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Suzuki Boulevard M50 review

Suzuki Boulevard M50 Review: 5 Reasons To Buy, 5 Not To Buy

SThe Suzuki Boulevard M50 is a fantastic middleweight cruiser, but it isn’t a perfect motorcycle. Trust me, I’ve owned three Suzuki Boulevard M50s over the last fifteen years. There are a lot of reasons why I keep coming back to these things, and there a few reasons why I keep leaving them. Today I’ll be sharing my tens of thousands of miles of experience on these bikes and giving you my Suzuki Boulevard M50 review.

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Reason to buy #1: Aesthetic

Simply put, the Suzuki Boulevard M50 is a good looking machine, especially for those who are looking for more of a muscle cruiser kind of aesthetic.

The differences between the Boulevard M50’s two generations are mainly aesthetic changes, meaning you essentially have the same motorcycle in two different outfits. The differences are the following:

  • From 2005 to 2009-ish, the M50 came with a chrome headlight, and a more aggressive handlebar and swept back rear fender.
  • In 2010 Suzuki brought in a more relaxed and further back handlebar as well as a shrouded headlight and bulbous rear fender that brought the M50’s styling more in line with it’s M90 and M109R siblings.

Reason not to buy #1: Aesthetic

The flip side to the this, is the first reason not to buy the M50. The M50 is not your classic  style cruiser. If you’re looking for the style of cruiser you or your father rode in the 1980s, this isn’t for you. It’s a 2000-era muscle cruiser and looks appropriately.

If what you’re after is a traditional, classic looking cruiser, you might prefer the M50s sibling, the Boulevard C50.

Suzuki Boulevard M50 - First generation

Suzuki Boulevard M50 – First generation

Reason to buy #2: Easy to handle

The second reason to consider the Suzuki Boulevard M50 is that it’s one of the easiest mid-size cruisers to handle. I immediately felt like I knew how to ride one as soon as I got on it. The center of gravity is down low, and paired with a nice wide handlebar it’s easy to throw the M50’s weight around.

The bike’s ease of handling was a problem for me. I was trying to play hardball on price with a seller. As soon as he saw me take his motorcycle for a test ride, and scraping his pegs from my very first minute on it, he knew I wanted it.

You don’t have to ride it like a maniac though, but the point is that it’s so easy to handle, even from your first time on the thing, you’ll feel very comfortable on it for a cruiser this size.

Reason not to buy #2: It’s not a real muscle cruiser

The second reason not to buy an M50 is that it isn’t a real muscle cruiser, the performance just isn’t there. Yes, it’s easy to handle, it’s as beginner friendly as an 800cc cruiser can be. But that comes at a cost. The M50 isn’t a real muscle cruiser. It can’t be compared with the legends of the muscle cruiser segment.

For example, the 1987 Honda Magna V45 was a 750cc muscle cruiser that made as much torque as the M50, but nearly twice the horsepower, despite having a smaller motor.

The Boulevard M50 is a muscle cruiser in appearance only. It’s performance is just fine for most riders. You’ll be able to keep up. But it won’t go down in the hall of fame of muscle cruisers with cult cruisers like the Magna V45, Magna V65, V-Rod, V-Max, and Boulevard M109R.

Suzuki Boulevard M50 - Second generation

Suzuki Boulevard M50 – Second generation

Reason to buy #3: Simplicity

One major selling point of the Boulevard M50 is it’s simplicity. When you buy a Boulevard M50 you get a very simple motorcycle. There isn’t a lot that can break.

The Boulevard M50 doesn’t have ABS, traction control, ride-by-wire modes, or tire pressure monitoring systems. The motorcycle doesn’t have anywhere near as many sensors or things that can fail.

What you get is a very basic, simple, fuel injected v-twin motorcycle. If something does go wrong prematurely on an M50, it’s quite often user error: the owner failing to maintain the motorcycle, and not a matter of the motorcycle failing the owner.

Reason not to buy #3: There’s no 6th gear

Sometimes less is more, but not always. The downside to the M50’s simplicity is that sometimes it’s too simple, leaving riders wanting a bit more. One example is the lack of 6th gear.

When you’re doing about 140 km/hr (87 mph), you’ll know you still have some power left, but you probably won’t want to go there on an M50. The bike feels like it needs to be shifted up a gear. The problem is, you’re probably already in 5th gear, and there is no 6th gear.

People who like to go fast or who just do a lot of highway mileage and want to keep the motor from buzzing too much will wish they had a 6th gear. In Suzuki’s defense I still look for a non-existent 6th gear on my Harley-Davidson V-Rod as well, but that’s another story.

