While the Boulevard S83 doesn’t carry on as a 2009 model year, Suzuki is keen on their smaller model, the Boulevard S50 which proved very successful during its decades-long life and shows no signs of weakness despite the fact that the Japanese manufacturer doesn’t work its magic on it for 2009. Fuel injection isn’t considered necessary so all there is new to enjoy at the Suzuki Boulevard S50 is a color scheme.
But we should never underestimate the Suzuki Boulevard S50 not only because it is a great combination of power and style, but also due to its long and successful presence on the market. Now, the Japanese bike destined for rebels is powered by a liquid-cooled, 805cc, OHC, 8-valve V-Twin engine with the cylinders positioned at a 45-degree angle. This enhances the aggressive looks, but the main role is to deliver strong and quick acceleration without the implicit harsh vibrations. The Mikuni 36mm carburetors have much to do with the engine being very responsive, but the dual-pin crankshaft design and that 45-degree angle that I was talking about cut down vibrations at low revs and seriously reduce them at higher engine speeds.
The best of that light and versatile chassis is that it offers a 27.6 inches seat height, meaning that short riders and girls are also in for a piece of the Boulevard action.
The Boulevard S50 has its roots deeply implanted into Suzuki’s long pages of history which never seem to end (but nobody would want that, really). The bike’s important heritage comes from the Suzuki VS750 Intruder, a motorcycle which entered production in 1985 featuring a water-cooled 805cc SOHC 45 degree V-twin, 8 valves engine developing 63hp @ 7,000rpm and an awesome 7.0kg-m @ 6,000rpm.
The success was immediate and Suzuki had to keep the good rhythm and it did, in a strange way actually, by reducing the engine’s capacity to just 747cc, resulting in 55hp @ 7,500rpm and 60,3Nm @ 5,000rpm. The name was now more appropriate and the bike began its round of improvements.
The 1988 model year got a new, more comfortable seat. It was somewhat thicker and softer than before. The passenger seat was flatter and the back rest higher than before. The front wheels diameter was increased to 21 inches (from 19 inches) the following year.
1991 was the last model year for the VS750 Intruder which was to be replaced by the VS800, a similar chopper but with a bit more powerful engine. It was kind of a return to its roots, as the VS750 initially featured an 805cc engine, like the liquid-cooled 45 degree V-twin, 4-stroke found on the VS800 Intruder.
The bike’s original design was very important so it had to be kept but the riding position was improved and the hundreds of miles covered in a single day were now becoming part of the routine.
Suzuki followed the tradition and continued to manufacture the successor of the VS750 Intruder until it finally decided to add it to the Boulevard line in 2005 so the last year that brought the VS800 was 2004. By that time, the bike featured the same characteristics that we can encounter today so good things don’t need to be changed although there are some voices claiming that a fuel injection system would have been more appropriate when the Intruder became Boulevard.
2005 brought a beautiful silver paintjob that signified the beginning of a beautiful story and so did the 2008 model year which, like the previous mentioned, featured the same paintjob next to the already familiar black.
The models competing with this bike had to have true cruising abilities combined with a slight chopper look and loads of character. One of the models which fit the description is the Honda Shadow Spirit 750, a motorcycle which due to its cylinder capacity lines up next to the S50 and with styling cues of classic cruisers and old school influences boasts a seamless blend of retro panache and modern-day performance.
Star also entered the scene with plenty of attitude in a surprisingly lean and low package always waiting to be improved with yet another of the Custom Star Accessories. The V Star Custom offers no reason to comply with it apart from its 40 cubic inch engine which indeed makes it feel and sound like a real Star, but also kind of rejects customers who feel ready to jump on Suzuki’s seat.
Trying to find a bit more character and cylinder capacity I check out Kawasaki’s offer and find the Vulcan 900 Custom offering clean styling and a slender 21” Front Wheel.
It’s said that the joy of motorcycling is as much in the eye of the rider as it is in the thrill of the ride. That is especially so when appealing to the cruising rider who seeks the perfect blend of comfort, big bike feel, and customized appearance so it is now your duty to choose the one that fits you like a glove.
One of the aspects that most attracts at cruisers in general and at the S50 in particular is how the bike is build around the V-twin engine which gives the tone to the rest of the equipment mounted. The slim and narrow 45 degree V-twin looks like its ready to deliver asphalt-tearing power at any given moment and this is one of the aspect that makes a motorcycle a cruiser, its V-twin motor, which apart from providing torque and power, it also has the quality of being very good looking.
