2006 Suzuki SV650S vs 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R

2006 Suzuki SV650S vs 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R

To celebratetheimminentreturn of Suzuki SV650, as well as to prepare for similar upcoming shootouts betwixt the SV and its modern counterparts, we bring you this 2006 shootout pitting the SV650 against itsKawasaki Ninja 650R nemesis. The Ninja 650has been updated since this shootout ten years ago, and Honda now has a competitor in the form of the CBR650F. Who knows, to really stir the pot, maybe we throw a KTM 690 Duke into the mix.

2006 Suzuki SV650S V. 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R To SV or not SV, that is the question By Gabe Ets Hokin,January 24, 2006

Today story starts way back in 1987, when Honda introduced an unpretentious little motorcycle with a mildly tuned, liquid cooled 647cc V Twin engine in a rigid aluminum frame. Priced almost as high as its fully faired and much more powerful cousin, the 600 Hurricane, the Hawk GT sold about as well as Ann Coulter t shirts at a Phish concert. However, savvy enthusiasts quickly recognized that with a few choice suspension and engine modifications, the Hawk was an incredibly sweet handling and fun bike that did double duty as a lightweight racer. The ER 6n is a naked standard with a steel trellis frame and a sophisticated 650cc parallel twin motor. Power output was claimed at 69.7 hp, clearly targeting the second generation SV 71.1 claimed hp. The weird styling and lack of full fairing meant this bike probably would never come to American riders.

Imagine our surprise when we got invited to the introduction for Kawasaki all new for 2006 Ninja 650R. Pete day aboard the new bike revealed a nice handling little bike that was let down only by budget suspension and braking components. We also found out that a unit would be available for a full test in just a few weeks.

Who that lady? (who that lady?) Beautiful lady (who that lady?)

We knew our readers would want to know how this bike the first serious competition for the SV available in the US would do against the Suzuki twin, so we called up Suzuki and begged for an SV650 to test as well. All we had to decide was which flavor SV to compare it to. Some of us felt the standard SV would be a closer match, kawasaki ninja 300 fairings as the Kawi has tall bars that would feel very different from the S model clip ons on a racetrack, where the other school of thought held the majority of readers would feel only bikes with fairings should be compared, as a buyer in the market for a faring ed bike wouldn consider a naked, and vice versa. In the end, the fairing people won, and Suzuki graciously and kindly gave up a fresh from the crate 2006 SV650S.

Both Publisher Sean Alexander and I are club racers and trackday junkies with many miles on SV650s, so we wanted to see how the two bikes stacked up on the racetrack. A few phone calls secured us a trip to the Streets of Willow racetrack, courtesy of Hyperclub trackdays, and a call to Michelin got us two new sets of Pilot Power street/trackday tires.

After a week of all kinds of riding, from the track to the canyons, from bumpy LA freeways and city streets to the smooth sweepers of the Angeles Crest, we think we have enough data to have an intelligent opinion on who makes the best 650 twin streetbike. Does the Kawi have what it takes to unseat the SV from its middleweight twins throne?2006 Suzuki SV650S :: 71.15 hp :: $6,449 :: Friendly and Furious

Go ahead and call em bikes. Just make sure you know you faster than the guy who just bought one.

If only a Vincent had such a good chassis. The SV frame was all new for 2003, with a boxier, more creased appearance than the old one. It retained the aluminum swingarm and linkage type rear suspension of the old bike, along with a 41 mm damper rod fork. The front and rear suspensions are adjustable for preload only. Wheels are 3 spoke aluminum jobs shod with Dunlop D220s, a 120/60 17 in front followed 56.3 behind by a 160/60 17 rear. Braking is handled by a trio of Tokico two piston sliding pin calipers and 290 mm front discs the rear disc is 220 mm.

Perched on top is 1980 bodywork with lots more sharp edges. Our 2006 was in a fetching shade of red, the bodywork contrasting nicely with the black frame and wheels. There are plenty of amenities, like a metal grabrail for your passenger and a hazard light. yamaha r3 fairings The LCD speedometer sits above the tachometer. As a bonus, you can view the coolant temperature and clock at the same time. The bike weighs in at a claimed dry weight of just 372 pounds.

Aside from the Duran Duran esque fairing and five extra Ben Franklins, the S differs from the standard version of the SV650 by having higher and more rearset footpegs, low clip on handlebars, a slightly shorter swingarm, and taller gearing. It a complete package that looks like something much more powerful, expensive and sophisticated than it is, which partially explains the bike continuing success. What does the Ninja need to surpass it?

2006 Kawasaki EX650R :: 65.65 hp :: $6,299 :: Meet The New Kid

Gabe used to working in his underwear

Lest Pete endurance of the long tech briefing go in vain, check out his coverage of the 650R press introduction. If you rather have me give you a quick rundown, we start with the motor.

To inform you cynics out there, it not a bored and stroked EX500 motor. With a very oversquare 83 mm bore and 60 mm stroke, it a much more compact and modern design, with a cassette style gearbox, semi dry oil sump and liner less cylinders to make it smaller than the 500. A 180 degree crank and balance shaft keep it smooth, and 38 mm injectors directed by a microprocessor controlled engine management system keep it precisely fueled.

Gabe wears his underwear outside his clothes for the same reason Kawasaki engineers mounted the shock up high: easy adjustment.

Brakes and wheels are nothing fancy. The six spoke wheels sit just 55.3 apart and carry Bridgestone BT 020s, a 120/70 17 in front and a 160/60 17 on the back hoop. The brake calipers look just like the two piston units on the SV, but with the fashionable 300 mm rotors like those found on the ZX 6R and ZX 10R.

It wrapped up in a muted, sophisticated fairing with a chest height windscreen and integrated turn signals. Large integrated footpeg brackets carry the rider and passenger pegs on one immense unit, 2008 yamaha r6 fairing which will be challenging for racers to modify. The seat is carefully styled to blend in with the bike lines and is very narrow and low at the front, but thickly padded and wider at the rear. The handlebars are high and pulled back, but not too wide.

$6,299, this is a nicely finished, good looking bike.

Instrumentation is a bit spare, with no temperature gauge to distract the rider. There is a clock, dual tripmeters, and hazard lights as well. The build quality is just OK; the unit appears nicely designed, but the plastic is thin and some plastic panels have unsightly gaps and seams. Still, for $6,299, this is a nicely finished, good looking bike.

The Test

We officially started our test at curvaceous Streets of Willow racetrack in Rosamond, CA, with 14 turns simulating most of the kinds of corners a street rider will encounter, with pavement varying from Autobahn silky to Alabama chain gang repaired bumpy. There are two decent straights on the 1.8 mile long roadcourse, so every gear and throttle position gets a workout.

Sean went out on the Suzuki first to scuff in the new tires. When he came back, he was all smiles, reliving memories of his roadracing exploits on his own SV650. already know which bike I like better he said. I bundled myself up against the sub 50 degree High Desert chill and went out on the SV for a familiarization lap, but I didn get a good feel for the bike, with mymovement restricted by too many layers and my wrist restricted by fear of a cold racetrack. 2008 gsxr 600 fairings