Suzuki's SV650 has been a favourite in the budget middleweight category for years and during that time we have seen various updates, revisions, and even name changes along the way. The latest significant update came in 2021 with the change to Euro 5 compliance and some tasty new colour schemes.
We recently got the chance to spend some time with the latest SV650 and see how it holds up in an increasingly stacked category. Let's talk about it.
Styling and Design
We can begin with the obvious, the SV650 looks fantastic. Most modern nakeds are increasingly becoming more futuristic and aggressive in their designs and although I am a fan of that style, it is nice that the SV offers something a little bit different. It has a classic street design that is still modern enough to not appear dated and it gets a big thumbs up from me in the looks department.
The new colourways introduced last year definitely helped keep the bike looking fresh and the contrasting frames really pop. The version we received for testing came with a white tank and metallic red frame but you can also get it in black with a gold or blue frame. All of them look excellent.
If you are after something even more unique, the SV650X shares the same engine and components but comes with clip-on bars, a retro leather seat, and a cool cafe racer-style front cowl. The SV650X version does cost an extra £400 however, which puts it in fierce competition with the likes of Triumph's Trident and Yamaha's MT07.
The engine pushing the SV650 forward is a super reliable 645cc 4-stroke DOHC V-Twin that puts out 72bhp @8500rpm and 64Nm torque @6800rpm.
Having said that, the SV is by no means sluggish, it still feels responsive and the smooth linear acceleration will propel you to cruising speeds nice and swiftly. Gunning the throttle and hearing that V-Twin roar, even with a stock exhaust, is a great deal of fun and goes along with the classic styling to set this motorcycle apart.
It just can't quite keep up with the big names in the category and it would be great to see Suzuki shave off some of that extra weight in future updates.
However, an excellent feature that a new rider might appreciate is the low rpm assist system. It makes the bike more stable at start-up and at very low speeds and it is extremely hard to stall out. In fact, I couldn't get this bike to stall even deliberately until I attempted to pull away in 3rd gear and it still almost made it!
Suzuki SV650 Top Speed
The Suzuki SV650's top speed is estimated to be around 130 mph.
Brakes and Suspension
For the brakes, we have a pair of 290mm discs up front with twin-pot calipers and a single 240mm disc with a one-pot caliper at the rear. The brakes do a decent job, they respond swiftly when squeezed and bring you to a comfortable halt. All fine and dandy.
The suspension is pretty basic, we have non-adjustable 41mm telescopic forks at the front and a preload adjustable mono-shock at the rear. Again the suspension is adequate and gets the job done.
I will say, riding around some of the bumpy Norfolk back roads, I was bounced around a bit more than I would have liked but the SV handles the smoother roads very nicely.
Seat Height and Riding Position
The slightly heavier weight of this bike can make it a little bit cumbersome during manual handling but it isn't a big deal and once you are away and riding it still feels relatively light and agile. The seat height is 785mm so it could be a good option for shorter riders too, I am 5'10 and can flat foot it easily and comfortably.
In terms of the riding position, the upright riding position feels natural and longer stints in the saddle aren't going to be a problem. There isn't much in the way of wind protection so when you're cruising on dual carriageways, you do feel a bit of buffeting at times but that is pretty normal for a naked motorcycle. If I was to ride one of these regularly, a windscreen accessory would likely be in order.
The Suzuki SV650 comes equipped with a remarkable ready-to-ride weight of only 198kg, making manoeuvring and handling easy and pleasurable.
On paper, it matches well with similarly priced rivals in this category but it is considerably heavier and the difference in the power-to-weight ratio is noticeable. For comparison, the MT07 is a full 16 kilos lighter and feels livelier and more agile as a result.
Fuel Tank and MPG
One thing I really do like about the SV650 is the excellent fuel economy - The 14.5L fuel tank can withstand around 60mpg with realistic riding!
Technology, Dash and Switchgear
The Suzuki SV650 is a budget motorcycle and doesn't really come with much in the way of tech features. There are no ride modes or traction control or anything like that, although the ride is perfectly comfortable and smooth and everything feels well built.
There is ABS, which is a standard feature now thanks to Euro regulations, the previously mentioned low rpm assist, and a nice clear digital dash. The dash itself has a large speedo, which is just the way I like it, a gear indicator, and a large clear fuel gauge complete with an indication of your estimated range, which is a nice touch.
Suzuki SV650 Rivals
I can't help comparing the SV650 with the Yamaha MT-07 because they sit in the same category with only a £200 difference in price. While the MT outdoes the SV across the board in performance, not everyone is looking for a ferocious hooligan bike.
Where the SV650 really shines is in its easy-to-manage and user-friendly nature. As I mentioned earlier, the power delivery is smooth and linear, the throttle is responsive but easy to control, the clutch is forgiving and gear changes are a breeze. It still has all the power you need for UK road riding while being very beginner friendly.
Suzuki SV650 Price
The SV keeps things simple but what it does have, feels quality, and the lack of fancy tech results in a very attractive starting price of £6,999. That makes it one of the cheaper options when it comes to middleweight naked, although as previously mentioned, the MT07 isn't too far behind it now.
Final Thoughts on the Suzuki SV650
After spending a few days with the SV650, I can say that while it struggles to compete with some of the top bikes in its category, it doesn't necessarily try to. It is a more laid-back ride and almost perfect as a first big bike. For the more experienced, the excellent economy will still make it a good commuter, and while not quite as fast as some of its rivals, it does have respectable performance that can easily handle all types of UK road riding.
It might be getting a little bit long in the tooth but the standout visual styling and pleasing V-Twin rumble both offer something unique among its peers and the £6,999 price tag ensures it remains an appealing prospect.
Suzuki SV650 Specification (2022-onwards)
|Engine||645cc, Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke V-Twin|
|Brakes||Front: Dual 4-piston calipers, twin disc (ABS)
Rear: Single piston caliper, single disc (ABS)
|Suspension||Front: Inverted coil spring
Rear: Link type, single shock coil spring
The Last Stop!
And that's a wrap, my Suzuki road test review is complete, and if you like what you see with the Suzuki SV650 and want to know more, you can head over to our Youtube.
Last but not least, if you have your very own Suzuki SV650 or another motorcycle you need to insure - make sure to get a motorcycle insurance quote direct with Lexham!