The latest crop of motorcycles have become highly complex machines that think and act on your behalf. But what if you just want an honest bike again? No frills. Just pure motorcycle with a healthy dollop of fun mixed in. The 2017 Suzuki SV650 is just such a bike.
The SV650 linage harks back to 1999, and the first model was an instant hit. The V-twin motor provided the grunt and the bike had quite a following. In 2003 Suzuki added fuel injection, but 2009 saw them drop the SV in favour of the SFV650, or Gladius as it was known. The reception was lukewarm as it was more expensive than its rivals. Suzuki lost their way, forsaking the die-hard SV fans.
In 2016 they revived the SV name and even dubbed it the “V-twin fun machine”. More than 140 parts were redesigned, and the important aspects were addressed: the power went up and the weight came down. This means the bike is a fun package all round. I took this to a track day at Kyalami, and the universal praise heaped on this small bike was amazing. It performed well on the track, but pushing it hard, it felt a bit nervous. Where the SV excels though, is in its commuter role, or even as a beginner bike.
Two new features to help beginners is the “Low RPM assist”, which helps riders not to stall the bike when pulling away. The “Easy start system” requires a single push of the starter button rather than holding it in till the bike starts. Both these features are present on the GSX-R and V-Strom as well. The only other piece of help comes in the form of ABS on the dual front and single back disc.
Fuel economy is improved, and that is a good thing as Suzuki made the whole bike slimmer, reducing the fuel tank size to 13.8 litres. The full LCD instrumentation is quite comprehensive and includes things like gear indicator and fuel range.
Being a naked bike, the SV does not offer anything in the way of wind protection. The seat is flat and that just confirms the SV’s role as a commuter rather than a long distance cruiser.
So who is the SV aimed at? Riders coming up from a smaller capacity bike, but looking for something light and unintimidating, or new riders who want to start the journey into motorcycling. The SV was immense fun to ride, and should serve you well regardless of your motorcycling background. – Words and Pictures – Brian Cheyne
Price: 98 500