Is Suzuki Boulevard C50 A Good Starter Bike? (Buyers Guide)

The Suzuki Boulevard C50 is a traditional-style cruiser bike with kicked-out forks and a staggered, chrome-coated dual exhaust system.

With its strong powertrain, 5-speed transmission, smooth shifting, and iconic brushed-metal looks, it is an ever-popular choice for those seeking a retro-styled but modern cruiser.

This article answers the question: “Is a Suzuki Boulevard C50 a good starter bike?…

Is A Suzuki Boulevard C50 A Good Starter Bike?

On the one hand, the 800cc powertrain is a lot of power for a newbie to handle on a bike. It’s also a fairly large bike which makes it intimidating for new riders to handle. On the other hand, it has responsive handling, easy shifting and there’s no chain to maintain. Let’s look at the pros and cons

All of this is great news for beginners who want to focus just on enjoying their ride.

Pros And Cons


On the positive side, the Suzuki Boulevard C50 is a highly versatile motorcycle.

It has been around for a long time and is used as a day-to-day commuting bike, for pleasure cruising on weekends and special occasions, and more.

Furthermore, it’s a very comfortable bike.

Because it’s in the cruiser style, riders recline with their legs forwards and arms relaxed hanging from the handlebars.

This is a comfortable riding position which means you can enjoy the bike for a lot longer than you can a typical sports bike.

Another advantage is that it’s a powerful bike but without going too far.

The 800cc engine is well under the 1000cc mark, after which motorcycles start to get rather inaccessible to a lot of people.

The bike is particularly good for its low rate of fuel consumption.

The C50 gets about 56mpg even when traveling as fast as 73mph.

With a large, 4-gallon gas tank, the Suzuki Boulevard is capable and lasting in its fuel consumption.


One issue that some riders have is the high rpm rate that you experience on this bike.

The main reason for this is that it’s only a 5-speed transmission, which means that when you get to higher speeds, the RPMs create a high engine sound.

On top of the high engine noise, riders can sometimes experience vibrations when traveling at speeds over 60mph.

This is something experienced riders might be able to deal with, but newer riders would definitely become unsettled by this.

Having said that, vibrations and excessive noise are bad for any level of rider in that they are uncomfortable and unpleasant to hear.

It’s especially frustrating when it happens at speeds of around 60mph, which is hardly an excessive speed.

What Do The Reviews Say?

On the positive side of the reviews, the Boulevard C50 is praised for its efficiency and versatility.

It is easy to use as a commuting bike or as an occasional bike just for riding every now and then. In this sense, it is a very dependable vehicle.

Other reviews are also very positive about the bike’s retro styling.

They love the throwback cruiser that looks like something from the 1950s or 1960s, and yet at the same time, the rider immediately knows they are using modern and cutting-edge biking technology.

Among the styling features, reviewers seem to be particularly enamored with all the chrome that the bike offers on its exterior, as well as the wire-spoked wheels.

They create that sense of classic-modern synergy.

Another positive feature the reviews invariably mention is the seating.

It’s comfortable for the driver, of course, but the passenger’s seat is also remarked as one of the most comfortable in its class.

On the somewhat more negative side, some reviewers find the bike rather heavy and cumbersome on the road.

Not everyone agrees, but it’s 611 pounds in weight and has a 65-inch wheelbase, which means it will never take corners like a Kawasaki Ninja, but then again it’s not really designed to do so.

Perhaps the strongest criticism among reviewers is to do with the transmission and engine noise.

Long-time fans of the Boulevard are frustrated by the fact that it’s only a 5-speed transmission.

This means that when you reach higher speeds, the engine noise is considerable.

Reviews are critical of the fact that these “higher speeds” are actually only speeds north of 60mph, which isn’t fast for most cruising motorcycles.

To get so much vibration and noise is a big downside, especially when it could be solved by simply adding a sixth gear.

City And Highway Driving

Whether you’re driving an older Suzuki Boulevard C50 or a newer one, you can be sure of solid driving performance both in the sense of efficiency and enjoyment.

First, in terms of economy.

