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Author Topic: Nighthawk 750 v. Suzuki SV650 (naked)  (Read 5682 times)
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« on: June 28, 2012, 03:09:58 PM »

Hi all,

I have had my '92 Nighthawk 750 (which is also my first bike) for around a year. Great all around bike, as we all know.  I love her, and she treats me well (for the most part). 

After researching the Nighthawk and seeing how reliable it is, along with a nice upright seating position I pulled the trigger.  (Also bought it because the price was right, and it was right there!)

My dream bike (or so I think) is the Suzuki SV650 (the naked one). Something about this bike just calls to every fiber of my being.  But now that I've had my Nighthawk for a year, I worry that I'm spoilled by all it has to offer!  The upright seating position, the reliability, holding a line easily thru a curve over rough road, etc, etc...

Has anyone taken a Suzuki SV650 (2003 model or later) for a ride?

Can anyone give me good comparative advice about what I will be gaining/losing if I were to trade to the Suzuki? (and please don't say I'll lose this forum- I can always come and visit!) ;-)


Thanks in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 03:20:13 PM »

Ah, you'd never lose the forum.

I've ridden several SV650s (older and newer) and like most bikes, they're fun.  Personally I find them a bit "buzzy" for my tastes and they are obviously a more "sporty" riding position. For my needs, they don't do anything that a 750 can't do. However I do plan on eventually having a dedicated track bike and the SV650 is on my short list of candidates for that job.
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2012, 06:57:11 AM »

Cant tell you about the SV 650, but the GSX 650 F is a (somewhat) upright "sport" bike. Not nearly as comfortable is the NH, but better than a sportbike.
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2012, 07:24:56 AM »

I am assuming that you want the 2003 and up because of fuel injection, right? I had that bike on my short list too. While I did not care for the seat, I had it explained to me that there is a benefit to having split seats.

The SV650 will be an improvement in just about every area over the Nighthawk. Well, except maybe simplicity of maintenance. They are supposedly low maintenance, but the NH are legendary for low maintenance. But that fuel injection makes your morning warm up time is gone. Also, the low end torque, from what I have heard since I never got to ride one, is drastically better than any inline 4. Ari says that he finds them buzzy, I have heard the exact opposite from reviews. But Ari knows his bikes and I don't know those people that wrote the reviews. I would believe Ari if he said the sky was purple on any given day.

Also, I would not discount the half faired SV's. You get the benefit of wind deflection but still have the benefit of everything being accessible of a naked bike.
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2012, 07:37:35 AM »

the half faired SV's have more of a sportbike stance though with lower handlebars
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2012, 08:00:12 AM »

When I bought my Nighthawk, I was down to it and a naked 2002 SV650 (which I test rode). They’re both great all around bikes, but I chose the Nighthawk (even though it was $500 more) because I prefer the smoothness of the inline four over the v-twin, the specific bike was better (pristine condition and only 1050 miles), and Honda quality and reliability over Suzuki. The Suzuki has its advantages. It’s liquid cooled, dual front disks, easier to get tires for, and great aftermarket support, but I don’t think you’ll really gain anything substantial by switching as far as power, handling, and versatility. You’ll lose in other areas such as maintenance, simplicity and touring ability. Ultimately it’s up to you when you ride one and decide if it fits your needs better. If/when I ever get another bike; it will be to something significantly newer, faster, and more capable than the Nighthawk.
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2012, 01:40:38 PM »

I'm limited to one ride on the SV650 and one ride on the Wee-Strom (same engine) and can only compare to the 96 NH that I've been doing work on.   The SV650 obviously has a more sporty seating arrangement.  It's lighter...feels a lot lighter to me.  It's got more ground clearance in the turns with less flex in the frame and more front end feel while cranked over.  The engine doesn't have that much grunt, but isn't bad, probably about like my old 500 Interceptor.  I wouldn't say it vibrates (buzzes) so much, like we see with some I-4's.  It's more like it shakes the bike, especially if you let the revs get low enough that it lugs a little.  

The SV has boatloads of spare parts and aftermarket bits to make it your own personalized machine.  Mild suspension upgrades at both ends would turn the little machine into one heck of a fun bike to ride in the twisties, not that it won't be fun in stock form.   biker_h4h1

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2012, 07:32:11 PM »

. Also, the low end torque, from what I have heard since I never got to ride one, is drastically better than any inline 4.

Hmm. I wasnt sure what you were talking about, but I found a review about the SV650.
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The 90-degree liquid cooled V-twin, 645cc, fuel injected engine delivers power in a very managable way and is great for both a new and experienced rider. Most sportbikes are equipped with an inline-4 engine which is the equivilent to a jet turbine in terms of power output. They can go quite fast once you rev them up to speed, but most of them are left lacking when it comes to mid-range torque. The SV has mid-range power in spades, and is the type you need when riding on the street.
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2012, 09:52:54 PM »

. Also, the low end torque, from what I have heard since I never got to ride one, is drastically better than any inline 4.

