The SV650 has been around since 1999, being the first motorcycle to introduce the 645 cc V-twin engine that was later also used to power the hugely successful DL650 V-Strom adventure bike. The second generation SV was introduced in 2003, with brand new looks, a new aluminum frame and fuel injection as its most important updates. Six years later Suzuki renamed it as SFV650 Gladius and offered a new, modern design to complement a proven package that could tackle a wide variety of roles, ranging from friendly entry level motorcycle to club racing legend.
For its fourth generation, Suzuki returns to the model's roots by reinstating the SV name and redesigning it with clean, simple lines.
The host of updates to the 90-degree V-twin engine include new pistons and rings, cooling system and exhaust, resulting in a gain of 4 hp in peak power, up to 75 at 8,500 rpm. Torque hasn't changed in terms of maximum value, but the 64 Nm (47.2 lb-ft) are now produced higher than ever, at 8,100 rpm.
Suzuki opted to keep the SV relatively free from the typical electronic gadgetry that has infested modern motorcycles, so no ride-by-wire throttle action, traction control or selectable ignition maps. Instead, the new SV650 debuts a new practical system called Low RPM Assist. Working in tandem with the Idle Speed Control (that has been around since the previous SFV model), this system activates the moment the rider releases the clutch to launch the motorcycle by raising the engine revolutions just enough to avoid accidental stalling.
Another prominent feature of the new SV650 is its frame. Suzuki steered clear of the aluminum designs of the past, redesigning the previous model's steel truss to a slimmer silhouette.
Suspension and brake systems haven't changed, with the exception of a new ABS control unit by Nissin that's 830 g (1.8 lb) lighter. In all the SV650 weighs in at 195 kg (430 lb) in the non-ABS version and 197 kg (434 lb) with the ABS.
The new SV650 is expected to hit showrooms in the second quarter of 2016 at an as yet undisclosed price tag. It will be tasked with competing against Yamaha's MT-07 (FZ-07) – a motorcycle that has met considerable success with the combination of strong performance at an affordable price.
See the SV650 in action in Suzuki's new promo video.