Suzuki SV650 (99-)

(updated September 99)

Rim Stock Size Original Tyre
Front 3.50 x 17 120/60ZR17 Metzeler ME-Z4
Rear 4.50 x 17 160/60ZR17 Metzeler ME-Z4

Manufacturers' Recommendations

Front size Rear size
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Michelin Macadam 90X 120/60ZR17 Macadam 90X 160/60ZR17
Hi-Sport TX15 120/60ZR17 Hi-Sport TX25 160/60ZR17
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Martyn's Opinion

General Comments

The SV650 is a superb motorcycle, and is one of the few bikes which already comes on very good tyres.  Nevertheless, there are some reasons to consider other selections.

The Safe Bet, General Purpose, Sport-Touring, Touring

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Metzeler ME-Z4 120/60ZR17
Rear Metzeler ME-Z4 160/60ZR17

The ME-Z4's are excellent tyres indeed, and well suited to this bike.  I just can't argue with Suzuki on this one.  Good wet and dry traction, good wear, a stable neutral linear profile, all these qualities match well with the handling characteristics of the SV.

A Tight Budget

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Dunlop D205 Sport/Touring 120/60ZR17 $90
Rear Dunlop D205 Sport/Touring 160/60ZR17 $104

Now for a lower cost, the recent price decrease of Dunlops makes them a shoe-in for this selection.  While not exactly cheap, they're the cheapest available, and are certainly good tyres.


Brand Model Size MAW
Front Avon AV27 120/60ZR17 $131
Rear Avon Azaro AV36 160/60ZR17 $131

For sport-riding on a bike like this, there is an overwhelming selection of good tyres.  Avon's Azaro (with an Azaro or AV27 front), Bridgestone's BT56SS, Dunlop's D207 Sportmax, Metzeler's ME-Z3, and Michelin's HiSport TX15/25.  Which one you choose is basically a matter for your preference.

If you like the profile of the stock Metzeler ME-Z4, you'll love the ME-Z3.  The main characteristic of the Z4 and Z3 series is their absolutely neutral profile, which many riders like.  Personally I find them a little too neutral for sport-riding.

The Dunlops are the other extreme.  A non-linear profile that tends to drop into the turn more as you lean more, it's not confidence-inspiring and I find it unpleasant.

The Michelin HiSports are just way too expensive to consider.  They're a great tyre, but the price is outrageous.

At the other end of the price scale comes the Bridgestone BT56SS, perhaps the best tyre Bridgestone makes.  It's relatively inexpensive, and performs well.

And then there's the Avons.  The Azaro AV36 rear is amazing on a bike with a lot of power out of the corner, like the SV650.  The variable belt density construction seems to squat down onto the contact patch as you gas it while leaned over, and gives a very confident feel that helps you get on the power early.  It's an excellent match to the bike.  The front Azaro AV35, however, has a bad tendency to uneven wear -- while it sticks well, it doesn't last.  The solution to that is to put on Avon's AV27 front.  This has a less marketing-derived tread pattern, and in fact the Azaro rear was originally designed to match the AV27.  The AV27 doesn't share the VBD construction and has a more conventional tread pattern, and wears well -- and the kicker is that it's a perfect match for the Azaro AV36 rear, sticks well, and has excellent highway stability.  In my opinion you can't beat this combination on the street.

Martyn's Choice

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Avon AV27 120/60ZR17 $131
Rear Avon Azaro AV36 160/60ZR17 $131

I've described this combination above under Sport-Riding: it's a superb combination for the SV.  Now if you aren't going to be doing any sport-riding, I'd recommend the Safe Bet Metzeler ME-Z4's, but the Avons are what I'd put on the SV.

The Full List

(from MAW and manufacturer web pages)

Exact sized matched pairs

Brand Front size MAW Rear size MAW
Avon AV27 120/60ZR17 $131 Azaro AV36 160/60ZR17 $131
Azaro AV35 120/60ZR17 $107 Azaro AV36 160/60ZR17 $131
Bridgestone BT56 Ultra Sports
120/60ZR17 BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 160/60ZR17
BT56SS Extreme
120/60ZR17 $97 BT56SS Extreme
160/60ZR17 $116
BT57 Sports
120/60ZR17 $110 BT57 Sports
160/60ZR17 $137
BT92 Sports Mileage 120/60ZR17 BT92 Sports Mileage 160/60ZR17 $103
Continental Sport 2000 Radial 120/60ZR17 $132 Sport 2000 Radial 160/60ZR17 $156
Dunlop D204 Sportmax II ZR 120/60ZR17 $102 D204 Sportmax II ZR 160/60ZR17 $117
D205 Sport/Touring 120/60ZR17 $90 D205 Sport/Touring 160/60ZR17 $104
D207 Sportmax 120/60ZR17 $107 D207 Sportmax 160/60ZR17 $133
K510 120/60VR17 K510 160/60VR17
Metzeler ME-Z1 120/60ZR17 $101 ME-Z1 160/60ZR17 $128
ME-Z1 120/60ZR17 $101 ME-Z2 160/60ZR17 $114
ME-Z2 120/60ZR17 $88 ME-Z2 160/60ZR17 $114
ME-Z3 120/60ZR17 $118 ME-Z3 160/60ZR17 $148
ME-Z4 120/60ZR17 ME-Z4 160/60ZR17
Michelin Hi-Sport TX15 120/60ZR17 $146 Hi-Sport TX25 160/60ZR17 $181
Macadam 90X 120/60ZR17 $85 Macadam 90X 160/60ZR17 $109
Pirelli Dragon GT MTR03 120/60ZR17 $100 Dragon GT MTR04 160/60ZR17
Dragon GTS MTR23 120/60ZR17 $106 Dragon GTS MTR24 160/60ZR17 $134
Dragon MTR01 120/60ZR17 $109 Dragon MTR02 160/60ZR17 $140

