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"

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 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

73 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.

Review your SUZUKI SV650 (1999-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.2 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.7 out of 5
4 out of 5

01 October 2016 by Snowdonia Rider

Handles well, pulls in any part of the rev range, sounds great (aftermarket exhaust on mine). Biggest let down is the very disappointing tank range. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
It's not bad for a sporty position, there is worse. I'm 6' and stock screen is useless. Seat is OK. Unless you're a track god the suspension is fine for the road. Brakes are OK too, not the worst but not the best either..
Engine
5 out of 5
Best thing about the bike! It pulls anywhere in the rev range. A Beowulf exhaust is fitted to mine (purchased like that) and it sounds brilliant, I never get bored of it. Pulls from 39mph in 6th just fine. Very smooth for a V Twin too.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Usual corrosion spots for bikes, front of fork legs and engine casings. No breakdowns or failures in the time I've owned it.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Super cheap to service, couple of plugs, oil and filter, air filter. Easily done at home, no problems accessing oil filter. Disappointing fuel consumption but there are worse I suppose.
Equipment
3 out of 5
No fuel gauge which is a shame as the tank range is poor. Does have a clock though which is handy.
5 out of 5

Great first bigbike

31 August 2016 by Chris Aslin

Great handling. Great price. Lighter than Honda CB650F but no real difference between the two for the price. Lovely bike Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
I like a hard ride. I do not travel that far on a naked bike. Brakes seem good since picking up the bike. Seems slightly lighter than bikes in class and much more agile. Turns well and once my tyres and engine are run in then looking forward to fully opening up
Engine
5 out of 5
Plenty of umph. Pulls well and great for new to class riders. Raw in the first gears but lovely purr and distinct gears to take you where you need to go
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
As good as any in the class. Ride is hard. Seat is ok, but may upgrade. Very pleased with my bike
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Good overall running cost
Equipment
4 out of 5
Options for the bike are good. Nice look. Dash is good and clear. Beautiful looking bike and one of the best in class and for the price cannot be beaten.
Buying experience

Dealer (Mission in Milton Keynes) are fantastic. Go there and get your bike.

3 out of 5

SV650S review

24 August 2016 by Bozzy

Good first big bike. The riding position is reasonably sporty without being too extreme. The engine is also predictable so won't surprise a novice as the revs rise. Drawbacks are poor steering lock at low speeds, weak brakes and budget suspension... Read more components.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
Comfortable enough at slow to medium speeds. Seems to untie itself a little as speed/commitment levels rise. Brakes are poor requiring a good squeeze to halt the bike quickly. Ideal for a novice though who might grab a fist full of front brake at the wrong time.
Engine
5 out of 5
Great engine. Loads of low down grunt and pulls keenly all the way to the red line. There are no sudden power spikes to catch a novice out. Also, the engine has a really nice sound to it.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Spark plugs needed changing after it started running on one cylinder. Turns out the front plug had seen better days and was corroded. Looks like there had been water ingress in the plug hole. There is a drainage hole that needs to be kept unblocked. A good squirt of maintenance spray usually does the trick.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap if self serviced. Spark plugs £4 each. OEM air filters can be had for around £20. Oil and filters are cheap. It's an easy bike to spanner on, I would recommend doing things yourself if possible.
Equipment
2 out of 5
No fuel gauge. No gear indicator. Michelin Pilot Road 4 are good tyres to go with in the UK.
5 out of 5

Wow - what fun

09 June 2016 by Justin

Outstanding . Very little to fault except no grab bar for pillion. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Cannot fault this bike
Engine
5 out of 5
Superb pick up - the demo sold it
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Too early to tell - but looking good
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Being kind as running it in - but getting 74 mpg already
Equipment
5 out of 5
Couldn't ask for more
Buying experience

Great - nothing was too trouble

5 out of 5

The legendary SV 650 for everyday fun

21 May 2016 by JoeBarTeam

Very good street bike. It has enough power to keep up with the pack and doesn't need to be trashed to do so. There is a huge community supporting the SV since 1999, SV riders love their bikes for a reason. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Good enough brake but not as punchy as the ones on the GSXR. Very agile and nibble frame. A bit overweight by today's standard.
Engine
5 out of 5
75bhp is enough 99% of the time. the Torque is awesome!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Corrosion on the fork and weird noise from the engine are to be expected
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Very good on petrol
Equipment
5 out of 5
Lots extra available but the bike come almost naked
Buying experience

