Suzuki SFV650 Gladius (2009 - present) review

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Thu, 4 Jun 2009 - 12:06

Details
Manufacturer:
Suzuki
Category:
Naked
Price:
£ 4500
Overall
4
Need Insurance?
Excellent and very user-friendly town bike.
Gay pink colours.

It’s chucking it down. I can’t really see where I’m going as yet another errant Fiat Punto rental car appears out of the low cloud halfway across my side of the road. I’m soaked to the skin, I’m on an unfamiliar road high in the mountains and I’m not too sure of the way back to the hotel. All sorts of things go through my mind, but they’ll have to wait – right now I really need to concentrate.

Of course, I could just slow down a bit. But I don’t want to. What may sound like purgatory to many is proving to be the most fun I’ve had on a bike in ages. Concentrating on my lines and feeling for grip is all I have to do thanks to the easy-going nature of the long-awaited replacement for Suzuki’s evergreen SV650.

Sitting well forward, I’m getting a real feel for what’s going on. I have to remind myself that it’s raining and that I’m only wearing jeans. Despite those innocent, almost effeminate lines this is a bike that wants to boogie. Perhaps this sense of fun and sharp handling should come as no surprise, as the chief engineer responsible for the Gladius is none other than Hiroshi Lio, the man behind the GSX-R range.

With a low, squat fuel tank and a seat height 15mm lower than the SV, the Gladius has been made even more manageable for smaller riders and, of course, the large number of ladies who loved the SV for its low seat and narrow waistline. Taller riders shouldn’t feel too cramped though, and even if they do, Suzuki dealers can supply a taller, more padded seat to increase comfort and seat height. For my five-nine frame it feels about right and the whole layout makes for a low centre of gravity that really seems to help flicking through the many hairpins between Betancuria and Pajara. Getting carried away on this bike comes all too easily.

Click next to continue

It’s chucking it down. I can’t really see where I’m going as yet another errant Fiat Punto rental car appears out of the low cloud halfway across my side of the road. I’m soaked to the skin, I’m on an unfamiliar road high in the mountains and I’m not too sure of the way back to the hotel. All sorts of things go through my mind, but they’ll have to wait – right now I really need to concentrate.

Of course, I could just slow down a bit. But I don’t want to. What may sound like purgatory to many is proving to be the most fun I’ve had on a bike in ages. Concentrating on my lines and feeling for grip is all I have to do thanks to the easy-going nature of the long-awaited replacement for Suzuki’s evergreen SV650.

Sitting well forward, I’m getting a real feel for what’s going on. I have to remind myself that it’s raining and that I’m only wearing jeans. Despite those innocent, almost effeminate lines this is a bike that wants to boogie. Perhaps this sense of fun and sharp handling should come as no surprise, as the chief engineer responsible for the Gladius is none other than Hiroshi Lio, the man behind the GSX-R range.

With a low, squat fuel tank and a seat height 15mm lower than the SV, the Gladius has been made even more manageable for smaller riders and, of course, the large number of ladies who loved the SV for its low seat and narrow waistline. Taller riders shouldn’t feel too cramped though, and even if they do, Suzuki dealers can supply a taller, more padded seat to increase comfort and seat height. For my five-nine frame it feels about right and the whole layout makes for a low centre of gravity that really seems to help flicking through the many hairpins between Betancuria and Pajara. Getting carried away on this bike comes all too easily.

Click next to continue

Price: £4500 (£4849 with ABS)

Front suspension: Coil spring, oil damped
Rear suspension: Link, preload adjustable
Front brake: 290 mm discs, twin piston claipers
Rear brake: 240 mm disc, single caliper
Dry weight: 202kg
Seat height: 785mm
Fuel capacity: 14.5 litres

Colours: Blue/White, Red/White/

Engine: 645cc, liquid cooled, 16-valve, V-twin
Power: 66.6bhp @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 47 lb.ft @ 7,600 rpm

Top speed: 141mph

Score Breakdown
Overall
4
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