SUZUKI GLADIUS 650 (2009-on) Review

Published: 10 March 2009

"Improved looks but the real beauty is under the skin"

Suzuki Gladius - very easy to ride

"Improved looks but the real beauty is under the skin"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The old SV650 was a good bike and to be honest Suzuki didn’t have to do much to make it a great bike once more. But they have gone one better and given us an excellent bike. Obvious improved looks but the real beauty it’s under the skin, the lovely fuelled, smooth, punchy, little V-Twin.  As an added extra bonus it’s easy to ride, yet still fun at the same time.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The new Suzuki Gladius carries on the traits of the old SV650, which means it’s still easy to ride for new riders as an entry level bike, but still fun enough for more experienced riders. There’re no shocks are surprises, it’s very forgiving. Even with the pegs scraping it’s still compliant. Brakes are relatively budget but have excellent feel and only lack when ridden hard two up.

Engine 5 out of 5

Suzuki has made the new engine 10% more efficient and it’s instantly noticeable. It’s smoother, revs quicker as friction has been reduced, which give the Gladius more midrange. The fuelling very similar to the GSX-R range with a ten hole fuel injector and twin butterflies is near perfect.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The old SV650 was solid, reliable an even raced competitively in the Mini Twin race series without any major problems. The old engine could take a real hammering as the Mini Twin race series proved without any major mechanical shocks, therefore the new engine should prove just as reliable. The level of finish on the new Gladius is also much higher than the old SV

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

The new Gladius offers real value for money and for £4500 it’s a real bargain bike for 2009. It appeals to huge audience from new riders to experienced riders who may actually want to race in the popular Mini Twin race series. It certainly doesn’t feel nor look like a £4500 budget commuter bike, and is almost on par with the much pricier Ducati 696 but without the flash labels. But for value for money makes much more sense. The bargain bike of 2009, possibly? Find a Suzuki Gladius for sale.

Insurance group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

As the price tag suggests it’s straightforward, no slipper clutch or multi adjustable suspension. However, casting a critical eye of the level of finish it’s hard to see where Suzuki have cut costs as it feel and look quality. Its been designed and sculpted to take the more pricier Ducati 696 head on, which it does but at £1000 less. Compare and buy parts for the Suzuki Gladius in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

13 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GLADIUS 650 (2009-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your SUZUKI GLADIUS 650 (2009-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.8 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 3.7 out of 5
4 out of 5

A good around budget naked

17 September 2016 by Dan T

An excellent entry level 650cc naked, that is perfect for both those beginning to ride motorcycles or those with more experience who want a good blend of reliability, fun and cheep motorcycling. It won't set the world on fire but you can have a lot... Read more of fun trying.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
One of the things that let the Gladius down is its Seat. I have got used to this now and can do 200-300 miles in a day with no major issues. However when I first picked up the bike a hours riding was enough to bring on aches and pains. Suspension is soft and is pre-load adjustable only, this is fine for town riding and commuting but those wanting to ride harder may find he suspension lacking. That's not to suggest that knee down cornering is unachievable or unstable but the bike would benefit from more adjustable slightly harder suspension. Front suspension can be remedied with springs and fork oil change and GSX-R 600/750 shock fits in the rear should you wish. Brakes are another thing that I have found lacking, the braking capabilities are there and they will stop you prefectly fine but the lever doesn't have much "feel" and can be a little "spongy" it has quite a lot of travel before the brakes start to bite. Again this can be remedied by fitting better pads and SS lines. Despite these criticisms it is still possible to ride the bike hard and most of these issues will only be noticed as riders become faster and more experienced.
Engine
5 out of 5
Ok so no 650cc Vtwin will match a Supersport 600 up top but what it will do is provide plenty of usabe torque across the rev range. There is no doubt that the 650 found in the Gladius is a fun, reliable engine. Derived from the sv650 it has sporting aspirations and proven in the minitwin race series. The Gladius is capable of surprising sports bikes of the line and I have no difficulty keeping up with 600 il4's and 1000s on rides out until licence loosing speeds. I find that the Gladius will pull from anywhere within the rev range and as mentioned in other reviews will pull away from 30 easily in 4th. I find the power delivery fairly smooth with most usable power coming between 6k and 10k rpm. Keep it within this range and you should have no problem keeping up in the twisties. Another saving grace of the vtwin is that if you enter a corner a gear too high the torque will pull you back out so there isn't too much worry about being in the wrong gear. It will top out at 125/130mph so those looking for top speed thrill may want to look elsewhere, but if you want a torquey engine that will pull in most gears and want to have fun with out too much risk of loosing your licence then this is deffinately one to consider.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
After 20k miles the Gladius is still going strong, i have no issues or faults mechanically or electronicly. I look after my bike well and ensure that I service regularly. It's an easy bike to work on and most service items can be fitted easily. One thing to keep an eye on is the paint on the central part of the tank, this can scratch easily and I would deffinately recommend a tank protector. There is no sign of rust or corosion yet, the front down pipe is slightly discoloured but I do commute everyday in all weathers, as mentioned earlier I look after the bike and wash after use in the rain and apply ACF50 to keep corrosion at bay!
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
The bike is cheep to maintain, I change oil and filters more regularly than most, but this is worth doing to increase reliability. I get about 130 miles before the fuel light comes on and reserve is about 3-4l. Insurance is low and should be fairly cheap for new riders.
Equipment
3 out of 5
As expected with any budget naked equipment and extras are basic. Spedo is clear and digital, revcounter is analogue and in my opinion preferable to digital, there is a gear indicator thay llt I'm sure new riders will find useful. Two trip meters, odometer, clock and miles traveled on reserve can cycled through on the display but only one can be viewed at a time. ABS is optional, no slipper clutch or any fancy electronic gadgets. Fuel injection is smooth. Seat is hard. I run pilot road 2 at the moment and find they suit the bike well.
4 out of 5

