SUZUKI GLADIUS 650 (2009 - 2016) Review
At a glance
|Owners reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£260|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Aimed primarily at new riders, the Suzuki Gladius 650 replaced the SV650 in 2009 but was replaced itself by a newer SV650 in 2016.
The first SV650 was a good bike and to be honest Suzuki didn’t have to do much to make it a great bike once more. But they went one better and gave us an excellent bike. Most people don't like the looks but the real beauty is under the skin. The lovely fuelled, smooth, punchy, little V-Twin is brilliant. As an added bonus it’s easy to ride, yet still fun at the same time.
It was available with a 33bhp power output aimed specifically at catering for those new to riding, but also featured ergonomics aimed at making it comfortable for female riders, making it one of the only bikes around in that regard.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Suzuki Gladius carries on the traits of the older SV650, which means it’s easy to ride for new riders as an entry level bike, but still fun enough for more experienced riders. There aren't any shocks or surprises, and it’s very forgiving. Even with the pegs scraping it’s still compliant. Brakes are relatively budget but have excellent feel and only lack when ridden hard two up.
The Gladius is small in every sense of the word. The seat height is a mere 785mm giving superb confidence to inexperienced riders whilst not feeling cramped for taller riders.
Because of the low seat height the Gladius feels impossibly light, which is simply a mirage. It weighs 202kg - 6kg heavier than the SV650 it replaces.
And as a pillion-carrying bike, the Gladius excels. The low, one-piece seat keeps the centre of gravity low and gives the rider plenty of confidence. The brakes could do with being a bit stronger and the suspension firmer to deal with the extra weight.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Gladius engine is 10% more efficient than the previous engine and it’s instantly noticeable. It’s smoother, revs quicker as friction has been reduced, and has more midrange. The fuelling feels very similar to the GSX-R range with a ten hole fuel injector and twin butterflies. It's near perfect.
Suzuki Gladius 650 33bhp review
The 650CC V-twin motor - first used in the now discontinued SV650 - pulls the funky new Gladius along suprisingly well.
The torque from the motor makes sure the little Suzuki never runs out of puff - that is until the restrictor kicks in at around 7000rpm.
The only time the Gladius struggles is at high speeds in top gear (nicely highlighted by the gear indicator). Simply knocking down to fifth sees the acceleration rise for overtakes.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The old SV650 was solid, reliable and even raced competitively in the Mini Twin race series without any major problems. The Gladius continued that reliable reputation and the engine is solid. The level of finish on the Gladius is much higher than the old SV.
We've got 17 Suzuki Gladius owners' reviews on MCN at time of publication. Its overall rating of 4.1 stars out of 5 shows you how highly owners thought of their purchase, with the prevailing issue a lack of kit - something we'd probably forgive due to the bike's low cost and the fact it's a naked, so we wouldn't expect a huge amount anyway.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Gladius offers real value for money in the used market. It appeals to a huge audience, from new to experienced riders. It certainly doesn’t feel or look like a bike that cost just £4500 new, and is almost on par with the much pricier Ducati 696 but without the flash labels.
As the price tag suggests it’s straightforward - no slipper clutch or multi-adjustable suspension. However, casting a critical eye of the level of finish it’s hard to see where Suzuki have cut costs as it feels and looks quality. It's been designed and sculpted to take the more pricier Ducati 696 head on, which it does but at £1000 less.
|Engine type||8v four stroke V-Twin, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||14.5 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm conventional forks preload only|
|Rear suspension||Single shock, preload only|
|Front brake||2x 290mm twin piston caliper|
|Rear brake||240mm disc single piston|
|Front tyre size||120/70x17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60x17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||40 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£260|
|Used price||£2,700 - £4,000|
10 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||76 bhp|
|Max torque||49.5 ft-lb|
|Top speed||135 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||130 miles|
Model history & versions
Replaced the 1999 SV650, then replaced by the 2016 SV650.