Private

5 out of 5

22 March 2016 by Ibrahim

Great bike that suits both beginners and experienced riders alike, shame about the slightly dodgy finish and appallingly weak horn Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Finish not great in places and having a kitten attached to the bike would make a louder sound than the horn. Clutch switch under the side stand prone to failing too.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
Get a better horn and a rear mudguard and you'll be laughing. Diablos are a great tire set to have (being both grippy and not too expensive)
4 out of 5

SFV650 Gladius 2014

08 December 2015 by MAB

New rider on a new bike. For now, bike rides very well and is easy to take control of. Read more

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

Bought new at a dealer.

5 out of 5

Sv650 Bargin buy

05 December 2015 by cchapman

I Love the sv650 for how nimble and punchy they are. I use mine for commuting and touring. The bike is excels at town driving and filtering in tight spots. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Nimble......I love this bike for the twists and turns.
Engine
5 out of 5
The engine is solid and lots of low end power.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Parts are cheap and easy to get hold of. Two things to look out for is water getting into the front spark plug. The main build issue is the regulator failing. Happened to me twice in a year. I would take it out and fit a cbr1000 or gsx600 unit to resolve this problem.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I do most of my own servicing's and the cost hasn't been any different to any other bike.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I would recommend a Art can and pirelli diablo's (they only last 5 around 5000 miles but they are good in all weathers and compliment the great handling the SV has).
4 out of 5

Nice bike for my 1st big bike

27 October 2015 by Darth Coupar

Bike has a nice stance and looks really good when fully faired. I have a slightly lower seat on mine which means I know don't feel like I'm sitting 'on top' of the bike, like the standard seat did. Instead, I now feel more part of the bike. Biggest... Read more improvement I've made is to adjust the throttle position sensor so now the bike is a lot smoother and easier to control at low speed, less revving and clutch slipping which I found I needed to do because of the on/off nature of the factory set up. This also helped with the front soft suspension as the effect of the sudden 'off' engine braking made the bike dive, no matter what speed you were doing, but was worse in 1st and 2nd. The bike is light, turns in nicely and does feel nice when you are leaning quite far over. The standard can is also very quiet (and massive). I cut it down to 10 inches and kept the catalytic converter inside the can which means it smells a bit nicer than using a cheap aftermarket stubby can. If anything, I'd maybe like a slight bit more power. I did my training on a K8 Bandit which did feel quicker, but was also much heavier and way less fun.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
As others mention, front seems very soft, although once you get used to it and ride around it, it's no problem.
Engine
4 out of 5
Has a nice sound and pulls well through the revs. One thing you NEED to do is set up the throttle position sensor properly. This eliminates that stupid on/off sensation you get from the throttle at low revs and makes the bike much easier to control and ride at low speed.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Bike is 10 years old, so I do my own stuff. Changing oil and filter is easy, so is doing spark plugs and air filter. Even brake pads are cheap and easy. My total spend this year is just over £50. That's for oil and oil filter, Platinum NGK spark plugs, rear brake pads and brake fluid to change that.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Would like a proper fuel guage
5 out of 5

I Still own my Suzuki SV650 2006 bought from new !

20 September 2015 by Sharon from Foxholes

I Love my Suzuki SV650, It is the perfect bike for me ! I am a short leg rider so I had the suspention lowered and my seat sculptured specially to suit me. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Seats are a bit hard when traveling long distance, Numb bum on long journeys ! But otherwise this is a nice bike to handle.
Engine
5 out of 5
Love the low engine rumble, Not too powerful and frightening when you first set off at speed. Picks up nice and gradual with its lovely thumping engine ! You feel like you are in total control.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Very reliable 100%, I am a very happy rider ! Bends round the corners lovely, feels like a nice light bike.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Very low running costs.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Optional fairings, belly pan, seat cowel, hugger etc to make your bike your own !
Buying experience

Bought from Suzuki Dealer at the standard price of a new bike but I got 2 years free services. A great selling option, I would trade my bike in for a new model if the same offer was on option, a great saving !

Read all 73 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued -
New price £4,975
Used price £1,700 to £6,400
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £110
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.

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