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I think you might be happiest on a sportier sport tourer. Ninja 1000 or VFR800 would be my suggestions for you.

I'm about the same size as you and am fine nearly flat-footing my second gen SV (I can do it in Sidi boots) but I've had to, as others have alluded to, spend the money upgrading the suspension to match my riding. My wife will tell you it is decidedly NOT a two-up machine, but I have done 500 mile days. She's all done after 45 minutes.
 

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But if I fit on one of the I-4s... I'm going to be sorely tempted by the extra ponies...
Yes you may have more horsepower, but you'll most certainly have less torque, and torque is the stuff that makes it go. If it means anything to you, in the hands of equal riders the V-2 SV will be faster than the I-4 CB on anything with more curves than straights. Don't get me wrong, I love the way my ZRX1100 comes up on the cam and to lay on the tank and twist the screw, that's why I keep it around. It's just that by any objective measure other than a drag race my little SV is a faster, not to mention vastly better handling ride. My offer for the ride still stands, I'll text when I get my carbs back, should be a couple of weeks. If for no other reason than I might get to check out a CB650!
Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #23
SV650 torque... 47 ft-lbs
CB650R torque... 47 ft-lbs
Z900 torque... 72 ft-lbs

I know that the SV will make more torque across a wider RPM range than the CB. And I remember that the engine is a gem. But the uprated suspension components on the I-4s would likely mean no need to find, and have installed, uprated components on the SV.

The discussion is moot if neither of the I-4s fits me...
 

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Yes, but look at the torque curves. The V twin's curve will be higher earlier, and remain so until the upper stratosphere of the I-4 rpm range, a place you'll seldom go. At normal cruising speeds the V2 will simply give you more power right when you want it, while the I-4 will need to spool up to get there. The two types of engines make power differently. Dani Pedrosa would be faster on the I-4, but (speaking for myself) an old man on a public road would would find the punchy V2 friendlier and more forgiving.

I wouldn't upgrade the suspension until it started bothering me. Lots of guys are perfectly happy with the newer stock stuff - I'm on an old G1 remember. It's just that the SV is so very nearly perfect that upgrading the suspension doesn't seem like that big a deal. To me. Probably not to everyone.
 

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I'm with Kenneth. I haven't altered the stock suspension even on my 99 SV650 as it suits me fine. Whatever bike someone buys they should ride it over all the terrain and roads types they use for at least a few hundred miles and see if there's anything they can't live with before changing anything just for the sake of it. I came from much heavier and less powered and much older Motorcycles so the SV was like Night-and-day to me. The ,"Engine Braking" is a joy to incorporate into the riding style.

I like to anticipate when riding so rarely use hard or harsh braking but I don't ride slow where the roads permit. The SV is so light and nimble my weakened right shoulder(Industrial Accident a few years ago) doesn't cause me grief on the SV whereas it did on my older bikes on longer distances.
 

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Brakes and suspensions upgrades: you should really not worry about them upon buying the bike.

I mean, it is good to know that most users (after riding the bike for quite some time) felt the need to improve both brakes and suspensions, because you might want to budget the possible expense, but that is not something that needs to be done right from the start.

I bought my gen.3 SV in fall 2017, and at the beginning it was perfect for my riding style; I have traveled about 15'000 km before feeling a more adequate shock was needed.
It took me another 3'000 to decide brakes required improvement, and it was only after improving the brakes that I really felt the fork as too soft.

What I mean is that, depending on your riding style, after some time you'll start noticing those flaws/defects that in the end most of us discovered, but when, and the amount of work/parts needed to address them, will only be discovered with time and traveled kms, and this will not be the same for all.
 
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Just re-cleaned the fueling system on my Y2K SV650N after last summer's overhauls, and woooow, I'd forgotten how smooth she is when she's happy. I've only owned 3 bikes, and am not a serious rider. But my SV came to me with Corbin seat, Fox rear shock, emulators up front (dunno whose), braided steel brake lines, sliders, lift spools, and an M4 exhaust. Everything it needs and nothing it doesn't. I had to adjust the rear shock to make it SOFTER.

Picked up a roofing nail last summer, so she's got an appointment for a new set of shoes to replace the plugged rear, and they're both old anyway. Perhaps a month or two of riding, and then it's time for her to move on. I can't stable 2 bikes, and the SV is is too big for my space, if you can believe it. And I own too many carburetors to keep up with them all. But it's not a dig on the machine, if you run it regularly!

These are great bikes (preaching to the choir). As much power as I'll ever need - maybe more. I'm 5'9" 150lb, and could use a touch more room to the pegs. It's tiring on the highway without any wind protection, and not well-adaptable for luggage compared to the post-2012 V-strom 650, which is probably my ideal grown-up bike.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that pre-tweaked SVs in good shape ARE out there. I got one accidentally. There must be more.
 

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As an owner of two of the bikes you're looking at ('19 SV 650, '17 Z900) trust me, the Z900 will leave the SV in the dust; there's no comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that pre-tweaked SVs in good shape ARE out there. I got one accidentally. There must be more.
Surprisingly, I'm finding only one SV used in the Denver area, and it's seen better days.

