2019 Suzuki SV650X Review

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

X means cafe, right?

Alright folks, let’s do some math! If we take the sum of S+V multiplied by 650 we find the factor is equal to or greater than a standard or naked bike. If we then take SV(650X) we see the coefficient of X, 650 in this example, being equal to… Who am I kidding? I was always terrible at math/algebra/statistics, all of it. But what Suzuki’s telling us is that X equals cafe. Simple as that. Don’t question your teachers kids; just put your head down and conform.

2019 Suzuki SV650X

Editor Score: 81.0%
Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.0/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 7.0/10
Appearance/Quality 7.5/10
Desirability 8.5/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score81/100

2017 Suzuki SV650 First Ride Review

If Suzuki thinks X equals cafe, then tell me, did the Hamamatsu factory hit its mark with the 2019 Suzuki SV650X? Trick question, it’s really all in the eye of the Instagram followers, but one thing is for sure, the X is built on a solid platform.

The SV650 has been a solid middleweight contender since its inception in 1999. And despite the model’s hiatus when the game-crushing Gladius came to town, it’s one of the middleweights that has stood the test of time and garnered a cult-like following, especially in Twins class club racing around the world.

As it always has been, the star of the SV’s show is its 645cc 90-degree V-Twin engine. When MO last dyno’d the SV650 in 2017, it churned out 71.6 hp at 8,700 rpm and delivered 45.4 lb-ft of torque at 8,000 rpm.

With the model’s update, or reintroduction of sorts, in 2017, we saw an SV650 that was lighter, stronger, and more in line with what had made it successful all of those years: being approachable. Our own Troy Siahaan, an SV650 owner/racer himself, penned, er typed, a fantastic review after attending the 2017 model introduction and guess what?! The bike hasn’t changed much aside from BNGs (bold new graphics) and, in the case of the X model, an iteration with clip-ons and some extra plastic. There was a slight change to the muffler to add more lean angle and a glimmer of hope for those unsatisfied with the SV650’s braking performance, new four-piston Tokico front brake calipers. For a thorough technical review that covers all there is to know about the SV650 and, consequently, the SV650X (sans clip-ons and bikini-ish fairing), I suggest clicking here to read Troy’s review.

Thankfully, Troy was able to make sense of the seat color, “It’s a latte brown, since a coffee shop is where this thing is meant to spend most its time, right?”

How the X model differs is just as mentioned before: clip-on style handlebars and cafe-themed bodywork all in an effort to grab hold of the youth’s interest in retro-ness. I think it’s perhaps a step in the right direction – but was maybe a touch misguided along the way. Case in point, the white base coupled with black and red tank accents look great. I applaud the decision to bring the SUZUKI logo to the tank rather than the Suzuki “S” emblem. Then there’s the brown and black seat. White, black, red, and… brown. An odd choice in color palette, though when done tastefully, could yield edgy retro style. This is not the case with the SV650X. It looks more confused than edgy.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what I think of the X’s looks. Totally objective. If you throw enough hashtags at it, the likes will come in all the same. What is worth noting is the $900 premium the X model carries over its $7,499 brother, the standard SV650 with ABS. If you like the looks, it’s probably worth it since it would easily cost more than $900 to do it yourself. And when considering the Yamaha XSR700 is $900 more than the MT-07, it really isn’t out of the ordinary for the “hip” bikes to carry a premium. However odd or dumb a decision that might be.

As speeds ramp up, you’ll likely become aware of the SV650X’s lengthy footpeg feelers soon after.

The SV650X’s clip-ons do change the ride from its handlebar-equipped sibling. They take a comfortable do-it-all motorcycle and create a rather aggressive rider triangle. Out in the canyons, the X is an absolute blast to ride quickly. Even with the new four-piston Tokico calipers though, the stopping power can be still be described as good, but not great. Troy mentions in his review, the suspension and brakes can be overwhelmed if you try to manhandle the machine, but if you’re smooth with your inputs, the motorcycle rewards you with a composed exhilarating ride. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is much the same with the 2019 SV650X.

In Troy’s review of the 2017 Suzuki SV650, he hits the nail on the head when describing what this middleweight machine is like to ride:  “…the SV can navigate a twisty road and destroy peg feelers all day, so long as the rider is smooth with their inputs; the SV has never been a bike that likes being manhandled, and this one is no different.”

On the freeway, the X’s low bars keep you canted forward into the wind which is manageable, but only for short stints. Of course, this isn’t unexpected for a motorcycle with sportbike-esque ergos. Around town it’s not bad, but personally, I would just as soon opt for a handlebar. The seat isn’t made for long hauls either. The lack of foam causes the seat’s hard edges to become painfully apparent after about 120 miles. The bike’s tank is good for just about 150 miles and I averaged 45 mpg with a mix of riding.

All in all, the SV650X is really just a styling exercise for Suzuki. Everything aside from the clip-ons and retro-styled front fairing are unchanged from the SV650’s re-introduction in 2017. Again, that’s not a bad thing, considering the model’s 20-year run as a popular middleweight option. Now, you can have that SV650 character with a splash of retro style.

2019 Suzuki SV650X

+ Highs

  • Torquey V-Twin engine
  • Sporty ergos are even more fun in the canyons
  • Price is nice

– Sighs

  • Brakes and suspension are kind of meh
  • Handlebars feel pretty far forward
  • But is it worth $900 more than the standard SV650

2019 Suzuki SV650X Specifications

Engine Type645cc Liquid-cooled, EFI, DOHC, four-stroke, 90-degree V-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore and Stroke81.0mm x 62.6mm
Compression Ratio11.2:1
Crankshaft Horsepower (measured in 2017)71.6 hp @ 8,700 rpm
Torque (measured in 2017)45.4 lb-ft @ 8,000 rpm
Transmission6-speed; multi-plate wet clutch
Final DriveChain
Front Suspension41mm conventional fork
Rear SuspensionLink-type single shock, preload adjustable.
Front BrakeDual, 4-piston calipers, twin disc, ABS-equipped
Rear BrakeSingle, 1-piston caliper, single disc, ABS-equipped
Front Tire120/70-17
Rear Tire160/60-17
Rake/Trail25.0º/4.1 in
Wheelbase56.9 in
Seat Height31.1 in
Curb Weight (Claimed)437 lbs
Fuel Capacity3.8 gal
Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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4 of 43 comments
  • Allworld Allworld on Aug 21, 2019

    Seems like a good bike at a good price. I'm not sure why they call it a "cafe", must be the nestagic noise cone.... perhaps "drive thru" would be better. The SV650 DT

  • Busha Busha Busha Busha on Sep 04, 2019

    I have a crazy thought. Suzuki should ditch the GSX-R600 and make a race grade SV. 700cc, 100HP, ~375lb curb weight, the GSX-R suspensions and brakes people have been putting on SVs for the last 20 years anyway. Bike needs a reason for purchase; I can't see why anyone would buy a new SV as they are today.

    • See 1 previous
    • Busha Busha Busha Busha on Feb 14, 2020

      Has the right specs but the wrong looks. I wish KTM would lighten up on the whole super moto design language a bit.