Get on the new 2008 Suzuki SV650 and you will enjoy a ride you’ll never forget. By combining crisp, lightweight handling with all-day comfort, the bike will get you hooked. And the thrills really begin when you tap into its exceptional engine performance. So good luck with that!
For those who know what they are looking for in a standard V-twin machine, Suzuki introduces the light and agile SV650, a motorcycle willing-and-able to offer great engine performance. And that’s what the Suzuki SV650 delivers – in spades. The Suzuki SV650 offers its own unique styling and performance. Compared to the SV650S, it has a leaner profile, featuring a single round headlight, tubular handlebars and a more upright riding position.
In 1999 Suzuki presented their first entry-level priced naked motorcycle. For the retail price of $5999 that you would of pay on it, the Suzuki SV650, as it was named, offered great handling and sufficient power through the rpm range. The bike entered the scene as the result of strong development concerning both chassis and engine coming from the TL1000S.
It established a great balance between light weight, rigid chassis, strong handling, and a 90-degree V-twin producing strong mid range torque, so it addressed to beginners or experienced riders who needed a fast and cheap mean of transportation.
North America first saw the naked SV650 in two colors, red and blue. It quickly became a huge success and sold like no other.
The new millennium caught the Suzuki SV650 basically unchanged, but Suzuki took care to black-coat the wheels and to add a new black paintjob to match with them. These details further attracted customers and took care of the sales numbers.
In 2003, the Suzuki SV650 lined up with the SV1000, the bike’s bigger brother and successor of the TL1000, and was introduced as a new, totally redesigned naked bike. It featured a new aluminum frame, similar to the one found on the SV1000, and the engine delivered the same output even though the carburetors were replaced by an electronic fuel injection system implementing Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve system (SDTV) and Auto Fast Idle System (AFIS).
Also new, was the instrument panel with the central rev counter, the window with liquid crystals for speed, mileages, engine temperature, clock and the indicator of reserve.
The bike’s sharp new appearance really made it stand out but no matter what Suzuki had in mind, every model would have to remind of the old one and to be similar to the bigger brother.
In 2004 the SV650’s passengers could enjoy the bike’s increase in comfort, given by the lowered subframe. It also featured a more compact rear fender and, like most of the ’04 Suzukis, the SV650 presented only the classic Suzuki “S” logo on the fuel tank. Paint options were Blue, Black, or Yellow.
The 2005 SV650 presented a couple of minor changes. Being equipped with a meter visor that was color matched with the body parts and having its center part composed of a smoke-cleared shield, it made a new cockpit area. Also the front brake cylinder head got a new style. The radiator was redesigned and it was now 40mm narrower than on earlier models.
Some color changes were also present as the main frame, swingarm and the wheels were changed from Silver to Black for a sportier image.
2007 brought the SV650 model with available ABS and twin spark plugs for reduced emissions.
Honda has chosen the first day of the 2007 Paris Motorcycle Show to unveil the Hornet-derived 2008 CBF600. The bike is brand new even though it stays fairly close to the original model launched in 2004. Honda knew it had to keep the soul consisting in a previous generation CBR600RR engine, which is now lighter, smaller, and tuned for stronger low and mid-range.
Featuring a chassis taken to another level, the Honda CBF600 offers a more relaxed riding position and it is more than suitable in the fight against the SV650.
The 2008 Yamaha FZ6 offers style and performance through a controlled-fill aluminum frame, high-tech half fairing and an undertail exhaust, just to name a few. Its super-light and compact fuel-injected YZF-R6S engine is tuned for enhanced mid-range performance as well as strong revvability, so this multipurpose, go-anywhere do-anything middleweight is more than happy to take you at work, for a brisk sport ride or on a weekend tour.
New for 2008 is the Kawasaki Versys, a motorcycle defined through big comfort, long travel suspension, and innovative styling. This makes it one versatile, fun, street-savvy motorcycle.
