Its faired brother is more suited to motorway miles, but how does the SV650 handle rush hour traffic?
Click to read: 2003 Suzuki SV650 owners reviews, 2003 Suzuki SV650 specs and to see the 2003 Suzuki SV650 image gallery.
When we tested the SV650S both on its own and against the rest of the middle-weight competition there was always one nagging problem with the bike. Through town the 'S' version's clip-ons put a lot of the rider's weight onto their wrists which made the bike a pain, literally, at slow speed. At the time the naked version hadn't yet been launched so we just had to imagine what the new SV would be like with flat-bars. Well, after a slight hiatus in production, the naked SV is now in the shops.
And guess what...it's just like the faired SV, but with flat bars. Well no surprises there then. Suzuki has kept as many parts as possible common between the S and naked versions. The engine is identical and has Suzuki's dual-butterfly throttle valve fuel injection system, the chassis is the same aluminium-alloy truss and the suspension, brakes, tank and seat unit are the same too.
At the front end the half-fairing has been replaced by a single front headlight, flat bars sit above the top yoke and the plastic mirrors that were mounted on the fairing are replaced by metal handlebar mounted ones. But as well as the obvious changes there are also some subtle ones. The foot pegs have been dropped slightly to give a more relaxed riding position, the gearing is lowered to take into account that top speed isn't as important on a naked bike, and the wheelbase is slightly longer.
Subtle as they are the changes to the bike have produced two distinct models. Where the faired SV is an all-rounder, the naked version is perfect for commuting and dodging city traffic.
Riding through the centre of London the benefit of the flat bars was instantly apparent. The riding position feels much more upright compared to the S, and because your body isn't angled downwards you get a much clearer view over cars stuck in traffic and can spot the odd pedestrian waiting to jump out in front of you. Stopping at traffic lights there is none of the wrist exercises that usually follow a short town journey on the S with its clip-ons. The flat bars make the naked SV far easier to manoeuvre through tight gaps between queues of cars. The bars and mirrors are at the perfect height to avoid car's mirrors, which is very useful to avoid road rage. And despite the rectangular mirrors looking slightly tacky they are actually very good as the long stalks move them far enough away from the bike to avoid showing too much of your elbows.
Click to read the Suzuki SV650 review verdict.
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