I tried the SV 650 and the 696. The 696 won hands down for handling and braking and power. What a fun bike. Other than the valve adjustments you can probably do all the maint yourself. I did the 600 mile oil change, which only involves replacing the oil, filter, and pulling the strainer screen (14mm hex wrench required). The filter and associated crush washers were about $17.00 and the oil (Mobil One 15W-50 for motorcycles) was $48/gallon. The chain is very easy to adjust if you have a rear stand. I also went over the bike and checked the tightness of most fittings, etc. When finished I took it back to the dealer who gave it a once over and reset the service indicator for no charge. I'm an old guy (62) and have always performed minor mechanical work on my vehicles and bikes. With a bike under warranty I would recommend that the owner only do the routine maint (oil, brake/clutch fluid, chain adjustments), and save the receipts and keep a log.. Other things such as electrical mods, exhaust, etc., leave to the dealer. Once out of warranty, do what you are capable of performing .