SUZUKI SV650X (2018 - on) Review
- Tried and tested 650 V-twin engine
- Cheap to buy and run
- Can be restricted for an A2 licence
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£140|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
There is no denying the SV650X is a lazy attempt at retro by Suzuki as it is little more than a few bolt-on parts added to an aging bike. But in the SV650 Suzuki have added these parts onto a brilliant base and that makes the X surprisingly appealing.
- Related: Suzuki reveal A2-friendly GSX-S950
It’s great fun to ride, reasonably well priced and an absolute back road weapon. But by the same token it’s also just an SV in disguise, which is a bit disappointing…
Suzuki have unveiled the new colour options available on their V-Strom 650 and SV650 for 2021. The models’ long-lived V-twin engine has also been tweaked to make it through Euro5 emissions regulations.
The standard SV650 model will be available in white with a red frame or in black with a blue or gold frame, and the café racer X version gets a new gold frame, too.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Armed with a set of clip-ons rather than the SV’s flat bars, the X’s sporty riding position reminds you just how impressive this V-twin middleweight’s handling is. Through bends the SV is a joy, flicking from side to side with effortless ease. On the back roads it will destroy the softly sprung Yamaha XSR700 and probably also the Ducati Scrambler. In fact, it wouldn’t embarrass itself on a trackday!
EngineNext up: Reliability
While we all wish Suzuki had increased the V-twin’s capacity in the 2016 update to nearer 750cc, the SV650’s engine remains a joy to use. The exhaust note is pleasingly deep, the clutch light and the V-twin revs in a soft and assured way that builds up its power with deceptive ease. It’s quick when required, but also extremely easy-going and relaxed.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The SV’s engine is a thoroughly tried and tested unit and as long as it isn’t run low on oil it is pretty much bullet-proof. Suzuki’s build quality is always called in for question and fasteners and nuts and bolts show signs of corrosion quite quickly if not cared for with anti-corrosion spray.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There's no getting away from the fact that the SV650X is good value for money. It's cheaper than the nearest rivals, the Yamaha XSR700 and the lowest-spec Ducati Scrambler.
Retro bikes are generally quite low-spec in terms of technology and you only get ABS on the SV and no traction control or power modes. The addition of clip-on bars, a nose cone and a tuck and roll seat do add to the SV650X’s kerb appeal. It also has easy start and low rpm assist, which is good for newer riders.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v, V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||14.5 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm telescopic forks|
|Rear suspension||Single rear shock 7-stage adjustable for spring preload|
|Front brake||240mm single disc with single-piston caliper|
|Rear brake||240mm single disc with single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||72.43 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£140|
|Used price||£4,900 - £5,500|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Three years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||75 bhp|
|Max torque||47 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||140 miles|
Model history & versions
- 1999: The SV650 is launched in naked N and half-faired S guise
- 2002: Fork spring preload adjusters are added
- 2003: Model update with a new frame, look and fuel-injection
- 2007: ABS is an option and the motor gains dual spark plug heads
- 2009: The SFV650 Gladius replaces the SV650N
- 2016: The SV650 is updated with 60 alterations including a new trellis chassis. The Gladius and SV650S are discontinued.
The SV650 naked bike costs £5699 while the V-Strom 650 adventure bike starts at £7399.
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: The Suzuki SV650X is like owning a puppy
Or at least I think it is… Over the last 11 months the £6199 Suzuki SV650X has wormed its way into my heart and I will be sad to see it go back to its true custodians in the coming weeks. With just 75bhp on tap and suspended by rudimentary pre-load adjustable springs at both ends, the SVX is fu…
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI SV650X (2018 - on)
4 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI SV650X (2018 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£140|
Annual servicing cost: £80
This bikes best qualities are its strong smooth engine coupled with fantastic handling. As soon as you get moving you feel total confidence in it's stability at any speed from less than walking pace to whatever speed conditions allow you to ride at. My only criticism would be that it gets a bit thirsty when ridden hard and this means the range is not great for a 650cc.
The handling is ideally suited to the tight Cornish bends and the engine has plenty of punch on straights and two up on dual carriageways. I have regularly taken my partners on the 50 mile round trip to her workplace without any discomfort for either of us.
