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Suzuki tests retro waters with 2017 SV650 Scrambler

Suzuki tests retro waters with 2017 SV650 Scrambler image

Jenna Genio / Suzuki | December 08, 2016 07:39

France-exclusive Suzuki SV650 Scrambler revealed

Suzuki France is making a scrambler trim for the 2017 SV650 available in-country. As of now, it hasn’t been announced that this version will see release anywhere else. Suzuki hasn’t been observed to jump the gun on pandering to the new retro wave market of nostalgic obsessed millennials — at least not with their big bikes. To Suzuki’s credit, they’ve traditionally kept the VanVan and TU250X (ST250) in their lineup for the fans of small-displacement runabouts and Universal Japanese Motorcycles (UJM). Perhaps they’re testing the waters in the land of the most manicured of dapper hairstyles and custom festivals like Wheels and Waves.

The SV650 Scrambler is mostly a subtle in-house custom that saves a bit of time for builders seeking to individualize the base bike and make it a little more retro. Not much has changed, save for a bit of aesthetic tweaks, but things like engine performance, the fuel tank, suspension, tire size, and ground clearance all remain the same.

Rear quarter of the 2017 Suzuki SV650 Scrambler

What is a scrambler? A scrambler is basically a standard bike or roadster that has been modified for off-road use and short sporting sprints that may involve jumping. Traditionally scramblers are built and tuned for big torque — with increased ground clearance, dual sport tires, higher exhausts, wider handlebars, and smaller tanks.

In fairness, both corporate marketing and blurred lines within the custom community have made common nomenclature more forgiving these past years. For example, if you’re going to buy or build something that looks like a cafe racer… Who is realistically going to use it for illegal street racing? To stress the point, not everyone who buys a sport bike is going to break the highway speed limit or take it to the track… But it’s good to know that a bike can even if its rider won’t.

The leather-clad seat of the Suzuki SV650 Scrambler

Suzuki France has actually done a bit to effectively ‘scrambler-ize’ the SV650 in some ways and didn’t have to do that much in others. The sporty street bike already boasts a slim profile and good power thanks to its 645cc V-twin. It’s inherently an agile bike with an upright seating position that handles well. Its stock ground clearance is at an okay 135mm, although an inch or more could’ve helped as well as some suspension travel (neither of which Suzuki France changed for the scrambler trim).

What Suzuki France did for the SV650 Scrambler was add a stitched brown leather seat while keeping the original tail and subframe. They gave it Dunlop Mutant tires with some aggressive tread that’s meant to help keep traction in wet or slippery conditions as well as some soft-roading. The SV650 Scrambler also gets wider LSL handlebars for maneuverability as well as larger bear trap foot pegs (with grippy teeth).

The digital display on the Suzuki SV650 Scrambler

Some of the more modern parts of the SV650 have been replaced with basic aluminum for the charmingly crude and classic look — like the front fender, radiator shroud, headlamp fairing, and chain guard. The matte cladding that used to run under the tank to the seat has also been eliminated for less contemporary styling, more of that ruggedly bare bones look, increased emphasis on the trellis frame, and perhaps additional cleaning headaches.

The 2017 Suzuki SV650 Scrambler on the road

Whether the 2017 SV650 Scrambler will be available other than in France has yet to be seen, but the MSRP is approximately €1350 more than the original €7,999.