That very same engine wouldn’t have looked so good without the cradle-type frame providing the classic slim chopper look in collaboration with the custom flat handlebar design giving a sporty appearance.
The smooth fuel tank shows us the way down from the handlebar to the low, sleek, one-piece saddle adding a plus to S50’s already streamlined appearance.
The final touch is given by the bike’s custom-style 19” spoke front wheel and 60-spoke rear wheel with polished aluminum rim. This cruiser wouldn’t have been the same without them.
Bad boy appearance if mostly given by the S50’s chrome plated parts which include the engine side covers, grab rail, front fork brackets, rear suspension upper pivot caps, exhaust system, sidestand, footpeg brackets, and the front brake caliper cover giving it a very distinctive look. All this chrome makes a very cool contrast with the Black and it is very suitable for the Blue/Silver option which also goes very well with the chrome.
After riding the Suzuki Boulevard S83, I must admit that I wasn’t expecting the same blast from its little brother but my ride on the S50 went surprisingly well and I made myself a promise not to underestimate a Boulevard again.
Although a smaller engine, the 805cc pulls extraordinarily well right from the bottom of the rpm range and the thrill of riding it is awesome. The key factor is lightness. The S50 is very light for its class and it manages to extract even the most hidden abilities from the performing engine.
The city is Boulevard S50’s domain because it benefits of a great amount of power and by weighing very little it is very maneuverable even when you push it back and forward in the parking lots. But the surprise is out on the Boulevard where after strongly pushing it from a red light, the bike’s appearance combined with its sound makes some heads turn, satisfaction guaranteed. The 2009 color schemes probably have much to do with that.
Tight corners won’t put any difficulty and given to the bike’s sleekness and 765mm width, the cars will easily form a tunnel all the way through that red light at the end of it.
Out on the highway, the S50 proves its cruising qualities by accomodating its rider in complete comfort and relaxed riding position although it could have been even more comfy with a closer handlebar. The sensations on the Suzuki are great and I didn’t even have to think that I am on an 800cc as the bike showed me the way to freedom. You will probably think that it was all about pushing it in top gear but I had the opportunity to enjoy a few sinuous curves now and then and that gave me the reason to start testing the five speed gearbox which performed in complete silence and smoothness. I especially enjoyed to use the efficient braking system to significantly reduce speed before corners and that, of course, implies changing the gears down and up after strongly accelerating out of the corner.
The bike also proves to be very easy to handle out on the open road and it provides its rider with the needed level of confidence, specific to 800s.
Instrumentation is very attractive and the controls are exactly where you would expect them to be. This was a detail that made my life very easy on the S50 and the end of the trip harder.
I enjoyed riding Suzuki’s cruiser because it has all the qualities to make him a winner: power, looks, comfort, and great handling. This allows for changing the riding style in complete safety and, of course, boring is out of discussion.
The machine which would bring the good mood in you garage again is being offered for a retail rice of no more or less than $6,699 so competition will have a really hard time trying to keep up with that. The price won’t be a problem but the package itself will have to beat the advantages offered by this veritable Boulevard cruiser.
Suzuki applied their best technique when creating the Boulevard S50 (bulletproof mechanics delivering great performance that moves around a good looking bike). The natural falling in love process involves attracting customers with good looks, positioning them in complete comfort, and then providing the greatest sensations they’ve ever encountered on a cruiser in this class. Way to go Suzuki!
Engine and Transmission
Displacement: 805 cc (49.1 cu in)
Type: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHC, 45? V-twin
Bore Stroke: 83.0 mm (3.268 in) x 74.4 mm (2.929 in)
Compression Ratio: 10.0 : 1
Fuel System: Front MIKUNI BDS36; Rear MIKUNI BS36
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Shaft Drive
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Swingarm type, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Disc brake
Brakes Rear: Drum brake
Tires Front: 100/90-19 M/C 57H, tube type
Tires Rear: 140/90-15 M/C 70H, tube type
Overall Length: 2250 mm (88.6 in)
Overall Width: 765 mm (30.1 in)
Overall Height: 1125 mm (44.3 in)
Seat Height: 700 mm (27.6 in)
Ground Clearance: 125 mm (4.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1560 mm (61.4 in)
Curb Weight: 217 kg (478 lbs)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.0 L (3.2/2.6 US/Imp gal)