The Kawi is a solid chioce for a commuter. The SV probably has a little more user friendly powerband than the Kawi. The FZ6 spins up fast and has a weaker powerband than the first two. The Ducati (while very cool) is most likely going to be the biggest disapointment of the bunch if you use it for any distance commuting. Also, check out the Honda 599. Solid mount- won't disappoint.
Personally, I'd go SV but probably go SV1000 in my selection. Won't kill the wallet;-)
i just bought a '06 1000, new, for a song. and i couldn't be happier. it's fast, comfortable, handles, tours, commutes, carves ... does everything i want, plus it's stone-reliable. plus there are lots of things you can do to it to customize to your preferences.
you really can't go wrong. get the 650 if you want a bike that size.
From those choices, I'd get the 650R. Otherwise, I'd get the standard SV. I had a chance to sit on a 650R (no ride though) and it looked to be pretty well put together. Nothing really cheap about it. Further expanding the list, I like the ride of the weeStrom. While not on your list, it is a better all-rounder than those other bikes. Ugly bastard, especially from the saddle. If your eyes like it, you might best take a peek at it before you decide to get one of the others.
of those choices i'd buy the sv. the fz should be the one but it needs some fi work and a retune. the duc is just not enough bike. the kwak would be a good choice to. i also agree that the best bike for what you want to do is probably the dl650. but not if you want a bike with a seventeen inch front. the sv needs suspension work but once that is done its a great bike
I had no idea the FZ6 was such a sack-less beast and I guess I already knew the 620 dark was the sack-less member of the Ducati family. I will definitely look more into the SV, Strom & the Ninja. How about the ZZR600 (maybe a little too much plastic to insure)? Not to monkey around too much, but why does Europe seem to have a much better selection of Mid-size, Commuter friendly bikes?
I ride my sv650s as a commuter bike and a weekend tourer, and I love it. I'm 6'3", the ergonomics make it uncomfortable after about 2 hours of freeway riding, but if I'm just riding around town I can ride all day and I'm comfortable. Freeway riding sucks anyway. It's got great torque, it's a very fun bike. If you're worried about the seating position take Seruzawa's advice and buy the regular sv650.
The FZ6 you should steer clear of, the motor sucks, I rode one and I was happy to get back on my own bike after an hour.
The ducati is by far the coolest, but not necessarily the best in all-round usage. Not as powerful as the sv650, and a little more uncomfortable. But maybe that's a worthwhile sacrifice.
The ninja650r is just dorky. Sorry to all you ninja650r owners out there, it's just my opinion.