World 500 GP Champion
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Down by the river
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How much control do you have over your right hand? That's going to be the biggest factor here. An SV650 is a reasonably docile bike if you have good self control. It's got decent torque, which makes it easier to ride than a high strung 600. It's got more power than a 250 or 300. Those have plenty of power for nearly all situations, and can out accelerate most four wheeled vehicles up to a point.
A big issue is how the bike fits your body. If it is too big or too small, then you will find it harder to ride. With long legs, you might be perfectly comfortable on something like a DRZ400 dual sport as well. It would be a bit lighter, and as a thumper, its power is mostly low end grunt, relative to other bikes.
Whatever you do, assume there's a learning curve. Ride on weekends for a while before commuting. Then commute for a while before lane splitting much. Lane splitting is a real time saver, and can be a whole lot of fun. Best to learn to read traffic as a rider before trying it, though.
As a point of comparison, I have been riding a long time and have spent a fair amount of time on the racetrack. My race bike was an SV650, because it was a blast to ride. I don't have it any more, because I don't race or do track days these days. I ride a DRZ400 almost every day during the winter and a Daytona 675 almost every day during the summer. The DRZ is actually more fun at times than the Daytona, and it keeps up just fine under nearly all circumstances. I'm not as tall as you are, but I have fairly long legs, which means the DRZ is no problem, even on the kinds of steep hills that Seattle and the Bay Area both have. Whatever bike you end up with, ride it for a couple years and enjoy it. You will be surprised at how much fun it is to wring every ounce out of a small bike. A more powerful bike has its place, too, but not to start with.
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