Endurance test final balance: Suzuki Gladius


Endurance test final balance: Suzuki Gladius

Endurance test final balance: Suzuki SFV 650

The 50000 kilometers of the Suzuki Gladius

Very few found them beautiful, but moving around the houses with the faithful Japanese companion, most of them already liked that. The Gladius never caused any serious problems.

D.he inner values ​​are probably what distinguish the Gladius. Most of all, she has a good heart. The V2 that already knew how to inspire in its original version in the predecessor SV 650 or in the travel all-rounder V-Strom 650. Initial complaints about the idiosyncratic design including numerous, cheap-looking plastic panels soon fell silent. Just don’t look, sit up and drive. Because that was what the lively Suzuki did until the end without total failures, major defects or serious problems. Complaints came, if at all, from taller drivers and more sensitive people, who did not find the folded seated posture and the narrow, rather high handlebars particularly suitable.

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Endurance test final balance: Suzuki Gladius

Endurance test final balance: Suzuki SFV 650
The 50000 kilometers of the Suzuki Gladius


Increasingly nervous driving and wobbly steering behavior resulted (among other things) from a steering head bearing that was worn out quite early on. It was swapped when it reached 29,509.

Over the entire test distance, the Gladius proved to be very sensitive in terms of tire choice, and its often praised handiness often degenerated into nervousness. When the worn steering head bearing was replaced at almost 30,000 kilometers (on guarantee), the driving behavior improved temporarily, but the said tire sensitivity and the obviously heavily used steering head bearing (it had to be readjusted / readjusted several times in a row) hardly allowed the Gladius to rest. For many (sporty) drivers there was too much movement in the chassis: too spongy, too weakly damped, was the criticism. The fork and shock absorber can only be pre-tensioned, but the damping cannot be adjusted. In its old days, when the odometer reading was 42,992, MOTORRAD sent the Gladius to the penalty camp and installed fork springs (99 euros) and shock absorbers (499 euros) from Wilbers.

One of the first to take the modified and newly soled (now Bridgestone BT023) Japanese woman to his chest was MOTORCYCLE chassis guru Mini Koch. First comment: "Can’t find a line, wobbles, drives little neutral." Incidentally, he complained about the poorly adjustable brake. As a tinkerer and screwdriver, this gave him no peace, and after dismantling, cleaning and lubricating the brake lever, there was at least a clear improvement in terms of controllability. This action could not provide more bite from the brake, which is often criticized as blunt. However, a few days later there was an addendum from colleague Koch in the logbook: "Wilbers shock absorber set to less negative spring travel (10 instead of 28 millimeters), front air pressure increased from 2.3 to 2.5 bar, now good handling." The harmless flaws on the ever popular Gladius were limited to the chassis, brakes and seating comfort. Criticism of the engine? Nothing. A constant source of joy that has earned so many hymns of praise.


Original and fake: The replacement of the shock absorber and fork springs with accessories from Wilbers (each above) improved the sometimes spongy handling.

The V2 impressed with an amazing bang from below and refreshing revving, often only needed four liters on country roads, and never sucked more than 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers from the 14.5 liter even when driving on the motorway with a full load. Tank. Overzealous, however, was the tank warning light, sounding the alarm too early. Stay cool – there are usually around five liters of fuel on board. The traces of fire on the exhaust valves that came to light after dismantling, which no longer close absolutely tight, are not really a cause for concern. Says Suzuki too (see box: Suzuki takes a stand …). You hardly notice the resulting low power loss.

The defect in the gearbox also went unnoticed, which at some point could have led to greater gearbox / engine damage if the system had been used further. It was not until dismantling that it came to light: A small circlip on the second gear of the output shaft had come loose or had already been incorrectly fitted, the cylinder liner had seized on the shaft and there was undesirable contact between the drivers of the second gear and the sixth -Gear wheel. But: Until the end of the endurance test, this had not had a negative impact, and the Gladius never let its driver down.

Only on her penultimate major tour (once Corfu and back) did she briefly refuse service on the eve of her return trip. Only the threat of the tow truck that had already been ordered let the Suzuki start up on the very last casual take-off attempt. Then the Gladius ran the last 3000 kilometers until the end of the test as if nothing had ever happened. Was the ultimately reliable duckling just afraid of being thrown into the pond out of anger? A brilliant third place in the ranking of all previous long-term test graduates at least proves: Duck good, all good.


The Suzuki Gladius wear diagram.

Cylinder head:

All of the exhaust and one intake valves are leaking, and the exhaust valves also show clear signs of fire. The valve stems and guides are OK, as are the camshafts and bearings.

Cylinder / piston:
The cylinders show some cold running traces of friction, as does the front piston, otherwise no noticeable wear is evident.

Crank drive:
The entire crankshaft drive shows no abnormalities apart from operational, uniform running tracks.

Power transmission:
The clutch basket and hub have harmless chatter marks, the disc spring washer has worked its way into a steel disc. As a result of an incorrectly installed circlip, the bushing of the idler gear of the second gear has seized on the shaft, and the claw recesses have broken in due to the increased axial play.

Frame / chassis:
There are occasional paint spots on the frame and chafe marks, as well as on the rear section and the handles. Some screw heads are corroded. Otherwise the chassis and attachments are in an acceptable condition.

