2010 Suzuki SV650S first ride - it's back

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Without fanfare or drum roll, Suzuki has reintroduced the half-faired SV650S after a three year sabbatical. But there should be a fanfare along with acres of draped bunting at all Suzuki road bike dealers, because the humble but hugely popular V-twin middleweight is still pegged at under five-grand with its on the road price of £4999.

If Suzuki was to be honest the SV650S never disappeared, it simply transformed into the fully-faired UK-only SV650 Sport. The Sport is now deleted from the Suzuki range although some Suzuki dealers will still have stock priced at £5720 with zero per-cent finance. Back to the SV650S…

Since the SV650’s introduction in 1999, the 90° V-twin has built up a huge fan base consisting of owners who bought the bike as a stepping stone to expand their biking experience from a freshly-licensed novice. Which is something that can still happen today with Suzuki’s limited offer of a free dealer-fitted 33bhp restriction kit. And if this offer doesn’t fall in your remit then how about fully comprehensive insurance for £99 if you take up Suzuki’s Selected training scheme?

Fully fuelled the bike weighs in at a very manageable 196kg, with low speed manoeuvrability made easy with a short-ish (800mm) seat height – both good reasons why many females admire the SV650. The SV650 has also accrued a following from people who simply want a solid, reliable workhorse.

The engine is just as adept at motorway cruising as it is slicing through congestion to make an excellent commuting tool. Fuel consumption can hang out to 47mpg at a steady 70mph and, despite the clip-on style bars, is actually comfortable over distance. Rack and topbox are a common sight on SV650.

The engine’s a gutsy low rpm performer, dishing out typical V-twin power pulses to punt the bike forward for safe overtaking, but needs to be revved to extract every one of its 70bhp to good effect.

There are areas of the SV650 that do grate, though, and it’s the same points that have been around for a long time. Take the machined face of the wheel hubs where the discs bolt on. Because the coating alloy is bare it soon corrodes with a white stain before furring like dog poo. And where short front mudguard allows all manner of road crud thrown from the front tyre to splatter and stain the front cylinder and its exhaust pipe.

Unfortunately the SV also retains suspension that should have had its damping properties revamped some years ago. With a 14.5stone rider on board the shock is sufficiently squished to alter the stance of the bike and make steering a little vague. The suspension does cool the idea of emulating any racing greats, but there is assistance available…

Years of SV650 being on sale has led to an abundance of aftermarket parts, advice and SV tuning experts. To buy an SV650S would also net you many forum families to share your experiences. Otherwise you could buy an SV650S simply because it’s a cheap but bloody good motorcycle.

2010 Suzuki SV650 L0 - £4999
Claimed power: 69.7bhp
Claimed torque: 47.2
Kerb weight: 196mm
Fuel capacity: 17 litres
Seat Height: 800mm
Engine: 645cc (81 x 62.6mm), 8v dohc liquid-cooled 90° V-twin. Fuel injected. Six gears.
Chassis: die-cast aluminium truss frame. 41mm RWU forks, preload adjustable. Rear monoshock, preload adjustable. 2 x 290mm front discs with 2-piston calipers, 220mm rear disc.
Colour: White/blue only

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Trevor Franklin

By Trevor Franklin