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Suzuki SV650 Naked Motorbike Review

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Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The Suzuki SV650 is a straightforward middleweight V-twin all-rounder which proves you don’t have to be boring to be practical. The SV650 is versatile, affordable, a doddle to ride (making it popular with inexperienced riders) and yet is a hoot to muck about on - or even to race.

 

- SV650 Ultimate buyer's guide - everything you need to know when buying an SV. 
10 years of the Suzuki SV650 - we celebrate a decade of SV with everything from a model history to a list of the top 10 accessories.
- Video: Suzuki SV650 longterm report - report on owning an SV.
- Watch the Suzuki SV650 Sport take on Aprilia's 850cc Mana, Honda's Silver Wing and the three-wheel Piaggio MP3 400.
- Watch the Suzuki SV650 take on the BMW F800, the Aprilia Shiver and the Triumph Street Triple.


 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Suzuki SV650's liquid-cooled dohc unit is so smooth and eager it makes most European V-twins seem crude and impotent. The Suzuki SV650 is flexible and predictable, has a thrilling zest for revs and yet is completely reliable, too. What’s more, the gearchange is typically Suzuki slick and the clutch is light and easy. The SV650 has an all-round great engine.   

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Better even than the engine. Forget fancy cycle parts, instead the Suzuki SV650 has a super-light feel, accurate steering and assured suspension and brakes. Tour by all means (it’s plush enough) but the Suzuki SV650 revels in thrashing through the twisties, too. Six-footers may find an SV650 a little cramped.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Budget price means the Suzuki SV650 has everything you need but not much more. Common SV650 owner mods include belly pan and full fairing lowers.
Click here for the 10 best parts for the SV650, as recommended by real owners at www.sv650.org.

Suzuki SV650/S (1999-current)

Detail Value
New price £4,975
Dealer used prices
£1,930 (1999) - £4,680 (2013)
Private used prices
£1,740 (1999) - £4,210 (2013)
  View full used price info
Engine size 645 cc
Power 69 bhp
Top speed 123 mph
Insurance group 9 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Build quality of the Suzuki SV650 is fair but expect some corrosion and furring of alloy surfaces if you ride through winter. Reliability is good thanks to the SV650's fuss-free chassis and a fairly routine but gloriously under-stressed engine.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

A budget initial price coupled with low running costs and cheap insurance makes the Suzuki SV650 a top-value package. Cheaper bikes (Suzuki’s GS500, Kawasaki’s ER-5) can’t match the SV’650s performance and Kawasaki’s recent ER-6 is too new to compete against older used Suzuki SV650s on price. It remains a stylish and classy buy despite its increasing age. Find a Suzuki SV650 for sale or Suzuki SV650S for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 9 of 17

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes now

Model History

1999: Original ‘jellymould’-styled half-faired Suzuki SV650S launched.
2003: Suzuki SV650 revamp. New angular styling, new angular, lighter die-cast frame, revised clocks and lights and fuel injection in place of twin carbs.
2004: Catalytic converter added to Suzuki SV650.
2005: Suzuki SV650 frame and swingarm now black-finished instead of silver.

- Full SV650 model guide

Other Versions

Suzuki SV650: Has slightly higher bars and lacks half-fairing of ‘S’ model, so slightly lower asking prices.

Specifications

Top speed 123 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.5 secs
Max power 69 bhp
Max torque 45 ft-lb
Weight 169 kg
Seat height 800 mm
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 135 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 9 of 17
Engine size 645 cc
Engine specification 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium trellis
Front suspension adjustment Preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes Twin 290mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

See all Suzuki SV650 motorcycles for sale

Suzuki
SV650

31877 miles

£1,400

Suzuki
SV650

15000 miles

£1,600

Suzuki
SV650

23000 miles

£1,850

Suzuki
SV650

16085 miles

£1,850

Suzuki
SV650

23900 miles

£2,799

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(60 reviews)

  • Bought new in 2004 (04) £4200. 1st bike after a couple of years off.

    nigelwood1

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    It has been a real blast. 1st new bike and a good way to get back into biking after a couple of years off. With the right tyres and a bit of suspension work I can embarrass bigger and faster bikes when it gets twisty (even 2-up). Easy and fun to ride. Stock suspension is only limiting factor in the fun stakes. Got some uprated Maxton fork springs and jacked the back up 25mm. Now the front doesn't bottom out and it turns in real quick. I put an Art Race can on and it sounds like a Ducati and revs much cleaner and quicker. It makes me smile every time I ride it. Strengths: As a first bike it is excellent. You can learn to ride and not be intimidated by too much power.Handling is a peach (if its sorted). Value for money and smiles per mile you can't beat it. It aint nothing "Too" special but it is fun. Weaknesses:
    Built to the price. Very basic suspension not suited to anyone heavier than 10 stone. Not comfy for long distance if over 6 ft tall but thats not what it is for. Could do with a bit more power. Lacks attention to detail and finish quality.

