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!
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.
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.
At just under £6000 the SV650X appears pretty good value for money when you consider the lowest-spec Ducati Scrambler is £7950. But the Yamaha XSR700 is cheaper at £6849 and considering how old the SV is, you would expect it to cost less. That said, the SV does come with a small nose cone, unlike the XSR.
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.