Used Bike

Owner Manual SV650 p2

The ultimate buyer’s guide to the SV650 written by the people who actually own the bike...

Faired or unfaired?
94% of the bikes in our survey were the faired ‘S’ model and just 6% were the naked ‘N’!

15% of owners don’t do any maintenance themselves. 47% do minor jobs like replacing brake pads. 38% do everything. The SV’s a pretty easy bike to work on and poor quality bolts cause more problems than anything else.

Like so many modern bikes the finish isn’t as good as people hope – in fact it appears the little SV is worse than many. Paint isn’t the best – the tank and plastic panels can look shabby fairly fast and the engine paint can come off. Fork legs lowers corrode and pretty much every fastener and bolt either corrodes or is easy to chew up when you try and loosen them. The rear brake torque arm and front exhaust down pipe suffer too. Even a well cared-for bike will probably have corrosion under the tank and the yokes. Apply WD40 with abandon.

What goes wrong
It’s a pretty reliable bike but there’s the odd problem. Camchain tensioners can fail, knackering the camchains themselves in extreme cases but it’s rare. You should hear that machine gun rattle at idle if there’s a problem. Regulator/rectifiers can fail and potentially strand the bike with no electrical power – it’s not expensive even if it means a new battery.

We’ve heard of the odd bike using too much oil and needing a rebuild. Smoke from the exhaust when the engine’s warm is a sign of trouble.Water can get into the front spark plug as well during heavy rain and make the bike run badly so a mudguard extension’s a good idea. There’s the odd case of failing coils (cheap) and gearboxes (expensive) but they’re not common. Some wires run near the left hand bolt that holds the seat on and these can wear through and cause the main fuse to go, stopping the bike. Highly annoying.

The drain for the fuel cap can get kinked under the hinged fuel tank. The result is water can end up in the petrol and has to be got rid of or the bike won’t run.

Criticised by some as being a little weak. Although the set-up’s basic it should haul the lightweight SV up sharpish if it’s all in good fettle. Genuine Suzuki pads are the most popular and fairly well liked. EBC are the most common aftermarket choice and thought to give better performance, although some owners say their HH sintered pads wear the discs out quickly.

Carbonne Lorraine A3+ get the thumbs up from the folks that use them while Ferrodo, Dunlopad and Galfer are less popular but still rated by those who have fitted them.

Continue the Suzuki SV650 Buyer Guide

Owner Case Study: "I’ve got through four engines!"

Steve Maggs bought his 1999 SV650S four years ago. He uses the bike for commuting, touring, fun and everything in between and has taken the mileage from about 20,000 to 70,000.

He’s also managed to wreck the engine several times. The first time he got it re-built by a Suzuki dealer but then he did it again and figured fitting a used engine (sourced on eBay for £350) was a better option than trying to get it re-built again.

"I kept running the bike out of oil. I didn’t realise the warning light is for oil pressure, not oil level. Anyway, it didn’t come on even when the bike had as little as 75ml of oil – it’s meant to have about 3,500ml!
I actually got through two more used engines before I realised why they were breaking. I check the oil every week now. The bike does use a bit if you ride hard and I redline it in every gear and use the engine braking a lot too, which could be part of the problem!

"I still think it’s a brilliant bike. It is a budget machine but other than a few known problems it’s very reliable and it’s great fun. It can really teach you a lot about how to ride and although I’ve had lots of different bikes in the past I’m in no rush to get something bigger than my SV."

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