Glad to be Gladius

13 August 2016 by Jester

4/5 as I have only ridden it for 6000 miles so there may be quirks/problems I have not encountered yet. As a personal choice I really do not like digital speedos and gear indicators, I'd rather have an analogue speedo and a temperature gauge. I... Read more bought it to supplement my near 100K CB500 without venturing above 750cc as I have a Hornet 900 for that. It's done the job well and I sort of wish I had known the 'new' version was coming out before I bought this one as there is a lot less plastic on it. However I don't like ABS on a bike and my favourite dealer sourced me a non-ABS that had been sat in another dealer's showroom for a couple of years. I've never owned a 600 class bike and I like 'proper' bikes [nakeds] so the Gladius was about the only choice. I've also been a Honda man and never owned a Suzuki or a V-twin so this was a bit of a leap in the dark. One thing I have noticed though is that a bulb replacement is not as simple as on other bikes. Both the front and rear lights are rather more complicated that they need to be-why do you need to dismantle the headlight to get to the bulb and why is the single rear light bulb not accessible by removing two screws in the rear filter Mr Suzuki? Or wh i sthe rear not LED?

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
The bike is cheaper than a lot of others and you can feel this in the suspension. As with my other bikes the rear had an extra click on the pre-load for a firmer feel. The front could do with a little more damping but is OK. So far I've ridden the bike on short [under 200 miles] trips and a few of 400 mile days out and it seems happy, but the seat has a 'plank rating' of 4 on a scale where a plank of wood is 5. It could do with a bit more padding or I could do with less soss sarnies. I've sat at motorway speeds for over an hour and twisties for tens of miles and the bike is happy at either. The steering feels a little quick as if the front tyre was under inflated but feeling this on the palm of your hand means you can easily counteract it, and the closer you sit to the tank the less you feel it.
Engine
4 out of 5
4/5 as I am still adjusting to a V-twin. After parallel twins and inline triples and fours the V-twin engine is a bit of a novelty. The engine pulls from nothing to the red line but there is no surge of power-the delivery seems a bit flat but a look at the speedo shows you may be going faster than you thought. There is no real 'power band' that you need to chase. Coming from a twin/four background the engine noise is also subdued it sounds more like a single rumble than an inline 2 or 4 scream so you may be revving the engine more than you think. 30 mph in 4th will still give accleration. There are no vibes through the handlebars on my low mileage bike. The low fuel light seems to come on with 4-4.5 L left after about 130 miles.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
5/5 based on 11 months and 6000 miles of ownership. As soon as I had the bike all the readily accessible fixings were removed and given a bit of copper grease and the bike treated with ACF50. I would recommend this for all bikes. It wasn't ridden much through the first winter as I have other bikes I use year-round, but in the last 8 months I have covered over 5000 miles. So far no issues but it is a low mileage bike.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
OK, so the bike is still under warranty and dealer serviced hence the £600/year figure. When I am home servicing this will drop substantially. The rear tyre was replaced at 4000 miles including the running in period, the front looks good for a bit longer. As for fuel economy I see 55-75 mpg. I don't know if the 'official' test bike was track ridden or had a leaky tank but as with other tests the real world fuel consumption is less than the test results, even when ridden enthusiastically
Equipment
4 out of 5
An analogue speedo and temp gauge would be my preference. The LCD display toggles between total miles, two trips, low fuel miles and clock-the rest of the lights are basic idiot lights but there is nothing wrong with that. A separate clock would be welcome. Departing from the standard I have a ful set of Givi luggage and swingarm bobbins as the bike cannot have a centrestand fitted-very poor.
Buying experience

