SUZUKI FREEWIND XF650 (1997 - 2002) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Cruise comfortably at 80mph, screw the pants off it on a winding road or peer over traffic from the high seat on your way to work: the Suzuki XF650 Freewind is a versatile motorcycle that’s great value and something a little different. The handling’s particularly notable. If you must take the Suzuki XF650 Freewind off road, keep it very simple though. And it’s a shame about that name…
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Suzuki XF650 Freewind's suspension’s good, but a bit soft at the rear, whilst the brakes are fantastic. The handling’s brilliant around twisty roads, far better than you’d expect even from a dual purpose middleweight, and it’s complimented by a smooth gearbox and seamless acceleration. The Suzuki XF650 Freewind is punchy enough for town and comfy enough to cover longer distances too.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Suzuki XF650 Freewind has the same single cylinder number that ran Suzuki’s DR650 off-roader so well. You have to give it a handful from a standstill as it’s pretty flat, low down (no unexpected wheely fun here) but get it into the midrange and it goes mad. Loads of grunt, where you want it. The Suzuki XF650 Freewind's top end’s wheezy, though: the power trails off and it can get vibey.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Quality’s not bad and there’s a lot of plastic going on (tank, bash plate etc) so at least those won’t rust. The Suzuki XF650 Freewind engine’s already proved its worth in the DR650 and, overall the Suzuki XF650 Freewind’s well-built, well-designed (very European) and nicely finished. That stainless steel silencer should last well…
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Launched to give BMW’s highly successful F650 a run for its money, the Suzuki XF650 Freewind cost quite a lot less. Other counterparts, such as Aprilia’s Pegaso, also cost more than the Suzuki XF650 Freewind. It’s a top all-rounder, especially useful as a commuter and is fairly easy to service and insure. It won’t hold its value like the Beemer, though. Find a Suzuki XF650 Freewind for sale
The Suzuki XF650 Freewind is really rather plush, actually. The seat’s vast (and adjustable down to 800mm), there’s plenty of room for a pillion, a luggage rack at the back and some bungee points. The Suzuki XF650 Freewind's LCD dash, which includes a fuel gauge, is funky and modern and the bar-mounted choke is handy. The screen’s effective, too but it could have done with a centrestand.
|Engine type||4v single cylinder, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||18.5 litres|
|Front brake||300mm disc|
|Rear brake||240mm disc|
|Front tyre size||100/90 x 19|
|Rear tyre size||130/80 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||43 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||-|
10 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||47 bhp|
|Max torque||39 ft-lb|
|Top speed||105 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||14 secs|
|Tank range||175 miles|
Model history & versions
1997: Suzuki XF650 Freewind launched. Colour changes only until it was discontinued in 2002.
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI FREEWIND XF650 (1997 - 2002)
6 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI FREEWIND XF650 (1997 - 2002) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
Update. Three months in now, I've removed the baffles from the standard silencer (a LOT of grinding and welding) and gone up from 115 to 120 on the main jets. It starts easier, pulls better and returns better fuel economy. The lack of low down smoothness has gone, it will run down to 2K in any gear and pull smoothly and cleanly from there - in standard trim you need to keep it above 4K or it gets very grumpy. Fitted with Mitas ME09 dakar tyres it's brilliant off road, but becomes slightly flighty above 85MPH on the tarmac.
I've had many big singles but this is my first XF650. It's physically very big, which I consider a good thing, but crucially it's also very light too - there's a lot air under that fairing. In comparison my FX650 (Vigor) feels small and dense compared to the Freewind large and leggy. The engine is a slugger, not as happy at low revs as the Vigor but just as much mid range punch. I've no idea what the top end is like as I'll never rev it up there to find out. The handling is good as described, I don't find the suspension soggy at all, but I have wound the rear preload up and changed the fork oil to 15W semi-synth. The digital dash is nice, fuel gauge, revs and trip meter but as someone else mentioned a clock would have been nice. Fuel economy is good, 60MPG and more is possible if just lolloping around. The off road performance is great, that long suspension and loads of ground clearance really helps. The tank is scolloped so that you can stand straight legged and the high handlebars make sense when you're standing up, enabling you to ride with your back straight. The bike is described as European and it definately feels like it was designed with large Germans in mind - the comfort level is superb, I'm 6'2" and I could ride this all day in comfort. I like that it's a wet sump engine, which makes oil changes a lot easier and the screw and locknut tappets are child's play to adjust. Access is good once the tank is off. Overall it's very good, compared to the BMW F650 which it competes against (and looks virtually identical to) it's lighter, just as fast, handles better and is mechanically less complex.
After passing my direct access I wanted something a bit different- I came across the Freewind by chance and really liked the look of it. Being 6' it was a nice tall bike for me and had a really confortable riding position. Lots of pull through the lower gears but not a particulary fast bike- I struggled to keep up with my partner on occasion. Very reliable always started on the button and was a great first big bike. Only Weakness for me was the very soft front suspension which made cornering a little disconcerting sometimes. Really cheap to insure and run and I could easily get 200miles to a tank. I had a lot of fun with mine and when I sold her she went on to another new rider who's hopefully enjoying her as much as I did!
After just returning after riding 25k miles on the Panamerican with my partner both on Freewinds, 99 + 02 models I thought I was atually in a position to write a review. Tough bikes that will take anything that's thrown at them and keep coming back for more. Engine is amazing and neither of ours used a drop of oil, or developed any leaks and all they received was the very minimum of maintenance. It's very usable and rewarding with fuel consumption of around 50mpg, giving a reasonable range of approximately 200 miles. On the down side considering its digital dash why on earth it was never fitted with a clock amazes me and aftermarket parts are difficult to come by, especially hard panniers, although top boxes and fittings are common. All in all a very practical bike that will inspire newer riders and still put a smile on the face of the more experienced. It's cheap to buy, cheaper to maintain and will not destroy chains or tyres making it a real alternative to the big GS's as a world beater as well as being a great commuter or winter hack. What more can I say, if you're thinking of buying one, do it, you're unlikely to regret it. Best of all there's not a lot of them going about so there's a bit of exclusivity there too!
I had one of these as my first bike, it was a good bike, sometimes it was a bit bouncey and the single cylinder did make your wrists ache after 100 miles or so with vibration, but i think it was more value than the BMW or the APRILIA which seem to be the rivals for it.The brakes are good, the engine has quite a bit of tourque,( even though the pull away needs a lot of revs). and there is a lot of room for kit and it will go forever It would certainly be a good starter bike and it is a shame suzuki didn't carry on building it for a bit longer!as long as they changed the name, "FREEWIND"!..
best bits are the value for money, the quality and reliabilty, and handling.I like the bike and would have another.If i was to find fault engine needs a bit more power,exhaust note too quiet, and after market bit and few and far between.