Living with a 2003 Suzuki SV1000

Warren Pole gives the Suzuki SV1000 a good threashing and then a good review. That's what you're after, isn't it?

September 2003

Luckily for me (although perhaps less luckily for the Suzuki) I found myself in charge of our SV for a fortnight last month, and what a time we had of it because between us we packed in 800 miserable UK motorway miles, several soggy laps of central London, a visit to the BSB at Oulton Park, a madcap hoolie across the backroads of Northern France, one balmy track day at the Val de Vienne circuit near Poitiers, and a good old-fashioned crash.

And do you know what? The SV was very impressive. It ate the motorway miles as we went up and down to Manchester in our first few days as an item, and was even half comfortable.

Then came the French track day trip. I was tagging along with a bunch of 40-odd riders on a trip organised by Farside Sportsbiking (www.farside-sportsbiking.co.uk). Barreling through French twisties at speeds rarely dipping below a ton in cahoots with some fast boys on R1s and the like, the SV was never left behind. It even wheelied like a good 'un.

And at the track? It did a darned sight better than any all-rounder has the right to. It was a bit heavy, granted, but turned-in surprisingly fast and held a nice tight line better than its ancestor the TL1000R ever could. In fact, I had so much fun I rode faster and faster until I fell off.

But did my trusty SV splinter into a thousand pieces and leave me stranded in France? Did it buggery. Despite a 70mph trip into the gravel it refused to so much as snap a lever or hole an engine casing. The only damage was a cracked fairing, scuffed end can, bent brake lever and a load of pebble-dashing down the right-hand side. What a motorbike.

Now having taken the SV to our friends First Bike in Tooting (0208 946 9466) I have before me the bill and it's a shade under two grand for parts alone. This sounds like a lot for cosmetic damage, but when you start throwing things like a £364.94 fuel tank, a £529.69 end can (yup, you read right), and a £127.55 clutch cover you can see where it starts becoming rather lumpy.

Unless you're covered with the luxury of fully comp insurance it'd be madness to go to the expense of replacing all the damaged parts with originals. So we slashed the bill with a set of Micron race cans (£399.90, (01773) 876333) instead of the single stock item, and some tasty Gilles rearsets (£249, (0870) 2402118), and for the time being we can just about live with the scuffed clutch cover and mirror. At least until next month...