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Suzuki: Sporty, Naked Bike Elements

By Arv Voss, July 5th, 2014

Riding a motorcycle is all about personal expression and freedom. But let's face it, not every rider wants to throw a leg over a behemoth cruiser or touring bike; not every rider wants to lay low over the fuel tank or air box in a racing posture with aft foot controls on a sport bike; and certainly, not every rider finds pleasure straddling a dirt bike over a challenging motocross course.

What's left? How about a bike that's classified in the standard category with sporty attributes and a naked look that doesn't weigh a ton, is easy to manage, and most of all, is enjoyable to ride? The 2014 Suzuki SVF650 is such a motorcycle.

The SFV650 delivers a unique cycling experience with its compact open trellis frame steel frame featuring 25 degrees of rake and 104 mm of trail for stable handling characteristics along with a clean, simplistic naked flavor, with no fancy fairings.

Reining in the Suzuki SFV650 and bringing it to a halt are dual floating front disc brakes with dual-piston calipers and a single rear disc brake with a single-piston caliper. The SFV650 rolls on Dunlop qualifier SportMaxx tubeless sport radial rubber mounted on five-spoke black-painted cast alloy wheels.

The overall styling displays some sport bike cues, but with a more ergonomically pleasing riding position. Foot controls are mid-mounted with pegs for both the rider and a passenger. The tubular handlebars are shaped and placed for an easy and comfortable reach and the elongated seat accommodates two, with handles for the passenger that may also be utilized for attaching gear. Mirrors sit high and wide, providing a good view of what's coming from behind.

The bike's instrument cluster is positioned above an oval-shaped multi-reflector headlight that incorporates high and low beams, as well as a position light, and is flanked by chrome lens turn indicators.

The Suzuki SFV650 gets its power from a 645cc fuel-injected, DOHC, 90-degree V-twin engine that's based on the proven SV650 powerplant, noted for its long-term reliability, broad power range, and pleasing rumble. Suzuki's fuel injection system provides more efficiency and better throttle response through a butterfly valve system, with the primary valve controlled by the rider and the secondary throttle valve controlled by the engine management system.

The motor's energy reaches the rear wheel via a chain final drive through a six-speed constant mesh sequential manual gearbox. The clutch release mechanism has been changed from a ball-screw type to a cam type system and the transmission gear is strengthened to improve shifting. Mechanical noise is reduced by a scissor-type primary gear that's split lengthwise with the two halves spring loaded, and the clutch and countershaft sprocket covers are now double-layered for added sound reduction.

My 2014 Suzuki SFV650 test bike sported a Red Metallic Trellis frame with Metallic Thunder Gray tank sides and a Glass Sparkle Black center section. Chrome and Satin Silver trim elements completed the Euro-flavored ride. The base price was set at $8,149.

The Suzuki SFV650 is an ideal two-wheeled machine that suits its purpose well. It does what it's intended to do and does it well: provides an affordable, dependable, comfortable day-tripper for one or two.

With added bags and a solo rider, it is capable of doing duty for longer rides as well, but I have to point out that the SFV650 is better suited to riders who fall into the 95th percentile. At 6'4" with long legs, I found extended rides to be more tedious, however, that's not the bike's fault.

The SFV650 is light, nimble, and easily managed, and it's certainly comfortable for riders of most statures. The riding position is proper and relaxed, despite the relatively high (30.9-inch) seat height. The torque delivery is healthy and constant through all gears the smooth shifting transmission.

The SFV650 is also quick enough to satisfy even most sport bike riders and civilized enough for novice riders to enjoy. Self-canceling turn signals are about all the SFV650 is missing, but due diligence with a responsible rider overcomes this issue.

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