I bought mine from John Lee & Sons in Higham Ferrers. I'll admit this is my favorite dealer as they managed to find me a non-ABS one after they had been discontinued. Full price plus accessories paid less the trade in on another bike.

4 out of 5

29 February 2016 by Gladice13

It is a great beginner bike it is my first bike but now that I have a little more experience I notice that there isn't enough power Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
It is very comfortable for me I am 6 foot tall and I can ride it all day long and it doesn't bother me at all
Engine
4 out of 5
good power but once you get comfortable with it it doesn't excite anymore i
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
There has been a few recalls but after 4000 miles it hasn't left me pushing it home
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
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Equipment
3 out of 5
You do not get a lot for the price you get a key and a very reliable bike that is it there are no extras from the company that I know of. As well as there are very little aftermarket things for the bike
Buying experience

I bought it from a dealer for 6230 and was a considerable amount lower than that of what msrp was suggested.

4 out of 5

Bargin Big Bike

18 January 2016 by Harry

+ Gearbox is incredibly smooth, lots of low end grunt and easy to flick about - Seat and suspension are hard and soft respectively, brakes are a little one sided and hard to find aftermarket parts Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Suspension is soft and squishy with little cushioning from the seat and the brakes are soft at the front yet lock up easy on the rear
Engine
5 out of 5
Gorgeous V-Twin engine with all the low end power you'll ever need, buttery smooth going through the rev range and sounds like Thor himself is under your seat when engine braking
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Not a hint of rust after 9k miles with no broken parts, only replaced parts are filters, oil and tyres. Fuel injection starts the bike every time even after a month of bad weather
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Not had the bike for a full year yet but not looking at more than filters, tyres and tax (about £70)
Equipment
3 out of 5
Gear indicator and Hazard lights are all you really get with the Gladius, you aren't buying it for the bells and whistles
Buying experience

Bought privately for £2250 aut. 2015 with 5.5k miles on the clock, no scuffs or scrapes and came with heated grips (toasty)

5 out of 5

Great bike!

27 February 2014 by skriblur

I have put almost 5,000 miles on mine. It is great fun to ride. Quick, responsive. Can't say enough about it. It was broken in properly and does everything it should and more than you'd expect. Love it! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
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3 out of 5

Not bad but had better!

09 February 2014 by Zeee

Ridden this bike for 6 weeks now. It's ok but nothing special. On the plus, it's fairly comfy, handles ok and is fairly nippy. On the negative, it has a constant vibration, no wind protection, flat rev range that seems to die at the top end and a... Read more wobble setting of from stationary (only had this on the GS500 and the SVF650). I have also noticed it's easy to catch the horn buttkn when cancelling indicators, annoying really. The low seat hieght means it will be good for shorter riders and it's innoffensive power delivery will be good for new riders. If you can cope with the blandness and ugly appearance then go for it, otherwise keep looking.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
-
Engine
2 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
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Equipment
2 out of 5
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3 out of 5

hire bike

29 March 2011 by Chrisec87

OK, had this for a week now on hire - I usually ride a 2010 Z1000. For a budget 650 its ok. Pros - Comfy, 55mpg easily attainable. Light and flickable. Gear indicator is welcome. Cons No clock, tiny speedo massive rev counter. Throttle... Read more action is JERKY... I have ridden a Shiver 750 which is so much smoother in comparison. Handling is bizarre. The thing pogos mid corner and the front has no feeling whatsoever. Build quality actually looks OK, but the hire bike has 1800 miles on it and the engine is peppered with salt corrosion. Seat height is very low so view over cars is obstructed. Weak motor. Summary - All in all a good basic,econmical bike. Probably bang on for the money. I wouldn't recommend for new riders, the handling is far too vague and throttle is too jerky even for a twin. Each to their own but personally I would not recommend this bike. The SV looked and handled much better.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
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Engine
3 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
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Equipment
3 out of 5
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4 out of 5