The engine pulls strongly through the rev range and really sings from 5000 revs upwards.
My bike has just had it's first MOT with no problems whatsoever. I took the precaution of using an anti-rust spray when I got the bike new, as I live within a mile of the sea, and the only corrosion visible is on the coolant pipe clips and some spots on the forks.
I didn't appreciate how well the headlight cowl fairing worked until I swapped it for a small 'Highway' style screen. This deflected the air OK but meant that my weight was thrown onto the low bars and my wrists suffered accordingly. I swapped it back straight away. At 6'1" I found the seat position a little cramped for my knees and fitted a pair of lowered Buell footpegs which are brilliant. A little grinding was required to mount the properly but it was easily achieved.
Buying experience: I bought new with a generous part exchange from my local dealer, Anton Parris in Camborne, for @ £6,000.
Annual servicing cost: £90
Having had an SV650 Vstrom before I really appreciate the way this bike carries its weight low down. The engine is easily powerful enough for UK riding and the bike handles brilliantly on the coast roads around Cornwall. The only criticism I have is that the turn indicator switch can be difficult to operate with winter gloves.
I have fitted Buell footpegs and an Airhawk seat to make the bike a little roomier for my 6' frame and worn hips and knees. The weight is carried low down and once rolling low speed manoeuvring is easy.
There is plenty of low down power and it spins up through the revs quickly enough for hustling along and passing most traffic.
There is some minimal corrosion on small water hose connectors and some spotting on the forks. However a treatment with ACF spray appears to have been effective in keeping the bike looking like new.
It is very reasonable to run and does @ 45 mpg ridden in a sporting manner.
The very small headlight cowl screen is surprisingly effective at keeping the weight off the riders wrists. I experimented by fitting a small highway cruiser type screen but found that the wind being diverted over my head meant my weight was being carried on my wrists at all speeds which was very tiring. I switched back to the original screen and have stuck with that since.
Buying experience: I paid about £6,000 with a decent trade in on my 2 year old SV650 Vstrom. I used my local dealer as I have done for the last 20 or so years.
Annual servicing cost: £300
The brakes could have had more bite, but i believe it is intentional for more novice riders. Pads can be swapped out to fix this to certain degree. They are an older design but work fine, one just has to apply more pressure.
Handles well for what you pay. Brakes havn't essentially changed besides ABS.
Bah humbug to parallel twins, v-twin sounds great with aftermarket slip on. Peak torque has increased considerably over last engine. User assist is great even for a proficient rider, especially in heavy traffic. Near impossible to stall and appears to work in every gear. Just listening to bike warm as one readies for the trip to work is entertaining.
Bullet proof engine if looked after with an exceptional finish quality. Be aware the nut and bolt heads have a tendency to give a rusty like appearance eventually if not cleaned and/or protected with CRC or a like protective coating.
The V-twin of course.
Annual servicing cost: £99
If you’ve never tried a SV650 (because like me I was only interested in bigger capacity bikes) you would have no idea just how good they are!! The combination of sporty riding position, an absolute peach of an engine and a sweet handling chassis all add up to the best kept secret in motorcycling!
Ok so this is where we see some evidence of cost cutting. The brakes are only 2 pot sliding calipers but actually work surprisingly well. The suspension is a bit choppy at low speeds but works well at higher speeds. I may get MCT to work their magic at a future date.
One of the great motorbike engines of all time! Don’t believe me? Take a test ride and be prepared for a surprise. The engine bark above 5k is addictive. It can be mellow when required but it so loves to rev. There is power everywhere and the roll on in 6th is nothing short of unbelievable.
No cheap bits, no dodgy bits. It’s all good. There’s no doubt this bike is a looker and the paintwork is to die for. The engine is obviously a bit more exposed than a faired bike so I’ll be getting liberal with the ACF50 just in case.
The first service was £99.
ABS but that’s it! No modes and nothing you don’t need. Less is more. This pure fun motorcycling at its best.
Buying experience: The usual great service from C J Ball. Always very helpful. Recommended.