1999 Suzuki SV650
This is the best value for money in road bikes available today!
The voltage regulator died & toasted the battery. First signs of this occurring are a sulphurous smell when parking after a ride and starting difficulty. The v-reg. is over $130 as an *aftermarket* part; Suzuki charges more. The battery is approximately $100 through Suzuki (motorcycle batteries prices are far out of proportion to their sizes/abilities.) Clearly, this is an item to keep an eye on and jump on. Later models show different part#s for the *bolts* holding the v-reg. to the chassis; I speculate that Suzuki changed from steel to brass or aluminum bolts to increase heat transfer out of the voltage regulator in order to increase lifespan of this part.
All chrome parts and clear-coated aluminum do not stand up to weathering well. Keep this motorcycle out of the weather and clean to extend lifespan.
This motorcycle is a joy to ride. It is light, torquey, and nimble.
While some might recommend this motorcycle for beginners, it really has too much power for a complete neophyte.
For anyone with a reasonable amount of riding experience, this motorcycle has the ability to grow with you and maximize your abilities. No wonder it has become a favorite amateur racing mount!
The styling of the original SV '99-'02 was superb; the redesign occurring for the '03 model year while increasing performance coincided with a styling change that can best be termed unfortunate, if not downright ugly. So if buying used, your choice is between a better looking older model that cannot match the performance of the 2003+ models, or a faster albeit plainer model.
The front suspension as-delivered from Suzuki was under-sprung & under-damped for any rider weighing more than about 60kg (135 lbs.) This is easily remedied by purchasing aftermarket fork springs and 15wt fork oil. DO THIS FIRST! You'll be happy you did...
Post 2003 models are fuel-injected and require expensive computer parts in order to remedy the too-lean settings required to please the EPA.
'99-'02 models are carbeurated, and only require #17.5 idle jets and #160 air jets (2 each) vs. (CA-spec) #15 & #150, respectively, in order to run properly. Decreased warm up times and increased performance lead to better mileage, oddly enough.
The stock seats (all years) are execrable: they look nice, but the maximum amount of riding time before your backside complains with pain, is about 30 minutes for the passenger, & 1 hour for the pilot. Custom seats are almost a must for anyone who contemplates more than short rides/commuting.
The 650 is a little small for full-size adults, which is part of why it is often recommended to beginning (women & younger male) riders.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th February, 2005
Did you shop around for the battery? I'm in the UK and the battery died last year on my Kawasaki ZX7R. The local Kawasaki outlet wanted UKP72.00 for a Yuasa (the make of battery Kawasaki fit at the factory) replacement. I found the same battery in some local "all makes" motor spares outlets for UKP50.00, but a quick look on-line found a UK based battery wholesale company offering the exact same battery in a sales promotion for UKP37.50 including shipping. If I had been prepared to go for a less well known brand, I could have picked one up for about UKP20.00.
The new battery is exactly the same as the one I took off the bike, except it works of course ;) The battery has been on the bike for just over a year and still works perfectly.
I have found the Kawasaki ex250 to be the best bang for your buck. Buy the bike for under $2,000, slightly used from a private party. People have toured long distance on this thing with only a couple comfort mods. Just my two cents.