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2009 Suzuki SFV650 Gladius - First Look

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Making an efficient motorcycle that s fun to ride and comes at an affordable price were all goals Suzuki hoped to reach with the 2009 Gladius.
Making an efficient motorcycle that's fun to ride and comes at an affordable price were all goals Suzuki hoped to reach with the 2009 Gladius.
Noteworthy news out of the Suzuki camp is that the SV650 will not be back in 2009. This is not to say that it has abandoned the smaller displacement standard platform altogether. In its stead, Suzuki introduces its newest naked bike, the 2009 SFV650 Gladius.

While the SV650 was sharp and angular, the Gladius is smooth and rounded. Suzuki eliminated the front mini-fairing and did away with the round headlight for an angled multi-reflector headlamp. The sharp lines of the SV's body have been replaced by a streamlined tank and seat and the round chrome exhaust has been switched out for a short, stout upswept muffler.

Aesthetically, the Gladius is strikingly similar to a little bike that Ducati just released, the Monster 696. And Suzuki openly states that it features European styling. Both sport an irregularly-shaped headlight, have a compact trellis frame with the engine suspended below the framework.

The liquid-cooled 645cc V-Twin has new iridium spark plugs.
The liquid-cooled 645cc V-Twin of the Gladius is sourced from the SV650 but has new hot-burning iridium spark plugs.
The 2009 Gladius sources the engine from the SV650. The 645cc fuel-Injected powerplant remains a 90-degree V-Twin with DOHC. It sports the same 81 X 62.6mm bore and stroke as before, but utilizes iridium spark plugs for a hotter spark and better combustion. The engine is equipped with Suzuki's signature Dual Valve throttle bodies as two 31mm intake valves squirt the good stuff in and two 25.5 exhaust valves suck it out. Compression ratio remains at 11.5:1, but new valve springs are claimed to reduce inertia weight and minimize mechanical losses.

In an effort to boost its low- to midrange torque, changes have been made to the cam profiles, valve lift, and crankshaft inertia has been boosted by a claimed 10%. The staggered intake and exhaust track lengths have been lengthened and the overall volume of the exhaust system has been boosted to give it more pop down low as well.

On the handling side, the front end is tucked in tight and has 25-degrees of rake and 104mm of trail. The telescopic front fork is mated to a 17-inch cast aluminum five-spoke wheel fitted with a 120mm Dunlop Qualifier. Dual, floating 290mm discs with dual-piston calipers will provide stopping power.

On the tail end, a single rear shock connects to a steel swingarm through progressive linkage. The rear is preload adjustable over a seven-step range and has 130mm of travel. Anchoring the back end is a 160mm Dunlop Qualifier on a 17-inch cast alloy wheel teamed with a single, 240mm rear disc and a single-piston caliper that should be more than up to the task of bringing the *446-lb Gladius to a halt. ABS is optional. (*claimed curb weight)

Suzuki has set up ergos  seat height  and curb appeal of the 2009 Gladius to appeal to women riders.
Suzuki has set up ergos, seat height, and curb appeal of the 2009 Gladius to appeal to women riders.
The tank is very narrow where it meets the seat, which sits 30.9 inches off the ground. The compact 56.9-inch wheelbase, trim profile, and easy reach to the ground make it a sensible starter bike. The video shown during its introduction featured a sportily-clad female rider zipping around town on the new Gladius, and advertising literature also features women riders and emphasizes the market Suzuki is trying to attract with its newest standard motorcycle. If there was any doubt about this, one of the four colors it is available in is Candy Red Magenta. Yes, I said magenta. Most guys don't even know what color magenta is.

Suzuki is aiming to stake a claim in the under 800cc category. In doing so, it wants to keep its motorcycles affordable and efficient. With an MSRP of $6,499, the 2009 SFV650 Gladius fits the bill.

