The V-twin layout is in many ways the perfect motorcycle engine layout: it’s narrow, compact and has perfect balance. And the middleweight 645cc V-twin that Suzuki built for the SV650 ticks all these boxes. It’s a modern, well-designed engine that generates a broad, user-friendly spread of power, and gives a strong heart to the little SV roadster. Fuel-injected and water-cooled, the multi-valve motor is bolted into a cast aluminum trellis-type frame, with conventional, budget roadbike suspension and brake systems. Like many of its roadster designs, Suzuki offers the SV in both faired and unfaired versions in various markets. The faired bike is, of course, better suited to longer-distance work, where its screen and bodywork gives better wind and weather protection. Conversely, the unfaired bike is a perfect town bike, with lower weight, a more upright riding position and narrower profile.
Whichever version you have though, the SV has sparky, lively performance, and is a real fun ride. It’s even quite a decent performer on track, where its lithe chassis and torquey engine make for a fun, lightweight ride. Indeed, special ‘Minitwin’ road-race classes have grown up in Europe specifically to accommodate the SV.
The SV engine was so good, Suzuki also used it for the firm’s V-Strom 650 trail bike. Cagiva also purchased the engine to use in its Raptor 650 roadster.