If a new GSX-R1000 isn’t exactly what you had in mind, maybe something in a heavily revised Suzuki V-Strom? Both the 650 and 1000 Stroms received a lot of attention, including this V-Strom 650 XT above, complete with wire spoke wheels. They’re 19- and 17-inches of course, to accept more serious rubber for the serious off-road adventure rider. The non-XT version comes with cast wheels.
2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650/650XT
Suzuki went all out to make the wee Strom connection back to the original beaked DR Big of some decades ago, giving it more aggro plastic that now also closely mimics the V-Strom 1000. New stacked headlights update the look along with an LED taillight. Slimmer bodywork and fuel tank make the bike easier to mount, and a new seat/rack section make it easier to strap all one’s worldly possessions to. Now, too, thanks to a common rail system, the same luggage can be mounted to both V-Strom 650 and 1000.
Suzuki says that making the 645cc L-Twin Euro 4 compliant also made it a bit more powerful and torquey thanks to a new fuel injection system: 70 hp at 8800 rpm is the claim, with 46 lb-ft of torque at 6500. More than 60 engine components and settings have been rejiggered, including new pistons with a special coating, new intake cams and exhaust cams from the new SV650 – also bigger valves and twin-plug heads for more efficient combustion.
And to keep that all in check in slippery or unstable conditions, there’s also a new 3-mode traction control system. Also Suzuki’s Easy Start system (where you just touch the starter and the starter takes it from there), not to mention the new Low RPM assist, which revs the engine a bit when taking off from a stop in case you forget. There’s a new 12V outlet up in the cockpit, and plenty of options in the catalog including heated grips.
2018 V-Strom 1000 ABS/ 1000XT ABS
While they were at it, the big V-Strom also underwent a raft of changes to update and qualify it for Euro 4. The 1037 cc L-Twin was already a torquey and powerful beast; now a new closed-loop EFI system and intake pressure sensor get new settings to meet Euro 4 regulations while maintaining that performance. Two catalyzers in tandem in the exhaust system help achieve it.
The new XT gets tubeless-tire applicable wire-spoke wheels in the de rigueur 19- and 17-inch sizes. The DID rims provide a soft and comfortable ride by absorbing the shock from the road surface while being more resistant to deforming upon hard impacts.
A new seat and cowling/windscreen were designed for improved comfort, but also to give the bike a tougher look that ties in to its desert racing heritage. The XT version gets an aluminum handlebar, which not only resists bending but greatly reduces vibration and harshness.
With an unexpectedly large number of new models on the docket, Suzuki’s calling the big V-Strom a 2018 model, so we won’t expect it until a bit later in the year, but we’ll know for sure after the AIMExpo in a couple of weeks.
In braking news, the new bike gets the latest in Bosch ABS – its “Motion Track Brake System” uses a 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which, by combining information on the posture of the vehicle with the front and rear wheel speeds, has made it possible for the ABS to activate not only in a straight line but also when the vehicle is leaning to either side. This lean-sensitive system will decrease brake pressure, then increase it again according to available traction. Also, a new Combination Brake system automatically applies pressure to the rear brake to stabilize the vehicle when front brake pressure rises to a certain degree.
Wind tunnel testing resulted in a three-position adjustable windscreen that’s 49mm taller than before, for a buffet-free ride. Now there’s a 12V outlet in the cockpit too.