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Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes - TONY HOARE CON­SUMER EDITOR tony.hoare@mo­tor­cy­cle­

his is the year of the re­boot. Cinema has had an­other go at mak­ing Starwars, and it’s even dug up Dad’s Army for a se­cond crack at the big screen. Hell, TV is des­per­ate enough to give Mrs Slo­combe’s pussy an­other air­ing as Arey­oube­ingserved comes back later this year.

It seems the past is the new­est gold rush, and now Suzuki are try­ing to get in on the act. Af­ter a tough few years it’s easy to see why the folks from Ha­ma­matsu would look back with hunger. This mil­len­nium started with the Ban­dit 650/S, SV650S and Burgman 650 scooter as Europe’s three biggest­selling ma­chines.

But the sub­se­quent decade-anda-half has not been kind to Suzuki. Sales have slipped, the flow of in­ter­est­gen­er­at­ing new mod­els has be­come a drib­ble and the firm has been forced to raid the back cat­a­logue and stride off down Re­boot Street. And that means the SV650, wildly pop­u­lar on its in­tro­duc­tion dur­ing bik­ing’s late-1990s boom, is back in the room.

The naked SV dis­ap­peared in 2009 as Suzuki dressed it in curvy plas­tic, flow­ing ex­hausts and re­named it the Gla­dius. Un­for­tu­nately the change led to more as­so­ci­a­tion with words like ‘Gla­dys’ or ‘Glad­i­oli’ than the Ja­panese sword af­ter which it was ac­tu­ally named, and it be­came seen as a lit­tle too fem­i­nine for some tastes.

It was the wrong di­rec­tion, so Suzuki have swung a U-turn and gone back to what the SV did best – sim­ple, in­of­fen­sive ef­fec­tive­ness.

Af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing a V-twin’s ad­van­tages over the par­al­lel twin of its main ri­vals (fewer com­po­nents and nar­rower lay­out, not to men­tion the

Tfact they al­ready had the en­gine) they set sights on Kawasaki’s ER6-N and Yamaha’s MT-07. The mis­sion was to make the SV lighter, more pow­er­ful and eas­ier to han­dle.

The first tar­get was to im­prove en­gine per­for­mance, which comes from re­duc­ing fric­tional losses by resin­coat­ing the pis­ton skirts and plat­ing the cylin­der bores, al­low­ing freer revs and bring­ing an ex­tra 4bhp at peak.

This also helped meet an­other key tar­get, pass­ing new Euro 4 emis­sions reg­u­la­tions and mak­ing the SV the first bike in the class to get the new ap­proval.

The fi­nal key goal was to make the SV eas­ier to ride, which Suzuki have done with a smat­ter­ing of new-rid­er­friendly tech­nolo­gies.

The head­line news is al­ways go­ing to be the beefed-up power de­liv­ery, with the SV now out­per­form­ing the Yamaha by 75bhp to 73 and mov­ing 4bhp ahead of its Kawasaki ri­val.

But the trou­ble with gain­ing ex­tra power by wind­ing up the rev-happy na­ture is that it comes at the price of low-end grunt, one of the old SV/ Gla­dius’ main strengths. On the road, it takes more prodi­gious use of the right hand to get the best from the new mo­tor.

It’s not slow at low revs, but the SV only gets into its stride at 6000rpm and charges on to around 9000rpm be­fore the rev lim­iter kicks in some­where north of 10,000rpm. Suzuki’s re­vi­sions haven’t changed the amount of torque, which stays the same at 47ftlb, but it’s now strong­est at 8100rpm rather than 6400rpm, which is a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence.

For more ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers, the new tune makes for a more re­ward­ing ride. Give the throt­tle tube some stick and the SV sets off in its own sweet way, ad­dic­tive in­duc­tion noise bel­low­ing from the air­box as the slinky-dink gearshift eases your pas­sage through the box.

But what newer rid­ers will make of this more de­mand­ing power de­liv­ery is some­thing that will have to wait for an­other MCN test. There’s more de­mand on the left foot to keep the en­gine in its sweet spot and lazily chug­ging around in a tall gear won’t be as easy to do in this new guise.

