If you are as sceptical as I am, be patient and enjoy the ride. The Suzuki V-Strom has more aces under the sleeve than most bikes do. This do-it-all powerful machine has a great story and definitely a great future. Put on your helmet and join me in this Suzuki V-Strom in-depth ride.
The Suzuki V-Strom was first presented to the world in its 1000cc incarnation. The DL1000 is manufactured in Japan since 2002. It is a V-Twin motorcycle that is capable of a number of things. The design didn´t leave out any influences, so in Suzuki´s words, it´s a sport, adventure tourer. Achieving all these standards is not an easy task, but somehow the Suzuki V-Strom nailed it. The name comes from the conjunction of the V engine and the German word “Strom”. This word means current or stream. If I would have to guess the reason behind choosing it is because this bike really flows. The Suzuki V-Strom can easily go from one extreme to the other in style.
The original Suzuki design took the engine from the TL1000 series that later became SV1000. This revolutionary engine was also sold to other brands like the Italians Cagiva and Bimota. The liquid-cooled, fuel-injection 90° V-Twin engine made the Suzuki V-Strom an instant hit. In fact, even Japanese superpower Kawasaki manufactured it under the name of KLV1000. This Kawasaki model was only made for Europe.
With minor changes reflected in names as K3 to K7, the DL1000 was manufactured until 2007. Among these changes, the alternator values were modified from 350 to 400 watts. The ECU was upgraded from a vintage 16 bit to a more modern 32 bit. A major change for those of us who enjoy the road was the adjustable windscreen. Yes, bugs fly and don´t respect roads. The non-adjustable windshields protect a certain height, but won´t accommodate all riders. If you are a rider too, you know how annoying this is.
The Suzuki V-Strom 1000 or DL1000 was discontinued on 2007 and brought back to life in 2013. This time the name of the model took a different letter, the L3. Suzuki presented a concept bike at the Intermot Motorcycle Show of September 2012.
The second incarnation of the Suzuki V-Strom saw the light in 2004. It featured an aluminium chassis, fuel injection and a smaller 650cc engine. They kept the standard riding posture and named it DL650. It is a Japanese-manufactured motorcycle.
Since it is a middle-weight bike, it covers even more ground than her bigger sister. If you ever rode a 650cc bike you know that you get the best of both worlds. It´s snappy, responsive and light but also feels like a real motorcycle. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 was categorised as one of the most versatile bikes in the world. The New York Times ensures that the Suzuki V-Strom followers are many in each continent.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 sports the same 90° V-Twin liquid-cooled, fuel-injected kind of engine. It feels just as powerful as the 1000cc version, but with better manoeuvrability. Turning the throttle and letting go the clutch is a great experience. But don´t just take my word for it; specialised press wrote wonders about it. The motorcycle won the AlpenKoenig Award twice in a row in 2005 and 2006. Star motorcycle rider and journalist Kevin Ash said it was “the best bike you can buy”.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 was never discontinued. With major and minor changes it went through three stages. The first one goes from 2004 to 2011 when the first major makeover took place. Then the second stage from 2011 until the XT Model introduction in 2015. Finally, the third is the present one, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 2017-8.
The first thing that impressed me before putting on my helmet was the stylish, renewed look. The V-Strom 650 is basically a small-powered clone of the bigger 1000cc version. The headlights are modern led and fit the bike perfectly with the odd shape. So I put on my helmet and crossed my leg over the 33-inch seat. I´m not too tall, so leg room was plenty and the windshield was at the perfect height. It can be modified with three minutes and a provided hex wrench. The test one had the yellow tank, and it was quite a show-off.
Turning the machine on immediately starts the LCD display. The electronic start system only takes a click, it´s super easy. For die-hard cruiser fans like me, the non-roaring engine is a loss. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 2018 is definitely a quiet beast. The 69 ponies Suzuki put in line to push the bike forward really do their jobs. I let the clutch loose and gently moved the throttle to roll on the street. Ahead of me, there was a jammed avenue and then freedom. The low RPM and speed compensation proved to be great for this kind of situation. Eventually, I was out on the open road and when I went over 60mph the bike really responded. It can take turns marvellously on intricate paths but also accelerate very fast on straight lanes.
