It’s safe to say that the 2008 Suzuki SV line changes the face of world biking forever. Before the SV’s speed onto the scene back in 1999, there were very few choices for new riders looking for an easy-to-ride yet sporty and sexy first bike. The fact that SV sales went through the roof almost from the beginning helped clue a lot of motorcycle manufacturers in to this recent consumer demand for a desirable middleweight bike that’s affordable. In fact, the Suzuki SV line was so revolutionary during its day that it helped usher in an entirely new generation of motorcycles from then on: compact, standard street-wise naked bikes.
Specifically designed as an urban-friendly motorcycle that can pretty much handle any road surface and condition you throw its way, the Suzuki SV had no competition during its launch - featuring less-than-intimidating styling, rider-friendly ergonomics, easy-to-reach handlebars, a relaxed foot peg position, and excellent ground clearance - all ensuring the finest in rider comfort.
A combination of strong handling, light curb weight, a sturdy chassis built of aluminum, and a powerful V-Twin engine that delivered 43 pounds of torque and 64 horsepower, the Suzuki SV offered extensive appeal for both beginners and experts. The first generation of the SV featured a 645cc liquid-cooled, 90 degree V-twin engine, lower exhaust cams borrowed from other Suzuki TL bikes, triangularly arranged crank and transmission shafts designed to reduce engine height and length, a rear cylinder head pipe that routed through the swing arm, an internal water pump, and all-electric instrument gauges across its dash area.
Second generation Suzuki SV’s, launched in 2003, received a fairly extensive overhaul in terms of their exterior design and engine performance. At first riders were a bit hesitant with the new SV’s more angular, aggressive appearance, but eventually even the detractors were won over with its slate of improvements: new lighter die-cast aluminum truss frame, new swing-arm with revised rear brake caliper mounting, handy fork preload adjusters, new exhaust, LED tail light configurations, brand new digital speedometer display, a slight footing increase of a mere 15mm, and a new electronic fuel injection/induction system that replaced the carburetor.
The next phase for the Suzuki SV began in 2005. The bike came equipped with a color matched meter visor with a center area now composed of a sleeker, smoke-cleared shield, entirely altering the previous image of the cockpit area. Also, the front brake cylinder head (the liquid reservoir) got a slight tweak to its styling. Lastly, the radiator was redesigned, a full 40mm narrower than on earlier models of the SV.