Suzuki SV650 Bike Review-MotorPoint
Photos courtesy of American Suzuki
First Ride, Suzuki SV650
We rushed back from the first day of Superbike testing at Laguna Seca to take part in Suzuki’s introduction of its all-new SV650X motorcycle. Suzuki chose a little rustic lodge outside of the small town of Julian, California, as a meeting place to start the intro and to familiarize the journalists in attendance with the SV650′s technical features.
This location was selected because it was only a few miles from a number of great riding roads such as the ones that climb up the sides of Mount Palomar. Actually, Mount Palomar has one of the most fun roads on this planet. The western ascent is tight, smooth, and it was repaved just last year.
The SV650 Suzuki is powered by a 645cc, liquid cooled, 90 degree, V-twin engine with twin overhead cams and four valve heads. I guess I should mention more about the bike but it was at this point during the indoctrination that I started thinking, “Just give me one of the damn bikes. I gotta go to Palomar.” We were only at the end of the second line on the first page of a 32-page-long press kit, so I figured I should maybe do my best to divert my truant tendencies and try to pay attention to whatever the hell the nice man from Suzuki was talking about. I filled the empty moments with confused indecision over considering an attack on the coffee bar and muffin stand for more free caffeine, sugar, and animal fat.
The SV650 has a 6-speed transmission, twin downdraft 39mm carbs, and a triangular formation of the crank and transmission shafts that allows for a stubby engine and overall short wheelbase. Mount Palomar was taunting me. I knew it was out there, just over the next ridge and beckoning to me to caress its seductive, smooth, cool pavement. Coffee, bad.
The SV650′s transmission has the gearshift selector mounted directly to the end of the shift drum, and the shift fork shafts float in blind holes in the crankcase. Cool, huh. Not only that but there is a spray of oil onto the gears in concert with the customary oil supply feed through the transmission shafts. We must now ride. I concentrated my energies on hypnotizing the Suzuki guy by invading his brain through a thought-mind-meld. My thoughts would overpower his and he would be my slave. That never worked on my second grade teacher so it was no surprise that it wasn’t working with this guy either. The SV650′s frame looks at a glance to be similar to the TL1000S’s frame but it is only a similarity of style. The SV’s frame is as new as everything else about the bike, and it is smaller and lighter than that of the TL. Suzuki says that the frame was designed to strike a balance between stability and agility. I’m not certain what that means, but it sure does read like poetry. All in all, the SV frame is 20mm shorter than the TL1000S frame. A short distance from the steeringhead to the swingarm mount makes for a quick steering motorcycle.
The SV650 has blah, blah, blah. . . we’ll get more into all of this technical stuff in our full test report. Let’s ride up Palomar.
We were each assigned a test bike and then we split into a few riding groups. Only God knows why the other groups went elsewhere, but you know why we went north.
Mount Palomar was about a twenty-five mile run up the road so we made haste to its foot. On the open road the SV650 was light but also sure-footed, responsive, and easy to ride. Real easy.
Some bikes have a harsh ride or harsh controls but everything about the SV turned out to be friendly and comfortable.The actions of all of the controls require little effort, and the bike steers with just a tweak of the shoulder, push of the foot, or pull of the fingers.
Once on the slopes of Palomar, the SV had a chance to really shine. It romped through the tight corners like a Super Motard, bringing big smiles to our faces. The bike seemed to invite trail braking and it inspired unusual confidence in riding its front hard into the turns. On tight roads like Palomar’s, this bike will probably keep up with just about any sportbike. Light weight has big payoffs.
Suzuki is targeting the SV650 as a mid-sized, versatile motorcycle that should appeal to a wide market. Blasting up Mount Palomar showed that the bike is not only fun on a tight road but that it is also very well suited for inner-city riding, which is where the tightest of all roads are found. Where else is there a sharp, ninety degree turn every five hundred feet? Counter steering the SV650 takes as much effort as playing a piano. I don’t mean playing well, I just mean tapping keys with both hands. What I mean is the bike steers real easy, alright?
The power curve of the SV650 is nice and smooth and torquey, and it builds to a bigger rush at about 6,300 rpms that carries all the way to redline at 10,500. Even though the engine is just a 650, the SV still has the nice, low, rumping sound of a big twin. Because of this little. . . er, I mean mid-sized bike’s torque it is especially easy to launch from a stop and it should give confidence to riders without a great deal of experience.
In short, the Suzuki SV650 should prove to be a popular bike for beginning riders, for anyone who loved the Honda Hawk GT, for inner city commuting, for sport riders who don’t require the hottest and fastest, and for anyone who just wants a nice bike. And at $5,699!? Man that’s cheap. Uh, I mean inexpensive.
We will have a full test of the Suzuki SV650 for you soon. Right now Palomar is calling.
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