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, and 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 you ask? How about a bike that’s classified in the standard category with some 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 bike.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2014 Suzuki SFV650||$8,149||$8,399 * est. – Dealer prep and handling fee may vary||Not given / Not given|
|EPA Rating||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||Not tested||N/A|
The Suzuki SFV650 delivers a unique motorcycling experience with its compact open trellis steel frame featuring 25 degree of rake and 104 mm of trail for stable handling characteristics along with a clean, simplistic naked flavor, featuring no fairings, similar in appearance to that found on Ducati’s Diavel models. The inverted front forks are 41 mm stanchion types with spring preload adjustability over a 15 mm range with a front wheel travel of 4.9 in. Out back, a single rear shock with preload adjustability over a seven step range with a rear wheel travel of 130 mm is connected to the rectangular-section steel swingarm through a progressive linkage that allows the suspension to react smoothly over bumps, improving overall ride comfort.
Reining in the Suzuki SFV650 and bringing it to a halt are dual floating front 290 mm brake discs with dual piston calipers and a single 240 mm rear disc brake with a single piston caliper. The SFV650 rolls on Dunlop qualifier SportMaxx 120/70 ZR17 M/C 58W tubeless sport radial rubber up front and 160/60 ZR17 M/C 69W aft, mounted on 5-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 with its 30.9-inch height, 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 organically, 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. Also provided is an analog tachometer, LCD digital speedometer, LCD dual trip-meters and an odometer. An LCD digital clock, and LCD digital gear position indicator are included as well in the molded composite pod. Indicator lights include a two-way remaining fuel warning lamp, backed up by an LCD digital reserve trip meter. The compact combination tail and brake light is packaged beneath the rear seat, and framed by stylish seat (handle) rails that are also flanked by clear lens turn indicators. The sculpted seat provides ample padding, with the rear edges bolstered for rider hip support.
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. Each cylinder head features a compact combustion chamber with two 31 mm intake valves set at 14 degrees from the cylinder centerline and two 25.5 mm exhaust valves set at 16 degrees from the cylinder centerline. Each 39 mm, extra-fine, 10-hole atomization injectors produce an average spray particle diameter that improves combustion efficiency. Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve 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 Suzuki SFV650 arrives with a lighter, narrower and more efficient radiator, with an enhanced liquid-to-liquid oil cooler that reduces weight. An automatic Idle Speed Control system is integrated into each throttle body, producing stable idling while improving cold starting and reducing emissions immediately after start up. Dual spark plugs cylinder heads feature iridium spark plugs that aid in reducing spark plug electrode degradation, while allowing the electrode to be finer, producing a more intense, hotter spark that further enhances combustion. Single valve springs reduce inertia weight and mechanical losses while maintaining accurate valve control.
The motor’s energy reaches the rear wheel via a chain final drive, through a 6-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 engagement dogs are strengthened to help 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 M etallic trellis frame with Metallic Thunder Gray tank sides and a Glass Sparkle Black center section. Chrome and Satin Silver trim elements finished off the Euro-flavored ride. The base price was set at $8,149 with dealer prep and handling, which may vary, comes to an estimated $8,399.
SUMMARY: The 2014 Suzuki SFV650 is an ideal two-wheeled machine that suits its purpose well. I’ve already covered the ground that it’s a standard motorcycle, and not a sport bike, dirt bike, tourer or cruiser. It does what it’s intended to do and does it well – it 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 here, that the SFV650 is better suited to riders that fall into the 95th percentile. At 6’4” with long legs, I found extended rides to be more tedious – but 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 is about all the SFV650 is missing, but due diligence overcomes this issue. Bottom line – the Suzuki SFV650 is a keeper.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2014 Suzuki SFV650 a Buy It! for an ideal form of two-wheeled transport .
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Suzuki SFV650
Base Price: $8,149
Price as Tested: $8,399 * est. – Dealer prep and handling fee may vary
Engine Type and Size: 645cc 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve, 90-degree V-Twin with fuel injection
Horsepower (bhp): Not given
Torque (ft./ lbs.): Not given
Transmission: 6-Speed constant mesh manual
Drive Train: Final drive – Chain
Suspension: Front – Inverted, telescopic coil spring, oil damped forks
Rear – Link-type, coil spring, oil damped, 7-step adjustable spring preload
Brakes: 2-piston calipers, 290mm twin front discs / 1-piston caliper, 240mm single disc rear
Tires: Dunlop SportMaxx 120/70 ZR17 M/C 58W tubeless front / 160/60 ZR17 M/C 69W rear mounted on 5-spoke black painted alloy wheels
Wheelbase: 56.9 inches
Length Overall: 83.9 inches
Curb Weight dry: 445 lbs.
Ground clearance 5.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.8 gallons
Seat height: 30.9 inches
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.