The Suzuki SV650 as a First Bike: Our Thoughts

One of the first motorcycles I owned was a 2008 Suzuki SV650S. It was what I rode immediately after selling my 1999 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (probably the best beginner motorcycle I’ve ever ridden, by the way. Learn more about the Kawasaki Ninja 500R here), and it was the motorcycle that took riding from a hobby to a full-blown addiction. It’s balance, poise, power, and curb appeal drew me in a little more each time I rode it.

Then, one day, I sold it. As always, it was time to move on to bigger and better things. In my case, it was the desire to move away from a V-twin (for various personal reasons).

The Suzuki SV650 for a New Rider

One of the many things I liked about my ’08 SV was that it was a fast bike – sometimes, a little too fast – but only when I wanted it to be. I found that riding a super-sport always resulted in me being cautious of laying into the throttle for fear that the motorcycle would go crazy and try to take off on me. While I appreciate a good wheelie, I prefer both wheels on the ground when I ride.

The SV650 was very tamable. Since the V-twin had a relatively predictable power band, I was able to give it gas while I was turning- accelerating out of the corner with peace of mind in knowing that I wouldn’t hit some change in the power band and kill myself. In this way, the SV650 was a fantastic ride. Suzuki really hit the nail on the head with this one.

But, like every bike, there were some caveats that I found myself getting annoyed with:

  1. The styling just irked me – While there is no doubt that the Suzuki SV650S is a handsome bike, it lacked the sporty and aggressive appeal that some other motorcycles had (the new Yamaha FZ6R comes to mind). I wanted something a little more aggressive looking and, for the first time ever, I was beginning to appreciate the looks of naked bikes.
  2. I didn’t want ABS – A great feature, yes, but not something that I wanted. I’ve never liked ABS on anything that I’ve ridden or drove.

A new rider will find the Suzuki SV650 a comfortable bike to ride. It’s a little heavier than some of the smaller entry level motorcycles, but a larger person (5’8″ and taller I’d say) shouldn’t have any problems keeping it in line. New riders may find the extra weight a bit difficult to handle a low speeds (parking lots, etc.), but careful practice will help overcome that hurdle.

Do I Recommend the Suzuki SV650 / Suzuki SV650S for a New Rider? Absolutely

Ultimately, it’s up to the rider to determine what their comfort level is. However, the SV650 is one bike that is very forgiving of minor mistakes, won’t bite too hard, responds well to all types of riding, and is big enough to potentially last a new rider quite a few years. I know of many well experienced riders who would never give up their beloved Suzuki.

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