SV650 in track ac­tion

Tony dis­cov­ers you don’t need big bhp to have a ball

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So that is that, my time with Suzuk­iõs up­dated 2016 SV650 has come to an end. After al­most 5500 miles with the V-twin Iõve been im­pressed with just how much fun there is to be had by go­ing back to smaller bikes.

Iõve been run­ning long-term test bikes for 13 years and the SV is the small­est, both phys­i­cally and in terms of power out­put, that Iõve had Ð but itõs been right up there with the best of them for fun out­put.

The whole point was to test my the­ory that the small ones can, in­deed, be more juicy, be­cause itõs pos­si­ble to ex­plore more of their po­ten­tial with­out run­ning up speeds that can only spell trou­ble. And that was mostly how it panned out, once run­ning-in was out of the way and bar­ring a cou­ple of episodes where the SV was­nõt in its ideal en­vi­ron­ment.

The first prob­lem was dur­ing my bi­en­nial rider as­sess­ment, which is part of be­ing al­lowed to ride test bikes for MCN. The as­ses­sor felt I was rid­ing too fast, which felt ironic in a year when IÕD cho­sen a bike that I thought would slow me down! I sus­pect the body lan­guage of the lit­tle SV as it hauled my 15-stone frame around did­nõt help the pair of us look like the pic­ture of com­po­sure. I also think my con­fi­dence in rid­ing a less pow­er­ful bike bor­dered on cocky (es­pe­cially as I only scored a six out of 10 for at­ti­tude!)

The sec­ond il­lus­tra­tion was on a Suzuki track­day at Sil­ver­stone in Au­gust. It was an ex­cel­lent event, but the wide open spa­ces and long straights did­nõt make for a happy hunt­ing ground on the SV, which was strug­gling for both power and han­dling ca­pa­bil­ity.

The slightly springy na­ture of the SV, which I thor­oughly en­joyed in nor­mal road rid­ing, was shown up on track as big­ger, stodgier bikes eas­ily came past me and went off into the dis­tance. I or­dered a new shock from Dutch firm Hyper­pro, to ad­dress the is­sue for an­other track­day, but events over­took me and I handed in the Suzuk­iõs keys be­fore I could fit it.

The SV has now trans­ferred into the own­er­ship of MCN Staff Writer Andy David­son and I al­ready miss the Suzuk­iõs blend of easy per­for­mance, nippy han­dling and downright fru­gal­ity on fuel. Over my time with the SV I av­er­aged 55mpg with­out once try­ing to be eco­nom­i­cal (or in­tend­ing to thrash the pants off it).

It was also easy on rub­ber, help­ing the Con­ti­nen­tal Sport At­tack 3 tyres (£220 be­fore fit­ting) last 4500 miles Ð and they still had a fair slice of life left in them by the end.

And the SV did all this while re­main­ing a near-con­stant source of fun. Mates on more pow­er­ful bikes would some­times leave me be­hind, but rid­ing a smaller bike meant I could re­lax and not put any pres­sure on my­self to try and keep up. The SV has been a bril­liant com­pan­ion and I hope Andy looks after it prop­erly, as IÕM go­ing to miss it.

‘I al­ready miss the nippy han­dling and fru­gal­ity on fuel’ ‘The slightly springy na­ture of the SV was shown up on track’

It was fun on track­days, but eas­ily shown up by beefier ma­chines

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