Doin' Time Staffers' Rides

MC Garage

Photography by Tim Carrithers, Joe Neric, Drew Ruiz

Suzuki SV650S-ABS
Ringleader: Joe Neric
MSRP (2008): $7399
Miles: 6108
Average Fuel Mileage: 45 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: DowCo Fastrax tank bag

It's a sad day. As I write this, Motorcyclist Test Fleet Manager Michael Candreia is wheeling my beloved long-term SV650 into the box van. Suzuki called, and they want their bike back. Just like that, it's on its way out of my life. Easy come, easy go.

The call caught me by surprise. While the Hotbodies fender eliminator, Pazzo levers and Yoshimura exhaust were cool aesthetic mods, I would like to have done more to boost performance. Fuel-injection tuning would likely have garnered a few more horsepower, and as my riding skills improved I'd determined that the stock fork springs were too soft and the damping inadequate. Consulting a few former SV racers on staff, I'd learned that stiffer springs and cartridge emulators were the answer. Alas, I ran out of time.

As I got the SV closer to where I wanted it, there wasn't much for me to do except ride it. To make it a little more utilitarian, I picked up a Dowco Fastrax Tank Bag ($142 from, which made toting my gear around more convenient. It has the ability to swallow a ton of stuff, and matches the style of the bike perfectly.

With just over 6000 miles on the odometer, the SV didn't get close to its first major service, scheduled for 14,500 miles. I had the oil and filter changed and replaced the tires at 4000 miles. Aside from that, it was business as usual.

So what's next? I'm not sure. What I am sure about is I really felt at home on the SV650. It was a great bike to learn and grow on. The mid-sized V-twin makes user-friendly power and has plenty of pep to satisfy your need to speed. If you're in the market for an entry-level sportbike, you won't be disappointed. And spring for the ABS model: It saved my bacon more than a few times!

Say, isn't the 2009 Honda CBR600RR available with ABS...?

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