Suzuki served up the SFV 650 Gladius in 2009, an Italianesque bike boasting contemporary styling, an efficient frame – to say the least – and, especially, an engine that’s the envy of the competition. And an engine that’s easier to live with on a daily basis than any of the Italian twin-cylinders, but one that’s got heaps of attitude nonetheless.
is definitely easy on the eyes, its sweeping lines and rounded edges evoking the bio-design movement. This panther is definitely ready to pounce. The conspicuous trellis frame, the scoops flanking the radiator, the twin exhaust tips, the flowing fuel tank and the bulbous headlamp reminiscent of fine Murano glass are all seductive. Yup, this Gladius is quite the looker.
Come one, come all
|The Gladius is definitely easy on the eyes, its sweeping lines and rounded edges evoking the bio-design movement. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/Moto123.com)
The Gladius boasts friendly ergos that will suit neophytes and hardened riders alike. The seat is set just 785-mm off the ground, and the natural riding position and ample space are definite crowd-pleasers, whether you’re 5 foot 3 or 5 foot 9.
On the instrument front we get a new-generation dash similar to that of the brand’s sport bikes. There’s an analogue tachometer, digital speedo, six LEDs for the essentials and a gear position indicator. All that’s missing is a fuel gauge.
The rider’s rear is treated to a form-fitting saddle covered in nonslip fabric. The passenger is perched a little higher and enjoys two rounded and welcome grips that fit seamlessly into the machine’s design. Finally, large mirrors set wide apart ensure excellent visibility.
The wide handlebars evoke the typical street fighter mentality, i.e. let’s dominate the road. The bike seems light despite its 202 kilos all systems go, and the rumbly V-Twin responds to the lightest urging. The smooth mill sails along on a wisp of throttle from 1,500 rpm onwards, even under 50 km/h in 6th gear. Push it, and it joyfully rockets up to the red line at 10,500 rpm, where it has enough grunt to get you out of any sticky situation.
In fact, Suzuki uses this engine on several models, and it has been revamped here to conform to the Gladius’s raison d’être. Torque is more generous and regular on the entire useful rpm range, there’s no noticeable vibration and it’s got enough juice for two-up riding with some baggage too.
|The smooth mill sails along on a wisp of throttle from 1,500 rpm onwards, even under 50 km/h in 6th gear. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/Moto123.com)