    04 March 2006

  • 2003 Sv650s used daily all the year round

    badasspov

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    I bought this 2003 model at the end of the reg, so its two years old at the end of Feb. I have commuted nearly every day during that time, clocking some 20,000 miles. Crap dealer ment I had a sticky clutch problem longer than I should have when I first bought it. I have did Assen last year and it coped well with a weekend blast in Europe. Finish on forks and fasteners looking poor now, however considering the abuse it takes I am not surprised. Strengths: Its pure fun,a genuine all rounder, great for commuting through traffic yet so agile. Very cheap to run very very reliable. Weaknesses: As with all Suzuki's the finish isnt great.

    26 February 2006

  • Suzuki sv650 2002 model, bought 2005 with 1800 miles on clock. Sold Bandit 1200 to buy it.

    mazda

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Great all rounder. Loads of fun on the A/B roads I mainly drive to work on. Good handling but Forks needed work to improve front end feel. New Ohlins linear springs and 15W fork oils makes massive improvement. Rear OK. Still no regrets getting rid of the Bandit so must be good. Strengths: Great Handling now front sorted. Light weight. Low running costs. Good fuel consumption and longer life from rear tyres. Much lower insurance than Bandit. Good lights and great brakes. Weaknesses: Could do with a bit more grunt from engine. Throttle response a bit jerky low down. Same on several SV's I have tried so its not just my setup.

    16 January 2006

  • Excellent first big bike, 2005 model with black frame adds to excellent looks and appeal

    anthod1982

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    A great, fun bike all round. Very pleased, my first big bike and feels as light as a 125!! Gets to it's top end quickily as well as being cheap to insure which is a bonus. Managed to get it on 0% finance as well which is pleasing to the pocket. Get a good anti-corrosion product on the bike as bad wheater does take it toll! Strengths: Feels very light for a 600, great in town and on those curly a and b roads. Weaknesses:
    Corrosion; solved with good anti-corrosion product. Front mudguard should be about 4 inches longer at the back, engine and pipes get caked in muck.

    06 January 2006

  • Superb starter bike.

    sigourner

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    I have had my license for 9 years now and have never owned a bike but a move down to London with a commute of 36 miles through town and down the motorway along with a train journey of two hours prompted me it was about time that I finally got round to getting a bike. After a couple of months of thinking about what bike to choose I was torn between the SV650S and the Kawasaki Z750S and the SV won, mainly due to the insurance group associated with it. Up until now I have mainly been using the bike for commuting but this is an hour long and so far I have had no complaints. When I was talking about getting this bike people kept on saying that I might be too tall for it (I'm 6'4") with a 34" inside leg (always got annoyed with people putting their height but no idea of what their stature is) I have had no reason to complain. It starts everytime, the finish seems fine and it seems to have plenty of pull. Can't wait till the summer when I can fully test it out. Strengths: Price, looks, weight, insurance group. I can't really comment on anything else as I have nothing to compare it to. Weaknesses: I get false neutrals sometimes but I'm not sure if that is due to me or the bike and the seat gets slightly uncomfortable after an hour or so, apart from that nothing yet but I aim to add another comment in a few months.

    14 December 2005

  • A good first bike for 'no rush' commuting and the odd bit of scratching

    cbsracing

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    I bought this because I wanted a bike that didnt require me thrashing it, and to save my rapidly deteriotating licence, I use bikes all year round, my last bike was an FZR600R, This is a fantastic FIRST bike, dont buy it if you have ridden anything else in that engine range, it'll bore you to quick, that's not to say its boring, its not. The Bike is good at almost everything, but unfourtunately it isnt fantastic at much. I travel to work about 20 odd miles a percentage of that is on the motorway, it copes well but unfourtunately it runs out of go at about 115mph, so the motorway drags on. I found for fast road work it was competent and good fun, the front comes up easily in first and second, however when your really throwing it around the fast A/B Roads the front suspension is a little soft, through town the bike is faultless, and the fuel injection really good. The bike however had to go in for a warranty claim (see weaknesses) and i lost faith in it so its going, hello blade. Strengths: It is a really good, forgiving first bike, V-twin torgue is nice, and it does everything well. Weaknesses: Runs out of breath a little too soon, Engine bolts furr easily, and the engine blew itself to pieces and they took 2 months to rebuild it under warranty... to be fair that could be my fault (I treated it like it was a demo bike, the whole time I had it) But to be fair, no 'real' Dont buy this bike weaknesses.

    02 December 2005

  • Great all round bike!!

