Suzuki first introduced the SV650 way back in 1999, and it quickly became one of the most popular motorcycles on the road. The relatively low price point combined with a torquey V-twin engine and good handling made it an excellent choice for new riders, but it also became a popular bike to upgrade for racing. In fact, the latest generation SV continues to be a popular racing platform, and Alex Dumas just wrapped up the 2019 MotoAmerica Twins Cup championship on an SV650 based machine. For 2019, Suzuki introduced a café-inspired version dubbed the SV650X, and the bike continues as a 2020 model. We spent some time enjoying this bike over the last few months using it for weekend rides and some commuting.
2019 Suzuki SV650X Review | Bits And Pieces
First off, the SV 650X is mechanically the same as the standard SV650. It has a liquid-cooled, 645cc, DOHC, 90-degree, V-twin engine. It includes a close-ratio six-speed transmission. The SV is fuel injected and includes the TI-ISC Low RPM Assist feature that helps adjust the engine speed during takeoff, which is excellent for new riders and goes unnoticed for more experienced riders.
The steel trellis frame is also shared with the standard SV along with the steel beam-type swingarm that connects to a preload-adjustable rear shock. The front forks are 41mm conventional units with 4.9 inches of travel and include preload adjustability. It has dual floating 290mm discs with four-piston Tokiko calipers in the front. That is an improvement in brakes from past SV models. The SV models also include anti-lock brakes. The 3.8-gallon fuel tank is also the same as the standard SV.
The primary differences between the SV650X and a standard SV650 are the handlebars and styling. The X uses clip-on handlebars that are a lot lower and narrower than the tubular upright handlebars found on the standard bike. The X also includes a different headlight cowling and bodywork around the tank/frame junction and a slightly taller seat that has a ribbed stitching and brown finish that gives it an authentic Café styling. The forks include preload adjustment (the standard SV does not), and the front brake caliper utilizes a different master cylinder with a reservoir, which fits the Café styling. Those changes result in an MSRP of $8,399, which is $1,300 more than the standard SV650 and $1,000 more than the SV650 with ABS.
2019 Suzuki SV650X Review | Back In The Saddle
Our first day of riding on the Suzuki SV650X was with a large group in the city streets and coastal canyons of California and around Santa Monica, Malibu, and Venice. We also had some freeway commuting with a lot of lane splitting (a practice that is legal in California). That first day of riding quickly added up to nearly 300 miles on the bike, and we continued to ride the SV650X for regular commuting and weekend riders for the next few months.
Our first impression is that the SV is still an outstanding motorcycle and the X version provides a more sporty option that is still quite comfortable even for a long day on the bike. We had a wide range of bikes on that first day in the Santa Monica canyons, and the little SV was likely the best choice to be on for the fun, twisty roads. It was equally good to ride in the stop-and-go traffic in the congested cities, and the narrow, low bars are great for safely squeezing between cars on the city streets or California freeways. The 31.1-inch seat height is slightly taller than the standard SV, but the shape still makes it easy for most riders to touch the ground.
The handling on the SV is very predictable, and the suspension is suitable for relatively aggressive street and twisty road riding for riders under 190 pounds. The Café positioning makes the bike feel a lot sportier and a lot more fun on those twisty roads with a slight tradeoff in comfort for a long day of riding.
The dash is a high-quality unit that is easy to read and includes a tach, speed, dual trip meter, clock, coolant temperature/oil pressure, indicator, ABS alert, and gear position. And the fuel consumption gives you an estimate of the range left, which is a handy feature. The tank also provides plenty of range, at least 160 miles before you start looking for a gas station, as we averaged around 45 mpg. The shape of the fuel tank is comfortable for riding as well.
For higher speed riding, including freeways, the SV650X has plenty of power to cruise along at higher speeds and still plenty of acceleration to move through traffic when needed. The small fairing does not provide much wind protection, but the narrow clip-on bars give a riding position that gets you out of the wind a little better than the upright handlebars on the standard SV.
’Til We Meet Again
The Suzuki SV650X is an excellent choice for SV lovers looking for a sportier version that you can purchase right off the showroom floor. But the SV line also continues to be an excellent option for anyone looking for an unintimidating, easy-to-ride, yet sporty standard bike, and because it has been a popular bike that has been around for several years, there are plenty of customization possibilities if you want to freshen up the look or improve the performance down the road.
It’ll be a sad day here at the CN office when Suzuki comes knocking on the door to pick up their little SV. We will surely miss not having it around. CN
2019 Suzuki SV650X Specifications
||Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 90˚, V-twin
|Bore x Stroke:
||81.0mm x 62.6mm
||Fuel injection with SDTV
||Wet, multi-plate type
||6-speed, constant mesh
||Chain, DID 520V0, 112 links
||Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
||Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
||Dual, 4-piston calipers, 2 discs, ABS
||Single, 1-piston caliper, 1 disc, ABS
||120/70ZR17M/C (58W), tubeless
||160/60ZR17M/C (69W), tubeless
|Fuel Tank Capacity:
||Glass Sparkle Black
||Electronic ignition (transistorized)
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