First bike in years

22 September 2009 by Jimmycathcart

Just done 500+ miles on the Gladius. A bit frustrated running it in but now I can wind it up to 7500 revs it really puts a smile on your face. Handles great, well balanced, punchy, very easy to ride in town and on the open road. The seat can be a bit... Read more firm after a while. Very happy getting back on two wheels after 20 years. Did my home work this is the best mid range naked street fighter on the market at a bargain price.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5

born review

11 September 2009 by born09

This bike is superb and for the money you cannot fault it, well just a little. Everyone that has rode this bike any distance ie sixty miles plus in one go will tell you, the seat is like a plank of wood. The seat looks cheap and nasty when taken off... Read more the bike and turned upside down and your rear will start telling you in the first sixty miles. Brakes are a bit soft but adequate, Gear indicator somtimes a bit slow to react but always sorts itself out in the end. Wind can be a factor but hey it is with most bikes. The bike is not perfect but tell me one that is. It`s a damn good fun ride and I am glad no pun intended that I bought the Gladius SFV650k9 .

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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5 out of 5

Gladius is NEW in Canada

03 June 2009 by pocketrockets

Hey - Got to ride a Gladius for the first time last weekend. Snappy looks. VERY nice/precise handling. Good brakes. SMOOOTH motor (smoother than the inline 4). Even has touring accessories. With the work they put into what I understand was a... Read more stone reliable motor, it looks like Suzuki's got the jump on "Bike of the Year". Hell, we may even buy two. Thanks for previous reviews. Got me interested.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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Read all 13 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2009
Year discontinued -
New price £5,699
Used price £2,600 to £5,600
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £320
Performance
Max power 75.9 bhp
Max torque 49.5 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Specification
Engine size 645cc
Engine type 8v four stroke V-Twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 14.5 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 202kg
Front suspension 41mm conventional forks preload only
Rear suspension Single shock, preload only
Front brake 2x 290mm twin piston caliper
Rear brake 240mm disc single piston
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 160/60x17

History & Versions

Model history

New for 2009.

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki Gladius - very easy to ride
  • Suzuki Gladius - 10% more efficient than the SV650 lump
  • Suzuki Gladius - doesn't look like a budget bike
  • Suzuki Gladius - styling nods towards the Ducati Monster
  • Suzuki Gladius - bold colour options
  • Suzuki Gladius - clocks feature novice-friendly gear indicator
  • Suzuki Gladius - still fun for experienced riders
  • Suzuki Gladius - trellis frame
  • Suzuki Gladius - aimed at lady riders
  • Suzuki Gladius - suitable for commuting
  • Suzuki Gladius - handsome in GSX-R blue and white
  • Suzuki Gladius - low seat height
  • Suzuki Gladius - Even with the pegs scraping it’s still compliant
  • Suzuki Gladius - begging to eb swapped for the Arrow Gladius Cup can
  • Suzuki Gladius - no surprises, it's very forgiving
  • Suzuki Gladius - brakes are budget but have great feel
  • Suzuki Gladius - exposed engine will need looking after
  • Suzuki Gladius - level of finish is much higehr than on the old SV650
  • Suzuki Gladius - very easy to ride
  • Suzuki Gladius - 10% more efficient than the SV650 lump
  • Suzuki Gladius - doesn't look like a budget bike
  • Suzuki Gladius - styling nods towards the Ducati Monster
  • Suzuki Gladius - bold colour options
  • Suzuki Gladius - clocks feature novice-friendly gear indicator
  • Suzuki Gladius - still fun for experienced riders
  • Suzuki Gladius - trellis frame
  • Suzuki Gladius - aimed at lady riders
  • Suzuki Gladius - suitable for commuting
  • Suzuki Gladius - handsome in GSX-R blue and white
  • Suzuki Gladius - low seat height
  • Suzuki Gladius - Even with the pegs scraping it’s still compliant
  • Suzuki Gladius - begging to eb swapped for the Arrow Gladius Cup can
  • Suzuki Gladius - no surprises, it's very forgiving
  • Suzuki Gladius - brakes are budget but have great feel
  • Suzuki Gladius - exposed engine will need looking after
  • Suzuki Gladius - level of finish is much higehr than on the old SV650
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