First Ride

New bike test: Yamaha MT-07 v Suzuki SV650X

New bike test: Yamaha MT-07 v Suzuki SV650X

Middle of the road, left in the garage, or right on target? We test the 2018 Yamaha MT-07 against Suzuki's new SV650X

IF YOU were to believe the mainstream media, extremism is everywhere these days, and the centre's never looked so weak. According to this theory, people worldwide are plumping for radical 'populist' politics – be they left or right – and in religion, people are either chucking it altogether, or signing up for the most arcane sects. Folk are bored, unconvinced or simply unwilling to accept the status quo, and are looking for more extreme answers to their problems.

But when it comes to bikes, the middle ground is still pretty popular. Folk love the idea of 220bhp megabikes, but the sensible head often takes over when it’s time to sign on the PCP agreement dotted line.

Here at Visordown though, we take a longer, calmer view (sometimes). So we're holding our judgement on all this for the moment, and going out for a ride instead. This time, we're riding two of the most middle-of-the-road bikes you could think of – Yamaha's MT-07 and the Suzuki SV650X. Now, if we were to go along with the extremism theory, then these bikes would be languishing at the bottom of the sales charts, unloved by punters desperate for something wilder. Instead, they’re massive sellers, the MT-07 in particular is a ubiquitous sight in the trenches of the UK’s commuter wars of a morning.

It’s not too hard to work out why. Priced to sell, and with very decent engine and chassis packages, both the MT and the SV are the sort of bread and butter bikes which keep many a dealer ticking over in the sales stakes (while waiting to sell all those lovely R1Ms and GSX-R1000Rs). But which is best? There’s only one way to find out…