Reason to buy #4: Reliability

The side-effect of having such a simple motorcycle is reliability. The Suzuki Boulevard M50 motorcycles are known to be bulletproof. There isn’t a lot you can do to mess up an M50, unless you’re just terrible or neglectful as an owner.

The M50’s motors have been only marginally changed over the motorcycle’s 17 years, and Suzuki had been very comfortable making 800cc v-twin motors for decades before that with the VZ800 and Volusia motorcycles that came before this one.

The Boulevard M50 is a motor and a chassis that Suzuki is very familiar with and confident about. None of my three M50s have ever failed on me, and the motorcycle has a solid reputation for reliability.

Reason not to buy #4: But it’s not a Harley

Speaking of reputations, it’s not a Harley-Davidson. If what you’re looking for is a Harley-Davidson, because that’s what you dreamed about since you were a kid, this isn’t it.

That ties into a mistake I made: I sold one of my M50s because I thought it was time I “graduated” up to a Harley-Davidson. I sold my Boulevard M50 and bought a Harley-Davidson Sporster because I was wrapping up life as a student, I was young and impressionable, and everyone talks about Harley-Davidsons and how great the brand is and I got swept up in that.

I got caught up in the brand, and the heritage, and the nostalgia, and the marketing hype. If you told me you don’t want a Suzuki because it isn’t a Harley, I get it. But I want you to know that within a year of buying a Harley-Davidson Sportster, I turned around, sold it, and bought another M50.

Suzuki Boulevard M50 review - vs Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Reason to buy #5: Easy to maintain

The fifth reason to buy a Suzuki Boulevard M50 is that it such an easy motorcycle to maintain. Because the Boulevard M50 isn’t covered in fairings, most of you need to access for basic maintenance is already visible.

You should subscribe to my YouTube channel, I have videos where we go through the Suzuki factory service manual together and I show you how tochange the M50s oil and filter, how to change the brake fluid, and I show you how to change the shaft drive oil.

That’s right, the Boulevard M50 uses shaft drive, meaning you won’t have to clean and lubricate a motorcycle chain every few hundred miles, and you won’t have to worry about a belt snapping on you if you go over some gravel.

The M50 is one of the most low maintenance motorcycles you can get, and easy to work on yourself from home.

Reason not to buy #5: You can’t modify it as much as other motorcycles

One thing that you can’t do with the M50 is go through a big catalogue full of bolt on M50 accessories. Other than the basics, their just isn’t a lot of options like other cruisers have.

On my Harley-Davidson V-Rod I have a huge variety of body panels and accent pieces both from Harley-Davidson itself and from a wide assortment of aftermarket companies from all over the world. The M50 has some universal offerings, but nowhere near the same depth and breadth of accessories made specifically for it.

On the M50 you can’t even change your final drive ratio, because it is shaft driven. On a motorcycle with chain drive or belt drive, you can change the final drive ratio to give yourself more top speed, or better acceleration, depending on your preference. By changing the ratio between the front sprocket and rear sprocket, you can change what RPM your motorcycle will be turning at, at a given speed.

The M50 not only has less options available for it, in some cases there is also less you can change yourself too.

Speaking of modifications, the next article will be on the top 5 mods for the Suzuki Boulevard M50. Be sure to check that out.

Conclusion

If you just want a simple, reliable, easy, practical, cool looking motorcycle, the Suzuki Boulevard M50 is a great machine. They are a ton of fun and very easy to handle. Every time I get on one, it’s like I never stopped riding them. I couldn’t wrap up this Suzuki Boulevard M50 review without repeating that none of my three M50s have ever given me any problems.

Eventually, I switched over from the M50 to the Harley-Davidson V-Rod because I was looking for a “real” muscle cruiser. The V-Rod makes literally twice the horsepower and 50% more torque compared to the M50.

Honestly though, if you haven’t been riding for 15 years and you don’t care for all of the power, you don’t need more power than the M50 has. It’s a great, practical, fun motorcycle.

About YouMotorcycle

YouMotorcycle is a lifestyle motorcycle blog to be appreciated by those who see motorcycling as a lifestyle and not simply a hobby, sport, or method of transportation. Most of the posts on the site are written by past and present motorcycle industry staff. We remain fiercely independent, innovative, and unconventional. Our goal is to encourage more people to enjoy the world's greatest outdoor sport by helping new riders get started and inspiring current riders to get out more. We motorcycle, do You?

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