I'll never forget sitting on the decaying bench seats in Turn 3 at the "Fastest Road in the West" (Willow Springs) years ago one Sunday afternoon to soak in some high-desert sun and good grass-roots club racing. An unfamiliar looking and sounding bike was piloted with adroitness through what's called the Omega.
Leaning against the chain-link fence to get as close a look as possible on the next go 'round, I sheepishly asked a fellow race-watcher what bike was making that distinctly-Twin exhaust note. "That's the new V-Twin from Suzuki," said the motorcycle racing fan. My jaw fell open in mild astonishment. I'd only recently heard of the new bike, and was quite certain I hadn't seen any in dealers yet, and here some die-hard enthusiast was already racing the thing. And so began American riders' love affair with the Suzuki SV650.
The first major update to the SV – and the partially-faired SV650S model introduced in 2000 – arrived in '03 and included fuel-injection, a new beefy square-tube truss frame and marginal increases in power and torque. In 2007 the fully naked SV was dropped, as Suzuki perceived performance characteristics between the SV and S to be too close. That same year optional ABS was available for the S model, and in '08 it went fully-faired as the SV650SF.
Only two years later and Suzuki has come up with a solution to fill the gap left by the standard SV's departure: the 2009 Gladius.
More: 2009 Suzuki Gladius Review on Motorcycle.com