SUZUKI SV650 (1999-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Middleweight V-twin all-rounder which proves you don't have to be boring to be practical"

Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding

"Middleweight V-twin all-rounder which proves you don't have to be boring to be practical"

  • At a glance
  • 645cc  -  69 bhp
  • 40 mpg  -  135 miles range
  • Medium seat height (800mm)
  • £4,975

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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.


 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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.   

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

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 & Running Costs 4 out of 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 group: 9 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

60 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI SV650 (1999-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.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.6 out of 5
5 out of 5

It's whatever you want it to be

16 September 2014 by Anonymous

Forget the stock D220 tyres ,they almost had me a few times, doing unintentional donuts.This bike is great, it does whatever you want. Keeps up with a R6, until you hit 125 mph, then the engine gets a little bit breathless.Ok very breathless. But the... Read more absolute massive way it get up to that speed is great. Make no mistake, this wont have your head spinning or you feeling sick with fear after getting off. It is a bit more sensible than that. It will wheelie on the power when the tank empties though! The engine is faultless really, handling is faultless, the finish is not so good in some places - the fairing mounts rusted under the fairing and when it fell over the crash protectors bent back onto the fairing.Not good. Best kept in a garage then. I dont. Al weather biker so it will get wet. It worked fine on ice and snow, it slides predictably when you test the brakes so no complaints there. OK OK you won't get more than 130 mph out of it, but it does outdrag pretty much everything with its low gearing. The engine is VERY tractable, stick it in first, then 4th then 6th. You only need three gears. I got the one with the full fairing (the SV650S Sports), which looks like a full sports bike, very cool in black,pity Suzuki no longer have this option on the website. The last time I looked they had discontinued this bike, so I am glad they have it back. Two up (using the replaceable solo or dual seat)is no problem, though it was reported to me that the rear seat was a little hard without leathers! So, unless you are a speedfreak, this bike will do anything you want. But you should nag Suzuki for the fairing, it looks twice as expensive with its sports vest on, and you get a better bike.A bargain priced all-rounder I'd say.

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

Capable but dull

01 September 2014 by Anonymous

Been riding for around 30 years and ridden many small and large capacity bikes of various configurations. Have owned a 2004 pointy SV650 for a few months now and never been overly impressed with it. The SV650 has a bit of mid range torque but not... Read more much real go after that (bit of buzzing but acceleration isn't staggering). The throttle action doesn't do a great deal until almost full open and it's a long twist to get full open. The brakes are wooden with no feel although they are adequate (nothing outstanding though). Handling's ok however the suspension is built down to a price and can be somewhat choppy. Finish is a bit poor with corroded bolts and bubbled engine/ fork paint being the norm. The foot pegs are in a slightly strange position which often catches your heel as you try to put your foot down. The seat is comfortable for a couple of hours riding but the throttle tube does make your hand go numb during that time. Economy is reasonably good for longer distance runs but drops a bit for stop start traffic. I ran a CBR600FM before the SV and it was a far more dynamic bike than the SV for similar price. The SV650 just didn't excite me and for that reason I'm not keeping it.

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

Absolute peach.

23 July 2014 by kaisersoseh

Having worked in bike shops since 1979 I have been lucky enough to ride a few bikes. The SV650 is one of a handful I have bought brand new. It has to be the best all round bikes on the market, handling is secure and easy, the engine feels like a 750... Read more and it costs peanuts to run and insure. Change the standard tyres and fit a full fairing and you have got one of the best 'softsports' bikes in the world, all for about £5000. A genuine peach!

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

Great bike

01 April 2014 by R013

I bought my 2005 SV650S fully faired about a year ago and I couldn't be happier with it. It is a very comfortable bike to ride, whether going at low speeds, pushing it to the limits or taking it on a long journey. It has a lot of power when you... Read more open up between 6k to 10k rpm, it still takes me by surprise every time and the handling just seems effortless and gives you a great sense of security. I average around 55 to 62 mpg, although that will drop significantly if you constantly hammer it. Overall it's very cheap to run and also very reliable. Currently I would not trade this for any other bike.

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

Wish I got one years ago

27 September 2013 by Typhon219

I figured I better downgrade to just 1 bike when I was made redundant. I wanted a V-twin that could commute but still boogie at the weekend so the SV was the only option. What an incredible machine. I've owned plenty of different bikes and test... Read more ridden some of the top spec new bikes for a magazine but the SV blew me away with how easy it is to ride however hard you want. Handlings great, the engine is a peach and its so cheap the value is amazing. I paid £1550 for a 2002 with less than 10k on the clock from a dealer. definately get one.

