The 2009 Suzuki Gladius arrives as a rebadged and mechanically updated Suzuki SV650. Suzuki's SV bikes have been popular among riders of different levels of experience for a long time, due to pricing, capable performance, and timeless styling. With both of the bikes being named after swords, the Gladius also takes from the tradition of the Suzuki Katana, which was a sport touring bike that heavily emphasized the sport aspect. The new Gladius concept began with market research that determined young motorcycle buyers valued practical and economical transportation, in addition to capable performance. The Suzuki Gladius is forgiving enough to make it a viable first motorcycle, but powerful and stylish enough to appeal to experienced riders looking for a great commuting bike.
The Suzuki Gladius arrives as an attractive looking naked sport bike. Its lines are sleek, with a large gas tank, and attractive color combinations. A front fender matches the paint on the body. It doesn't look as aggressive as other naked sport bikes, but instead looks swift and clean, like the sword it's named after. An easy-to-read console uses an analog tachometer with a digital speedometer, and signal indicators on either side. The 2009 Suzuki Gladius comes in color combinations that range from white/blue, to a magenta that will definitely appeal to female sport bikers.
The heart of the Suzuki Gladius is a 645cc liquid cooled V-twin engine. This reincarnation of the SV's 650cc engine has been updated and retuned for performance. The cylinders have received Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material (SCEM), derived from Suzuki's racing teams. SCEM dissipates heat better, and reduces friction. There is a five percent increase in crankshaft inertia, which improves low- to mid-range output. A high-lift cam was installed for increased torque. For the first time on a street bike, Suzuki installed Idle Speed Control (ISC), which stabilizes the bike's idle rev, improves starts in cold weather, and eliminates excess wiring. A compact exhaust provides a boost in low- and mid-range torque. Suzuki's updates result in the Gladius motor producing 70 horsepower at 8,500 rpm, and 45 ft. lbs of torque at 7,800 rpm. With the tuning for low-end torque 35+ ft. lbs of torque are available at 3,500 rpm. That’s substantial power available for a bike labeled as being ""entry level."" A six-speed constant mesh transmission is extremely smooth to shift, enhancing the bike’s status as ""user-friendly.""
The Suzuki Gladius also handles remarkably well. A compact trellis steel frame, light curb weight (436 lbs), and comfortable riding position allow the Gladius to be nimble, yet stable at higher speeds. Beginners will find the Gladius easy to steer, while experienced riders can maximize the agile bike's side-to-side ability. The Gladius can handle twisting and turning mountain roads, as well as rush-hour traffic conditions.
Braking is an important factor in purchasing any bike, and the Suzuki Gladius does not neglect that area of performance either. With twin 290mm rotors with two-piston Tokico calipers up front, and a single 240mm disc on the rear, the Gladius has strong braking power as well. The suspension has spring preload adjustability up front and on the rear, allowing riders to dial in a suspension setting that is most compatible with their riding style.
Overall, the 2009 Suzuki Gladius is an impressive motorcycle with traits that will appeal to a variety of riders. It is user-friendly and easy to steer for beginners, it offers good fuel economy and handles a variety of road conditions for commuters, and it gives the experienced rider enough power to enjoy weekend rides with friends.