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buddybrough   June 26, 2011 05:44 PM
I have owned a Gladius for 6 months and put about 1500 miles on it. I have never been beat by any car, ever. It beats most bikes up to 100mph because of the massive torque curve. In the city this bike is one of the best bikes ever built because it has one of the best engines ever built. In europe they race the gladius(look it up on youtube). This bike looks tough with a few aftermarket parts, like a cafe or keep in stock and it still has a fresh look but looks are opinions and everybody has one. Anyone who thinks this is a girls bike can meet me at the track and well see whos the girl. I am getting the BMW S1000rr for a track bike as well. I like the finer things in life and don't care what the cost is. The gladius just happended to be a totall city killer and thats what I needed.
Steve -Im surprised by the negativity  June 9, 2010 08:57 AM
Admittedly, Im a newb. But Ive been a cycle fan for years. As a new rider, I was most interested in the SV650 and figured that would be my choice for the first bike. This Gladius is very sleek. I actually love the look. The white with blue frame color is sick. I like some of the harder edges in design and the open faired look is just sexy. The one thing that does raise an eyebrow is the weigh thtough as some have said. Why so much heavier than the SV650?

Eugene -Got it and love it  April 20, 2010 03:06 PM
I got this bike as my first bike and I love it. I have one in black color and it looks great. I disagree with everyone saying this is a "girl's" bike. I feel very good and comfortable riding it and I would recommend it to anyone. It looks different from most of the bikes you see on the streets and people stop and look at me when I'm riding, I also receive a lot of complements on the look of the bike everywhere I stop.
John -The Truth  April 20, 2010 02:00 AM
Up against all the other bikes in the 7 - 10 K range. This isn't a bad way to go. It is still reasonably light, sure 460ish lbs. But compare that to say the 750lb Katana at only 100cc difference. 650cc's Light weight and fairly stylish by any standards. If you want pure style; buy a 40 K raked out cruiser "good luck making a turn, or stopping". Sure the Ducati 696 and the Suzuki are similar in styling, note the obvious lack of two person ride-ability. And the add $2000.00 sticker. And once and for all the Suzuki is offered in a black on black color scheme that a person would have to be ignorant to dislike.
jrok -buell look  March 8, 2010 10:38 AM
wondering what this would look like if you changed out the pipe for something a little less......flowing? and put the buell dual headlights and fly screen on it.
born09 -Tail tidy and other answers  August 19, 2009 01:05 PM
Tail tidys for the gladius is on ebay not that I like the one I saw. The triumph sorry it just aint in the same price range in fact costs almost double ouch. The sexy little ducati has been put up against the gladius and has not beaten it in a review I have seen yet, though I do like it . I sense more than one sv lover here and if you aint guessed it I am not one of them I have tried both and the sv does not float my boat. What you need to do is stop belly aching about the past and at least try one for your selfs . As a short forty somthing male who has a love of bikes that goes back to his sixteenth birthday I love it. Think your self lucky you never had to ride an MZ now that was a pile of ?##* on two wheels.
GoogleBoy -I own Gladius  July 9, 2009 04:43 PM
Hello I own a Gladius for like a month and I am very happy with it, excepting the fact white color is kind of hard to keep "clean"... I like my bike very much, it is very powerful, easy to ride and Suzuki really did a good choice changing the design of the old SV. Last year I wanted to buy an SV but finally I gave up because I didn't like the design: too rough. Fuel consumption is very good: like 3.5-4 liter per 100 km.
Dave -new to this  June 13, 2009 03:39 PM
Has anyone riden one, i want to know answers to 3 questions:- 1) Can i put the SV650 rear end on the Gladius ? (looks like you cant get a tidy tail on the new bike and the SV rear end looks much better. 2) When's someone bringing out some belly plates for these things ? (or do the SV one's fit. 3) The exhaust look's rubish on the Gladius can i change it to an arrow ? O.K. maybe i should just get an SV i tried asking the bloke in the shop whats the differance in performance but they just want to sell something they not really bothered what they tell you, but theres other things to consider than just the looks, have to consider things like rusting, availibilty of parts in the future etc etc... and 'cheap' as the SFV Gladius is its still alot of money.