33bhp verison for new riders
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI GLADIUS 650 (2009 - 2016)
17 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GLADIUS 650 (2009 - 2016) 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:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£260|
Version: Non ABS
Annual servicing cost: £300
After 30 000 miles the Gladius is looking tired, I'm about to purchase a third headlamp as there is an issue with the central reflector coming loose which causes burning on the secondary reflector requiring replacement and a sub 10 MPH lay down in the wet caused a low beam and fan failure. The fan failure was due to the temperature sensor going pop [on a 4 year old bike this part is discontinued!] and the low beam because of corrosion in the connector! The bars also bent as did the gearchange preventing gear selection. The 'off' is down to me not the bike, but the headlight first went squffy pre drop within warranty and £340 is a lot to pay every 2 years for a shoddy part. Whinge over. The bike is fun to ride and while it won't do 200 mph it is a hoot on the twisties and the low centre of gravity and tractability of the engine make my daily commute easy if I'm not on one of my other bikes. The seat is not built for touring unless you have a high pain threshold [400 miles in a day or 1000 in three are enough for me].
Still fun on the twisties, 400 miles in a day is about enough for me and it is used for a 20 mile round trip commute. The brakes aren't ABS on my version as I don't like ABS and with ride planning and engine braking the pads will last forever.
Smooth, vibe free and bags of torque, by far the best bit about the bike. 4th at 30 MPH still allows acceleration and you can be in 6th at 40 MPH without a problem. Shutting the throttle brings in a lot of engine braking so you probably won't need to use the brakes.
Poor component quality and design cause problems. Some connectors such as the fan are exposed to the elements rather than being shielded so suffer in the wet. See above for the headlight problems. Other connectors are corroding after 30 000 miles / 4 years, not what I would expect. The swingarm is also showing a few rust patches and overall it's a price driven build quality.
Above figure is an average of one home service and one dealer valve service per year, the dealer service needed every 16 000 and using a non main dealer for the valve check. 4000 miles sees an oil and filter [always change the filter with the oil] change and a few basic checks which won't be needed if you carry them out with your weeklies.
Personal opinion: I don't like digital speedos, gear indicators are not as useful as temerature gauges especially when they don't know if you are in 1st or 2nd. The Dunlop Qualifiers are both good for the bike and budget, expect 4000 from the rear and 12 000 from the front. Despite looking thin the chain should go 16 000 + if you look after it. Givi luggage if you go touring. An absolute must-mirror extenders! On the standard bike the view to the rear is worse than on the mid 80's bikes I started out on-why?
Annual servicing cost: £150
Engine is amazing Headlights are poor Seat can be improved Stock exhaust crap Powerful pickup
Annual servicing cost: £300
This bike is so much fun to ride and very versatile. I've taken it touring, on track days and even drag racing! It just loves everything.
The brakes at the front are a little bit pants. I've heard braided hoses would improve feel and that there's an aftermarket caliper kit you can get too, but it's not so bad that I would consider this.
I've had this bike for six years now and with some care and basic maintenance, it really holds its quality. It's got 60,000 miles on the clock now and it's still looking and riding good. I have never had any major issues. Not even changed the discs yet.
Annual servicing cost: £100
Torque range specs is just what you need to be pleased wherever you ride. The bike frame is without a doubt a success, whatever your mood is cruising in town or adopt a look alike racing style on widding roads. Brakes, suspension and saddle are the weakness here.
Riding position is top, the only big complain is about the lack of saddle confort which bring back to your mind quickly that you are made of flesh and muscles. Brakes are perfectible.
No problem here, just some look alike aluminium plastics are questionable.
Easy to look after at low cost.
An enjoyable triple faces engine, a success!
Buying experience: I bought mine in June 2016, 2010 built with 4500kms second hand.
Annual servicing cost: £250
An excellent entry level 650cc naked, that is perfect for both those beginning to ride motorcycles or those with more experience who want a good blend of reliability, fun and cheep motorcycling. It won't set the world on fire but you can have a lot of fun trying.
One of the things that let the Gladius down is its Seat. I have got used to this now and can do 200-300 miles in a day with no major issues. However when I first picked up the bike a hours riding was enough to bring on aches and pains. Suspension is soft and is pre-load adjustable only, this is fine for town riding and commuting but those wanting to ride harder may find he suspension lacking. That's not to suggest that knee down cornering is unachievable or unstable but the bike would benefit from more adjustable slightly harder suspension. Front suspension can be remedied with springs and fork oil change and GSX-R 600/750 shock fits in the rear should you wish. Brakes are another thing that I have found lacking, the braking capabilities are there and they will stop you prefectly fine but the lever doesn't have much "feel" and can be a little "spongy" it has quite a lot of travel before the brakes start to bite. Again this can be remedied by fitting better pads and SS lines. Despite these criticisms it is still possible to ride the bike hard and most of these issues will only be noticed as riders become faster and more experienced.
