You won't get in trouble with the SV650S. The only trouble is, if you buy the pinnacle of motorcycling greatness for your first bike, where do you go from there? I say start out with a 1966 BSA 650 and work your way up.
You'll be fine. I was 28 when I took the MSF course last fall and I got an SV650 (naked) as my first bike. It's about perfect for me -light, low seat height (compared to most sportbikes) and has a wide, linear powerband.
By contrast, when I was first thinking about riding, I borrowed a friend's Yamaha Radian 600. It was fun but I also felt like the engine wanted to keep revving by itself, and would if I didn't pay strict attention to the throttle. I think that's just a feature of 4-cylinders since they're designed to make big power by revving to those stratospheric redlines. It's also probably the biggest reason the beginnnerbikes.com crowd steers you away from the 600s, other than just high horsepower ratings in general. You're on the right track sticking with a v-twin.
You can get yourself in trouble with any motorcycle or scooter for that matter. I took a test ride on a Honda VFR and got a speeding ticket. Yes I know the guys at the motorcycle shop thought it was funny too. I decided against buying it partly because it was so inviting to go fast on. The track is the place to go fast. If you want to have both fast and fun the Zuk is a great bike for that. As long as you know where it's safe to go fast. I prefer the non-S model for better comfort and you can add wind protection if you like.
SV650S is a great choice for a fairly novice rider
I bought a 1999 SV650 as my first street bike after about 15 years away from bikes. I had several years of dirt riding experience, but none on the street. The SV650 and MSF RiderCourse got me going in a safe but very fun way. I now have a 2002 SV650S and like it even better.
I hesitate to recommend the SV to anyone with absolutely zero riding experience because the low end torque can get the bike ahead of your brain very quickly if you're hamfisted with the throttle. A careful person would probably have no problem with it after just a weekend MSF RiderCourse, and 28 year olds are, in general, more careful than 18 year olds. In your case it should be no problem at all. The new 2004 with lower seat will be better for shorter riders, but at 6' that probably won't make any difference to you. In fact it may be worse if they didn't lower the pegs along with the seat.
The SV doesn't have great suspension as sportbikes go, but compared to a Shadow Spirit it's probably considerably better. The cheap fix for the forks is to turn up the preload and use thicker oil to better damp it. The shock you're just gonna have to replace eventually. A Fox twin clicker or Traxxion Dynamics' Penske "sport shock" are the best bang for the buck. If you want top notch, go with RaceTech emulators and springs in the forks and an Ohlins shock. Changing exhaust is really for sound, 'cause you're not going to get much more out of the excellent motor. If you decode you need more braking power, EBC HH pads up front are great, and cheap, too. A Zero Gravity sport touring windscreen helps with wind protection. If you're wearing a 3/4 helmet behind a "Roman shield" windscreen on your Shadow, you're going to NEED a full face helmet.
Great choice! I've also owned a 1998 VFR, 2000 Sprint ST, and 2002 Bandit 1200S - all great bikes, but I still love my 2002 SV650S and it has a permanent place in my garage...
Yca get into serious trouble on any bike if your left brain to right wrist connection is out of whack. Personally, I think either the standard SV650 (my preference) or the 'S' model would be outstanding bikes for your riding experience. It isn't at all intimidating and as you gain experience and confidence, you won't out grow it and get bored. I've ridden the latest, greatest hyper sportbikes for over forty years and still consider the SV650 the most fun I've had on a motorcycle.
As far as all that you will hear about a less than state-of-the-art suspension, I'd suggest your first investment should be a good set of tires and a riding school or two before modifying the bike. I had a completely stock suspended SV650 and shredded a set of kneepads and scraped footpegs half away with the stock MEZ4 tires. I suggest getting your skills to a level that allows you to challenge the less than perfect suspension before any thing else. This can be done for under a grand. Besides, you can take it with you and it will help your riding prowess on any bike that you choose. Cheers, Jack
I've owned an SV650 standard model with a Targa fairing for four years now and it works quite well, but I have just purchased a DL650 (same motor with a few modifications) and I think for someone 6' tall it might be even better. It has a more comfortable seat, can readily accommodate hard luggage and a top box and has smoother throttle response (good for a beginner.) I find the taller seat height and upright seating position gives better peripheral vision for commuting. Finally it has a larger fuel tank. It's the first bike I've owned in years that can go over 200 miles before hitting reserve.
I've got an 2002 SV now and I don't see any problem. There are other good bikes available in the same general price/power range, too, but the SV bikes are pretty predictable if nothing else. Check out http://www.svrider.com/
I don't want to hijack the thread, but what do you think of the DL650? I sat on one at the International Cycle Show, and I was impressed. I have a 2000 naked SV right now, but I wouldn't mind a bit more wind protection and better passenger accomodations.
The SV650, as you can tell is a very popular bike around here, in fact part of the holy trinity of SV650, (pre-owned) VFR and Concours. I'm sure you'll be more than happy riding one
Now the real question, how did the LASIK surgery work? I've heard all about it but I've never actually talked to anyone who had it done. Are you happy with the improvement in your vision and did it bring you up to 20/20? Or do you still need glasses for close-up or distance. Did it solve your vision problems across the whole range?
In 2001, I was in the same position as you. I did buy a SV650S, and I'm glad I did! Pefectly realible, cheap to insure, good power and handling. You can pick up a used one for about $4k. Powerwise it's enough to grow into. Also, I think less power would quickly bore you. I've ridden less powerful bike and think they are also dangerous, esp. for highway riding as you can't get up to speed fast enough to get out of the way.
Ride both the S and naked versions as there is a difference in riding position and gearing.