Intended as an entry-level version of the SV650, the new Gladius sports a retuned version of the 645cc V-twin housed in a steel tube trellis frame. Revised camshaft profiles, 10 percent more crankshaft inertia, slightly staggered intake and exhaust tract lengths, and an increase in exhaust system volume are said to contribute to an increase in low-end and midrange torque without affecting top-end power. A change to single valve springs reduces mechanical losses, while a new lighter, narrower, and more efficient radiator and new liquid-cooled oil cooler reduce weight. A new more compact internal fuel pump in the fuel tank also cuts precious grams.
The new chassis has the same 25-degree rake angle as the SV frame, while trail is lengthened incrementally by 4mm to 104mm. In order to make the Gladius more comfortable for novice riders, the chassis and bodywork at the seat/fuel tank junction are as slim as possible, and the outside forward edges of the seat are rounded, with the seat height lowered to 30.9 inches (from the SV's 31.5 inches). The Gladius' two-tone seat, frame, and bodywork are available in a variety of contrasting colors.
With the demise of the standard SV650 (discontinued for '09, although the S-model remains), the Gladius will fill that role, retailing at $6499.