Ok so no 650cc Vtwin will match a Supersport 600 up top but what it will do is provide plenty of usabe torque across the rev range. There is no doubt that the 650 found in the Gladius is a fun, reliable engine. Derived from the sv650 it has sporting aspirations and proven in the minitwin race series. The Gladius is capable of surprising sports bikes of the line and I have no difficulty keeping up with 600 il4's and 1000s on rides out until licence loosing speeds. I find that the Gladius will pull from anywhere within the rev range and as mentioned in other reviews will pull away from 30 easily in 4th. I find the power delivery fairly smooth with most usable power coming between 6k and 10k rpm. Keep it within this range and you should have no problem keeping up in the twisties. Another saving grace of the vtwin is that if you enter a corner a gear too high the torque will pull you back out so there isn't too much worry about being in the wrong gear. It will top out at 125/130mph so those looking for top speed thrill may want to look elsewhere, but if you want a torquey engine that will pull in most gears and want to have fun with out too much risk of loosing your licence then this is deffinately one to consider.
After 20k miles the Gladius is still going strong, i have no issues or faults mechanically or electronicly. I look after my bike well and ensure that I service regularly. It's an easy bike to work on and most service items can be fitted easily. One thing to keep an eye on is the paint on the central part of the tank, this can scratch easily and I would deffinately recommend a tank protector. There is no sign of rust or corosion yet, the front down pipe is slightly discoloured but I do commute everyday in all weathers, as mentioned earlier I look after the bike and wash after use in the rain and apply ACF50 to keep corrosion at bay!
The bike is cheep to maintain, I change oil and filters more regularly than most, but this is worth doing to increase reliability. I get about 130 miles before the fuel light comes on and reserve is about 3-4l. Insurance is low and should be fairly cheap for new riders.
As expected with any budget naked equipment and extras are basic. Spedo is clear and digital, revcounter is analogue and in my opinion preferable to digital, there is a gear indicator thay llt I'm sure new riders will find useful. Two trip meters, odometer, clock and miles traveled on reserve can cycled through on the display but only one can be viewed at a time. ABS is optional, no slipper clutch or any fancy electronic gadgets. Fuel injection is smooth. Seat is hard. I run pilot road 2 at the moment and find they suit the bike well.
Annual servicing cost: £600
4/5 as I have only ridden it for 6000 miles so there may be quirks/problems I have not encountered yet. As a personal choice I really do not like digital speedos and gear indicators, I'd rather have an analogue speedo and a temperature gauge. I bought it to supplement my near 100K CB500 without venturing above 750cc as I have a Hornet 900 for that. It's done the job well and I sort of wish I had known the 'new' version was coming out before I bought this one as there is a lot less plastic on it. However I don't like ABS on a bike and my favourite dealer sourced me a non-ABS that had been sat in another dealer's showroom for a couple of years. I've never owned a 600 class bike and I like 'proper' bikes [nakeds] so the Gladius was about the only choice. I've also been a Honda man and never owned a Suzuki or a V-twin so this was a bit of a leap in the dark. One thing I have noticed though is that a bulb replacement is not as simple as on other bikes. Both the front and rear lights are rather more complicated that they need to be-why do you need to dismantle the headlight to get to the bulb and why is the single rear light bulb not accessible by removing two screws in the rear filter Mr Suzuki? Or wh i sthe rear not LED?
The bike is cheaper than a lot of others and you can feel this in the suspension. As with my other bikes the rear had an extra click on the pre-load for a firmer feel. The front could do with a little more damping but is OK. So far I've ridden the bike on short [under 200 miles] trips and a few of 400 mile days out and it seems happy, but the seat has a 'plank rating' of 4 on a scale where a plank of wood is 5. It could do with a bit more padding or I could do with less soss sarnies. I've sat at motorway speeds for over an hour and twisties for tens of miles and the bike is happy at either. The steering feels a little quick as if the front tyre was under inflated but feeling this on the palm of your hand means you can easily counteract it, and the closer you sit to the tank the less you feel it.
4/5 as I am still adjusting to a V-twin. After parallel twins and inline triples and fours the V-twin engine is a bit of a novelty. The engine pulls from nothing to the red line but there is no surge of power-the delivery seems a bit flat but a look at the speedo shows you may be going faster than you thought. There is no real 'power band' that you need to chase. Coming from a twin/four background the engine noise is also subdued it sounds more like a single rumble than an inline 2 or 4 scream so you may be revving the engine more than you think. 30 mph in 4th will still give accleration. There are no vibes through the handlebars on my low mileage bike. The low fuel light seems to come on with 4-4.5 L left after about 130 miles.
