Suzuki's SV650 Readies To Ride Again

Motorcycle manufacturers are doing everything they can to tempt new riders into the saddle. Suzuki’s latest effort is the reintroduction of its popular SV650.

First introduced in 1999 and enjoying a slight name change along the way, the SV650 rode out of showrooms for the final time in 2012 and is now back due to popular demand. That may sound like a marketing slogan, but this was an extremely popular motorcycle.

It’s not only the models broad range that encouraged Suzuki to start building this motorcycle again, but the well-known ease of use it offers to new riders.

A Quick History

The SV650 made its appearance in the Suzuki line-up as a budget entry in the emerging naked bike market to immediate success, offering a sporty though easily manageable ride. The combination of light weight, rigid chassis, strong handling and the V-twin's strong mid-range torque appealed to beginner and experienced riders alike.

Not only is the motorcycle world rather picky, it’s also vocal and this was seen with the SV650. As popular as it was, American buyers wanted the sportier 'S' version that featured lower handlebars, higher foot pegs and a bikini fairing and windscreen, available only in the European and Canadian markets.

This demand so was so strong, American magazines ran articles describing how to import it into the United States. Not surprisingly, in 2000 Suzuki began importing the SV650S to the USA.

A change of name in to Gladius in 2009 saw the beginning of the end for the SV650 as it was phased out of world markets until 2012 when it was no longer offered.

However, November 2015 brought great news for SV650 fans when Suzuki announced at EICMA 2015 that the SV650 will return in April 2016 as a 2017-model year product.


2017 SV650 - Source Suzuki Motorcycles


Suzuki is quick to point out, as good as the famous SV650 was, this new version has been redesigned from the ground up to not only expand on the flexibility the motorcycle enjoyed but features that make it ideal for new riders.

This iconic motorcycle promises to embody the sporty personality that only a lively, mid-sized V-twin roadster can deliver. The new SV650 has a polished power plant Suzuki feels provides increased performance with low emissions and outstanding fuel economy, ‘mated to refined trim and lightweight chassis that delivers a sporty, exciting ride’.

Who the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer is targeting with this model can be seen in its marketing. ‘The 2017 SV650 promises to have the sparkling performance, style and value that a broad range of riders will enjoy,’ the models webpage states

So what makes up this roadster?


At the heart of the SV650 is a liquid cooled, 645cc, 4-stroke, DOHC, V-twin engine delivers increased performance. This 90°V-twin engine has been refined with more than 60 new parts to produce increased horsepower while conforming the latest emission requirements.

The energy efficient engine has new pistons that were engineered with use of FEM (Finite Element Method) analysis to achieve optimal rigidity and weight. Suzuki’s attention to detail went further with each piston skirt enjoying a special resin coating, and the other sliding part are tinned for less friction and greater durability. The gear heads among our readers may note, this is a first for any Suzuki motorcycle.

To manage the powerhouse, the fuel injection system employs Suzuki’s innovative, SDTV (Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve) with 39mm throttle bodies. The secondary throttle valves are controlled by servo motor for smooth power delivery and optimum combustion efficiency. The EFI system employs O2 feedback and a precise intake pressure sensor for optimum combustion efficiency in various conditions, and reduces emissions to an incredibly low level.

This last feature is important to riders who hang on to their motorcycles. Efforts to reduce emissions is a sure sign Suzuki plans on keeping this model in its line-up for some time, essentially future-proofing the motorcycle against any possible tighter emission standards.

The SV650’s close-ratio, six-speed transmission features carefully selected ratios that are equally well suited for commuting or spirited riding. This is a chain driven motorcycle.


2017 SV650 - Source Suzuki Motorcycles

All the features mentioned so far also help the SV650 enjoy a wide torque range which not only gives bikers some latitude when moving up and down the gears, but makes it a perfect motorcycle for newer riders to gain needed riding skills.

This line of thinking is also seen with Suzuki’s patented, throttle-body Integrated Idle Speed Control (TI-ISC) which eases starting, stabilizes the engine idle speed and helps lower emissions.

