Suzuki SV650 (2016) Real World Review
“ Probably the best recommendation I can give is if I had to choose my bike again, I would still choose the SV650. ”
What Is It?
The 2016 Suzuki SV650 is a mid-range naked bike which was originally launched in 1999 with updates in 2003, 2005 and 2009.
Engine: 645 cc V-Twin, 74 bhp
Economy: 60 mpg
Range: 190 miles
Seat Height: 785 mm
What Is It Like?
I returned to riding in February this year after a 37 year gap and looked at various bikes but after a test ride and reading / watching as many reviews as I could find, I eventually settled for a new 2019 SV650.
I have now covered just over 1,000 miles and the smile on my face is still there, in fact, it’s bigger now than it was when I collected it. I chose the red / grey naked SV and in my opinion it's one of the best looking naked middleweight bikes on the market today.
I have added a few upgrades which include a new SV Engineering Big Bore stubby exhaust, which I think changes the whole look of the bike. I know manufacturers have to comply with Euro 4 regulations but the stock exhaust was massive.
I also added a tail tidy, radiator cover and I have just added a front fender extender because the stock one is ridiculously short.
One of the attractions for me in purchasing the SV650 was the low seat height. At 785mm / 30.9 inches it means that even a short 5’6” rider like me can flat foot it and with a wet weight of 197kgs it’s very manoeuvrable.
The longest ride I’ve done is 158 miles in one go and apart from the comfort of the seat, the bike is brilliant. After about 75 miles the seat shows it’s a budget seat and the lack of padding is obvious. I will be upgrading the seat to a custom seat with gel pad.
On The Road
The SV650 is naked so there is no wind protection, but up to around 75mph there is no real buffeting and above this, apart from feeling the wind, it’s quite a clean airflow.
Fuel consumption is better than I thought it would be and riding conservatively I average around 80mpg. Pushing it along fast A roads I have averaged around the 70mpg, and dual carriageway / motorway riding averages around 62mpg, so with a 14.5 litre the range should be good for around 200 miles.
The dash is clear and easy to read even in bright sunshine. There's a nice big gear indicator and it even has a range to empty reading. I’ve added an Oxford Tanklock 4 litre bag and it’s so easy to attach and remove.
The brakes on the 2019 model have been upgraded and are now 4 pot, twin disc. I find them more than capable for the type of riding I am doing.
The low RPM assist is excellent for new and less confident riders, effectively ensuring you cannot stall the bike. The suspension is basic but is adjustable front and rear on pre-load only.
I ride mainly roads in North Wales, haven’t had any issues with it, it loves corners and the SV is very flickable. The Dunlop tyres are predictable and seem good by OEM standards.
- Insurance £125 (based on my first year policy at 60 years old with no no-claim discount)
- Only costs £5,800 on the road
- Low seat height 785mm
- Low RPM assist
- Good range
- Great looking bike and I love the red trellis frame
- Suzuki reliability
- Three year warranty and free DATATAG on 2019 models
- Very short front fender
- Basic seat
To Sum Up
In my opinion the SV650 is a great bike for new riders, returning riders like me and anyone who fancies an excellent value for money, everyday reliable bike.
It’s got 76PS and a wet weight of 197kgs so it’s no slouch. It has good acceleration and will pull from low revs with no issues, oh, and it loves the twisty roads.
Probably the best recommendation I can give is if I had to choose my bike again, I would still choose the SV650.
- Del W, 2019
Suzuki SV650X - Cafe racer version with lower clip on bars, headlight fairing, higher seat and more aggressive riding position.
The Second Opinion
A bit about me
I'm a 6 foot tall male, aged 62. My riding career spans 43 years, with 15 bikes owned and I tend to keep them a while.
Why did you choose it?
I was looking for something for fun rides on twisty roads that didn't cause me as much pain as my 800SS does. I didn't want to spend a lot of cash and wanted to pay cash. Dealers were dealing on the SV650 to move out previous years inventory.
What is good about it?
The engine is one of the best all around powerplants in motorcycling. It makes all the right noises, pulls well at all speeds and the gearbox is slick as Teflon coated ice.
It handles better than I know how to ride and is cheap to buy, run, and insure. It has a classic look that pleases my old eyes. Too many modern bikes look busy to me.
What could be improved?
The stock seat is a plank and the Suzuki accessory seat is a pleated plank. If you are a serious racer I suppose the suspension could use improvement but for most riders it's fine as it is.
What's the economy like?
50' ish US MPG
Any mods or upgrades?
- Delkevic exhaust
- Bagster seat
- OEM flyscreen
- Front fender extender
- Rear fender eliminator
- Radiator guard
- Tank grips
- Exhaust hanger
- Removed pillion pegs
How is the engine?
The best part of the bike, good torque at all rpm's and a nice pull toward redline.
How does it handle?
Better than I know how to ride. Stable in the turns and easy in and out. It might get a bit of a wallow if you hit a big dip while leaned over but nothing scary.
What are the brakes like?
Above average, not as good as my Ducati 800SS but as good or better than my other bikes.
Is it comfortable?
The bar / seat / peg relationship is pretty near perfect for comfort. The factory seat is thin and hard to get the seat low. Long rides require some help.
How reliable have you found it?
No problems yet.
How would you sum up the model?
Cheap as chips and more fun than you can imagine.
- Bob W, 2020
Add Your Review
Do you own this bike? We would love to hear anything good, bad, unexpected or that you have changed plus anything that a prospective new owner might find interesting or useful.
Check out this video review from CagerOnTwoWheels.