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

70 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

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 !

4 out of 5

Solid all rounder and easy on the wallet

05 September 2015 by JD

Great value motorcycle that can handle whatever you want to do with it. Commute, tour, race, ride for fun, this budget machine can do it all at low cost. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Budget suspension and brakes can be upgraded (at some cost) to match an otherwise competent chassis. The fully faired 'S' model is not very comfortable. If I get another it would be a 'naked' handlebar version.
Engine
4 out of 5
Great engine, nice fat wave of torque through the midrange makes the bike easy to ride and maintain good pace.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Build quality 3 stars Reliability 4.5 stars
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap to run and insure. Good mpg.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Basic, no fuel gauge, gear indicator or temp gauge.
4 out of 5

The Perfect Starter Road Bike

01 July 2015 by WoodmanSV

The SV650 (and 's') model represents a very good overall package for the new-to-big-bike-rider who also has a keen eye on not having too much to pay on insuring and running it. The 'SV is a piece of cake to work on with electrical elements being... Read more beyond basic mechanics. Its very adaptable and easy to use. One of the slickest gearboxes and fueling I've seen - especially on a v-twin. The main reason to take an SV over, say, a CBR600RR would be how much more of the bike you can use straight away - and build confidence.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Bit of a let down in this category - mainly being due to its budget nature. The Showa equipment does a good job so long as the rider is under 9 stone. As a roadster is fine for all, but as this is a "sport/tourer" the sport side is lacking due to soft springs and little but pre-load adjustment. Dropping the forks by 10mm on the front, and putting a Suzuki GSXR1000 (K5) shock in the back will dramatically change the dynamic of the bike - for the better. Progressive fork springs will finish it off for 80% of the riders out there.
Engine
5 out of 5
Best budget engine out there. Cant really say more. Gear-box is also slick as it can be, a bit of a triumph considering. Obviously peak power being at 72ish bhp isnt going to set any TT lap records but sometimes less is more, especially in this instance. If you want to learn how to really get the most from an engine before moving up to bigger bikes. this is where you start.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
After owning mine from new, the generic Suzuki problems start to shine through in terms of oxidization. Rust hits everything that's not plastic sadly - as it is a budget bike - but not much worse than other Suzuki sports bikes. I have had a litany of small issues on mine and it does knock confidence in the machine, but after 8 years, over a dozen trackdays, 2 trips to Germany and 30,000 on the clock, for a £4,499 (new) bike - it has done alright. Its not a Honda.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap, very very cheerful and easy to live with with exception of major issues which are very infrequent. Sports exhaust, upgraded air filter and iridium spark plugs hardly dent its MPG, and I can manage a healthy 180 miles - two up - on a full tank, so I can imagine the advertised 45mpg is a heck of a lot off. Most parts come off with a socket set and a set of allen keys and only major services are worth taking it to a dealer. insurance is very cheap also being 11 of 17.
Equipment
4 out of 5
It would be 3/5 but mine was the "Sport" edition, which came with full fairing and seat cover for free which is fantastic. The suspension as mentioned lets the SV down, there's no fancy gadgetry either, just a simple, analogue bike. The seats are quite good for long distance as well in fairness.
Buying experience

Straight forward to buy from dealer and on 0% finance which is always nice, good ol' Suzuki.

1 out of 5

09 June 2015 by simon

Read more

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

privately

Read all 70 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued -
New price £4,975
Used price £1,500 to £5,700
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £120
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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