When I first sat on the Suzuki SV650, I was immediately impressed with how comfortable I felt. This is something that doesn’t often happen when I sit on a new bike. Perhaps it’s because I’m still a novice rider with just a few years experience under my belt. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m 5 ft. 3 in. tall, and most of the motorcycles are too tall and too heavy for my comfort level. Or, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my street bike riding experience is limited to one bike — a 1989 Honda Hawk. This is a bike that I have ridden exclusively since it first appeared in our garage on Mother’s Day three years ago. This is a bike that I feel totally comfortable and in control on. It’s a perfect height and weight; the power delivery is even and strong, with lots of torque. The bike is quick through traffic, and runs easily in the fast lane on the freeway. The brakes are strong, but not too abrupt. Over the years, we’ve done a few modifications (Braking Brake, M4 pipe, re-jet and tuning by Kiyo Watanabe), but the Hawk is essentially the same as when we bought it. I never thought I’d want to ride another bike — that is until now.
I was first drawn to the SV650 for a somewhat shallow reason — looks. The SV650, in my opinion, is a great looking bike. It has a beautiful paint job. I like the naked look of a motorcycle without all the clutter of a fairing and/or saddlebags (I loved the Borille pictured in our article on street singles). I’ve seen the SV650 in both blue and red, and, while both colors are brilliant, I prefer the blue (a deep royal blue).
When I threw a leg over the SV650 and pulled the bike off its kickstand, I immediately noticed how light it was. The seating position was just as I like it, upright with a bit of a lean, but not too much (no racing tucks for me right now). The height was a good fit — taller than the Hawk, but easy to rock right-to-left on the balls of my feet. This bike, if there ever was one, had my name written all over it to take out on a spin around the block . . . and around another . . . then onto the freeway . . . through the hills . . . and, if you have to, home. I’ve ridden this bike a lot (I guess Dirck already told you I’ve been hogging it), on two long day rides, and many short hops (in town, in both light and heavy traffic), on the freeway and at night (the headlight is awesome — it illuminates the road almost as good as a car — the Hawk’s headlights are old technology, and rather dull by comparison). The only thing I haven’t done was ride in the rain/wet road conditions. The bike is great! On the freeway, it pulls like a freight train to get you up to speed and out ahead of all the cars. With no fairing, the wind can be a bit overbearing at times, but the bike is solid as a rock at freeway speeds (85-90) with little or no vibration and power to spare. On the long trips, the seating position was comfortable, and the bike was truly easy to ride. In the canyons, again, the bike was easy to ride — great power and handling (now, I don’t hang it out through the corners like my significant other does, but I felt stuck as we wound our way through the canyons). The brakes are strong — I felt confident they would give me the stopping power I demanded. The SV650 is a terrific bike — it gave me the confidence to push myself to new limits.
Was there anything I didn’t like about the bike? A minor complaint, but the mirrors were awkward for me to adjust and, perhaps, a bit small for my liking (my complaint was easily remedied by a quick lesson in the art of mirror adjustment from the boss). So the real answer to the question is no. There isn’t anything I didn’t like about the SV650. It’s reasonably priced, good looking, great handling, and a bike that I would ride for years to come because, as my riding ability progresses, the SV650 will still be fun and challenging. I’d buy one in a heartbeat! [Note to the Editor: Mother's Day is just around the corner.]