Hmm. I wasnt sure what you were talking about, but I found a review about the SV650.
Quote
The 90-degree liquid cooled V-twin, 645cc, fuel injected engine delivers power in a very managable way and is great for both a new and experienced rider. Most sportbikes are equipped with an inline-4 engine which is the equivilent to a jet turbine in terms of power output. They can go quite fast once you rev them up to speed, but most of them are left lacking when it comes to mid-range torque. The SV has mid-range power in spades, and is the type you need when riding on the street.
Take that with a grain of salt.  It says "any I-4", but that's not the case.  It has torque comparable to a 600cc I-4 at higher rpms, but not the bigger bikes.  The SV doesn't have mid-range power in spades unless you've never ridden anything but a small I-4, IMHO.

The SV has about the same peak torque as the 750 Nighthawk, around 45 ft/lb.  It's peak horsepower isn't far below the NH either.  A CBR1000 has about 80 ft/lb of torque a good 4000rpm below redline, so you aren't screaming at its peak torque.   
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2012, 10:29:48 PM »

The one thing I could not deal with on the SV650 was the seating position. Nevermind the forward lean, I actually like that, it was the way the angle of the seat planted me in one spot. I could not move around on the saddle and control the bike.

I also hate Suzuki fuel injection, but that seems to be my own little problem. I really hate the jerky throttle response of Suzukis nowadays, but most people can get over it. I do enough finessing at low speeds to really hate it.

But that seat--nobody except maybe really young 20's folks could ride that seat all day and not hurt. I can move around on a Nighthawk seat, use forward footrests,  slide back on the pillion area, and still be where I can control the bike. The SV has you trapped right up against the tank and for all the wonderfully responsive handling, is not something I could tackle all day.

In other words, it does not pass my "motorcycle camping" test. This bike cannot carry me and a tent and minimalist camping gear all day long.

But it makes a helluva track bike or a half-day rider. Less than 300 miles/day, this is a great bike!
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 01:22:07 PM »

I've owned both now for over 20k on each! Nighthawk has a way smoother engine and much better build quality (I dont think at 30 years old many SV's will be around in original condition) and I might get ripped for this, but I feel the NH has a much more competent stock suspension. The SV650 front end is very soft and reacts eradically under hard cornering and braking (I'm 190lbs) but I upgraded to stiffer springs. The SV is a much quicker handling bike, the front end remains light and quick and super responsive even at high speeds while the NH seems to feel like its tracking in molasses. In twisties I will take the SV everytime, it is so light and agile. I also hated the stock seat on the SV and got a Corbin that changed everything about the riding position and comfort. Nighthawk is way better for 2 up and freeway trips/commuting because the SV engine is buzzy in comparison but by no means bad. The overall speed and acceleration on both is comparable, the SV does get the nod in top gear roll on acceleration though. I will say as an owner of both, they are different enough in there respective qualities to allow me to keep them both around! I love my SV in City riding, smaller, lighter, more off the line accel, quicker warm ups, If I lived in a big city like San Francisco, I would sell my Nah tomorrow if I lived on a straight interstate I'd sell the SV.
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 01:32:21 PM »

I've owned both now for over 20k on each! Nighthawk has a way smoother engine and much better build quality (I dont think at 30 years old many SV's will be around in original condition) and I might get ripped for this, but I feel the NH has a much more competent stock suspension. The SV650 front end is very soft and reacts eradically under hard cornering and braking (I'm 190lbs) but I upgraded to stiffer springs. The SV is a much quicker handling bike, the front end remains light and quick and super responsive even at high speeds while the NH seems to feel like its tracking in molasses. In twisties I will take the SV everytime, it is so light and agile. I also hated the stock seat on the SV and got a Corbin that changed everything about the riding position and comfort. Nighthawk is way better for 2 up and freeway trips/commuting because the SV engine is buzzy in comparison but by no means bad. The overall speed and acceleration on both is comparable, the SV does get the nod in top gear roll on acceleration though. I will say as an owner of both, they are different enough in there respective qualities to allow me to keep them both around! I love my SV in City riding, smaller, lighter, more off the line accel, quicker warm ups, If I lived in a big city like San Francisco, I would sell my Nah tomorrow if I lived on a straight interstate I'd sell the SV.

Well put.  thumb
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 01:40:39 PM »

Hear, hear!   I'd say 20k on each certainly gives you a good basis for comparison!  claps
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 01:55:38 PM »

I'm currently riding a 2005 naked SV650 (due to troubles on my bike) with some modifications - bar risers, Corbin seat, soft luggage, and Ricor Iniminator front fork inserts. With these the bike is quite comfortable - less leaning over to reach the bars, a seat that isn't a torture device, and a very compliant suspension without crazy brake dive.

It's a great bike, probably what I'll get next once the Nighthawk is done. Yes, the v-twin vibrates more, the riding position is a bit sportier, and the switchgear doesn't feel quite as solid. It's incredibly torquey though, something the Nighthawks lack. It has excellent handling, very responsive. As someone that's used to wrestling a Nighthawk 650 around corners, it's quite different. Whereas on the Nighthawk you have to use large inputs, the SV responds quite rapidly and is less forgiving, something I've had to adapt to. You can't be as extreme with any one input (throttle, brake, steering) because they are all that much more sensitive. For example, the kind of brake lever pressure that I would use on the Nighthawk is far too much for the SV (don't ask how I know). Depending on how you ride, that can be either a positive or a negative. When I first sat on it, one thing that got me was how much higher off the road you are. On a Nighthawk, I feel tucked into the bike. The gauges are right in front of me and quite high up in comparison, and the road opens up before you at eye level. On the SV, you feel like you're more on top of the bike than in it. You have to actually look down to see the gauges, and you're seeing the road from a higher point of view. Again, not a negative, just a difference.

