2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Preview
Okay, NOW it's official
After a slow trickle of information from a series of teasers to last week’s deluge from an apparently accident leak, Suzuki has officially unveiled its updated 2012 V-Strom 650 ABS.
Initial reaction on the blogosphere to last week’s leak was rather tepid. After several teasers hinting at a “new middle-class motorcycle”, many expected Suzuki to introduce a dramatically changed new V-Strom, perhaps somewhere in the 800cc segment to compete against the new Triumph Tiger 800 and the BMW F800GS.
Proclaiming it “time for real adventures”, Suzuki’s teaser campaign hinted at something more off-road oriented than the previous Wee-Strom. The reality turned out to something still better suited to pavement than dirt.
When the first images and specs emerged, the perception was the 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 was, as the cliché goes, more evolutionary than revolutionary. But perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. The previous V-Strom 650 was a very capable machine, powered by the well-received engine inherited from the Suzuki SV650 and SFV650 Gladius.
The fuel-injected engine on the 2012 Suzuki V-Strom has the same bore and stroke as the previous version (81.0mm x 62.6mm), but it has been updated with new pistons, piston rings and cylinders. According to Suzuki, the updated engine offers higher torque at low-to-mid revs, thanks to a modified cam profile, as well as more horsepower at the high end.
Suzuki also claims a 10% improvement in fuel economy, allowing for a slimmer, lighter fuel tank with a capacity of 5.3 gallons from 5.8 gallons. Claiming a curb weight of 472 pounds, the 2012 V-Strom ABS is about 13 pounds lighter than the 2011 version.
The new V-Strom uses the same aluminum twin-spar frame and swingarm as the previous model. The front suspension uses 43mm telescopic forks with five spring preload adjustments and 150mm of stroke. The rear suspension also offers adjustable spring preload, with fine adjustments made with a knob located under the frame cover on the right side.
Like the 2011 model, the V-Strom 650 will only be available with ABS. According to Suzuki, the ABS components are lighter and more compact on the 2012 model, weighing 1.5 pounds, less than half the previous ABS system’s 3.3 pounds.
The seat on the 2012 V-Strom 650 is new, with an embossed logo and red stitching. At 32.9 inches, the standard seat sits 0.6 inches higher than on the previous version, which, according to Suzuki, reduces rider fatigue for long-distance riding. For riders with longer or shorter legs, Suzuki is offering a couple of optional seats that are change the seat height to either 33.7 inches or 32.1 inches.
Design-wise, the new Wee-Strom is slimmer than the previous version. The narrower tank helps make it easier to put your feet down despite the higher seat, while the previous version’s side plastics have been replaced by black resin air outlets, a change intended to improve cooling and provide better wind protection. The windscreen offers three adjustable settings, with the upper edge in the default setting 30mm set back from the 2011 model’s windscreen.
Behind the seat, Suzuki replaced the aluminum rear carrier and passenger grab handles with a lighter black resin components that are lighter and less affected by ambient temperature.
Another update is the new instrument panel with an analog tachometer and brightness-adjustable LCD display. The LCD screen displays a gear indicator, fuel gauge, ambient temperature and odometer/trip meter/fuel consumption. The tachometer also features a coolant and oil temperature warning and a road freeze warning that lights up when the road temperature approaches freezing.
The 2012 V-Strom 650 will be produced in three colors, though only two will be offered in the U.S. American consumers can choose between Metallic Fox Orange and Glass Sparkle Black while other markets will be offered the Pearl Mirage White.
The 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS will arrive in American dealerships in November, though pricing remains to be determined. Suzuki will also offer a number of accessories, though the North American offerings have yet to be finalized.