The bargain alternative to the... Ducati Monster 696
First rides & tests
24 July 2009 12:23
The Ducati Monster 696 is stylish, easy to ride and packed with character - fun for newbies and experienced riders alike. But what if you don't have £6,195 to spend and you're aching for a mini twin roadster to call your own?
Why not consider... the original 1999-2002 Suzuki SV650.
For as little as £1,300 you can get your hands on a reasonable condition Suzuki SV650. Suzuki's charming mini twin offers everything the new Monster 696 does - apart from the Ducati badge. Even the aluminium trellis frame mimicks the classic Monster look.
According to MCN's road testers, the SV650's v-twin motor is "so smooth and eager it makes most European v-twins seem crude and impotent". Said engine puts out 69bhp (slightly more than the Monster 696) and loves revs. Plus it's mated to a Suzuki-smooth gearbox and light clutch.
The suspension and brakes might not have the fancy labels you'll find on the Monster 696, but they work - the SV650 is great fun and as happy thrashing down back roads as it is touring big distances.
Plus the SV's engine is un-stressed and bulletproof, it'll chug on forever. The only issue is that the SV650 is prone to corrosion (good for haggling a few quid off the asking price) and some were thrashed and abused in Mini Twins, so avoid anything that looks like it may of been raced.
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