BK -Neanderthal or Pansy?  June 5, 2009 06:28 PM
The trouble with America is compartmentalization of everything into extremes. Either a man is a Neanderthal or he is a Pansy. I am neither. I am a normal, straight guy who happens to be intelligent and likes many fine things in life. 'NO SUCH THING!' I can hear the roar go up 'CLOSET GAY!' Well, what can I say! If you are 'normal' man today in America, you better not have any inkling of fine arts, or be able to speak in full sentences. You better 'enjoy' drinking vast quantities of alcohol AND enjoy puking! When you write a note, remember to print in block letters like a two-year old; write in cursive and you are doomed to be gay! In fact the Gay people and women exploit this to their fullest advantage by simply co-opting many ideas. Once something becomes popular in the Gay community, that's it! The rest of us guys in the world better swear off of it and make sure everyone knows we hate it! ABBA comes to mind! This bike is a marvelous example of form and function. Most good products in the world are designed so that large segments of the population can use them with ease. Women happen to be part of that group in case the stone-age riders have not noticed. In other words, in their world, I suppose a 'man's bike' ought to be something that is clunky, uncomfortable, clumsy and cumbersome, and hopefully ugly too! Otherwise it is pansy! Well, the Soviets make clunky, and cumbersome things like that by the truckload. Go for it guys! They need the exchange!
Lori Jean -Still considering...  May 22, 2009 03:06 PM
I used to own a 2000 SV650s. The bike was a dream to ride and I regret so much having to sell it. When the 2002's came out it was a shame how they changed the style from the round sleek look to a boxy looking machine. I saw the SVF650 the other day for the first time and was immediately impressed. It had the same look as the SV when it came out in 1999. I'm a female rider and I like the seat height of the Gladius. I also like the more upright handlebars as I'm getting older and the lean would be more of a back breaker now. One thing that really turns me off about the Gladius though is difference in weight from the SV 650...65 lbs. I'm hoping that they make it lighter in the future if this bike stays on the market. In the mean time I might have to get one of these to hold me over.
Greg from Calgary -What else is new?  May 6, 2009 10:28 PM
I proudly own a 99 SV650S. It is an exact copy of an era Ducati; except in price, performance and reliability. The SV kicks the Duc's butt in all these. Of course the new bike is a design knockoff. The Japanese have been taking everybody else's ideas and improving them for years. Other than that funky colour, I'm sure they'll do it here again. By the way, I challenge anybody out there to drive my "girl's bike" to its limit. 1,000,000 people in Calgary, and I know of about a dozen that can use this "girl's bike" to its max. They are all pro racers. Riding a bike isn't just smoking the rear tire off using 145hp. Get off the "girl's bike" kick guys.
mlo*ylo -I'm a chick and I DON'T like this bike!!!  April 25, 2009 07:32 PM
I am personally offended that they are specifically marketing this bike to women. I specifically avoided getting something that looked "girly" and love my angular SV650 for this reason. Now don't get me wrong: I'm about as feminine as they come. But I don't need to have a female-targeted bike to reassure myself of this. Yuck!!
Smartmove -faired gladius 650  April 20, 2009 05:40 PM
This is clearly Suzukis grab for the ladies market - and a pretty smart move too. I wonder what the blokes version (fully faired version) of the gladius will look like when it replaces the SV650SF in 2010? Anyone seen any spy pictures yet?
stratrat -SFV 650 Gladius  March 23, 2009 09:06 AM
This bike is designed primarily for the European market. Hence,the Italian inspired styling, the only rub is they get more color choices.I am a returning rider(after many years absence);this bike and the 650 Kawasaki twins are all on my list of bikes to seriously consider for purchase. To those who do nothing but complain and whine and snivel about the styling of each new bike on the market,get a life! If you can engineer,style,develop,and certify a bike (with each useless gov't. beuracracy around the world) then by all means do so!!!!