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

Best First Bike By Far !!

04 August 2013 by Finbar888

I bought my Black fully faired K8 SV650S in Feb this year and I am more than happy with my choice of first 'big bike'. Yes, the finish is crap so you do have to look after it but fit an aftermarket exhaust and boy it makes a lovely sound. Don't be... Read more fooled by the statistics shown by MCN - Fuel range is at worst 135 miles till reserve light flashes and then you still got 6 litres left. I average 55-60 mpg with a tank range of 200 miles easily and I'm not captain slow either. Very reliable, cheap to run, insure, easy to ride, loads of torque and huge fun. Taking my SV around Europe again shortly and can't bloody wait. Just passed your test? Get an SV - can't go wrong.

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

I have had 3!!!!

20 February 2013 by Skapegoat

I have been lucky enough to own 3 sv650's so I thought I would share what I have learned here. My first Sv was bought accidently I called into my local breakers looking for parts for a Honda Hornet 250 (Jap import) and out of curiosity asked if it... Read more was for sale? Twenty minutes later I had traded in my Honda and was riding my first ever Vtwin. She was a black fully faired 2001 curvey model with some small cosmetic damage. I kept hitting the limiter on the sv for a few days as she reved so quickly to the redline compared to baby Hornet. After getting used to riding the Vtwin I mastered the short shifting and stayed in the grunty midrange, wow what a great engine! The 650 vtwin is a wave of tourque that is predictable and gives you miles of smiles! It will max out at an indicated 135mph with an exhaust and K&N filter. Overtaking was effortless, motorways get eaten up and long spins through the twisties are a breeze. So impressed with my first SV650 I decided to buy a second one and race minitwins! yet another Curvey version this was well kitted when I got it! Full akropovic system, dynojet stage 2 (which works better with a BMC airfilter), Elka rear shock, uprated maxton fork internals and gold valve emulaters (best money ever spent! 2secs a lap faster!) Brembo master cylinder, galfer discs (the only real bad point of racing the sv was the standard brakes were not up to it!)and the rest. I would hazard a guess that the most fun times in my life have been barreling into turn one of a race with the soundtrack of SV thunder as 30 plus SV's drop gears and hope that the engine braking will slow me enough to turn her in just to accelerate out like a bat out of hell again! My third Sv came after I sold the other two and was bikeless, a pointy sv was the cards this time. I bought a 2003 pointy in black again and It was an excelent update in style and functionality but the carbed model seemed to have better low down power and grunt as the sv suffered the dreaded tightening C02 emmisions. All in all it was a miniscuel difference and the pointy served me well. Ride and Handling, All sv650s are budget in the suspension department and will never handle like a Cbr600rr. Cheap upgrades like Gsxr600 or zx10 2004 shocks can help or splash out on a named brand shock. Fork internals like progresive or weighted springs will not break the bank and are a masive improvement. EBC HH pads are a must over the stock supplied set. Qulity and reliability, On a whole the Sv650 is reliable when looked after and has a few choice mods. Being a vtwin starting takes a good condition battery so a trickle charger is a must. The curvey used to run on one cylinder in the rain(a known fault)so a fender extender is a good idea to stop the front cylinder getting drowned. Mismatched spark plugs were the cause of a starting issue with my pointy, as there is only two you may as well change them. Some Sv engines burnt off oil causing them to seize, a mate went through 3 engines as he never checked the levels. Its a 5 minute job to top up your oil so what are you waiting check it now. Corrosion is a common complaint with SV owners and admitidley Suzuki have never had a great finish on any bike but common sense should prevail by you taking preventative measures. Buy some ACF50 and use as directed, wash your bike once a week (always a good time to chcke the oil too)dry it and polish it. Use grease on all moving parts and metal polish on shiney bits. Your Sv will look new again! overall, The Sv 650 is cheap to buy and run while being powerfull and fun! My first curvey had 60,000miles on it when I sold it and was ready for more. People say its a midrange budget bike, which it is but with the right hands with the right mods you can have just as much fun as the big boys. Its a very capable stepping stone before a sports 600. Wishing you all dry roads, Skapegoat.

