I had the SV650 before the SV1000 - it was a great first big bike with user friendly handling and power, and it sounded great with a can on it.
After 2 years I wanted a bit more power, but loved the looks of the SV. I had heard that the SV1000 was a 'completely different bike' to the 650, with a few people saying "it handles like a boat"... They obviously hadn't done a test ride, because the SV1000 is a great bike, which feels very similar to the 650..
The swingarm is slightly longer, so the steering is ever so slightly slower. I find that the bike is 'flickable' i.e. it'll handle a quick succession of corners without any trouble, but I sometimes struggle to get it to commit to a single/longer sweeping corner. Having fiddled with the suspension settings, it now gives a bit more confidence.
In terms of power, it's a 998cc v-twin tower of power! Roll on in any gear from 3-5k revs and it pulls hard, 5-7k and it pulls really hard, 7k+ it makes you feel like a test pilot all the way til around 10k revs where the power starts to drop off just short of the redline.. With this in mind, you can either have a lazy relaxed ride bimbling along, should you need to overtake just give the throttle a tickle and then relax back into cruising... Alternatively if you want to pick up the pace a little, you can work the revs & gears more and be rewarded with a very thrilling but controlled ride.
There is a bit of a strange characteristic to the v-twin engine. When I first took the 1000 for a test ride, I thought there was something wrong with the bike for the first 3 minutes. Under 3k revs, the engine sounds and feels as though the cylinders have been filled with sand & gravel. Kind of a weird rough/grinding vibration as you set off or filter in 1st gear, then once you pass 3k revs, the engine becomes a typical v-twin throbbing away...
Having spoken to the dealer, other SV1000 owners and other litre v-twin owners, it's a characteristic of ALL 1000cc v-twin engines apparently. Apparently it's something to do with the size of the pistons when the engine is in a given rev range. It took a tiny bit of getting used to, but now it's part of the charm & character of the machine.
This bike is ideal for longer distance riding due to the relaxed and punchy nature of the engine, and I've completed two long distance camping trips without any fuss. Me and a few friends are thinking of heading for Europe this year, I know for a fact that the SV will handle the journey without fuss. I currently get about 110 to 120 miles out of a tank of petrol.
Comfort - the bike has a reasonably focused riding position. The seat is also quite firm so numb bum kicks in after about 90-120 minutes. With the not so massive tank range, this isn't a problem as you usually have to fill up and have a stretch before your arse falls off.
The brakes are pretty much spot on for this bike. Standard pads do a good job of stopping the bike but many people (including myself) like to stick some aftermarket H/H sinterred pads in for more immediate bite.
Everything else is pretty much standard, analogue rev counter with digital speedo, run of the mill Suzuki switch gear... The standard twin exhausts make it sound like a bit of a sewing machine, so I've just ordered a set of cans from a well known auction site this morning. The SV650 sounded great with a single can on it, so the 1000 will sound like hell ripping in half, all being well.
Being a Suzuki, maintenance is simple and straightforward. Mine is 2000 miles short of the 16,000 service, but it's been a while since the last oil & filter change, so I may do that in the next week or two.
To sum up, the SV1000 is a fantastic all round bike. You can ride it like a proper sports bike, or you can load it up with a tent & gear for the weekend. It'll happily chew up motorway miles and then reward you with a thrilling ride when you hit the twisties..
If you're tempted by a Honda VTR, but want something a bit more modern, or fancy dipping your toe in v-twin world of Ducati, but simply can't afford one, the SV1000 makes the ideal introduction to litre v-twins. Go test ride one and then grab yourself a bargain!