A Ninja 1400 and a Concours 1400 have similar engines, but there is about 30 HP difference between them.
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    Contributor We've stopped counting... Bugguts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notsoyoung View Post
    Oh well. The bike I really want is the moto guzzi 1400 California.
    *****sigh********** (Like a dreamy pre-teen girl looking at a heartthrob teen magazine)
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  4. #4
    You need to compare apples to apples. The Suzuki GS550 was a "sports bike" in it's day. Compare it to a Suzuki GSX-r600 which makes about 105 hp ...

    True the GS was a more all around bike. If you are looking at that ... mebbe a Suzuki SV650 is what you want. Kinda the high end of "beginner bikes" but if you've been riding a KTM 200 smoke maker ... it shouldn't be too much a jump ...
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

  5. #5
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    Just goes to show you how much "engine configuration" can have an effect on horsepower, or torque...
    Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

  6. #6
    Thanks all.
    @bugguts: you got me .... Perfectly !!!

  7. #7
    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! Shadow Shack's Avatar
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    EPA standards.

    The classic 80's Rebels dyno at a pony or two more than the Gen-2 96-16 models as the EPA leaning laws came out right around the time the Rebel returned to the line-up. The 600 Shadow saw the same issue around 1994 or thereabouts, neither bike saw any changes to the engine, intake, or exhaust in that time...save for the leaner factory jetting after the EPA had their say.

    Granted a jet kit can negate the EPA leaning if you're so inclined.
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    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! atomicalex's Avatar
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    Also, don't forget the difference between SAE and brake hp, engines run bare and with accessories, etc. there was a ton of EPA stuff going on during the 80s that really affected hp measurement.
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