And another bike - Suzuki SV650


Note - some of the bike content is a bit out of order as I redid the site, including adding some new content.  

I had the F650 first, then added the DRZ400S, and then…the SV.

I've ridden on and off for a while, first learning how to ride a racing dirt bike in the middle of a snowstorm, when I was 11 or so. It was an RM250 2-stroke, and I pretty much needed a ladder to get on the thing. Friends also had bikes, and we'd ride all over the place, on and off road, sometimes not necessarily with 'the right bike for the job,' but..what can ya do? :-)

I've had numerous bikes since then - an old DT175 with a pair of vice grips as a shifter, another DT that wasn't so ghetto, an XL250, a CB750, an Intruder, a TT175, and a handful of others. Sadly, moving around, some places just make it 'less wise to ride.' I rode in WA state, then moved to TN, where I can say after traveling a good amount of the US, I have found the worst drivers. I was initially excited by the 'near year round riding weather,' especially after WA state (nearly always gray, except for exactly two months which is a very nice summer), but in my short 15 minute commute to work, I'd usually see at least two accidents, each way, every day. Then there were the little 'special' things about TN - there would be thunderstorms that lasted for DAYS, during which time, some of the street lights would go out, with most people being relatively sane and inching up slowly, to see a squid on a crotch rocket go flying through at 100 or so..Darwinism in action, just biding time, I guess. So, I skipped getting a bike in TN, then moved to NC.

The past couple of years, I've been on a BMW F650, and have taken it nearly everywhere. 1000+ miles through the mountains in 5 days, Asheville for a beer festival, for a dirt bike course with my ex before we rode across Costa Rica, through's a pretty good bike. I reached the point with it though, that at 430# or so (the bike, not me), it's a handful for what *I* wanted to do off-road. It's a great bike for short touring/trips, and competent enough at dirt roads, and some other off-road, but it just isn't, well, nimble. I have no doubts that someone out there can make the F do amazing things offroad, but I decided to get something a bit lighter, so picked up a DRZ-400S. Nice bike. I've taken it on an MX track, as well as trails, and commute back and forth on it and 'just ride.' If it had a 6th gear and a swappable 'touring saddle,' I might have been convinced to get a spare set of motard wheels for it, and call it my 'all bikes in one.' There are certainly more competent bikes offroad for racers, but the DRZ is a good compromise for me, and can do more than I can right now, although I still wouldn't mind throwing a little 125 around now and then.

So, I realized I have my 'dirt and fun road toy’ in the DRZ, but the BMW sort of became more compromised as I tried to make it do 'more'- the knobbies on it certainly helped offroad, but even with a Corbin seat (doubled the seat time, at least) and gel grips, they still make the bike vibrate more for longer trips. I've had the bike loaded up with Givi saddlebags (E21s, big enough for my laptop for work, or gear + clothes for a trip), tent, full backpack, you name it. I put 12k or so on her in a year, before I started doing more/most of my riding on the DRZ. So, she was a great bike...but, the DRZ is 'as offroad as I want,' while the F is just a bit 'off' for me right now - I still like riding it, and could put her back to 'street only' trim, but the engine's a bit odd. It redlines around 7k, but doesn't really come on cam until 3500-4k RPM or so...kind of curious for a dual sport, where you want bottom end torque..but meanwhile, she’s a fairly competent highway bike, although the cramp buster helps.

Anyways, I decided to sell the F if/when I could find something that interested me more. I saw a Ducati Monster a while back, and it sort of just really called to me. I just really liked the light ‘naked' look, can't quite explain it. I don't have any illusions of becoming a racer, but I've done track time in my cars, which ironically has made me slow down on the street, as well as riding much more defensively than I used to. I don't generally believe there's a need to go over 100MPH on the street on a motorcycle. But, I also know if 'I know the power us there,' I'd be tempted to use it. Plus, I also kinda groove on lighter, more agile bikes. The 650s of today are able to beat the sport bikes of the 80s and early 90s, so really - what more do you need? I've owned cruisers, and maybe will again one day, but I've got my 'go anywhere' bike in the DRZ, so wanted to get something just, well, fun for the street, but also capable of doing the length of trips my F650 and I have done. Suffice it to say, I didn't want a 'pure sport bike,' but something more like the street setup F650 or DL650, with a bit more power, while keeping the weight down. As it turned out, I also had ridden an SV on a few occasions, although I'd nearly forgotten about it - a friend used to own one, and I'd taken it for a spin a few times.