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

Keep out of the rain

15 May 2012 by Cy8rm4n101

I've not had my SV for a bout a year now & I miss it. Commuting in all weathers started to show with rust forming in bits I just couldn't reach so had to change to a better all weather bike :( The SV handles like a dream, taking you round corners... Read more effortlessly & seems like it's actually stuck to the road. It caught me by surprise a few times when overtaking & giving that little bit extra throttle that if I hadn't had tight hold the bike would have been off without me. So it's reliable, fast sounds great, sticks to the road & easy to handle. What a shame the price tag means the build quality doesn't let you take it out in all weathers without paying the cost. I also have no idea why they do the half fairing when a full one makes it look ten times a better bike.

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

SV650 S (full fairing)

28 March 2012 by Anonymous

My bike is 2009 SV650S mettalic Blue(Full Fairing) with white line. I have owened this bike for two months now. Bought it with only 1200 miles on it. now cover around 2000 miles. It is my first big bike after passing my Full bike test. It is... Read more fun to ride. Engine and gearbox are brilliant. Higly recomended for first bike, cheap on insurance.Im getting around 50-55MPG in town traffic. very well balanced on the road, i have it rolling on 3-4 miles in the traffic and its very study ..Breaks r very good. very good for driving around in town or on long journeys...very happy with the bike. you have to upgrade the exhaust, i have put Beowulf stubby exhaust on and it sounds amazing and im sure it has increased the power a bit, it only took me half an hour to do it myself.I have also added R&G tail tidy, R&G crash Bungs, Oxford heated Grips, Zero gravity screen and Small indicators (must have). and it looks perfect now... Now -ve points No gear indicator No fuel level gauge, only light comes on when its time to refuel. but overall very well build machine and happy with the choice...

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

SV650s '11 bike

11 October 2011 by Anonymous

I've ridden and owned all sorts of bikes in the last 15yrs, vfr's, fireblades, gpz500, 1200Bandit, Ducati 900ss, and now this Sv which I bought brand new in sept 2011 for a bargain £4454 on the road is just fantastic. weighs in at 183kg Kerb... Read more weight(stated on the v5 logbook), don't let the low bhp figure fool you, this has the flattest torque curve so at any revs it just goes! Power doesn't build up like inline 4's but is constantly pulling. Great for drive out of corners! Brakes are easily capable of quick stops an offer great feel. Handling is brilliant and very stable. No hint of wobble or shake mid corner or on straight if u let go of the bars. Very well setup from factory, both front and rear compress equally when you sit on the bike. Headlight is good, indicators at front stick out quite far so watch out if you have to go through a side gate at your house as they may catch! As speed and revs have increased the mpg had dropped. 65mpg, 54 and my latest of 52mpg but during running in you shouldn't hold constant revs so quite uneconomical riding. I expect for work commutes to average 55-60mpg. Reserve light comes on between 132-140 miles. Still another 6litres of fuel left (I think) so 200miles per tankful. Mirrors are ok, but I still get about 50% elbows when I look in them! Riding position is good but you slide forward on the seat easily during commuting speeds so it's quite sportsbike riding position. Some people have higher clip on bars fitted. Screen deflects wind very well, there's space for waterproofs under the rear seat, a relay pack can be easily pushed out the way under there to give even more space! Being injection cold starts are beautiful, no choke to play with, and it rides smoothly. Gearbox is becoming very slick now I'm up near 600miles on the bike. It was quite mechanical but precise when new, but smooth now. Paint finish has dulled where knees are against tank so I think protective clear patches on the sides and a tank protector are necessities to prevent this. Overall this is an unbelievably good bike for the money. Suzuki had a £645 off list price(£1 per 1cc) for sept and trading in my 1200 bandit left it costing just £2900. I'm smitten with it! Charactorful v-twin engine, impressive handling even for people like me who had a Fireblade for 5 yrs I still have a big grin after riding the twisties! But equally, it's a very stable bike for newbies to learn on. Thoroughly enjoyable motorcycle that will appeal to almost everybody.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 60 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued -
New price £4,975
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 69 bhp
Max torque 45 ft-lb
Top speed 123 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.5 secs
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 135 miles
Specification
Engine size 645cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium trellis
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 169kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 290mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

History & Versions

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.

Photo Gallery

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  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review
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  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki SV650/S motorcycle review - Riding
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