mike -mv agusta  March 16, 2009 01:07 PM
they stole the look from the mv agusta brutale,shame on suzuki.
Z -Seriously?  January 29, 2009 07:56 PM
I'm a firm believer in everyones entitled to their opinion but when I see the hate being put on this bike it kinda irritates me. The fact that people are calling it a girls bike blows my mind. So when I see girls riding gixxers and cruisers does that make them girls bikes? I like this bike. I used to hate naked bikes until this one came out. I will definately be trading in my Shadow for this. I like it and I don't really care what anyone else thinks. Isn't that what motorcycle riding is all about? To express yourself however you want and ride whatever you want without facing scrutiny? Honestly people grow up.
Susan -696? So what?  January 15, 2009 04:46 PM
Sure it looks like the 696. Great, you get the look with the usual japanses execution, which is to say it really really works well. I went back and forth between 650's and Monsters. The Monsters were lookers, but the SV's outshined them in handling and friendliness.
Chris -Weight  January 8, 2009 09:48 AM
Whats up with the weight gain of 76 pounds over the SV650. Just checked out the Suzuki website to get the official specs SV650 370 pounds, SFV650 Gladius 446 pounds. Maybe a Gladius superlite in 4 years?
Joe O -SV650 a classic  January 6, 2009 07:37 PM
I consider my nakied SV650 the best bike ever for the real world. Sure it only goes 130 mph and barely gets into the 12 seconds for 1/4 mile. I regularly zip it from 80 to over 100 mph in traffic. Get out on the street or the track and redline one of these "girls bikes" in the the first 3 gears and tell me it's not fun enough. I dont care for the replacement model. At least the SV650S will continue for awhile.
B -Looks Good  January 2, 2009 10:40 AM
I think the little Gladius looks good and makes for a willing willing street bike platform.
normanx -read up fools....  December 30, 2008 05:32 PM
Read up children...the addition of fuel injection makes this thing ultimately tunable.... and very, very efficient.
Bobby -SFV650  December 22, 2008 07:28 PM
This new SFV650 has some style. Toss out $1000 bucks to have the forks and shock worked over. This "girls bike" will put a serious hurt'n your big bad repli-racers. I've seen more than a few tail ends of SV650's fading from my "forward" view at the track. Now, if the tail view I see has a bad ass girl at the helm....even sweeter!!!! This bike is $2500 msrp less than the Duc and will flat out run it. Few suspension tweeks and you'll be waiting for the Duc to catch up down ol 129.
StillCrazy -Did they have to soak the thing in estrogen?  December 22, 2008 07:00 AM
I like the Ducati Monster and Aprilia Shiver but Suzuki's bike is more gladiola than Gladius (the Roman short sword after which it's named). I'd give it a more serious look if it loses the art deco tin trellis cover and exhaust and comes in colors that don't shout "no closet can hold me." As it stands, I would gladly pay the extra money for the Street Triple and leave the Gladius to the ladies.
OldSkool -Look at pictures of the original SV650! I think they got it right...again!  December 13, 2008 11:42 AM
All you haters need to look at pictures of the original SV650 that came out in 1999. I still don't own a bike yet...but back in 1999 I was seriously considering an SV650. When they changed the styling (was it 2001 2002?) most people hated it. If you look at this Gladius it is very similar to the original look of the SV650 that I preferred. They also say it is designed for shorter riders. I am a guy, but I am only 5 foot 4, I might actually be able to touch the ground on this one...the original SV650 was too tall for me. I cannot wait until I get home from Iraq in another month so I can check it out. I may have finally found a reliable alternative to a Hyosung GV650 that I looked at prior to deploying. I think the Hyosung was a great bike, but it has reliability issues and if you are going to spend $6500.00 dollars it is better to go with a reliable name with a good dealer support network.
A-Dog -Ducati Should file a copyright lawsuit!!  December 4, 2008 06:34 AM
WTF!! Are you kidding me? This bike is a shameless copy of the Ducati 696. They're nearly identical. But where Ducati pulled off an "euro-urban cool version of my girlfriend's bike", this Japanese version reeks of cheap crap wanna-be me-too bitch bike. The joke of this is that I bought my girlfriend an SV-650 to learn on, drop, etc.., etc, then bought her the Duc 696. I still enjoy riding the SV occasionally and I can even ride her Duc with out feeling like I'm riding a moped after getting neutered. But this Gladius is lamo-embarrassing. Suzuki has brought shame to the Empire!!
