2018 Suzuki SV650 Review

The Suzuki SV650 is no new motorcycle to the industry and was first introduced in 1999 and has been a favorite among motorcyclists ever since.

The SV650 line has gone through a few different designs now, with both naked and half-faired variants.

This new variant which released in 2016 though has taken things back to the Suzuki SV650’s routes, which is a good thing because the gladius (the outgoing model) didn’t fare favorably, mainly due to the odd styling choices (each to their own I suppose!).

Suzuki SV650 Specs

  • Price: £5842 (There are usually deals on which lower this figure)
  • Engine: 645 cc, four-stroke, liquid cooled, 90° V-twin, DOHC, 8-valves, TSCC.
  • Power: 70 HP @ 9000 RPM.
  • Torque: 62.00 Nm @ 7500 RPM.
  • Top Speed: 124.3mph
  • Fuel Economy: 50-55mpg

What is the Suzuki SV650 Like to Drive?

From the moment I sat on this motorcycle, I realized I was going to like it. It felt like an old friend, but with some welcomed updates.

The seating position is very neutral and I felt much more comfortable on this than the MT07. The seat is quite firm though and would be something I would replace if I were to be using one for longer rides. The hardness of the seat is only something you will notice if you are on the bike longer than 2-3 hours though and won’t be an issue on shorter rides.

Starting up the bike with the new “easy start” function (which will start the bike with one touch of the ignition) I was greeted with that lovely v-twin sound that you just don’t get from its parallel twin cousins. A little blip of the throttle and the SV650 emits a rather surprising growl for a stock exhaust, much louder than the likes of the MT07 or z650, both of which just sounds muted in comparison.

I then spotted the new dash which has been completely redesigned, it is now a clean looking LCD display with everything you will need, laid out in a logical way. It even has a gear indicator, which will suit newer riders, or even just those of us that sometimes have to question if you really are in 6th or just 5th…

After getting the bike going it felt light and nimble, it’s a compact bike which is small enough to feel comfortable for smaller riders, but not so small that it feels like a toy.

The SV650 feels like it produces more power than it does, this could partially be down to the lovely little roar from the exhaust making it feel quicker, but it may surprise some people coming of bigger motorcycles just how much balls this bike has. It has plenty torque down load and builds power smoothly through the revs, up to its 10,700 rpm redline.

Through the bends, the little Suzuki SV650 felt sure-footed and the suspension, although still quite soft, felt firm enough and certainly feels a lot better than what is on the MT07. There is no question that it is budget suspension, but it should be more than enough for 95% of riders and is as good as it gets for this money.

Coming to a stop though highlighted one negative for the bike. The brakes aren’t quite as strong or have as much feel as I would have liked. They are certainly strong enough to lock up the front wheel if you pull on the lever hard enough, but they don’t come on as sharply as some of the SV650’s competition, such as the MT07. The brakes are competent enough but require more pressure than I would have liked. Perhaps some sintered pads and steel brake lines would fix this though.

Overall the Suzuki SV650 was a lovely ride and certainly put a massive smile on my face. It has a punchy little engine that makes a great noise, it is nimble and feels modern while maintaining a more retro look.

Key Positives

  • One touch start is a nice touch.
  • Low RPM assist clutch raises the revs as you take off, meaning stalling is pretty hard. This is a great addition for newer riders.
  • The v-twin engine has much more character than the parallel twin comparison. It both sounds and feels better.
  • Bang for buck. You can get one of these for £5.5k when they are on offer… Making the SV650 an absolute bargain.
  • Comfortable seating position.
  • Great LCD screen.

Key Negatives

  • Brakes aren’t as sharp as they could be. Yet are competent enough and can be helped with sintered pads and steel brake lines.
  • The seat on the SV650 is a tad too hard. It’s fine for a 2 hour ride, but more than that and your bum may end up a bit numb.

Suzuki SV650 Review – Conclusion

The Suzuki SV650 is a cheap and cheerful bike which sits right at the point where it would make a great bike for new riders, but would also keep an experienced rider happy.

The power this bike produces is perfect for everyday road use. It is certainly enough to put a grin on your face every time you pull the throttle back. Bigger bikes can sometimes be frustrating because you can’t use all their power without losing your license. With the SV650 you can get a similar 0-60 time of a 1000cc bike, but you have to wring its neck to get there, which makes it a very rewarding bike to ride.

The only things that let this bike down are the rather wooden feeling brakes, which to be honest are adequate and not really a problem. Then the harder than I would have liked seat, which was fine for a 2 hour ride, but numb bum sets in after 2-3 hours.

For the money, I would say that this is possibly the best bang for buck bike in this category, especially if you are a fan of the more classic look.