Suzuki builds on the success of its popular entry-level street bike line with the addition of the 2015 SFV650. Fans of this model family will recognize the presence of the Gladius DNA, sans the rather effeminate colors associated with that model, which should make this new ride more appealing to the ’XY’ (read: male, for those who slept through biology class) customer base. This ride strikes a balance between technology and frugality, as well as aggression versus control, and should help to ease new riders into the sport (art, lifestyle?) of motorcycle riding without breaking the bank or any important bones.

Continue reading to find out more about the SFV650

  • 2015 Suzuki SFV650
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    4-stroke, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled
  • Displacement:
    645 cc
  • Price:
    7699

Design

2015 Suzuki SFV650 Exterior
- image 627037

Built with a European-inspired style and a decidedly Japanese flavor, the SFV650 follows the ’bare bike’ philosophy with a no-frills approach. Minimal body panels leave much of the frame and engine exposed, leaving little to the imagination — same with the small front fender and nearly non-existent rear guard. The headlight housing, front turn signals and compact combination turn signal/taillight assembly are unobtrusive, and blend in well with the overall lines of the bike, keeping it clean and uncluttered.

To me, the seat looks a little bit on the thin side, but to Suzuki’s credit, at least the pillion pad looks more comfortable than the vestigial P-pad we are accustomed to seeing on sportbikes in general. This should make for happier passengers without having to ante up more cash post-sale, and the grab rails will help to ensure that you arrive at your destination with the same number of derrieres that you departed with.

Chassis

Suzuki started with a compact, open trellis-type frame that uses the engine as a stressed member to complete the skeleton. Steering geometry stays within reasonable limits with a 25-degree steering head and 4.09 inches of trail that leaves the steering light and responsive. While the 41 mm front forks are strong enough for most riding styles and conditions, riders report that the front end feels a bit ’wimbly’ when getting aggressive in the corners.

To be fair, entry-level riders will probably never put enough mustard on it to discover this for themselves, but experienced riders may find this lack of rigidity a trifle concerning. Additionally, some riders also opine that the rear suspension is a bit unkind (read: harsh), but have found that installing a ’Gixxer 750’ monoshock turns that particular pumpkin back into a coach-and-nine. The rider triangle is a bit compact, and while it is probably ok for riders of average height, taller riders will want to take advantage of the optional ’tall’ seat to keep their knees out of their chins.

Drivetrain

A four-stroke, DOHC 645 cc mill delivers enough power to launch this lightweight, 445-pound sled down your favorite routes without the intimidation factor associated with larger-displacement engines. This 90-degree, liquid-cooled, V-twin engine benefits from the Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Materials (SCEM) cylinder plating, which works to improve heat transfer while reducing piston-to-cylinder friction and combustion gas blow-by.

Quad-valve heads open the combustion chamber and allow the engine to breathe through the dual 31 mm intake and 25.5 mm exhaust valves. Suzuki uses single valve springs to reduce mechanical losses in the valvetrain, but it is unclear to me how they prevent valve float in the higher rpm ranges with this setup. Individual throttle bodies that employ the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) system feed each jug. This is where things get interesting – each throttle body contains two butterfly valves, one controlled by the rider, and the other controlled by the engine management system, leaving us with a curious combination of direct control and ride-by-wire technology.

Since I do not trust pure ride-by-wire systems (call me old-fashioned), I find this to be a good compromise. The six-speed transmission funnels power to the rear wheel through newly strengthened dogs, and gear clash noise is reduced by the spring-loaded primary gear and sound attenuating layers inside the clutch and counter-shaft sprocket covers.

Price

The SFV650 is priced to move at $7,699 with a 12-month, unlimited-mileage warranty, but the paint package is limited to Pearl Vigor Blue/Pearl Glacier White.

He Said:

“While this sled isn’t exactly my cup of tea, it does serve a purpose. Perhaps if my first ’metric’ ride back in the day had been on one of these rather than the fire-breathing GSX-R 1100 (which left me traumatized: nobody warned me that accelerating is easy but slowing down is when things get scary) I may have not chosen to go the laid-back cruiser route.”

She Said:

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "This is a nice bike, and for the price, I can’t find much wrong with it. Once thing I don’t like is how quiet it is with the stock exhaust. I know some folks want quiet, but I want to be heard. I want to hear the rumble of the V-twin. I don’t want to be obnoxious, but I want the cagers to hear me so they look for me before changing lanes. The seating position on the SFV650 is very upright and forward — very similar to the 2015 Yamaha FZ07, and I’m sure others, but the FZ07 comes immediately to mind.

The SFV650 has smooth, almost effortless acceleration, lots of torque to get you off the line fast without having to wind it up, and has plenty of roll-on power with a very smooth powerband. It’s really a nice bike, and if you’re tall enough to handle the almost-31-inch seat height, it’s worth a look. Aside from a nicer-sounding exhaust, I’d probably opt for a windscreen to reduce wind buffeting while on the highway . . . . and maybe a gel seat. But that’s just me."

Specifications

Engine: Four-Stroke, Twin-Cylinder, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 90-Degree V-Twin
Displacement: 645 cc
Bore X Stroke: 3.19 Inches X 2.46 Inches
Compression Ratio: 11.5 to 1
Fuel System: Fuel Injection
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet Sump
Transmission: Six-Speed, Constant Mesh
Final Drive: Chain
Suspension Front: Telescopic, Coil Spring, Oil Damped
Suspension Rear: Link Type, Coil Spring, Oil Damped, Spring Preload Seven-Step Adjustable
Brakes Front: Dual-Piston Calipers, 290 mm Disc, Twin
Brakes Rear: Single-Piston Caliper, 240mm Disc
Tires Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W), Tubeless
Tires Rear: 160/60ZR17M/C (69W), Tubeless
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.8 Gallons
Color: Pearl Vigor Blue / Pearl Glacier White
Ignition: Electronic Ignition (Transistorized)
Overall Length: 83.9 Inches
Overall Width: 29.9 Inches
Wheelbase: 56.9 Inches
Ground Clearance: 5.3 Inches
Seat Height: 30.9 Inches
Curb Weight: 445 Pounds
Warranty: 12 Month Unlimited Mileage Limited Warranty.
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