5/5 based on 11 months and 6000 miles of ownership. As soon as I had the bike all the readily accessible fixings were removed and given a bit of copper grease and the bike treated with ACF50. I would recommend this for all bikes. It wasn't ridden much through the first winter as I have other bikes I use year-round, but in the last 8 months I have covered over 5000 miles. So far no issues but it is a low mileage bike.
OK, so the bike is still under warranty and dealer serviced hence the £600/year figure. When I am home servicing this will drop substantially. The rear tyre was replaced at 4000 miles including the running in period, the front looks good for a bit longer. As for fuel economy I see 55-75 mpg. I don't know if the 'official' test bike was track ridden or had a leaky tank but as with other tests the real world fuel consumption is less than the test results, even when ridden enthusiastically
An analogue speedo and temp gauge would be my preference. The LCD display toggles between total miles, two trips, low fuel miles and clock-the rest of the lights are basic idiot lights but there is nothing wrong with that. A separate clock would be welcome. Departing from the standard I have a ful set of Givi luggage and swingarm bobbins as the bike cannot have a centrestand fitted-very poor.
Buying experience: I bought mine from John Lee & Sons in Higham Ferrers. I'll admit this is my favorite dealer as they managed to find me a non-ABS one after they had been discontinued. Full price plus accessories paid less the trade in on another bike.
Annual servicing cost: £300
It is a great beginner bike it is my first bike but now that I have a little more experience I notice that there isn't enough power
It is very comfortable for me I am 6 foot tall and I can ride it all day long and it doesn't bother me at all
good power but once you get comfortable with it it doesn't excite anymore i
There has been a few recalls but after 4000 miles it hasn't left me pushing it home
You do not get a lot for the price you get a key and a very reliable bike that is it there are no extras from the company that I know of. As well as there are very little aftermarket things for the bike
Buying experience: I bought it from a dealer for 6230 and was a considerable amount lower than that of what msrp was suggested.
Annual servicing cost: £110
+ Gearbox is incredibly smooth, lots of low end grunt and easy to flick about - Seat and suspension are hard and soft respectively, brakes are a little one sided and hard to find aftermarket parts
Suspension is soft and squishy with little cushioning from the seat and the brakes are soft at the front yet lock up easy on the rear
Gorgeous V-Twin engine with all the low end power you'll ever need, buttery smooth going through the rev range and sounds like Thor himself is under your seat when engine braking
Not a hint of rust after 9k miles with no broken parts, only replaced parts are filters, oil and tyres. Fuel injection starts the bike every time even after a month of bad weather
Not had the bike for a full year yet but not looking at more than filters, tyres and tax (about £70)
Gear indicator and Hazard lights are all you really get with the Gladius, you aren't buying it for the bells and whistles
Buying experience: Bought privately for £2250 aut. 2015 with 5.5k miles on the clock, no scuffs or scrapes and came with heated grips (toasty)
I have put almost 5,000 miles on mine. It is great fun to ride. Quick, responsive. Can't say enough about it. It was broken in properly and does everything it should and more than you'd expect. Love it!
Ridden this bike for 6 weeks now. It's ok but nothing special. On the plus, it's fairly comfy, handles ok and is fairly nippy. On the negative, it has a constant vibration, no wind protection, flat rev range that seems to die at the top end and a wobble setting of from stationary (only had this on the GS500 and the SVF650). I have also noticed it's easy to catch the horn buttkn when cancelling indicators, annoying really. The low seat hieght means it will be good for shorter riders and it's innoffensive power delivery will be good for new riders. If you can cope with the blandness and ugly appearance then go for it, otherwise keep looking.
OK, had this for a week now on hire - I usually ride a 2010 Z1000. For a budget 650 its ok. Pros - Comfy, 55mpg easily attainable. Light and flickable. Gear indicator is welcome. Cons No clock, tiny speedo massive rev counter. Throttle action is JERKY... I have ridden a Shiver 750 which is so much smoother in comparison. Handling is bizarre. The thing pogos mid corner and the front has no feeling whatsoever. Build quality actually looks OK, but the hire bike has 1800 miles on it and the engine is peppered with salt corrosion. Seat height is very low so view over cars is obstructed. Weak motor. Summary - All in all a good basic,econmical bike. Probably bang on for the money. I wouldn't recommend for new riders, the handling is far too vague and throttle is too jerky even for a twin. Each to their own but personally I would not recommend this bike. The SV looked and handled much better.
