SV650 in track action
Tony discovers you don’t need big bhp to have a ball
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’