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Two against four strokes, three against four cylinders: Suzuki against Honda!

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

'Hobby' a German magazine about technology did a comparison test between the Honda CB500 Four and Suzuki GT550 in 1974. The test covers 7 pages with many cool (and even color) photos. They liked both machines a lot but of course the Honda a little bit better. ;-)

Below some excerpts from the article.

Two against four strokes, three against four cylinders: Suzuki against Honda! Is that just a question of strokes, or a David versus Goliath fight? It's a fair comparison because the stroke issue is no longer an issue. Today's two-stroke engines are faster, smarter, and more civilized than yesterday's predecessors.

The Honda is more toxic and lively, but also more sensitive than the unsusceptible and almost as fast-paced Suzuki. That would be our conclusion from the comparison of the engines. When it comes to the chassis, the assessment gets more difficult. Only at speeds above 150 km/h and with bumps on the highway the Honda frame swings slightly. In such situations the Suzuki behaves much better and only lags behind the Honda in city traffic, in which the Honda cannot be surpassed in terms of manageability. Brakes are on par with both test candidates.

The CB 500 is not an economy version of its big sister, the Honda CB 750. It is the successful ratio of a powerful engine to an acceptable, manageable chassis. In summary it has to be confirmed that the Honda, which has been on the market for several years, is still one of the most refined and modern in its competition, especially in terms of engine technology.

If there are sports machines with the life expectancy of a touring motorcycle, then the GT 550 is definitely one of them. Their performance is impressive, but the construction of the maintenance-friendly two-stroke engine has done without cramped technical gear. At most there is blue smoke from "hot tires". The exhaust stays clean. Whether the Suzuki also has disadvantages is clear: It is a second or 3 km/h slower than the Honda and 'only' has two strokes. For that it costs about 10% less.

Hobby, May 1974.

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