I checked into Ducatis, and kept coming across the SV650. I've owned over 100 vehicles by now, and have only bought ONE brand new - I just don't believe in it. I'd rather have a $35k '2 year old used car' versus a $60k 'brand new one.' Likewise, at least at this point in my life, I tend to think people spending 10k+ on a motorcycle are well, sort of each their own, but it's just not for me.

If something is going to cost $100 or less, it's not the end of the world if it doesn't work out as expected, but when we're talking a few hundred, or thousands, I tend to get a bit OCD with respect to research before buying. It seems the Duc's get mixed reviws, with the newer Monsters being better thought of overall, along with of course the S4, Speed Triple, etc..but tough to find used near me, not to mention generally at at least a 50% premium over the SV. So, I read reviews, checked weight and specs, read forums, which are always fun - people get 'buyers blinders' all too often. If someone spends a good chunk of money, they WANT to love what they bought, even if it's not what they expected, or they're just not qualified to make the conclusion. A prime example is people buying their first bike, or a non-racer who bought race parts. You'd be amazed at how many people 'love' EBC brake pads on Miatas, running on the track. I take a turbo'd Miata on the track now and then, and can tell you - EBC for Miatas are crap. Not 'they're OK,' they're utter crap. I've seen a set of EBC red 'race pads' worn to the rivets in a single day of driving school. They're crap as in - may not work when you need them to, not just 'underperformers.' So, you take some forums and reviews with a grain of salt, and filter out a lot of I kept looking for people who were on their 3rd, 4th, or 10th bike, who had then picked up or rode an SV. It seemed pretty unanimous though - the SV was a winner, and pretty inexpensive by comparison to the Ducatis.

So, an SV was it - the right amount of performance, light tour-ability, and price. I guess I have a fixation with blue - all of my vehicles are usually either blue or silver/charcoal, so, color picked out, just had to find the bike. More research to figure out the year differences - my BMW is a '98, and my (second) DRZ an '05..I have no issues with carb'ed bikes, and it seemed the only year I really wanted to avoid was the 2003, as it's an 'oddball' transitional model from the carbed to the FI bikes. And, not that I was planning on going that new unless a good deal came up, but the '06 'blue' is pretty funky, so it looked like up to '02, or, and '04 or '05. The '05s and later went from silver frames to black, and I've got to say, that combo just grabbed an '04 in silver with silver frame, or an '05 in blue was the target, or a carb'ed bike.

Decision mostly made, I started to look. When I'm looking for something, I pretty much always check Craigslist, followed by CycleTrader online. However, I noticed a few things, one of which I'd already been seeing in helping a friend of mine find his first bike - prices in general on used bikes have gone up. It's got to be the price of gas. Thanks, GW - what a winner. Bikes that should have been around the $3k mark, where prices are already a bit on the high side locally, were now 1k higher than usual. THE SVs weren't so easy to find at all, though. I called the local dealers just in case someone had done a trade-in. No luck, although one tried to sell me a Ducati S4. Yeah, not today..nice bike, though

Now - trying to actually find one!

I looked locally and within-reasonable-travel distance for 6 weeks or so, without much luck, or actually - any. It seems most want to be a 'boy racer,' and there were some SV-S models, but I wanted the naked - both for the more standard ergos and the look.

One weekend I decided - this is enough. I want to ride it THIS season, not if I found a bike within 1000 miles, that was what I wanted, I'd take it, and figure out how to get it to me later. That did bring up a few more options, and I kept my eyes open on the SVRider forum as well, until I found it. It being, an '05 blue SV650 naked, with some minor mods, none that offended me - frame sliders, fender eliminator, an aftermarket can on the exhaust, and a tank bra. Bras on vehicles are generally a bad idea, but I ride with kevlar pants, which can be slightly abrasive, and it can always be removed. I played email tag for a while with the seller, then was about to move on for lack of response, then he got back to me, and negotiations started. He had a jacket, some gloves, and a huge XXL helmet that had to go with the bike, none of which really mattered to me on the end price. We finally settled at 4k even, and he keeps the helmet to sell for a few $ locally.

It definitely looked nice - now how to get it?