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Short Version: Is the Gen3 SV650 that much better than Gen2? If so, how?

Long Version:
I'm going to be selling my Tenni Green Griso. It's a fine bike with a great engine, but it doesn't suit my preference for sub 500 pound bikes. Plus 37 MPGs kind of sucks, and I don't love the Moto Guzzi weight-down-low-due-to-shaft-drive-feel. I want to like Guzzis as they are beautiful and Guzzi fans tend to be cool, but the Griso is too heavy for me, the V7 just doesn't handle well enough to flog, and while the V9 is really the perfect commuter, it lacks ground clearance.

I've narrowed my next bike down to a used CBR650f, Gen2 SV650, or Gen3 SV650. The CBR only made the list because of its wind protection, but it lacks the midrange punch of the SV650 and generally is considered boring. The best bike I've ever owned other than my forever bike, a Monster S2R800, is a Gen 2 SV with suspension upgrades. The Gen3 SV looks cooler but is it much better otherwise?

The purpose of the bike is to be a commuter, occasional canyon carver, and occasional light tourer. To fit that role I've previously owned a GSX650f (heavy for a commuter, good in the canyons, great light tourer), Versys (great commuter, good light tourer, but I didn't love the engine), FZ6 (perfect bike except for the hand numbing vibration), Griso, Sportster, and SV650. In retrospect, the SV650 was the only one that ticked all the boxes, as well as made me excited to ride it.
 

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Juan I collected a brand new Gen 3 today and have similar bikes in past to you. I had a Gen 2 fully faired and loved it but clip-on bars killed my wrists after 2-3 hours.
I chose the Gen 3 over Honda CB650r mainly as local Honda dealer is a douche of the highest order. New Honda are like my last bike MT07 subject to cost cutting and poor QC outlook in return for profit.
Only done 60 miles on SV today as live in Scotland and just above freezing today. I figured on seat re-work and some other stuff like exhaust etc all will leave me around $1800 US ahead of new CB650r in UK/ Scotland.
Bike has retained lot of Gen 3 character and engine is smoother than ever all puts a smile on my face and I'm happy.
Good luck in your search, for touring have you considered the V-Strom I would have but am too short.
 

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I'd say that it depends on how much you want to tinker with your bike.

Out of the box, the gen 3 is a very noticeably better bike.
I rode the SV650X (and a GSX-S 1000 and the new Katana) and my heavily modified K3N back to back recently and I didn't give "upgrading" to the X even a passing thought.

Compared to a stock gen 2 the suspension is noticably more plush, the 2019 model in particular has waaaay better front brakes, it's torquier, smoother, has decent-ish ABS for what you are looking for. I didn't like the seat options or the position in general (neither regular nor X), the stock can is horrible as expected and to me it was lacking character. And I personally hate how it looks. The frame is great, the rest not so much. But that's definitely personal preference.

It doesn't stack up to a kitted out gen 2 though. GSX-R forks, brakes and shock are still on another level, the motor is easily tunable to your liking (mine has more torque earlier and for longer than the gen 3. No internal engine work required) and there's tons of knowledge around for the older bikes. Also, huge aftermarket and used parts in spades for the old version.

So, if you plan to keep things mostly stock, get the gen 3. If you want to tinker with it and are willing to put money and time into it, I'd go gen 2 without a doubt.

P.S.: To me it reads like you already ruled out the Honda. Which I absolutely agree with :D
 

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Get a Gen 3 and modify it, you'll have a brand new bike and can modify it. This is mine.



I wanna put clip on bars on because I think it would look way better but I don't think my wrists could take the strain of having to rest my weight on them, the bigger bike I ride has upright bars standard too.
 

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An option as well. Although you lose your warranty by modifying a new bike, you'll end up having to invest a lot more money to get it to the same performance and depending on where you live some mods will just not be possible (e.g. GSX-R fork-swap would be illegal in Germany because of the ABS, even if you get it to work again, full exhausts are a no-go because of emission regulations etc.).
Gotta say though, removing the stock headlight shroud and hiding those hideous headers does a lot for the visuals...nice looking gen 3!
 

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the bike cost me $11,000 new, to put it into perspective, the modifications I have done including ones I have since removed and replaced with others have cost me 5 or 6 grand including postage and import fees.
 

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...that's quite a lot more than I anticipated. Then again exchange rates are a thing and I'll assume that NZ is a bit more expensive.
Roughly adding up every mod I have done (not counting tires, chains+sprockets) I'm still below 5000€, bought the bike used for 2300€ seven years ago. A full dream setup will probably cost me another grand (porting, camswap, full system, custom saddle).
 

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The seat was $1050 in total and the front and rear suspension upgrades were about $3000.

You'll be shocked to hear that I spent $4200 repairing it after a crash which was basically to replace the whole front end, not including fork legs or a new wheel, I chose to get the wheel straightened. The only other damage (apart from nearly the whole front end) was to the belly guard as you can see in the picture, and the black footpegs and rear brake lever were snapped, and black gear shift lever and rod were bent but I had the originals so just swapped some parts over.
 

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Get a Gen 3 and modify it, you'll have a brand new bike and can modify it. This is mine.



I wanna put clip on bars on because I think it would look way better but I don't think my wrists could take the strain of having to rest my weight on them, the bigger bike I ride has upright bars standard too.
That is the best looking Gen 3 I've seen!

Tell me that's not a stock Dunlop 220 on the front...
 

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I agree. Very nice.
Guess that's the difference between treating one of these as a commuter bike/beginners bike or treating it as bike designed for pure fun on weekends and fine weather days and spending silly amounts of money to get it how I wanted.
 
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