The bike itself bought brand-new with the latest 2021 model year bike is well under $10,000 at the MSRP.

Suzuki recommends a price of $8,349 plus a $395 destination charge on the 2021 model.

That makes this bike affordable right from the point of purchase.

It’s also affordable in terms of its performance.

Models from 2005-2012 tended to manage a combined fuel consumption rate of between 45-50mpg.

The newer models can get up to 55-56mpg, which is rated about 52mpg in the city and 59mpg on the highway.

These consumption rates remain steady at speeds up to and over 70mph.

So, we know it’s an efficient bike, but is it easy to handle?

First of all, the gear shifting is very smooth and easy for riders of any level to handle. Physically, however, the bike is relatively large and heavy (well over 600lbs), which can create some problems.

More experienced riders will find the bike easy to handle, but it can take some getting used to for newer riders.

Less experienced riders might expect the bike to turn more keenly on big bends in the roads, but it may need more effort on their part, unlike a sports bike.

Having said that, it wouldn’t be fair to describe the on-road handling of the C50 as bad.

It’s a solid performer on any kind of road, and with experience will feel lighter and more maneuverable to the rider.

What Size Engine Is A Suzuki Boulevard C50?

The Suzuki Boulevard is a 50 cubic-inch engine, which gives it an 805cc engine.

More precisely, it has an 805cc, 4-stroke liquid-cooled SOHC V-twin engine with a compression ratio of 9.4:1. That’s combined with a Suzuki fuel injection system with SDTV, an electric starter, and wet-sump lubrication.

The Boulevard C50 manages an output of 45.1hp at 4000rpm, and 45.7lb-ft of torque.

This is actually a very accessible level of horsepower and torque for a beginner rider, as well as for a more experienced one.

What Is The Top Speed Of A Suzuki Boulevard C50?

The Suzuki Boulevard C50 can manage a top speed of about 90mph.

You may think that sounds low for a motorcycle with an 805cc engine, but this is a cruiser bike and therefore it is not primarily built for speed.

Riders looking for more emphasis on speed should look to sportbikes.

Size: Is It Too Big For A Beginner?

At more than 600lbs, it is not objectively a very heavy bike, but it will certainly feel heavy at the beginning for new riders.

The engine size of 805cc certainly on the surface sounds too big for new riders, too, but in fact, it’s more accessible than people realize.

The first thing to remember is that this motorcycle is a cruiser, not a sports bike.

The reclined seating position, slower acceleration, lower top speed and lower horsepower rating actually make this cruiser, even at its power and weight, a good bike even for beginners.

At the very beginning, maneuvering the bike will feel hard because it won’t corner as keenly or sharply as a sportbike would.

It’s, therefore, a good idea for beginner riders to take some lessons on the bike or a similar bike first to get to grips with how to ride a cruiser.

What Mileage To Expect It Can Last

The bike should have no problems, if properly maintained, from running up to 50,000 or 70,000 miles.

Some C50 units have been known to suffer from stretched cam chains, though, and their tensioners have been known to run out of travel.

This has been recorded as a problem as early as 30,000 miles, so these areas in particular need to be taken special care of in maintenance.

After about 70,000-75,000 miles, you may have to give the bike a complete overhaul if you want to keep it running.

Resale Price Vs Similar Bike

Used Suzuki Boulevard C50 bikes in good conditions can still fetch from $3,500 to $8,000 for 2020 models.

This means that they are fairly good at retaining their value, but how do they compare to similar bikes?

Honda Shadow 750 Vs. Suzuki Boulevard C50

The Honda Shadow 750 can fetch between $6500 and $7000, which shows they retain their value about as well as the Suzuki Boulevard C50.

There are even examples of classic Honda Shadows fetching $5,000 even from the 1985 model year.

Yamaha V Star 650 Vs Suzuki Boulevard C50

For older pre-owned Yamaha V Star 650 bikes from 2006 or so, you can pay a similar amount, perhaps a little more from $3600 to $4000 for a used model.

The V Star has many older models, however, going back to the 1990s and early 2000s, typically priced at $2,500-3,000.

The earliest C50 bikes only go back to 2005-2006.