Why I chose a Suzuki SV650 above every other motorcycle
Story: Donovan Fourie
Here we have an interesting little phenomenon – I’ve got an SV650 on long term loan from Suzuki. To make it more interesting, I approached Suzuki about getting one, naming that bike in particular.
To many people, this might sound ridiculous; there’s a range of brilliant motorcycles out there; why an SV650? I’ve always raved about the KTM Super Duke, I love Ducatis to bits, Triumphs have their proud British heritage in their metallic bones, BMW has a range that anyone thinking with their head would snap up immediately and there are a further three Japanese manufacturers all with an enviable line-up of models.
For goodness sakes, Suzuki themselves has their own hardcore stable of GSXRs, Boulevards, Hayabusas and motorcycles that have garnered a fan base that will proudly get the Suzuki emblem permanently tattooed in a prominent place on their bodies.
And yet, that’s the bike I wanted. People who have ridden the SV650 and this includes most of my journalist friends both local and abroad, nod approvingly. There is definitely something there. Let’s find out what it is.
Firstly, there is a range of delightful midrange road bikes from which to choose. They are all sensational all-rounders, offering a delectable concoction of sporty prowess, sensibility, excitement and joy. There’s the Yamaha MT-07, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the Honda CBR650. There’s also the KTM 790 Duke, but that extends beyond the budget reach of the others, so let’s leave that out for now.
All these models have one thing in common – they are parallel-twins, and they all share the same press release pursuing the same benefits of this layout; more compact, less hot air on the rider, better centre of gravity and more economical to produce. They even give them an irregular firing order to mimic that of a V-twin. It makes sense, and it seems to work. When you ride them, they are fantastic.
But here’s the thing, benefits all make sense on paper but in real life, things can turn out differently.
The other day, I was radio hopping and stumbled across FiveFM, a radio station specifically designed for 13 year-olds with funny haircuts. The music they usually play has a similar feel to it as drowning in a bowl of Fruitloops. It’s a cacophony of unrelatable noises pushing for space behind a singer who sounds like he has just taken a dose of horse tranquilliser.
And yet, on this occasion, there was a group called SYML playing with a song called Where’s My Love. The music is a strange dichotomy where the lucid tunes and beats contrast with the sombre tone of the singer. I found myself thinking, this all makes sense. Using synthesised music means any tones, themes, sounds or effects can be secured from an infinite line of variables, creating anything the heart desires. With traditional music, we rely upon the limited work of humans on instruments. This new stuff opens doors never yet conceived! It had benefits. It made sense.
Feeling good about myself, I again hit Tune on the radio that spun me across to MixFM, where the sultry sound of Jimmy Page plucking his Les Paul guitar during the opening riff of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. Where the brain was spinning during SYML, here it stopped dead as the music transcended mere thinking and belted my very soul. Suddenly, all thoughts of the benefits of modern music were negated, feeling the redundancy when soul consumes all. It makes no logical sense, but it is true nonetheless.
The above is a lengthy explanation, but how else do you describe the feeling of riding a V-twin when the parallel versions make so much more sense on paper? It’s a feeling that isn’t explainable through mere speech. The V-twin has soul, mounds of it, that makes every ride an elixir of joy. For that reason alone it outweighs all else.
Then we move on to why I chose the SV over the entire world of enticing motorcycles. For this, we get down to simple logic – most of the riding I do is around Jo’burg, going to meetings, shoots and generally going about my business. The SV is the best bike for that, hands down. Put it this way – If I had an entire garage full of every single model of motorcycle, I would love and treasure them all, but after a year the SV would have done the most mileage. It’s as simple as that.
If you’re still not convinced, the SV650 currently costs R90,200 making it the cheapest thing since free food. If Suzuki didn’t want to give me one, I would have just bought it.
Don’t tell Suzuki they missed out on a sale.