The Suzuki SV650 is a motorcycle that is hard to pin down. Most motorcycles that are great for the experienced rider are much too powerful for someone new to the hobby of motorcycling. On the other hand, most beginner motorcycles are too underpowered and veteran riders are left wanting more. This has led new riders buying 600cc+ motorcycles in an effort to 'plan ahead' for when they are experienced. Unfortunately these type of motorcycles were designed for racing and therefore are not very newbie friendly.
The suzuki SV650 and the SV650s (sport edition) are the most modern and the largest displacement bikes that this website recommends as of this writing. The 90-degree liquid cooled V-twin, 645cc, fuel injected engine delivers power in a very managable way and is great for both a new and experienced rider. Most sportbikes are equipped with an inline-4 engine which is the equivilent to a jet turbine in terms of power output. They can go quite fast once you rev them up to speed, but most of them are left lacking when it comes to mid-range torque. The SV has mid-range power in spades, and is the type you need when riding on the street. That is also the primary reason why the SV makes such a great beginner motorcycle. It allows the newer rider to get used to the sensitivity of the throttle without having to worry too much about the motorcycle taking off without them. If you pick up an older SV650 (pre-2003) you will find that the frame is more rounded compared to the new versions, this allows the frame to be 100% cast aluminum alloy. The older tube frames were partially cast and the rest was welded together. Both frames are well designed and very stiff which really adds to the already impressive handling of this bike. Couple that with the stock Metzler Mez 4 tires and you have a bike that can keep up with other more race oriented bikes in the twisties. One gripe that most SV owners have is the suspension. A lot of riders think it's much too soft which leads some people to replace their front forks with those of a Suzuki GSXR, but i think that the suspension works well enough on the street. If you were going to be doing some heavy riding either on the track or maybe some aggressive twisties then it may be worth it to change out the forks, other than that I wouldn't bother. One more thing that some owners complain about is the hard seat that comes stock on the SV. After some saddle time myself I would tend to agree with them, so if you are going to be going on some long trips you may want to switch the seat out for an aftermarket seat (maybe a corbin). When all things are considered the SV650 is not only a great looking bike, but also a really fun one to ride. This bike offers a great alternative for those that are too self consious to start on a 250cc or 500cc motorcycle or those that simple have had lots of 2 wheeled dirt experience and want to move on to the street.
Half fairing means less plastic to break in case of a drop. 70 hp is enough for the experienced, but not too much for the new rider. Cheaper than a 600cc 'crotch rocket'.
Suspension is too soft Might be too much power for someone not comfortable on 2 wheels (either a bicycle or dirt bike).
Engine: 645 cc, four-stroke, liquid cooled, 90° V-twin, DOHC, 8-valves, TSCC Power: 70 HP @ 9000 RPM Torque: 62.00 Nm @ 7500 RPM Fuel Capacity: 4.23 gallons Top Speed: 124.3 mph Miles Per Gallon: 50-55mpg