Jack of all trades, master of nothing?
Deciding what the best all-rounder motorcycle is, tends to be a highly debatable subject. For one thing, what one person considers as an all-rounder, vastly differs from person-to-person. Are you predominantly a street rider? Do you need off-road capability? How far is your daily commute? As such, before I dive into the discussion of what the best all-rounder motorcycle actually is, let’s lay out what the term ‘all-rounder’ means.
To keep things simple, this bike should be able to do practically anything. Now, it doesn’t need to greatly excel in one particular field, it simply needs to be able to do it. Of course it goes without saying that this bike must be comfortable for long rides and have a big enough fuel tank to travel miles on end without too many fuel stops. It must be powerful enough to maintain highway speeds, yet nimble and light enough to be a decent city ripper. It’s riding character must be friendly and approachable, even to beginners. It also needs to have enough ground clearance in the event that your ride takes you beyond the confines of paved roads. It must also be very reliable, relatively affordable, and easy to maintain. Lastly, it would have to be a bike that can be purchased brand new, so that it can be owned by anyone, regardless of their mechanical knowhow.
So what is the best all-rounder motorcycle? I’ll go with the Suzuki SV650. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. The SV650 is considered by many as boring. It’s a vanilla choice, and lacks character. It looks like all other motorcycles out there. You can go on and on about why the SV650 isn’t a cool bike, but by no means can you say that it isn’t practical, reliable, and affordable.
So let’s dive into it. Is the SV650 comfortable and capable of long rides? Definitely. The current generation SV650 sports fairly upright ergonomics and a 3.8 gallon fuel tank. We all know the SV650’s 90-degree V-Twin is more than capable of maintaining highway speeds. With a decent 75 horsepower, the SV650 is equally at home on the highway as it is on the racetrack. At around 430 pounds, it’s a lightweight machine. That definitely makes for manageable city commuting, even when traffic gets pretty bad. On top of that, the current generation SV650 comes with features that make it very friendly to beginners. Its linear power delivery doesn’t startle hamfisted first timers, and its low RPM assist prevents you from looking like a total noob when launching from stoplights.
The SV650, across all its generations (yes, even the hideous Gladius), has proven to be an extremely versatile motorcycle. With people using it as a platform for track bikes, long distance tourers, and even off-roaders, the potential of this bike is practically endless. A brand new Suzuki SV650 can be bought for just over $7,000. That’s a hell of a lot of bike for the money.
Of course, there are other options out there that have just as much, or even more utility than the good old SV650. Similarly, the Kawasaki Z650, Yamaha MT-07, and Honda CB650R are really good options. Likewise, if you’re willing to stretch your budget even further, bikes like the Ducati Scrambler and BMW R NineT can be solid all-rounders, too.