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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Y'all (yeah, I live in the Southern US),

I'm really interested in upgrading from my "starter" bike, a Suzuki GS500e. In particular, I'd like a less fatiguing ride (i.e. less vibration and better wind protection) and the ability to carry luggage. After a brief love affair with 5th gen Honda VFR's, spoiled by the lack of factory luggage, I'm now smitten with the '99-'04 Sprint ST. In particular, I like the '02 in BRG and I've found one. So here's my first post.

Today I drove the '02 Sprint. It's my first ever experience with a bike that's more substantial than my GS500. I have a couple concerns about the Sprint I would love your opinion on:

1. The Sprint feels totally ponderous. It felt very unstable at low speeds and too stable at high speeds. In contrast, my GS500 feels like a bicycle, which feels great. Will I get used to the Sprint quickly? I presume it felt so weird because of both the weight and a radically different steering geometry.

2. The GS500 is narrow and air-cooled. Today it was about 80 degrees here, and driving the GS500 was a dream (well, except for the lack of thrust and killer vibrations). In contrast, the damn Sprint dumped all kinds of hot air on my knees to the point that my legs were sweating mightily after only a 20 minute ride. Is it normal for these bigger, fully-faired bikes with water-cooled engines to generate so much heat (the engine temperature was normal on the gauge)?

I'm torn because the Sprint is beautiful and the price is almost too good to be true. But, I typically use my GS500 to bomb around back roads for an hour or so on the weekend when it's nice out. It's no good at any kind of distance, particularly on the freeway. Obviously the Sprint is, but the Sprint also seems less suited to the kind of riding I do most. I guess I'm wondering if the Sprint could change my habits--the beach and the mountains are only 3 hours away in opposite directions. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
S

P.S. Does anyone know if a Yoshimura exhaust for a Speed Triple of the same year will fit the Sprint?
 

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Welcome to the forum Sberg!

Dave is going to tell you to read the stickies at the top ;)

The sprint is a great all round bike with tons of power all over the rev range. I ride a 2002 Sprint RS which is the half faired vesion of the ST that you test rode. The RS is a little sportier that the ST, but is basically the same thing minus the full fairing. The handle bars on the RS are lower (by about 1") and all but the 2004 RS has a dual sided swingarm instead of the single sided one. The RS doesn't come from factory with a center stand (which makes lubing the chain a PIA unless you have a rear paddock stand.) I've ridden in fairly hot temps a few times on mine and didn't find that it roasted my lower body unless I was in slow moving traffic. Aftermarket hard luggage is available for it. I think you may want to consider the RS ;) The ST is better set up for touring straight from factory and I suppose you could just remove the lower fairing for hot conditions ;) The instability at low speeds that you speak of is probably just your unfamiliarity with the bike. If you buy one just take it out to an empty parking lot and set up some cones or tennis balls cut in half and practice slow speed manuevers. You'll get used to how the bike handles and probably avoid dropping it in a congested parking lot because of it.

Cheers!
 

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Sounds like the bike you rode needed some air in the 'tars'. 36 -38 front, 38-40 rear (cold). If it had an old Battlax BT-010 or BT-020 on the front, I'm inclined to agree with your assessment.

No one says the Sprint is a 'highly maneuverable' bike, but many say it is easy to hustle down some very entertaining roads.

The 955's generate some heat, but I've found it objectionable only when trapped at a stoplight amid a bunch of cars. The 1050 ST ('05 model) I rode almost cooked me, though.

The Daytona (955i) and Speed Triple have one frame. The Sprint has a different one. I don't think the 'Triple can will fit the ST. It certainly isn't set up for bags. Check the apps at twobrothersracing.com to see.
 

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Hello and welcome to the forums. Everyone here is a very helpful lot so enjoy your stay.