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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2012, 02:02:45 PM »

I get it about wrestling a Nighthawk around the corners. The same thing that makes a Nighthawk so user-friendly and superb for longer trips and around town, is the same thing that makes it feel a little sluggish in the corners. I still think if you could have only one bike, the Nighthawk would be a better choice than most others.

You can get that nice tight handling from any number of inline four sport bikes, from many twins, and from several v-fours. I'm spoiled to it on my rotten old VFR and it's not even a true sport bike. Yet, riding a Buell or a GSXR, the steering is so very tight that it's no fun for everyday around-town errands and messing around.\

Ah, multiple bike stables are where it's at.... smoking
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2012, 02:27:26 PM »

Ah, multiple bike stables are where it's at.... smoking

Nice work if you can get it   ricky
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2012, 08:34:58 PM »

Don't get me wrong, I prefer the feel of my Nighthawk at anything below 60 mph. The scale of each required input makes it much easier for me to be precise, and because the reactions are slower, I feel ahead of the bike. I can get a bit more into it on a NH in a way that would get me very much in trouble on an SV. I never have to play catch up, it makes me feel in control.
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2012, 01:00:29 AM »

I've ridden my buddy's sv a few times. It is a really fun bike and I know he loves it. He has had it a few years and had 0 problems with it. My only complaint about it was it felt way to small for me (some risers would pry help that though)
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2012, 02:34:45 AM »

Don't get me wrong, I prefer the feel of my Nighthawk at anything below 60 mph. The scale of each required input makes it much easier for me to be precise, and because the reactions are slower, I feel ahead of the bike. I can get a bit more into it on a NH in a way that would get me very much in trouble on an SV. I never have to play catch up, it makes me feel in control.

Yeah, that. On the other side of how you describe it, I found the VFR (which steers tight, maybe about the same as the SV650), forced me to learn to look way ahead through the curves. It made me learn to be smoother. On another extreme, I have had NO fun taking the Bandit to the mountains. I have yet to learn this bike, I suppose, but it has a steering angle like the NH750 but gobs of scoot. A bit too much throttle with this thing, and you're across the other lane into the ditch. I'm looking forward to getting good at the Bandit.

If any of you could have seen Ari's friend Uwe from Germany ripping up the hills with a NH750, you would agree with me that blaming the motorcycle's steering geometry or power output is a lame-as$ excuse. Wow it was amazing watching Uwe moving so quickly, so confidently, and just riding so well.
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2012, 07:01:47 AM »

Don't get me wrong, I prefer the feel of my Nighthawk at anything below 60 mph. The scale of each required input makes it much easier for me to be precise, and because the reactions are slower, I feel ahead of the bike. I can get a bit more into it on a NH in a way that would get me very much in trouble on an SV. I never have to play catch up, it makes me feel in control.

Yeah, that. On the other side of how you describe it, I found the VFR (which steers tight, maybe about the same as the SV650), forced me to learn to look way ahead through the curves. It made me learn to be smoother. On another extreme, I have had NO fun taking the Bandit to the mountains. I have yet to learn this bike, I suppose, but it has a steering angle like the NH750 but gobs of scoot. A bit too much throttle with this thing, and you're across the other lane into the ditch. I'm looking forward to getting good at the Bandit.

If any of you could have seen Ari's friend Uwe from Germany ripping up the hills with a NH750, you would agree with me that blaming the motorcycle's steering geometry or power output is a lame-as$ excuse. Wow it was amazing watching Uwe moving so quickly, so confidently, and just riding so well.

I thought you sold off the Bandit?
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2012, 10:52:55 AM »

I believe that anyone that can TRULY ride a 650cc - 750cc bike to its limits on the REAL twisties is indeed quite an accomplished rider.

I doubt I'll ever be that good.  Knowing that will hopefully keep me upright on the FJR.
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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2012, 12:08:20 PM »

I thought you sold off the Bandit?

I had a 1200 and then I bought a 1250. Hated the 1250, sold it. Still have the old carbureted 1200 that I still love.
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« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2012, 12:20:53 PM »

My friend had a SV650S and he let me ride it a few times before he crashed it, I loved everything about it except the riding position, way too sport bikeish, now if it had been the naked version with a set of bars up on risers it may have made a world of difference. But the S model was far too uncomfortable for me to ride more than just around town, it wasn't at all like my 700S.
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« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2012, 10:52:19 PM »

I have a nighthawk 750 and also a Honda 599/hornet/cb600f. The 599 was compared with the sv650 in some tests.

I find the 599 much more fun.

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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2012, 01:55:18 AM »

Just get them both man!  claps
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