After spending a few months on my new ride, I thought I would share my experiences riding almost the same bike. This is my second SV and my fifth motorcycle since I started riding bikes in 2004. My previous S model was with me for 4 years before I sold it last Christmas before moving to Philadelphia. The main reason I bought that one was because I hated the Kawasaki z750s I had at that time. I made the mistake of buying it because it looked cute and I did very little research on it. As a result, I only rode it 6,000 miles in 3 years! Sad. Before I tell you some of these differences, I think it's important that you know where I was coming from before I bought my first SV.
Once I found the S model, I was in love. Definitely love at first sight, and first ride.
So that brings me to what made the S model so awesome. Here are a list of features that I noticed and right off the bat and learned to love:
- Falls easily into corners, with very little input
- Much lower center of gravity; the fuel tank felt like it was under me not in front of me
- Responsive to my lower body's input; when I used my legs and feet to lean into the corner the bike responded quickly and easily.
- Figured out how to use my body position to lean into the corners
- Almost 2" shorter seat height! I can barely remember how I rode that thing.
- 50lbs lighter
Toward the end of our relationship, I grew to hate the aggressive riding position because I enjoyed taking long rides (150+ miles) and long trips (1,000+ miles). This bike was killing me at the end, although I thought heavily about putting risers on it I simply never got around to it. In hindsight, I should've sold it for the other version.
Which brings me to the differences I've noticed about the non S model.
- Steering input; feels different but just as easy to fall into a corner with. I can't quite say if it's better or worse, it's just different.
- More comfortable; if I hadn't almost ruined my back on my last trip with the S version, I would've gotten another one. I'm really loving the almost upright riding position. Of course the seat is still stock, so still massively uncomfortable after 30-40 minutes but we'll (and hubby's speed triple) be refoaming our seats very soon.
- Stiffer front end; I think because there isn't a windscreen and large fairing up front that it's lighter, so the front doesn't feel as soft. I feel like the front isn't as 'bouncy' when I come to a stop. Whereas the rear is definitely stiffer and I need to drop the preload and then at some point, get a shock that's a bit softer. Even with the awesome Pilot Power tires I have, my weight doesn't compress the rear shock enough to give me stability in corners. If I throttle too hard then the rear end slides a bit.
- No windscreen; Oy. Riding into the wind at highway speeds is definitely more work. I definitely need a small windscreen of some kind, hoping that I can find a Puig that will work and not look too awkward.
- More seat space; since the toolkit is stored in a different spot so that means I can shove my rain liners and a pair of gloves under the seat. YES!
- Torque; I have a Delkevic shorty exhaust and it's Loud. It has a low rumble, which I appreciate so hopefully I'm not pissing off any of my neighbors. They say some aftermarket exhausts add a little power. I really can't tell if it's the noise that's creating the illusion of more power.
Everything else is the same; gas mileage (although the fuel light blinks now, instead of just staying on), seat height, weight, overall performance.
Overall, I would recommend the non S version, because it's a much more comfortable bike to ride vs. the S. You're more upright and almost in a supermoto-ish riding position. Feet are right beneath you and it feels natural and easy.