For the bike, I'd recommend it. It is a bit tip happy at low speeds but once you get used to it its quite ok. Most likely the suspension was not set quite right for you so it felt a bit slow to turn in. There area a few things that could cause its sluggishness at high speeds is mismatched tires, poor tire selection etc. Easy fix.

This bike is much bigger than your current ride so its not going to feel the same but once you get used to riding the sprint you'll love it. It'll handle with the little bikes if you ride it right.

The heat isn't really noticable until you stop. Once your moving it moves away. I wouldn't recomend riding in shorts though as they don't protect your legs from the heat as well as road rash.

I'd suggest riding one or two more and compare them to the first and go from there.
 

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Hi Sberg,
Yes, please go through the stickies at the top. DaveM and I ask all new ones to do so. If fact a lot of your questions are up there.

I"ll see if I can answer a few of your questions:

1. The bike feels bigger because it is. Your GS feels more nimble just because of the size and weight difference. Also, where the weight is makes a difference too. The Sprint carries it's weight a bit higher so this will contribute to you low speed feelings. Your high speed feelings are again due to length and weight differences. The longer the bike the more stable it will be.
Does this mean the Sprint can't handle? Not on your life. You just have to work a bit harder and get used to it. And with just a bit of suspension tuning not expensive at all and a good set of tires the Sprint will handle just about anything that comes along in tight technical roads. In fact it really comes down to rider competence.
My riding is done only in mountains and back logging roads so I know these bikes can handle with the best of them.

2. The heat. Faired bike, liquid cooled, yep, in stop and go it's will get a little toasty on your right shin. Any of them do and is not endemic to the Sprint. Heat has to go somewhere.

I take it you haven't explored the torque of the Sprint. If you had you would have found out that a Sprint will absolutely smoke and run off and hide from any VFR in any gear at any time. The curve is flat and the grunt is there from 2500 rpm to cutoff at the top end. My experience with several VFR's has been their engines are totally anemic, asmatic and nowhere in the same class as the Sprint motor.
You'll also find that the Sprint is cheaper to maintain expecially in the 12k interval servicing and inspections. Keep a good oil that meets the specs. and routine servicing up and there shouldn't be a problem.

What you are doing is trying to compair a plum to an apple. Can't be done. If you want a laxar guided knife I can think of other bikes, a D765 and GSXR750 leap to mind but if you want something that will deal with just about anything in the twisties and also gobble up miles without beating you up, IMO there isn't a better all rounder.
 

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I went from a GS500e to a '01 Sprint, BRG no less.

I really miss the light weight of the GS. The ST feels sort of piggish in comparison, but tires (and pressure) make a big difference. The GS was so instinctual that it was almost like walking. The ST is more cumbersome and requires a little more forethought.

The heat is a bit ridiculous on the ST, IMO. None of the other bikes i've owned baked me like it does. My only recommendation is to keep your cooling system in top shape. You never want the fan to come on, or else you'll experience a whole new level of heat.

My recommendation would be to buy the Sprint if you want it, and try to keep the GS. The GS is super cheap to run and insure, so it's not hard to keep around as an extra bike. The GS is fantastic for keeping your riding technique honed. I find the ST has a little too much weight and power to be a training/learning tool. Just sort out the suspension and the GS will keep up with a lot of modern bikes on a twisty road.

So ya, buy the ST if you want it. Use the GS as the daily bike, and the ST as your weekender/trip maker. I'd be more likely to go for this bike because it's the '02-'04 model. Not that the earlier ones are bad, but the lower noise at idle, integrated generator, and power increase definitely make the late models more desirable. Overrall, they are truly one of the best bikes ever made. Well, unless you have that pesky front brake problem. hehehe


You're sorta limited on exhausts. The Speed Triple and Daytona 955 have the same tubular frame and can swap pipes with each other, but not with Sprints. Notice on those bikes, that the pipe runs outside the frame and under the right pedal. On the ST and RS, the pipe runs down the middle of the bike and under the frame. You still can't swap with the ST and the RS though because the outlet of the header has a different bend. You're pretty much stuck using a muffler designed for an ST unless you can fabricate your own pipe.

