At first glance, the Suzuki SV650 looks like a Ducati Streetfighter, with its gleaming Pearl White color option (our review unit) and a red steel trellis chassis. Plus the obvious view of its 90° V-Twin amidst the chassis. And having had to answer the question in the affirmative or otherwise. Like over social media where the majority failed to read the caption of a given picture, people in reality too were unable to detect the Suzuki brandname inscribed into both sides of the fuel tank. 

These irritations aside, what the SV650 has to offer are a lightweight body, at a mere 168kg, which is the same as the Honda CBR250RR SP albeit with an extra 29horsepower over the latter! That gives an idea of how agile the SV650 is in terms of handling, feel and agility. 

For city and winding road rides, the SV650 is superb – basically the performance is better than almost any vehicle encountered between Point A and B! However, the excitement it has during casual rides in the city and twisty roads soon come back to reality when entering the highways. It is definitely lacking in the torque to push for better speeds! 

That’s where you started to feel the SV650’s limitation to go faster, especially when other vehicles could now unleash their full potential on the straights, and overtaking the petite Suzuki is pretty much easy! 

That’s not to say the Suzuki is a slouch in the top speed segment, far from it. It’s capable of achieving 170-190km/h with no issue but if one’s riding buddies are on bikes capable of doing above 250km/h, then it’s no contest! For its V-Twin engine capacity, the SV650 comes with a generous 16-litre fuel tank, which is capable of a distance of 320km distance, at constant leisure ride. But keeping up with faster motorcycles and cars, expect the consumption to be less than 240km overall. 

Like many Suzuki bikes, the SV650 also lacks engine braking unlike other brands. However, for any rider who honed his skill while riding 2-stroke machines, this is hardly an issue. It will probably be shocking for some riders who are used to 4-strokers which have engine braking feature in the tech, built-in.  

Overall, getting the ultimate performance from the Suzuki SV650 is depending on several factors – rider’s skill, aggressiveness, maneuvering ability and daringness as well as the type of performance tyres that are fitted to it. 

As with many twin cylinders motorcycles in the same class, the Suzuki SV650 is fitted with tyre sizes of 120/70ZR-17 (front) and 160/60ZR-17 (rear), Dunlop Sportmax brand. The Sportmax are equally good, both on the dry and wet riding conditions. Fears of the SV650 going to shake you off it are all in the mind especially if it has been “ingrained” with the thought the Sportmax isn’t design to grip well at the corners. 

In our test onboard the SV650, we do not come across any moment where the tyres fail to have traction during fast cornering. The Dunlops performed as they should, with no worries. 

Posted by Philip Chong

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