    SpeedySv

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    This is my first bike, had it just over a year and it's bloody fantastic!! does everything you ask and more. great handling, acceleration it smooth... plus looks even better once it's had some mods done. not the fastst top end, but enough to lose your licence for a while, Doh.! Strengths: Style, handling, acceleration. Get alot of bike for the price. Weaknesses: Brakes! could do with a bit more stopping power, small Fuel tank.

    17 July 2005

  • Fun budget bike, easy to ride

    Stephensv650

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    First bike for over 20 years has proved a good retrn to biking and made me wish I done it a lot sooner. Good acceleration and good styling and the distinctive sound and performance of a V twin. Bought in November 2003 and has proved totally reliable, starting first time every time depite some gaps in riding it. Strengths: Good value and easy to ride. Enough power at legal speeds. Good on all types of road. Looks good. Used mainly as a 30 mile commuter and for 60 mile fin rides and that's what it's best suited to. Weaknesses: Seat poor and standard of finish suspect e.g. front forks, bottom yoke. If this were a motorbike mag review it would say 'poor wind protection' but let's get real this is a naked bike and if you want loads of plastic buy something else! It's good for strengthening your neck muscles and helping you realise how fast you're going before you get nicked...

    01 December 2004

  • Superb all-rounder.

    tonyberrow

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Two weeks after passing my test and buying the SV650, I was hurtling down a French motorway at 110mph+ trying to stick with the lunatics I was with - mounted on a Hayabusa, an EXUP 1000 and a XJR1300. I had to lie on the tank to reduce drag, but the bike maintained that speed for hours on end. Luckily the frequent stops for the Hayabusa to refuel gave my bum a rest from the too-hard seat on the SV. I've used the bike almost every day since for communting, scratching and touring and have loved almost every minute of it, the bad times being some low-speed tumbles caused variously by my own cack-handed low-speed riding, ice and gravel. The bike has stood up well to the minor crashes, aided by a set of Motrax crash bungs I installed when I took delivery. Averaging about 45mpg, I can't complain about the fuel consumption. An excellent Motrax fly-screen makes 120mph achievable (on autobahns, of course). I'd love to try an SVS to see how good its fairing is. Strengths: 100% reliability to-date. Very fast cornering. Ideal first big bike. Weaknesses: Poor seat. Some fixings corroding - will replace with stainless items this year. Rear shock going off - will replace with a Hagon unit this year.

    22 June 2004

  • Top bike

    mistressvictoria

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    First big bike after passing DAS. Friendly little fellow, hasn't thrown me off once. Fast enough for a new biker. Loads of bolton extras available...exhausts, screens, bungs, tie bars, fairing lowers etc etc. Strengths: Comfort, sound(with Renegade can!), looks....everything.  Weaknesses: As I'm getting faster it feels slower, but still manages 140mph, so how bad can it be?

    19 June 2004

Discuss this

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scampisv

User's Badge

scampisvsays

best in its class

owned my sv650s for 4yrs now and have used it mainly abroad(26000) from portugal to romania,one trip was 4000 in 10 days,not had one problem & will never sell it,recently fitted rear ohlins shock & front springs which is a major improvement as is the superbike handlebar conversion if you intend to do long miles in the saddle,this bike is as clean as the day i bought it which considering where i'v been says it all & STILL on its original chain & sprocketts which will be replaced next.  

13 January 2010 18:41

toe_down_sv_racing

User's Badge

toe_down_sv_racingsays

CHANGE THE TYRES !!!!

My bike came with BADDDD Dunlop D220's, now if you like power-sliding on wet surfaces, spesh rounda-bouts, not havig a tyre warm up quickly and never get close to knee-down, these are the tyres for you.

However if you enjoy riding, and want something cheap and easy-going, the shock find of Continental Road Attacks - £189 fitted, really worked a treat!

Although blasted by most bike mags when ridden by a litre bike, stick them on low-power or light machines and they possitivly sing.

Stats..

Ive had mine now for roughlt 8.5-9000 miles, the front still had some tread left but the rear is boarderline.

All weathers, handling = amazing.

8.5-9K miles also includes 2 VERY fast track days at cadwell where i finished up running in the inters.

Also 1 trackday in the wet where i was in the inters before i crashed.  Still not bad for a stock SV on touring tyres right???

Im buying them again !!!

Knee, Toe, Peg .... Id get elbow down if i had a 180 section im sure of it.

Buy Now.

16 November 2008 09:38

davepreston

daveprestonsays

6 foot easy im near 7 and i will never sell my 99 curvy tried other 600s nothin comes close

02 November 2008 16:31

Tooshay

User's Badge

Tooshaysays

Height

I'm 6' 2" and have no problems with the bike. So yes, its good for a six footer and fantastic as a first bike.

13 October 2008 14:02

big ears

big earssays

susuki sv 650

Is this bike any god for a six footer as a first bike ?

06 October 2008 18:19

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