steve -gladius  November 25, 2008 07:54 AM
stop your bellyacking and demo this bike--might just hit the spot.
Bill -A crying shame.  November 23, 2008 03:51 PM
When the SV650 came out so many years ago I fell in love with it. Standard styling, nice ergos, great motor, etc., etc.. In 2003 they changed things up a little to go with the times I can understand that. And still to this day, almost every article you read in any motorcycling magazine about mid sized standard motorcycles the SV is the standard to which all must attain. The end of an era, what a shame. I have to agree with one of the previous post, walk into one of the many Suzuki dealerships around the Cleveland, Ohio area you will be hard pressed to find a brand new one on a showroom floor.
phat rob -OK......WHAT GIVES  November 15, 2008 04:48 PM
Let see here. You throw out the SV1000, which for the money, was a nice bike, but give it some after-market parts and you have a cool machine. Now you reshape the SV650 into a girls bicycle. The SV650 was a bike in high demand. I couldn't find one anywhere. I settled for the SV1000. Good luck on this one Suzuki. You should have kept the SV650. I found out about the Gladius at the dealer in Cali. A new SV650 buyer said he had to fly in from another state to get his bike.
Colin -SFV650  November 14, 2008 06:02 PM
I've heard a lot of bad responses about this new bike. I actually think its gorgeous, as does my wife. I can't wait till it hits the Canadian showrooms for a better look. Yes its heavier and a bit more $. But call me crazy, she's a BEAUT!!
54strat -Can you say, Motorcycle Barbbie?  November 11, 2008 10:49 AM
Hey, Girls - Want to look nifty keen, sexy, mindless and brain-dead silly? Then, have we got just the right thing for you...The Suzuki SFV650! Now, really: It's one thing to target the female market, but it's absolutle nutz trying to market a sport-bike that looks like it belongs in Barggie's Dreamhouse garage. Honestly, I don't know any female rider who would be caught dead on this abortion. How Suzuki could take an iconic start-up hooligan and turn it into the motorized equivalent of an Easy Bake Oven...Well, it just boggles my mind. Does anyone know if they're going to offer it in paisley, or maybe sunflowers? I heard recently that a Japanese guy has petitioned the courts to make it legal to marry a cartoon character...Suddenly, it all becomes clear.
mtwin -love my sv  November 10, 2008 03:19 PM
they added 65 lbs and $500 to the sv and stole the styling from the new duc and the aprilla shiver, the 2 ugliest things ever made in italy. even female riders want something meaner looking than this.
Jimbolaya -Femmes have the disposable income-guys get used to it!  November 10, 2008 10:55 AM
Obviously this is a generalization. But that's what the Japanese OEM feed on daily...always searching for the lowest common denominator. W-O-M-E-N, not men, are the largest growing demographic for disposable income guys, get used to it. The people designing & making goods to sell (that's all a motorcycle is guys, sorry, another piece of merchandise on which to base a company's income) care more than anything else about market share, business models, etc. Bean counters rule the roost. Another good example of this trend is the Cadillac Escalade SUV. (The fact that large SUV sales are in the toilet is another separate topic.) Cadillac had a good thing going, having cultivated the Escalade as an ultra-machismo tank. When the disposable income demographic changed to women a few years ago, Cadillac started an intense marketing campaign to gin up female in interest. It was quite succesful, but of course the original market (men) had less interest in the SUV when they started viewing it as a chick car.
Another Ken from another town -Yep, they screwed the pooch  November 8, 2008 06:46 PM
What were they thinking? They had the best bike for the price on the market, so they let some design school rejects turn it into a poodle? WTF? Idiots...
Ken -LOSER  November 8, 2008 01:11 AM
OK...so Suzuki has now committed "Sales-suicide". Turning a great mid-sized "Street fighter" type bike into a girl's bike (asthetically). It does NOT pull off the Trellis frame like the sexy Ducati, nor does it have the brawn to even glance at the Triumph Street Triple. Suzuki...you now have a loser (in every segment). Congrats and good luck with that.