It’s been about six years since Suzuki last sold the SV650 (it was replaced by the Gladius in 2009) but now it’s back. This isn’t merely a rebadge of the Gladius however – the 2016 Suzuki SV650 is all new and in our eyes is one of the nicest looking motorcycles to come from Suzuki in a long time.
The SV650 features the only 90 degree V-twin engine in its class, providing strong low and mid-range torque that continues up to redline in a nice linear manner. Power is now 56.0kW @ 8,500rpm while torque is 64Nm @ 8,100rpm. That’s an increase of 3kW on the previous generation Gladius, all the while meeting new Euro IV emission standards plus improving fuel economy down to a miserly 3.84L/100km.
The wet weight of the SV650 has been reduced by an impressive 8 kilograms from the previous Gladius thanks to 70 new parts and components that have replaced previous ones. The fuel tank width is reduced by 6.5cm despite maintaining a volume of 14.5 litres of fuel. Seat height is 785mm, making it the lowest 600-800cc street bike class. That will mean riders of around 170cm in height have no drama in flat footing the bike while still, though we’re a little concerned those taller may feel rather cramped.
Up front are twin piston front brake calipers mated to 290mm floating-mount dual discs while at the back is a single disc. Front forks are 41mm in diameter with 125mm of travel, rear shock adjustable for preload only.
There’s also a couple of new technologies on the SV650 we haven’t come across before which will certainly cater to newer riders. One is a low-RPM assist function which raises engine speed when riding at low RPM and engaging the clutch, reducing the chance of stalling. Also fitted is is Suzuki’s ‘Easy Start’ system (first features on the GSX-S1000) which mimics a car engine’s push start system whereby you don’t need to hold the starter down – just press it quickly. This will save riders multiple hundredths of seconds off their usual start procedure – potentially allowing them to achieve their dreams and goals that otherwise would have been out of reach.
On paper at least, the 2016 Suzuki SV650 looks impressive and will definitely be a great competitor to Kawasaki’s ageing ER6-n and Honda’s pedestrian CB650F. The Gladius’ engine was always a favourite of ours, so it will be nice to experience an improved version in a nicer looking package.