The route for MCN’S first ride in Girona, Spain was dom­i­nated by tight stretches of tar­mac wrig­gling their way up and down hills on the Cata­lan coast. The con­cen­tra­tion-sap­ping stretches were se­cond and third gear ter­ri­tory and the SV’S easy-go­ing en­gine was the ideal com­pan­ion.

The most snag­gled road sec­tions gave MCN the chance to test the SV’S Low RPM As­sist func­tion, one of Suzuki’s novice-friendly in­no­va­tions. It’s pri­mar­ily de­signed to elim­i­nate stalling while pulling away, by in­creas­ing the revs slightly when the clutch starts to bite (the tacho shows an­other 250rpm if the clutch lever is eased out with­out the rider touch­ing the throt­tle). But it’s also ef­fec­tive while rid­ing at low speed, and makes life eas­ier when squirt­ing be­tween tight turns. In­stead of chang­ing down to se­cond gear for each cor­ner, the sys­tem lets the rider stay in third with­out the en­gine labour­ing and be­com­ing tricky to han­dle, which is a plus even for more ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers.

This all flat­ters a chas­sis that has sen­si­bly been left alone, as there was lit­tle wrong with the way the old bike con­ducted it­self. The new SV is 8kg

‘The SV650 sets off in its own sweet way, ad­dic­tive in­duc­tion noise bel­low­ing from the air­box’

In­stead of press­ing the starter but­ton and hold­ing it un­til the en­gine fires, it now only takes one tap of the but­ton. This is not just aimed at new rid­ers as Suzuki in­tro­duced the sys­tem on their GSX-S1000 su­per

naked. lighter than its pre­de­ces­sor, a sig­nif­i­cant sav­ing, and while it’s im­pos­si­ble to say whether it’s im­proved the han­dling it cer­tainly hasn’t spoilt it.

The steel trel­lis frame is the same and it’s sus­pended by a sim­i­lar shock and fork, which work well enough for a bike that costs £5499. The non-ad­justable front end is never go­ing to be the most com­pli­ant, but it’s ef­fec­tive and doesn’t dive at the first sign of weight trans­fer un­der brak­ing. Preload ad­just­ment would be help­ful, but such lux­u­ries come at a price (and it isn’t £5499).

The shock has seven-step preload ad­just­ment and it coped well with my 14.5-stone frame through­out a chal­leng­ing ride. It’s ba­sic and ef­fec­tive for the price, but it will be one of the ar­eas that more de­mand­ing rid­ers will prob­a­bly want to lav­ish some at­ten­tion on. To help less ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers, the SV raises revs slightly when the rider re­leases the clutch lever to re­duce the chances of en­gine stall and, say Suzuki, make the bike eas­ier to ride in low

speed traf­fic.

Suzuki claim the new SV cov­ers an­other 5.77 miles per gal­lon than the old bike in test con­di­tions, at 73.46mpg. On the launch MCN recorded 49mpg, but that was af­ter 140 miles of hard rid­ing in mainly se­cond and third


The cool­ing sys­tem is re­vamped with a wider ra­di­a­tor and a liq­uid-to-liq­uid oil- cooler. This is lo­cated be­hind the oil fil­ter and is con­nected to the en­gine coolant sys­tem, and low­ers the tem­per­a­ture

of the en­gine oil.

The SV’S new pis­ton skirts are coated with resin, both to re­duce fric­tion and to help the en­gine meet Euro 4 emis­sions rules. Max torque re­mains the same, but it peaks 1700rpm higher than be­fore, at


The heavy ex­haust on the Sfv/gla­dius has been junked, along with its bulky un­der­slung

col­lec­tor box. The new twointo-one sys­tem has a slim­mer cat­alytic con­verter and con­trib­utes 3.5kg to the over­all weight


Greener and ever so slightly meaner than be­fore, the 2016 Suzuki SV650 is bud­get bik­ing at its best

Now 8kg lighter than its pre­de­ces­sor, the 2016 SV650 rev­els in the cor­ners and with a few ex­tra tweaks would be a real tool

Easy-start sys­tem Mod­ern dash shows gear po­si­tion, mpg and more Low RPM As­sist Suzuki say rid­ers pre­fer a tra­di­tional-style lamp Bet­ter fuel econ­omy Nar­rower seat makes it eas­ier to reach the floor A cooler cu­cum­ber Re­duced fric­tion Re­designed exh

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