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2018 Suzuki SV650X

22nd September 2017

 

Cafe Racer | V-twin | Rally concept | 645cc

 

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2018 Suzuki SV650X

 

Suzuki is calling the proposed SV650X a "neo retro" design—which is coy marketing-speak for "let's-warm-over-this-ageing-retro-stuff-and-see-if-we-can-squeeze-a-little-more-juice-from-it". Based upon the established 645cc liquid-cooled four-stroke, 8-valve DOHC 90° V-twin (featuring a bore of 81mm and a stroke of 62.6mm), this "X" model is an "evolution of the SV650 Rally concept" as revealed at the 2016 Tokyo Motorcycle Show.

 

Suzuki will be parading this toned-down middleweight at this year's Tokyo Motorcycle Show (Friday 27th October 2017) and is looking for more market reaction before committing itself to full scale production—which, of course, confirms that the company still isn't sure which way the wind is blowing and is hedging its bets.

 

The 2017 EICMA Show in Milan will take place on 7th - 12th November 2017, but it's not clear if the bike is headed there too.


Paul de Lusignan, Suzuki GB's general manager, has been quoted as saying: "The SV650 Rally concept generated a lot of interest at last year’s show, with retro-styled machines proving very popular among riders. The SV650X is an evolution of that concept, and shows how that would translate to a production machine. Currently we cannot confirm a production schedule. We will first assess reactions to the SV650X before finalising plans."

It's another example of how edgy and uncertain the established motorcycle firms have become—certainly with regard to western markets. Sales are struggling. R&D is expensive. The Chinese are taking an increasing slice of the pie and therefore squeezing margins. And few Japanese manufacturers are prepared to stick their necks out very far.

 

The first SV650s appeared in 1999. At that time, Suzuki seemed to know exactly where it wanted to kick this particular ball. But more recently, it doesn't appear to know where the goal is, let alone how to score. Consequently, SV650 fans are largely confused and frustrated by the half-hearted attempt to get this V-twin rolling.

 

No suggested pricing yet. Actually, not much of anything really. Just an "if" and a "maybe".

 

 


 

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