.
 

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Welcome

Welcome to the forum Sberg:)

Don and Curt beat me to it!:rolleyes:

I have owned many bikes and like Donski have over 3 decades experience I disagree with Chisel on both the heat and handling / weight issues.

If you think a Sprint gets hot ride an '08 R1 in traffic, infact it will cook you when not in traffic.

Almost any faired watercooled bike will give off a lot of heat in traffic, it is not at all unsual if not very desirable.

As for being a "pig" Chisel not sure how many bikes you have ridden but a pig it is not. I have ridden GS 500's I owned two GSX 400's and have ridden a lot of smaller bikes and bigger bikes.

The only thing is it is a litre sports tourer not a 500cc commuter that is all.

If you are unsure if a Sprint can handle or not please click on the album links in my sig line.

My riding is much the same as Don's and the Sprint will do the business as well as anything out there and better than quite a few.

DaveM:cool:
 

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I went from a GS500F to a '08 Sprint ST, and yeah.. It's a certainly not as "nimble" as the GS was.. No doubt that it's a bigger bike, and considerably heavier.
But I got used to it pretty quickly, and I dont think I'd ever want to go back to a littler bike like the GS500F.
To me, the comfort, and power of the Sprint mean more to me than the nimbleness of the old GS500.


I will say that the heat coming off the Sprint is a little bit annoying sometimes.
It's not unbearable for me though, and the fact that I dont have to wait for a long time for the Sprint to warm up before I ride it is nice.
I hated waiting for that GS500F to warm up to where I could ride it.
Yeah, I'm an impatient guy.
 

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The power, torque, handling, wind protection, hard bags, etc. of my '01 Sprint are great. I love the bike. Heat from the bike... IS... an issue living in the South.

Mike O'Keefe
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Purchased!

Thanks for weighing in everybody. I pulled the trigger and the bike is sitting in my driveway! I couldn't say no to an '02 w/ panniers and only 11K miles for $3,250. It was laid down on the right side, so there is some minor plastic damage, but it doesn't bother me nor even look too bad. I'll fix it slowly as used stuff becomes available, if ever. Anyone have a BRG right fairing for sale?!

I've got to poke around on here for various DIY instructions. The owner is in the middle of moving and couldn't locate the owner's manual, so I'm left high and dry. I want to change the oil and filter, change the brake fluid, lube the cables, and lube the chain. Or I could just bomb around and let it put a big 'ol smile on my face.

Sasha
 

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Congratulations! There is a ton of great info on this site for DIY ;) The jobs you've got listed so far are all pretty easy and not really covered by the owners manual anyways... Other than the type of oil you should be using and how much chain slack is acceptable. You will find that the oil filter is hard to get any kind of wrench on, I managed to break mine loose with a strap wrench, but it wasn't easy. I replaced the filter with a K&N oil filter that has a 17mm nut welded to the end so my next oil change should be a piece of cake.

Lubing the chain is easy, you've got a center stand ;) I like to hold a rag behind where I'm spraying the lube to minimize overspray and keep my bike nice and shiny. Make sure that you measure your chain slack and adjust if necessary. There's lots of info on that here.

Get out and ride it and enjoy yourself! Be safe! and never forget to to the pre trip inspection, it could save your life.
 

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As others have said, tire quality and tire pressure make a big difference in handling. As far as heat management goes, the 955 Sprint is by far the best of any of the literbikes I have ridden in the last 4 years - my 1098 cooked my right thigh like a turkey in summer stop and go traffic, right through a full suit. The Yamaha 1300 sport tourer did the same thing but even worse, at any speed below 40mph even in cool mountain springtime mornings - one of the major reasons I didn't buy one.

It isn't perfect but it is hardly noticeable to me, especially when I wear full gear, which is most always.
 
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