How the MT-07 Could Revive the Lightweight Twin Category

Lightweight twins have always been a wonderful category of motorcycle racing. They bridge the gap almost perfectly between small capacity bikes like the Ninja 300 and the supersport category which offer a whole other level of performance – sometimes too big a leap for new riders. Unfortunately, the category has suffered in recent times due to the fact that there’s no real suitable bikes currently for sale on the market to enter. But an unlikely project may change that.

The bulk of grids for the lightweight twin category is made up of Suzuki SV650’s. The problem is that Suzuki discontinued production of the bike back in 2009 (although remaining stock stayed on sale in the UK and Australia until around 2012). That means a diminishing amount of machines available to enter as they get older and damaged. Sure, there’s Ninja 650’s but they struggle to compete and don’t have anywhere near the amount of aftermarket support and parts available.

How the MT-07 Could Revive the Lightweight Twin Category

Enter AP Moto-Arts, a company in California that has a long history of building a variety of racebikes and they believe the Yamaha MT-07 (known as FZ-07 in the US) may be the answer to fill the SV650 gap. The specifications of the MT-07 fit perfectly – a 689cc parallel twin engine on a lightweight chassis. The problem is that the MT-07 is pretty far removed from a race capable machine – it’s a naked street bike built to a price.

In an interview with LWT Racer, Cody Newman, who races a 600, was one of the riders asked to test the bike, “The FZ-07 ‘R’ was a dichotomy for me. On one hand, there wasn’t a thread of familiarity between the race-going version and my basically stock FZ-07 street bike. On the other hand, the bike felt immediately and decidedly comfortable.”

As of now the kit includes the bodywork and mounting kit,  ECU flash with quickshifter and harness, a shock link for track geometry and rear set adapter plates. The downside to all this is that there’s not a great deal of MT-07’s on the used market at this stage, so buying the bike and the aftermarket kit will prove far most costly than an existing race prepared SV650. But the temptation of a new machine that may prove more capable on the track will always prove too strong for the truly competitive – and the MT-07 does come with some natural advantages of higher torque and a shorter wheelbase.

And then there’s the upcoming all new SV650 coming out later this year, although we have our doubts it will have the same impact on the track as the original.

Source: LWT Racer

How the MT-07 Could Revive the Lightweight Twin Category

All New Suzuki SV650 Returns after Hiatus

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.