In 2003, Suzuki instilled...
In 2003, Suzuki instilled major upgrades to the little SV, with a precision die-cast aluminum frame replacing the previous oval-tube unit.
Suzuki gave both bikes a full upgrade in '03 that started with the engine. The carburetors were dumped in favor of a pair of 39mm throttle bodies utilizing Suzuki's SDTV secondary throttle valve system to smooth out throttle response. A more powerful 16-bit ECU and a larger airbox (from 5.8L to 8.5L volume) were combined with cams with more lift and duration, new connecting rods, and a larger muffler (5.2L to 6.5L volume) to considerably improve overall power; the flat spots in the powerband were all but gone, and the end result was a 500-rpm higher redline (now 11,000 rpm), 72 horsepower at the rear wheel and 47 ft-lb of torque, plus a new top speed of 129mph. An oil cooler was added to deal with the extra heat.
The suspension was also slightly upgraded with front and rear preload adjustments now standard. Pricing increased to $5899, with the S model $400 more. The frame now featured a vacuum die-cast aluminum design that was cheaper to construct while offering improved rigidity. A new swingarm, shock, and linkage provided 30 percent more wheel travel; the naked SV also gained a slightly longer swingarm and wheelbase, and a hair more trail thanks to triple clamps with 1.5mm less offset. The gauge cluster included a digital speedometer plus a clock and engine temp-pretty cool for a budget bike at that time.
Connecticut resident Lawrence...
Connecticut resident Lawrence Somma built this incredibly trick '01 SV with the help of Scott Kolb of Kolb Machine. Just a sampling of the trick parts: complete front end from an '04 GSX-R600, Honda VFR750 single-sided swingarm, Ducati 916 rear wheel, headlights and fairing by Ghezzi-Brian.
By this time Suzuki had also helped sales by supporting a special racing series. Not only did this help move units on the retail level, it also helped develop a growing SV aftermarket. The suspension was the biggest weakness, so some owners simply added new springs and oil while others went a step farther and installed Race Tech Gold Valve Emulator kits. Enterprising individuals even retro-fitted a GSX-R fork and a GSX-R or Kawasaki ZX rear shock to gain better suspension and full adjustability. Another area for handling improvements was to ditch the sport-touring based tires and go for sportier rubber. Tire choice is not as wide as you may think due to the 4.5-inch-wide rear wheel, which leads to another popular mod: retro-fitting a 5.5-inch GSX-R rear wheel. An easier modification is retrofitting Honda CBR600F3 rear wheels, though the rear is only five inches wide.
Obviously the exhaust is another popular mod, with replacements available from countless suppliers. Depending on the model year, the fueling must also be adjusted with either a jet kit or a Power Commander. For the racing types, or those looking to squeeze the most out of the first generation SVs, flatslide carburetors were also a popular modification. Obviously one needs to check their local race organization's rulebook for legality before performing this mod.
The '03 upgrades included...
The '03 upgrades included ditching the 39mm carburetors with Mikuni EFI sporting 39mm throttle bodies and Suzuki's SDTV electronically controlled secondary throttle valve setup.
If you are really set on improving the bike's engine performance, there are numerous shops that specialize in SV hop-up. Some SV aficionados claim the 81mm pistons from the Hayabusa will drop right in (the SV has the same bore size) and bump compression, although we'd recommend consulting with an engine specialist first before simply dropping in a crucial engine component that wasn't made specifically for the SV. If you do decide to experiment with the Busa pistons on your first generation SV, now is also a good time to perform the popular camshaft mod. In essence, the procedure is simply replacing the exhaust camshafts in favor of the intake camshafts from the second generation SVs ('03 and up). The added duration provides noticeable gains throughout the powerband, especially on top. Pay extra attention when timing the "new" cams as the standard markings on the cam gears will no longer be relevant. Of course, detailed information on this and the rest of these modifications can also be found on www.svrider.com.
Bob Guirlinger of Deland, Florida, is typical of SV650 owners. "I have had many bikes in my 54 years; big cruisers to a Hayabusa to an FJR and my current BMW K1200GT, as well as several others. I can say with no hesitation that my SV offers the most all-around fun of any motorcycle that I have owned. It's a great little bike."
The SV650 and SV650S are great bikes no matter if you are a beginner or an experienced rider and the fact that the SV has continued to be one of Suzuki's best sellers in this country since its inception a decade ago is testament to how good of a bike it really is. If you are looking for one on the used market they are also a great bargain. Today used '99 models run around $1855 according to NADA values. Moving up to the '02 models, you can find standards going for $2520 while the S models are fetching an average of $2690. Step up another few years to a '05 model and prices jump to $3680 and $3995 while a used '07 will bring $4905 for an S or $4210 for a standard model. Combine these prices with good fuel mileage and cheap insurance and you have a recipe that may produce the most fun per dollar that you can have on two wheels.