Listing by Manufacturer


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
AV27 120/60ZR17 $131 exact AV281 150/70-R17 soft
Azaro AV35 120/60ZR17 $107 exact Azaro AV36 160/60ZR17A $131 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
BT35 Sports Mileage 120/70H-17 tall BT35 Sports Mileage 150/70H-17 soft
BT45 Sports Mileage 120/70H-17 $84 tall BT45 Sports Mileage 150/70H-17 $93 soft
BT50 Sports Perform. 120/70ZR17 $89 tall
BT50 Sports Perform. 130/60ZR17 $90 wide BT50 Sports Perform. 170/60ZR17 wide
BT54 Sports Touring 120/70ZR17 $102 tall BT54 Sports Touring 150/70ZR17 $109 soft
BT54 Sports Touring 170/60ZR17 $114 wide
BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 120/60ZR17 exact BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 160/60ZR17 exact
BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 120/60ZR17 $97 exact BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf  160/60ZR17 $116 exact
BT57 Sports Perform. 120/60ZR17 $110 exact BT57 Sports Perform. 160/60ZR17 $137 exact
BT92 Sports Mileage 120/60HR17 exact BT92 Sports Mileage 160/60HR17 $103 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Sport 2000 120/70V-17 $76 tall
Sport 2000 130/60V-17 $80 wide Sport 2000 170/60V-17 wide
Sport 2000 Radial 120/60ZR17 $132 exact Sport 2000 Radial 160/60ZR17 $156 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
D204 Sportmax II ZR 120/60ZR17 $92 exact D204 Sportmax II ZR 160/60ZR17 $117 exact
D205 Sport/Touring 120/60ZR17 $90 exact D205 Sport/Touring 160/60ZR17 $104 exact
D207 Sportmax 120/60ZR17 $107 exact D207 Sportmax 160/60ZR17 $133 exact
K455 Radial 120/70VR17 tall
K510 120/60VR17 exact K510 160/60VR17 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Carapace RS-320 150/70H-17 $89 soft


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
ME-33 Laser 120/70V-17 $90 tall ME-55A Metronic 150/70H-17 soft
ME-55A Metronic 150/70HB17 soft
ME-55A Metronic 150/70V-17 soft
ME-55A Metronic 150/70VB17 $138 soft
ME-880 Marathon 120/70VR17 $103 tall
ME-Z1 120/60ZR17 $101 exact ME-Z1 160/60ZR17 $128 exact
ME-Z2 120/60ZR17 $88 exact ME-Z2 160/60ZR17 $114 exact
ME-Z3 120/60ZR17 $118 exact ME-Z3 160/60ZR17 $148 exact
ME-Z4 120/60ZR17 exact ME-Z4 160/60ZR17 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Hi-Sport TX15 120/60ZR17 $146 exact Hi-Sport TX25 160/60ZR17 $181 exact
Macadam 50 120/70V-17 $106 tall Macadam 50 150/70H-17 $118 soft
Macadam 50 150/70V-17 $127 soft
Macadam 90X 120/60ZR17 $87 exact Macadam 90X 160/60ZR17 $109 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Dragon GT MTR03 120/60ZR17 $100 exact Dragon GT MTR04 160/60ZR17 exact
Dragon GTS MTR23 120/60ZR17 $106 exact Dragon GTS MTR24 160/60ZR17 $134 exact
Dragon MTR01 120/60ZR17 $109 exact Dragon MTR02 160/60ZR17 $140 exact
MT75 150/70H-17 soft
Match MT09 120/70VB17 $96 tall Match MT08 150/70VB17 $127 soft


Exact Precisely matches original spec
Excellent Precisely matches a recommended alternate
Good An exact or alternate in a different sizing system
Short Exact or excellent width, lower profile.  Consider these both ends to lower the bike
Soft Similar diameter by using a taller profile and narrower width; used on the rear only
Tall Taller profile, stock width; similar in effect to "soft", but for the front only
Wide Same profile, wider tyre.  This MAY NOT FIT your rim.  BE CAREFUL!!!