Costs and maintenance

Operating costs over 50,000 kilometers

24.75 liters of oil at 11.25 euros at 277.20 euros
8 oil filters at 10.51 euros each 84.08 euros
2 air filters at 32.09 euros each 64.18 euros
8 spark plugs at EUR 34.46 each EUR 275.68
2 sets of rear brake pads at 44.06 euros each 88.12 euros
4 sets of front brake pads at 60.24 euros each 240.96 euros
2 chain sets of 165.41 euros each 330.82 euros
Small parts, lubricants 37.46 euros
Seals 95.62 euros
Inspections and repairs 1556.99 euros
Tires (including assembly, balancing and disposal) 1942.00 euros
Fuel 3355.68 euros
total cost 8348.79 euros
Acquisition cost 6,440.00 euros
Loss of value 2790.00 euros
Estimate (dealer selling price) 3650.00 euros
Cost per kilometer (without depreciation) 16.7 cents
Cost per kilometer (with depreciation) 22.3 cents

Maintenance and repair costs (Mileage)

Rear tire renewed Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier (5469)
Front tire renewed Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier (8173)
Rear tire renewed Conti Motion (12506)
Front tire renewed Conti Motion (13782)
Front and rear tires renewed Metzeler Roadtec Z6 (21935)
Chain set renewed (22912)
Front and rear brake pads renewed (25250)
Steering head bearing renewed (guarantee) (29509)
Chain lubrication system CLS mounted (29347)
Rear tire renewed Metzeler Roadtec Z6 (29787)
Front and rear tires renewed Conti Road Attack2, steering bearings adjusted (36360)
Front and rear tires, Bridgestone BT023 and front and rear brake pads renewed (42992)
Chain set renewed (43390)

Suzuki comments…


Examining looks: The Suzuki ambassadors Rossien and Muller next to the MOTORRADlers Wagner and Thole (from left).

…to the scuff marks on the transmission output shaft through the liner due to a faulty (s) (installed?) circlip on the 2nd gear. We are currently assuming an incorrectly installed locking ring. However, we will send the affected parts to our Suzuki headquarters in Japan for further investigation.

…to the leaky outlet valves, which show clear traces of fire. The exhaust valves show no excessive or abnormal wear. They only have deposits that correspond to the mileage. We recommend cleaning or grinding in the valves and consider further use to be completely safe from a technical point of view.

…for a loss of power of up to three hp between 5500 and 10000 rpm.
A leak in the exhaust valves has a negative impact on compression and thus also on engine performance. An influence on the service life of the engine would not have been expected.

…the frequent complaints about the blunt front brake. So far there have been no reports "blunt" Brakes brought to us by dealers or customers. As we were informed in an interview with MOTORRAD, the described symptom could be completely eliminated in the test vehicle by lubricating the brake lever mounting bolt.

…for the necessary replacement of the steering head bearing at 29500 km. In our opinion, wear of the steering head bearing after this mileage can also be assessed as early. However, the steering head bearing is generally a wear part that is subject to high loads even in normal operation. We see a possible cause here as possibly the more extreme stress due to the year-round use during the endurance test.

…on the soft suspension set-up criticized by many drivers. The main focus in the development of the SFV 650 was to do justice to beginners and smaller drivers. Taking this concept into account, a more comfortable suspension setup was chosen.

…the inspection costs, which are at a high level for this vehicle class due to the 6000 intervals. This inspection interval is higher than the annual average mileage. The "small" Inspections (at 6000 or 18000 km) essentially correspond to an annual safety check with an oil change. In our opinion, this makes sense and is also required by many other manufacturers. The valve clearance must first be set at 24,000 km. In our experience, this puts us on the same level as the overall cost framework of vehicles with longer inspection intervals.



The performance chart of the Suzuki Gladius.

Initial / final measurement 2647 km 49636 km
0-100 km / h (sec) 3.9 4.4
0–140 km / h (sec) 7.1 7.7
0–200 km / h (sec)
60–100 km / h (sec) 4.5 4.8
100–140 km / h (sec) 5 5.4
140–180 km / h (sec) 6.4 7.3
Average fuel consumption over 50,000 km
Fuel (super) l / 100 km 5
Engine oil l / 1000 km 0.1

Reading experiences


Marc Nowag from Rheinbollen.

With my 2009 Gladius, I’ve now unwound almost 9,000 km without problems. The machine is perfectly designed for my height of 1.70 m, riders over 1.80 m should feel more like on a children’s bike. The Gladius engine is top notch for its 650 cm³, hangs well on the gas and enables it to keep up with more powerful bikes on bends. The chassis is completely sufficient for the normal driving range, only when it is a little faster to go around the corner does the rear start to jump slightly and the machine becomes a bit stubborn, but remains controllable. I made the shock two steps harder, after that it got a little better. Longer tours are no problem for the lively V2, but for the buttocks. In my opinion, the bench is not upholstered enough (a higher accessory bench does not help) and this occurs after 200 kilometers at the latest "I am sitting on a board"-Feeling a. The consumption with moderate driving style is on average 5.8-6 liters. The front brake decelerates a little slowly and you should grab a little harder to bring the load to a standstill, whereby the rear brake works more aggressively and thereby slightly blocks the rear wheel. You get used to it, but I will still use braided steel lines in order to improve. Conclusion: Anyone who wants a handy, lively motorcycle at a good price is certainly well served with the Suzuki Gladius. I would do it again and again!
Marc Nowag, Rheinbollen

We bought two 2009 Gladius ABS last year. Visually, it is certainly not the prettiest, but the low price and, above all, the engine convinced us compared to the competition. Since then we have ridden 9,500 and 7,000 kilometers with the motorcycles. The only thing that bothers about the Gladius is the lack of a main stand, which makes chain lubrication unnecessarily complicated, the cheap paintwork and the short maintenance intervals. Fortunately, the inspections for this are relatively cheap. The hard seat is particularly annoying on longer tours. There were actually no defects.
Dirk Matzold, Hamburg

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