Suzuki SV650S

Does Suzuki’s perky mid­dleweight still make sense?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - By Phil West MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then

“Since the SV650’S in­tro­duc­tion in 1999, the 90° V-twin has built up a huge fan­base con­sist­ing of own­ers who bought the bike as a step­ping stone from a freshly-li­censed novice or peo­ple who sim­ply want a solid, re­li­able work­horse.

The en­gine is just as adept at mo­tor­way cruis­ing as it is at slic­ing through con­ges­tion and it is ac­tu­ally com­fort­able over dis­tance. On the down­side, it’s vul­ner­a­ble to cor­ro­sion and the sus­pen­sion is a lit­tle ba­sic, although years on sale has led to an abun­dance of af­ter­mar­ket parts. Over­all, the SV may be cheap but it’s still a bloody good mo­tor­cy­cle.” MCN SV650S rein­tro­duc­tion, first ride | Au­gust 3, 2010

But what is it like now?

I’ve fond mem­o­ries of the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion SV hav­ing had a sil­ver N ver­sion for a year in 2005. That bike im­me­di­ately im­pressed as a will­ing, do-it-all pup of a light­weight twin and this faired ’06 ver­sion from Wheels Mo­tor­cy­cles in Peter­bor­ough brings those happy mem­o­ries flood­ing back.

It’s a fairly stan­dard ex­am­ple with just 6400 miles show­ing on its fair­ing­mounted in­stru­ment pod and rides well, too, with no glitches or slop. The perky, pull-from-any­where, freerevving Suzuki V-twin re­mains one of mo­tor­cy­cling’s greats and is both easy for novices and en­joy­able enough for more ex­pe­ri­enced types, while the han­dling and man­ners are light, neu­tral and in­stinc­tive.

Best of all, though, is how well the SV has aged. In this form it’s nearly 13 years old and is based on a model that goes even fur­ther back, to 1999, so there’s no elec­tron­ics and, be­ing a fairly bud­get ma­chine, few frills: the clocks are a lit­tle ba­sic, the brakes and sus­pen­sion slightly crude. Those an­gu­lar looks, too, are now more than a lit­tle dated. But de­spite all that, the SV is still great to ride – prac­ti­cal and ver­sa­tile, but also en­gag­ing and fun. There are still few bet­ter first big bikes – es­pe­cially for the money.

Com­mon faults ex­plored

Not much goes wrong with SVS. The 645cc V-twin is solid and proven as long as it’s prop­erly looked af­ter, and the up­rated alu­minium chas­sis (which re­placed the first-gen­er­a­tion model’s tubu­lar steel trel­lis) is straight­for­ward and rel­a­tively durable. Cos­met­i­cally, though, the fin­ish isn’t the best so they need look­ing af­ter. This bike’s not bad but a closer ex­am­i­na­tion re­veals pit­ted fork tops to go with some rust of the bel­ly­pan bracket and slightly cor­roded header pipes. It’s not dis­as­trous, but nor is it great for a 6500-mile bike. It would ben­e­fit from some TLC.

Ju­di­cious ad­di­tions

This is a sur­pris­ingly stan­dard ex­am­ple – sur­pris­ingly be­cause the SV, like its Suzuki sta­ble­mate the Ban­dit, tends to both get used and abused by novices (and thus touched-up and have parts re­paired, re­placed or mod­i­fied) and, as it’s fairly ba­sic, ac­ces­sorised as well. Not here. Apart from a road-le­gal stain­less Scor­pion can plus pleas­ingly new Bridge­stone Bat­t­lax 016R tyres, this ex­am­ple is pretty much as it left the fac­tory – which is a good thing as you can then be more con­fi­dent about what you’re get­ting.

Af­fec­tion rekin­dled

It’s dif­fi­cult not to ad­mire Suzuki’s sweet SV650 – es­pe­cially in half-faired S trim which, thanks to its added weath­er­beat­ing abil­i­ties greatly en­hances its ver­sa­til­ity and long-legged­ness. But with so many ag­ing ex­am­ples out there you have to be care­ful not to land a dud. Slightly dis­con­cert­ing fork top pit­ting aside, this one is great. It’s low mileage, re­as­sur­ingly stan­dard and at a de­cent price (£2999), which adds up to a great first big bike on a bud­get.

‘ The free-revving V-twin is one of bik­ing’s best’

If you can find one this close to stan­dard trim, you’ll be laugh­ing

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