2021 Suzuki SV650 review - "Back to Basics"

By sep, 29 November 2021

What's it like riding Suzuki's cheapest bike, the SV650? Better than expected

There are a lot of good choices when it comes to entry-level 'big bikes' here in Malaysia ranging from multiple brands. If budget is of concern, then the choices are limited down to a few models, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you should trim down the fun factor as well. For Suzuki, the cheapest bike that you can get for now is the 2021 Suzuki SV650, and here's our official review about it.

Before Suzuki Malaysia Sdn Bhd plans to introduce its small-capacity models in 2022, the most affordable model that you can get is the SV650. Priced at RM37,289 (excluding insurance, road tax & registration), the Suzuki SV650 is a modern retro roadster with a hint of retro thrown into the mix, which seems to be the 'in thing' in the past few years.

This middleweight road machine is all about providing the basics of big bike riding for riders to focus on a more important note - actually enjoying the ride. Its looks might be clean and simple, but some folks are into that and for those who don't, then it's easier to say that it's not for everyone.

Powered by a 645cc V-twin DOHC engine with liquid-cooling, the Suzuki SV650 produces around 72hp at 8,500rpm and 68Nm of torque at 6,800rpm. To put things into perspective, the SV650 should be within the same ballpark as the Yamaha MT-07 and the Kawasaki Z650, apart from the SV650 running a V-twin setup.

Riding the bike is fairly simple, especially for beginners. Flat footing this machine is quite an easy affair for the standard Asian height, and the clutch is also forgiving (although some might feel that it's a bit too short for comfort as those who are new to bike might stall it a couple of times before getting the hang of the clutch, even with the low RPM assist feature).

Power is enough for some quick sprints around town and highways, but the lack of wind protection upfront means that any speeds above 130km/h will be a nuisance, especially if you're not wearing a good helmet. Nevertheless, that signature V-twin grunt and feel is presented at very good levels no matter which gear you're currently in considering that the SV650 costs just under the RM40k mark.

There is, however, a major issue with this power unit - heat. Riding it around town, you won't notice it considering how fun it is to operate the machine but once you arrive at that traffic light, that hotness slowly rises up and it's hard to un-notice that once you get the bike rolling again.

No electronic wizardries on this bike either, folks (apart from ABS). You do get a set of twin discs upfront with a couple of Tokico four-piston calipers to help with the braking (and a single-piston rear calliper to balance things out at the back). They work well, no drama here. The same goes for its non-adjustable front forks and preload-adjustable rear monoshock which are pretty decent in soaking up minor bumps despite the affordable price tag.

At the end of it all, the Suzuki SV650 is a great step-up for those who want to upgrade anywhere between 250cc and 400cc. There are no frills when it comes to this budget Suzzy, but there's still loads of fun to have, especially if you love a proper-sounding V-twin between your legs with a relatively comfortable seating position for your daily escapades.

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