The new 2008 Kawasaki Versys is a machine which occupies a hard to define sweet spot in the motorcycling universe. Is it a practical commuter: Long-legged urban assault vehicle? Sportbike? Light Tourer? I bet it is quite the opponent for the Suzuki SV650.
When redesigning the SV650, Suzuki tried to keep the characteristics that make the bike stand out as being an SV but it also tried to follow the evolution of its bigger brother, the SV1000. Did they make it? Just take a look at the bike!
The bike turned out featuring a sharper look, which is what Suzuki aimed at, and the overall appearance was given by the naked styling.
What makes it look so great is the black paint applied over the frame, swingarm, and wheels but a nice distinctive look is given by the mini-fairing with tinted shield giving a sportier appearance.
Colors available for 2008 are Blue and Gray. They are specially elected for the quality of making those sharp lines stand out.
Suzuki introduced the 2008 SV650 as the machine offering the best balance between performance and handling, so this middleweight wonder addresses to both beginning and experienced riders alike. It is enough user-friendly to make a good beginners ride but it can also change its character and became the machine that values a rider’s talent and experience.
The 2008 Suzuki SV650 accommodated me in a more upright riding position than on the SF model and this allowed for a better feel of the bike. This is also an advantage for smaller-stature riders who have to manage maneuvering it at slow speeds.
Weighing only 370 lbs, the SV650 is extremely light so that very same beginner should be able to balance the machine without any worries of falling over.
Other elements that determine the riding position are the handgrips which are within reach and both clutch and brake levers don’t require a lot of strength to be maneuvered and this also makes for a great beginners bike. What makes it very cool is the fact that the brake lever position is adjustable so it can be brought in closer to the grip for those with shorter fingers. That wasn’t my case so I left the lever as it was.
I appreciate the riding position because it is completed by the footpegs which, given to the fact they are right below you, provide a comfortable riding position and can be easily abandoned for the more stable ground beneath them (at slow speeds, of course).
Being user-friendly and confidence-providing, the Suzuki SV650 turns easily and performs well at slow speeds, but when you really twist its throttle, the torque V-twin shows you how things can become more than exciting on the new machine.
Acceleration is more than satisfying and still manages not to provide any jerks, but it can also be quite a torque releasing unit when needed. This is due to the bike’s V-twin engine that does its job spotless and given to its construction specifications it revs high and also provides great amounts of torque. The cool thing is that the rider can establish the rhythm wanted without any a racy-character involved.
Gearing is very forgiving, thanks to the amounts of torque produced by the mighty V-twin, and this makes it suitable for beginners but once they’ve gotten used to it, changing gears would be a children’s play.
The SV650 wouldn’t have been the same without the four-stroke 90-degree V-twin engine which meanwhile became fuel injected, and provides smooth acceleration over its wide powerband so an experienced rider could easily put those qualities at work in collaboration with the six-speed transmission that properly does its job and shifts smoothly, as expected.
The braking system implements dual hydraulic discs up front and a single rear disc. Both brakes perform exactly as they should and provide excellent stopping power anytime needed.
I’ve spend some time on the Yamaha FZ6 also and I have to say that although it looks far better and features a four-cylinder engine developing more peak horsepower, it just can’t behave as well as the SV. The subject of this review, given to its torque V-twin, features stronger low-end pull but still manages to reach a 11.000rpm redline. It is good enough for me, but at certain levels, the Yamaha would ask for a gear change. That wasn’t the case with the Suzuki.
What is truly amazing about this model is the fact that its manufacturer took care not to increase its price with not even a dollar. You may remember that early on this review I said that the bike was initially offered for an MSRP of $5,999. Well, the price is still the same. Evolution doesn’t come with a price at Suzuki, but it is a fact that won’t cost you anything.
With the 2008 Suzuki SV650, middleweight naked bikes will never be the same again. They will be a step forward. By offering great performance only matched by handling and comfort, the new Suzi raises the standards and promises to be your companion for miles and miles in or out of town. It is that great!