Helping newer riders with pulling away, reportedly even on an incline, the TI-ISC on the SV650 has a new Low RPM Assist feature that seamlessly adjusts engine speed during take-off and low-speed running to smooth the power delivery and to help eliminate the possibility of the rider stalling the motorcycle.

Speaking of starting, the SV650 features a new Suzuki Easy Start system, first seen on the GSX-S1000 which lets the rider start the motorcycle with a momentary press of the start switch without pulling in the clutch lever when the transmission is in neutral.

Everything Suzuki has done with the SV650’s power plant is to ensure the motorcycle can handle a range of riding conditions. From cruising down a back road to leaning its way through a series of curves, Suzuki have said they want the SV650 rider to be able to use the model in whatever way they want. While this all-round approach is great for everyday bikers, it’s even better for newer riders who are finding their two-wheeled tastes.


Dozens of new parts create a compact, lightweight chassis with slim bodywork that’s agile and according to Suzuki, fun to ride on a variety of streets, such as city traffic, highway, rural roads and winding roads.

Lighter than previous Suzuki’s of this engine size, the high-strength steel, trellis-style frame is key to the motorcycle’s trim and intelligent dimensions. The seat height is just 30.9 inches making it the lowest in the 600 – 800cc street bike class.

Another design feature to help riders plant both feet on the ground when stopped, the SV650’s fuel tank width is 2.5 inches narrower than the 2015 SFV650 but enjoys the same fuel capacity of 3.8 US gallons.

In the department of handling, the 41mm conventional style front fork has a generous 4.9 inches of wheel travel to provide a sporty, but plush ride. A link-type rear shock unit has 2.48 inches stroke, and is reportedly tuned for a superb progressive feel and to react efficiently to varied road conditions while still delivering an agile and stable feel.

Going the route of simplicity, the rear shock’s spring pre-load is 7-way adjustable so riders can easily adjust for a passenger or cargo.

Well proportioned, tubular handlebars and mid-set foot controls create a sporting, yet ergonomically relaxed riding position.

Bringing the motorcycle into the modern age of riding, the SV650 offers a model featuring an Antilock Brake System (ABS) which monitors wheel speed 50 times per wheel rotation, and matches stopping power to available traction.

Attention to rider comfort and confidence includes a carefully shaped seat with a high-grip cover, and integrated cargo retention loops that can pull out from under the seat.

Wrapping Up

Several design features have gone into the appearance of the SV650.

The motorcycle enjoys five-spoke cast-aluminum-alloy wheels are shod with lightweight, front and rear Dunlop radial tires for sharp handling and good mileage.

To help with the roadster/racing look the classic style the SV650 features a 2-into-1 exhaust system.  The new exhaust system has a clean, functional appearance, lower weight and a catalyzer to further reduce emissions.

Racing stripes and refined fuel tank shape enhances the motorcycle’s sporty character and a nod to the roadsters the motorcycle pays homage to. But this is definitely a modern ride.

Starting with the instrument panel, it has several features, including a tachometer, speedometer, odometer, dual trip meter, reserve trip meter, clock, coolant temperature/oil pressure indicator, gear position, plus fuel consumption and driving range data.

Bright, durable LED combination tail and brake light, plus front and rear, amber tinted turn signals.

Without ABS the available colors are Pearl Mira Red and Pearl Glacier White. Going the route of ABS and the color choice is Pearl Mira Red.

At the time of writing, the SV650 is scheduled to ride into showrooms in April 2016 and hasn’t yet been given a starting price.  

With the SV650, Suzuki has built a motorcycle that offers a broad range of riding while simplifying areas of operation without compromising performance. There are other smaller motorcycles available designed for new riders or those who want more handling in their bikes than raw performance, but the SV650 offers up a sportier, racing look.

It will be interesting to see if Suzuki can catch the same lightning in the bottle it did with this model’s original introduction in 1999.

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