Just done 500+ miles on the Gladius. A bit frustrated running it in but now I can wind it up to 7500 revs it really puts a smile on your face. Handles great, well balanced, punchy, very easy to ride in town and on the open road. The seat can be a bit firm after a while. Very happy getting back on two wheels after 20 years. Did my home work this is the best mid range naked street fighter on the market at a bargain price.
This bike is superb and for the money you cannot fault it, well just a little. Everyone that has rode this bike any distance ie sixty miles plus in one go will tell you, the seat is like a plank of wood. The seat looks cheap and nasty when taken off the bike and turned upside down and your rear will start telling you in the first sixty miles. Brakes are a bit soft but adequate, Gear indicator somtimes a bit slow to react but always sorts itself out in the end. Wind can be a factor but hey it is with most bikes. The bike is not perfect but tell me one that is. It`s a damn good fun ride and I am glad no pun intended that I bought the Gladius SFV650k9 .
Hey - Got to ride a Gladius for the first time last weekend. Snappy looks. VERY nice/precise handling. Good brakes. SMOOOTH motor (smoother than the inline 4). Even has touring accessories. With the work they put into what I understand was a stone reliable motor, it looks like Suzuki's got the jump on "Bike of the Year". Hell, we may even buy two. Thanks for previous reviews. Got me interested.
I love this bike - great smooth ride, very quiet, handles really well on my fav ride out!!
recently had a test ride on one of these and can only say what a superb motorcycle it is, unless u a sportsbike fanatic. it looks and feels quality and belies its price. it had everything i liked. comfort,well balanced, punchy(enough),smooth motor,plenty of midrange. my only gripe is that it looks a ladies bike. so suzuki leave out the pretty colours and you have a peach of a bike for everyday use
Iam, make no mistakes, one of earths biggest lovers of the SV, ive got plenty of mates on one and they all know why, cos they are literally, the perfect first bike. Make no mistake. So now the Gladius comes along .... What is it? whos it for? whats happening to the SV? .......................... well, its essentially an SV engine, with a new map to reduce CO2 (but increses actual green house gasses, totally stupid but meh) outputs, but with iridium spark plugs, takes the power output to about 75bhp, or 68 at the wheel. people proclaimed that "10% power increase will make it a better bike, tried and tested in minitwins". FIRSTLY minitwins wont allow its power output unless its detuned!!!! that aside, the engines been made less lumpy at low gears and revs, or people who cant slip clutches.... SO THEN .... Who's it for???? ................. THIS IS THE EASIEST QUESTION to answer, 2 people, both are new to biking, or new to 600+cc bikes - aka, guys who cant afford the new Ducati, been told too many scare stories to trust 2nd hand italian machinery, and women, who are womanly lol........... SO WHERE DOES MY BELOVED SV GO TO??? .... well, i dont actually know, its on the Suzuki catalogue for the next 2 years for sure (as if the gladius fails, it'l still have the existing SV to throw the new engine and parts into, right?), although, chances are it will be phased in as the male version of the Gladius to make an gender specific bike for the mass market, as guys prefer the "look" of a sportier bike, and girls like the unpretentious and friendly nature of a stylish naked............. FOR MY ROAD TEST......... i had 90% B road riding (known as "the gauntlet" where 35mph peg-scraping is more than possible), where i DO do 90% of my riding in fairness, its much tighter than an SV naked, geometry, minor suspension tweeks and new engine deliver a much more enjoyable experience, as the existing machine did feel fairly "unhappy" to be there. The styling is actually better in real life than the pics ..... i really like the seat unit and the semi wannabe-steel-trellis-frame is sweet, a black and gold version is only a year away for sure!!! Equipment aside, its the tyres, like the existing SV, which let the machine down the most BY A LONG WAY, throw even a pair of Conti Road Attacks (which cost £50 a pair less and do twice the milage) on there and the SV was transformed, better rubber is always a give away for budget bikes now, so just use he crappy (dunlop DT220's????) tyres to bed yourself in and your away!!!!!!........... ALL IN ALL, i think its a good bike, i have a lean to a SV, cos i own, thrash and love mine. But if i had a friend who says she wants to have the engine but not the boyishness, then its the Gladius all the way!!!!!!