One thing I have learned this year in testing out all the different models of motorcycles is that changing it up and switching riding styles can improve your overall riding skills. Learning how different bikes move based on their build, center of gravity, horsepower etc. is definitely practical knowledge worth obtaining.
Suzuki Canada recently offered the opportunity to switch it up with three of their 2010 lineup. The Suzuki SFV650A – the Gladius (sport); The V-Strom 650 ABS (dual sport); and the M50 Boulevard (cruiser).
The Gladius: this bike offers a 645cc, two cylinder, four stroke 90 degree V-Twin engine with a six speed transmission. It is a single headlight, naked sport bike meaning it has no fairing or windshield. Available in two colours – pearl nebular black or pearl mira red – the bike’s seat height is just shy of 31 inches making this model available to a variety of riders.
I found the Gladius to be a great sport bike to switch to from a cruiser. Ergonomically I had room to move on the seat and the gear shifter and brake lever were perfectly placed for a comfortable ride no matter the length of your legs. Completing the riding triangle (seat, pegs, handlebars), the bars offered me a more upright position than the usual sport bike style. Gears changing was effortless and smooth.
V-Strom: This is Suzuki’s answer to the adventure bike. With a seat height of 33 inches, this bike is definitely for the taller rider offering a 90 degree seating triangle. Available in pearl mirage white, candy max orange or pearl black with matching colour seat and side bags. Engine is a 645 cc, 90 degree V-Twin and the bike weighs in at 485 lbs – 30 lbs heavier than the Gladius.
I found this motorcycle to be a confidence booster. Plenty of power, great torque through the gears and consistent acceleration and deceleration. The ABS brakes proved to be a very valuable asset as I was surprised in a blind corner on Westside Road by a herd of mountain sheep standing on the road.
M50 Boulevard: I spent very little time on this bike due to an existing back injury that was aggravated in saddle of the Boulevard.
This five speed transmission Suzuki cruiser can be enjoyed by two people with its dual seating. Available in Black or Orange, this fuel injected engine boasts 805cc, four stroke, liquid cooled, 45 degree V-twin. It is a fairly long bike with a 65.2 inch wheelbase but the riding triangle (handlebars, pegs, seat) is really designed for the smaller rider. Braking system on this model is front disc brakes and rear drum. Total curb weight is 593 lbs (nearly 100lbs heavier than the V-Strom and 130 lbs heavier than the Gladius).