As an owner of two of the bikes you're looking at ('19 SV 650, '17 Z900) trust me, the Z900 will leave the SV in the dust; there's no comparison.
I'm sure. And I can probably swing the cost of the Z900. If it fits me (or vice-versa) I will be hard-pressed not to buy one. If it doesn't, I suspect I will enjoy an SV. Saturday morning...
 
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My last bike was a CBR1000. The bike was ok, but I really have no desire to go back to an inline 4 engine, at least not a Honda. I have more fun on my SV that I ever did on my CBR, because of the SV's v-twin, even though it's only a 650. The SV's suspension works well for me. I wish the ride was a little more plush, but the handling through corners is great.
For two-up riding, which I personally don't like to do, I would probably look at bikes with more passenger space like a Triumph Speed Twin, or a Ducati Scrambler because it also has a low seat height. I do prefer Japanese bikes for their reliability, so buying anything from Triumph or Ducati would be out of character for me.
 

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I'm sure. And I can probably swing the cost of the Z900. If it fits me (or vice-versa) I will be hard-pressed not to buy one. If it doesn't, I suspect I will enjoy an SV. Saturday morning...
I suspect you're correct! They are both by all accounts great bikes. A lot of the previous posters will have had much more experience and insight than I -- but I wanted to point out you're interacting with some of the most critical folks here.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Well... I guess I won't be riding an SV anytime soon.
My day started with a stop at the Honda dealer, and a look at their (not-ready-to-demo-ride) CB650R. My notes:
Can almost flat-foot it. Feels no heavier than my Guzzi. Swaged handlebar might make a windscreen an interesting project. Very red. Sporty ergos; bar is low and forward, pegs are high. A fairly substantial pillion perch, comparatively speaking.
I headed to the Kawasaki dealer next (saving the Suzuki/Ducati dealer for last). They had one of the blue and grey 2020 Z900s ($300 extra for that color, I believe) and a black and green 2019 (for $600 off the price of the black and green 2020). There were a number of improvements for 2020, so I chose the blue one. A test ride? Sure... sign here. I followed the sales guy (who was on a Zero) around a 10- or 11-mile loop with an occasional rain drop spattering my shield. Observations: I wish it didn't look like a 20 year-old's bike (or better yet, I wish I were 20 again!). The pillion perch is vestigial. As with the Honda, I can almost flat-foot it. Close enough.The clutch is amazingly light... lighter than anything else I've ridden in 20 years, maybe lighter than anything I've ever ridden. Nice, color TFT display. The engine sounds great and pulls eagerly. It's smoother than my FJR was, at least as far as 6,000 RPM. (Thinking that I might buy it, I didn't push it too hard.) Firmly (but not harshly) suspended at both ends. Far more agreeable ergos than the Honda. The pegs are still on the high side, but not as high as the Honda's, and the reach to the bar is much more manageable. I'd decided to buy it before we got 2/3 of the way through the test ride.
So... I won't be joining your ranks, at least not yet. But I wanted to thank everyone for their honest and helpful insights. I don't know if I would have been happy with an SV in stock trim, but for me, spending the not inconsiderable difference got me a bike I'm already enjoying, without needing to be trolling eBay for a set of GSX-R600 forks.
Thanks again,
Mark
 
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One thing I noticed when I test rode a Z900 was that I immediately felt comfortable on it and went way faster than I normally do on a test ride. Enjoy!
 

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I just read the review on that and realized I'm an old man living in the bygone era of Y2K technology. Never had a fuel injected bike, nor one with ABS, TC, etc. It'd sure be fun to do track days and ride in the rain with all that stuff, I'd prolly fight with the computer but that's just me. Have fun and be safe!
 

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I'd prolly fight with the computer but that's just me
If the computer is doing its' thing properly...you won't even know it's there...which can make you feel like a hero. :) Even the SV1K will have trouble with a Z900 in a straight line, though up to about 100mph it's not power that's determining how quickly you get there.....wheelie, traction and rider skill in that order. If you eliminate the wheelies through wheelbase alteration and practice launching the SV1K can match just about anything out there...for a while until they overpower you and blast past. But what's the fun in that? Ride safely on the new bike! :)
 

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If the computer is doing its' thing properly...you won't even know it's there...which can make you feel like a hero. :) Even the SV1K will have trouble with a Z900 in a straight line, though up to about 100mph it's not power that's determining how quickly you get there.....wheelie, traction and rider skill in that order. If you eliminate the wheelies through wheelbase alteration and practice launching the SV1K can match just about anything out there...for a while until they overpower you and blast past. But what's the fun in that? Ride safely on the new bike! :)
Yeah I know, and would love to ride such a bike. I was talking about the interface on the dash, and would hate thinking something was on when it was off. First wave Boomer here, I fight with my iPhone - maybe that's why I gravitate to old shit.
 

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Oh.....I'm with you 100%...give me analog wherever possible. FI is nicer to work with than carburetors especially now that it's been used for years and is thoroughly developed, but early on it could be troublesome and is about the only 'modern' thing on bikes I enjoy. Hell...I don't even have a cell phone...never have and never will. (I know...never speak in absolutes) :)
 
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