The brakes on this motorcycle are a big plus. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 2018 comes with 310mm and 290mm discs. They are just as big as you can find on the huge 1800cc Honda Valkyrie, for example. In case of the Suzuki V-Strom, you get the same braking power for one-third of the engine. So, the breaking department is well more than covered. They work smoothly and feel just right.
Moving out of the pavement into some more fun and dirt paths I found another nature for the same machine. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 2017 and 2018 (I´ve tested both) are truly versatile. It is not a hoax or a marketing trick, they can handle many situations. The Traction Control has two settings, and although I didn´t need it, less experienced riders will benefit from it. To me, it was a bit of a conservative move. Especially in the second setting, it takes away ALL the fun.
There are almost no negative things to say about Suzuki´s new proposal. They have gone deeper where they should and maintained the spirit of the bike. I really liked the combination of analogue and digital controls. If you ever ride a bike like I do, testing its limits, the tachometer is a fundamental piece. Having an old-school round clock for it made it possible to know at a glance the RPM. Also, speed numbers are big enough to keep your eyes on the road.
The rider posture was great and the riding too, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 2018 is a great bike.
Accessories you can buy from Suzuki:
I´m not a fan of the aftermarket accessories generally, but this time it is an exception. Have you ever seen a case that can fit two helmets? Neither have I. This is your best ally in long, shared trips. You can put clothes inside for two weeks and take off. The Suzuki V-Strom is a versatile bike, with this addition, the ultimate fortnight-in-the-forest experience.
This extension of the factory windshield is really handy when you are a tall rider. Also, a great addition if you have someone sitting behind you in a taller position. It is designed to give you a little extra protection in case you´re out for a long ride. It is inexpensive and very handy.
If you live in cold weather or are planning a trip there, this is definitely a must-have. The variation for this year´s Suzuki V-Strom is that the size is more like the regular one. Also, the engaging switch is in your left hand for easier access. The hot wire now runs through the entire grip giving an even result. A great work done by Suzuki to improve a classic accessory; (warm) thumbs up.
This is the ideal accessory for those of us who like getting up early and drive. Yes, I know sleeping is great, but seeing the sunrise from the motorcycle is epic. Now, many places with high humidity levels tend to be foggy at that time of the day. These LED Fog Lights are a great addition to your Suzuki V-Strom. At least I enjoyed them massively.
I sincerely don´t know why this is an aftermarket accessory. It is so handy having everything in front of you. As I was driving and paying for the tolls, I could just open the zip, pay, and close the zip. Every road rider has lost one or more wallets from the back pocket of the jeans.
Smart Turn System (STS) – This is a very tiny fix that you can make to any bike. The little installed device will sense when your ride has done the turn and automatically turns turning lights off. It is an awesome addition especially for those of us who also drive cars. It will fit your Suzuki V-Strom like a dream. Once you try it, you´ll do what I did and install it on every bike you own.
Smart Break Module (SBM) – Shutting down the throttle of the bike will immediately make you go slower. In fact, most bikers on the road hardly ever step on the breaks but use mostly only the throttle. That is, at least, my own experience. This great little device senses the speed and the down-shifting. Once it does, it will engage your stop light immediately. It could avoid many accidents. I definitely feel more secure with it when on the highway or a big road. You can install it on your brand new Suzuki V-Strom.
The Suzuki V-Strom is truly a versatile bike. Most of us riders are used to one-trick-ponies, but this bike is the far opposite in terms of features and performance. I drove it in regular conditions, harsh conditions and close to extreme conditions. She responded just great in every case scenario. Will you take a Suzuki V-Strom and win the Dakar with it? Well no, the bike is not for that, but it can take dirt and commute to work on a daily basis. If you happen to be looking for a do-it-all machine, the Suzuki V-Strom might just be the best choice available today.