Suzuki SV1000 (2003 - 2005) review

The SV1000 is like the 650, but on steroids. Like your best friend it’s solid, reliable and fun to be with. If you are after a naked bike it’s very competent but it does lack the ‘kick-in-the pants’ elements of the TL.

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Tue, 14 Sep 2010 - 12:09

Details
Manufacturer:
Suzuki
Category:
Naked
Price:
£ 6049
Overall
3
Need Insurance?
It’s not as racy as Aprilia’s Tuono but has that typical SV reassuring feeling about it that gives you confidence
Good town bike that is slightly larger and heavier than its 650cc sibling.
May not excite enough for more experienced riders

While the faired version isn't to everyone's taste - The SV1000 sporty riding position can put a bit of a strain on your wrists.

The naked version comes with flat bars and a comfier and much more upright riding position. And like the SV650, this makes it a much better town bike.

Sitting on the SV1000, having just spent the last week riding around on the naked 650, the extra size of the 1000 is instantly apparent. Where the 650 almost doesn’t feel like a proper bike because it's so small and lightweight the 1000 has a lot more physical presence about it. It only weights an extra 18kg over the 650 but it feels bigger and chunkier in a reassuring kind of way, especially if you are quite tall.

The riding position is slightly more aggressive than the 650 because of the extra size of the bike. Your legs are pushed slightly further apart and the bars feel a bit wider than the 650’s, which combined with the extra weight makes it feel sturdy. Also the pegs are set lower than the faired SV1000, putting you in a straight-backed, straight-armed riding position which is actually quite comfortable.

On the move the extra weight isn’t very noticeable. The 1000 feels more planted through corners than the 650 thanks to its extra weight and is slightly harder work to change direction on but you would only really notice this if, like me, you swap straight from one bike to the other. Compared to other 1000s the SV handles very well. It’s not as racy as Aprilia’s Tuono but has that typical SV reassuring feeling about it that gives you confidence. It just wants to be your friend and you know that there are no hidden surprises waiting to catch you out. Through fast bends it’s very competent and planted and in town the large steering lock and low seat height, which feels lower thanks to the narrowness of the bike, makes manoeuvring it at low speed very easy.

With the SV1000 being a large capacity V-twin naked bike there are going to be the obvious parallels drawn with Suzuki’s other naked twin, the ill-fated TL1000. This isn’t very surprising really, seeing as the SV uses a re-tuned version of the TL’s motor. But where the TL was a total hooligan bike the SV is far more civilised and friendly.

Far from just bolting the TL’s motor in a new chassis and junking the controversial rotary rear damper Suzuki has made sweeping changes to the TL engine for the SV. In some ways it has removed a bit of the character but in others it has improved the lump hugely.

The power is delivered in a smooth and totally constant flow with no kicks or power bands. Fans of the TL will consider this dull but in reality it makes the SV a very easy and enjoyable bike to ride. The fuel injection is just about perfect when the bike is moving but I did find it a bit rough at very low revs on a constant throttle. It wasn’t a massive problem and is more of a problem with the V-twin engine configuration than anything else, and anyway the Suzuki’s injection system is far better at low revs than other large V-twins such as Aprilia’s Mille.

Now, despite the engine having its character slightly removed there is one major advantage of the constant power delivery of the motor. It wheelies like a bastard. The SV1000 is the easiest bike I have ever ridden to wheelie. Just dip the clutch in first and the front is up and from then on the smooth power makes keeping it there a doddle. Maybe there is still and element of the TL hooligan buried in there somewhere after all.

While the faired version isn't to everyone's taste - The SV1000 sporty riding position can put a bit of a strain on your wrists.

The naked version comes with flat bars and a comfier and much more upright riding position. And like the SV650, this makes it a much better town bike.

Sitting on the SV1000, having just spent the last week riding around on the naked 650, the extra size of the 1000 is instantly apparent. Where the 650 almost doesn’t feel like a proper bike because it's so small and lightweight the 1000 has a lot more physical presence about it. It only weights an extra 18kg over the 650 but it feels bigger and chunkier in a reassuring kind of way, especially if you are quite tall.

The riding position is slightly more aggressive than the 650 because of the extra size of the bike. Your legs are pushed slightly further apart and the bars feel a bit wider than the 650’s, which combined with the extra weight makes it feel sturdy. Also the pegs are set lower than the faired SV1000, putting you in a straight-backed, straight-armed riding position which is actually quite comfortable.

On the move the extra weight isn’t very noticeable. The 1000 feels more planted through corners than the 650 thanks to its extra weight and is slightly harder work to change direction on but you would only really notice this if, like me, you swap straight from one bike to the other. Compared to other 1000s the SV handles very well. It’s not as racy as Aprilia’s Tuono but has that typical SV reassuring feeling about it that gives you confidence. It just wants to be your friend and you know that there are no hidden surprises waiting to catch you out. Through fast bends it’s very competent and planted and in town the large steering lock and low seat height, which feels lower thanks to the narrowness of the bike, makes manoeuvring it at low speed very easy.

With the SV1000 being a large capacity V-twin naked bike there are going to be the obvious parallels drawn with Suzuki’s other naked twin, the ill-fated TL1000. This isn’t very surprising really, seeing as the SV uses a re-tuned version of the TL’s motor. But where the TL was a total hooligan bike the SV is far more civilised and friendly.

Far from just bolting the TL’s motor in a new chassis and junking the controversial rotary rear damper Suzuki has made sweeping changes to the TL engine for the SV. In some ways it has removed a bit of the character but in others it has improved the lump hugely.

The power is delivered in a smooth and totally constant flow with no kicks or power bands. Fans of the TL will consider this dull but in reality it makes the SV a very easy and enjoyable bike to ride. The fuel injection is just about perfect when the bike is moving but I did find it a bit rough at very low revs on a constant throttle. It wasn’t a massive problem and is more of a problem with the V-twin engine configuration than anything else, and anyway the Suzuki’s injection system is far better at low revs than other large V-twins such as Aprilia’s Mille.

Now, despite the engine having its character slightly removed there is one major advantage of the constant power delivery of the motor. It wheelies like a bastard. The SV1000 is the easiest bike I have ever ridden to wheelie. Just dip the clutch in first and the front is up and from then on the smooth power makes keeping it there a doddle. Maybe there is still and element of the TL hooligan buried in there somewhere after all.

Length (mm) 2080
Width (mm) 785
Height (mm) 1080
Dryweight (kg) 186
Seats 0
Seat Height (mm) 800
Suspension Front Telescopic, 46mm inner tube
Suspension Rear Swingarm, progressive linkage,
Adjustability Rear Fully adjustable spring preload
Tyres Front 120/70ZR17
Tyres Rear 180/55ZR17
Brakes Front 4-piston calipers, 310mm dual discs
Brakes Rear 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Wheelbase (mm) 1445
Ground Clearance (mm) 150
Trail (mm) 99
Cubic Capacity (cc) 996
Valves 8
Max Power (bhp) 120
Max Power Peak (rpm) 9000
Torque (ft/lb) 75
Torque Peak (rpm) 7200
Bore (mm) 98
Stroke (mm) 66
Valve Gear DOHC
Compression Ratio 11.3
Ignition Digital electronic
Valves Per Cylinder 4
Cooling Liquid cooled
Fuel Delivery Fuel injection, 52mm
Stroke Type Four Stroke
Drive Chain
Top Speed
Score Breakdown
Overall
3
Crash Media Group
Visordown is part of the CMG Full Throttle Network© : welcoming over 3 million consumers each month