Engine and Transmission
Type: four-stroke, liquid cooled, 90 degree V-twin, DOHC, 8-valves, TSCC
Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x 62.6 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel System: Fuel Injection
Lubrication: Wet Sump
Final Drive: #525 chain
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped, fully adjustable preload
Suspension Rear: Link-type, 7-way adjustable spring preload
Brakes Front: Dual hydraulic disc
Brakes Rear: Single hydraulic disc
Tires Front: 120/60-ZR17
Tires Rear: 160/60-ZR17
Overall Length: 2080 mm (81.9 in.)
Overall Width: 745 mm (29.3 in.)
Overall Height: 1085 mm (42.7 in.)
Seat Height: 800 mm (31.5 in.)
Ground Clearance: 150 mm (5.9 in.)
Wheelbase: 1440 mm (56.7 in.)
Dry Weight: 168 kg (370 lbs.)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17 liter (4.5 gal.); 16 liter (4.2 gal.) CA. model
Color: Blue, Gray
Twin spark plug cylinder heads for optimum combustion and reduced emissions.
Compact 645 cc, 90 degree liquid-cooled V-twin, DOHC 8-valve engine tuned for strong low to mid rpm power.
90 degree V-twin cylinder layout eliminates primary vibration without a counterbalancer, keeping the engine simple and compact.
Lightweight chain-driven DOHC, shim-under-bucket valve system with 31mm intake valves and 25.5mm exhaust valves.
Electronic fuel injection system featuring the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve System (SDTV) – maintains optimum air velocity in the intake tract for smooth low-to-mid rpm throttle response and high torque output – includes Auto Fast Idle System (AFIS).
High capacity liquid-cooling system and oil cooler enhance engine performance durability – coolant routing is integrated with the clutch cover and engine case for a cleaner look and reduced weight.
Smooth-shifting 6-speed transmission with vertically staggered transmission shafts for a shorter, more compact crankcase.
Plastic outer clutch cover and engine sprocket cover for reduced weight and noise.
Lightweight 2-into-1 exhaust system is tuned for strong low and mid-range torque.
Black-painted frame, swingarm, and wheels, plus headlight-mounted mini-fairing with tinted shield for more sport appearance.
Tube-style handlebar for a comfortable upright seating position, plus single, round-style 60/55W headlight.
Narrow, lightweight aluminum truss-style frame constructed with high-vacuum die-cast process for more consistent strength and fewer individual welded sections.
Box-section aluminum swingarm is lightweight with high torsional rigidity.
41mm front fork with 130mm of wheel travel provides a smooth, compliant ride.
Link-type single-shock rear suspension with 7-way adjustable preload.
Powerful dual hydraulic disc front brakes with 290mm floating rotors and adjustable brake lever position.
Single disc rear brake with 240mm rotor.
Compact instrument cluster includes analog tach, LCD speedometer, odometer/tripmeters, and temperature gauge, plus LCD clock and low fuel warning light.
Steeply angled tail section houses unique vertically-stacked, high visibility LED taillight and compact rear fender.
Large under-seat storage area, passenger grab-bar and tie-down hooks.
Slim 4.5 gallon fuel tank with low-fuel warning light.
Hinged fuel tank swings up for easy access to the airbox and throttle bodies.
Wide radial tires mounted on lightweight, 3-spoke cast aluminum wheels.
I choose to write the review on the standard motorcycle, the one that was introduced back in 1999, as I believe that it represents the SV650 best. I didn’t have many options to choose from but riders who need a special something can elect that very same think featuring an extra option.
Suzuki SV650 ABS
The name says everything, so you already now what’s so special about this version. Its Anti-Lock Braking System is more than efficient and leads to a safer stop in emergency situations and this brings confidence and less emotion to its entry-level rider.
For 2008, the ABS version of that very same Suzuki SV650 can be bought featuring Blue or Gray paintjob so riders would have where to choose from.
Demanding riders have to support their options with their pockets because the Suzuki SV650 ABS comes with an MSRP of $6,599. If safety is more than an issue and customers will buy the ABS version as they did in 2007, the bike promises to have a bright future.