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. Every rider will find something they love about the SV650, and with used prices where they are, they're an absolute bargain.

 

- 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 The SV650 has an all-round great engine that even today isn't outdated.    

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. On the used market early models are starting to creep close to £1000, while later S models are closer to £4000. There are plenty on the market so be patient. Cheaper bikes of the time couldn't match the SV650's. 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

77 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
5 out of 5

Punchy Little V=Twin

12 April 2017 by Richard

Brilliant little v-twin. Torquey, agile, cheap to run & insure. Reliable. Good for shorter leg riders & less confident riders. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes are not the sharpest but what do you expect from an older SV650? Suspension is a little soft but nothing to worry about.
Engine
5 out of 5
This is the first vtwin I've owned & I'm hooked forever. Power & torque all the way through the rev range, punchy but lightweight in traffic & excellent acceleration.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Although my bike is a 2001 & I bought it secondhand, it's still as good as new & running sweetly. The only major thing I've had to do is replace the battery.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Tyres are cheap & widely available for this bike. Aftermarket parts & spares are readily available. As long as you take care of it, it'll keep on going.
Equipment
3 out of 5
You get a fuel warning light & a trip meter. Not much else, but I've put a clock & thermometer on my handlebars.
Buying experience

Bought mine used from a dealer in Jan 2017.

4 out of 5

Not bad at all.

16 March 2017 by Bobbydigital

Fun bike, good engine but let down by suspension and brakes. Good starting bike for people venturing into the world of motorcycles and want something serious, could have been more if Suzuki put in some effort. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
This is where the sv650 looses points. The front suspension kangaroos and is too soft, there no refinement or sophistication, the brakes work well for 30mph roads, at 70mph, not so much and they're pretty must the most basic budget caliper I've seen on a Japanese motorcycle on its era. So many people upgraded to gsxr forks and brakes, myself included, yet Suzuki didn't take the hint, shame. I feel if Suzuki had spent some love on the sv650 you'd have a rival for the likes of the mt07. It's quite narrow so good for filtering and isn't too aggressively with the seating position but does have quite the limited steering lock angle.
Engine
5 out of 5
I like the little 650 lump, as expected it has good bottom end and mid range grunt, the engine braking is also pretty strong and everything seems tight and solid. I saw an indicated 147mph on the Speedo so the 70bhp with some aerodynamic does have a respectable top speed, probably more like 135mph GPS. Bullet proof engine as well but I'd pick a 2007 upward as they have the twin spark plug upgrade which improves efficiency. I found it quite thirsty and it felt like I didn't get far to a tank, yet some people claim they get 70mpg.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
For what is somewhat of a budget bike, the build quality is very good and these bikes are well known for their reliability. I had an alarm on mine, my neighbours cat kept sitting on the bike, which set off the alarm and killed the battery, yet some how it would always fire up first time, it never let me down, ever.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Just the basics, like any Japanese motorcycle really, some oil, filters and the odd plugs every so often.
Equipment
4 out of 5
It's a budget bike, nothing special in terms of equipment but a fuel gauge would have been nice, more so as it's called as a sports tourer and you'd want to know what's left in the tank if you were actually touring on it. I'd recommend doing the fork upgrade if you like the bike that much, i had k1 gsxr 1000 forks with tl1000 clip one, it retains the steering lock and you get no issues when turning the bars full lock. Other than that, I'd look at saving weight, it's quite heavy at 197kg (I think) for it's 69 claimed bhp.
Buying experience

Private, 1900 pounds back in 2013, 12k on the clocks, sold it a year after for 1800 pounds with 17k miles.

4 out of 5

Great bike, excellent allrounder

04 March 2017 by MetroCommuter

Great bike with only a few areas that show compromise Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Bit soft, both brakes and susp. But more than adequate.
Engine
5 out of 5
Sounds great, great flat torque, brilliant engine braking
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Reliability is great. Few signs of being built to the excellent price.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Simple and so cheap to service
Equipment
5 out of 5
For the $$ awesome
5 out of 5

Great newbie bike

27 January 2017 by PacMan

This bike seems to suit me perfectly as a relative newbie. The power is great without being scary. It pulls hard through the gears and the low-speed assist is a real boon. The only down side is the hard seat. Fine for journey's up to an hour but... Read more you get a numb rear on any trip longer.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes are fine but need a fairly firm pull. ABS is unintrusive. Ride quality is compliant for every day use. I suspect it wouldn't be quite up to the mark if you were a track-day freak (but if you were, you probably wouldn't buy this bike!).
Engine
4 out of 5
Sounds great - even better if you replace the can with an after-market one. I'd recommend the Scorpion Serket Taper.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Feels solid as a rock.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
£10 to fill up from empty. It averages over 60mpg unless you're thrashing it.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Everything you need except heated grips - an easy fit. Has dual range, average & instant fuel economy, rev counter & gear indicator. Screen can be varied through 6 levels of brightness & is easy to read in bright sunshine.
Buying experience

Brilliant service from A&M Motorcycles in Letchworth.

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)
Read all 77 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued -
New price £4,975
Used price £1,800 to £6,500
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £130
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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