Suzuki summoned the usual suspects to Lake Arrowhead, California, to show off the latest updates to its excellent ADV bikes. That’s the new V-Strom 650XT in the lead photo, distinguishable from the base model 650 by its wire-spoke tubeless wheels, yellow paint, hand guards and lower engine cowl/modesty panel. An aesthetic overhaul now makes it barely distinguishable from the big V-Strom 1000; know the 650 by its silver engine cases and lack of SUZUKI on the sides of its plush seat.
And here’s your base model V-Strom 650, with new lighter cast wheels which mount the same 19-/17-inch rubber as the XT.
Suzuki says seat height is 32.9 inches, curb weight is 470 pounds (476 for the XT pictured).
Cool new beak styling like the V-Strom 1000 brings vertically stacked headlights and a less wall-eyed, confused look. Four rubber nuts you can undo with your fingers give the bigger windshield three-position adjustability. The XT also gets hand guards, though not in this Suzuki-supplied photo.
Now with traction control, just like big bro, and super easy to switch from level 1, 2 or Off. To the left just out of the picture, the 12-volt outlet that was optional is now standard equipment. The LCD panel is adjustable for brightness and includes a freeze warning in addition to lots of other info. ABS is now standard. No, you can’t switch it off.
The TC system reports in on front and rear wheel speeds, throttle opening, engine speed, and the gear you’re in to adjust engine output and control wheelspin.
Meanwhile in the engine bay, there’s more power courtesy of the SV650’s updated engine, with new camshafts and dual-plug cylinder heads. Suzuki’s Easy Start system lets you start the bike with a single jab of the starter button and no clutch if you’re in neutral.
Resin-coated low-friction pistons in SCEM cylinders help boost output and longevity.
Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve system has been around long enough to now work without a hitch. New, 10-hole long-nose fuel injectors in each 39mm throttle body are said to improve atomization for better efficiency and reduced fuel consumption. There’s also an imperceptible Low RPM Assist feature that automatically bumps rpm a bit to help beginners not stall the bike at take-off and in low-rev riding situations. Smart.
A lighter new exhaust packing twin catalyzers and oxygen sensors is said to reduce weight, centralize mass, and free up room for luggage. Now we are CARB and Euro4 compliant.
Then there’s this redesigned rack bringing up the rear, that’s flush with the seat for easy strapping of things. The new chassis also has integrated mount points for unified V-Strom luggage that’s supposed to be easy to clip on and off. We haven’t seen it yet.
All that in a package Suzuki says is 2.2 pounds lighter than the previous model, 2.0 lbs lighter for the XT. How much would you expect to pay? How about $8,799 for the base model in white, $9.299 for the XT in yellow or glossy black.