First Look: 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 and 650XT

John Burns
by John Burns

Suzuki makes big tweaks, sharpens beaks.

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.

Stay tuned for our full review next week!

Specifications2017 Suzuki V-Strom 6502017 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT
Engine645cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC 90 degree V-Twin645cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC 90 degree V-Twin
Bore x Stroke81.0 x 62.6 mm (3.2 x 2.5 in.)81.0 x 62.6 mm (3.2 x 2.5 in.)
Compression Ratio11.2: 111.2: 1
Fuel SystemSuzuki Fuel Injection, SDTV-equippedSuzuki Fuel Injection, SDTV-equipped
LubricationWet sumpWet sump
Transmission6-speed, constant mesh6-speed, constant mesh
ClutchWet, multi-plate typeWet, multi-plate type
Suspension FrontTelescopic, coil spring, oil dampedTelescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension RearLink type, single shock, coil spring, oil dampedLink type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes FrontTokico 2-piston calipers, Disc, twinTokico 2-piston calipers, Disc, twin
Brakes RearNissin, 1-piston, Disc singleNissin, 1-piston, Disc single
Tires FrontBridgestone BATTLAX, 110/80R19 M/C (59V) tubelessBridgestone BATTLAX, 110/80R19 M/C (59V) tubeless
Tires RearBridgestone BATTLAX, 150/70R17 M/C (69), tubelessBridgestone BATTLAX, 150/70R17 M/C (69), tubeless
WheelsTen-spoke cast wheelsSpoke-style wheels
Windscreen3-way height-adjustable3-way height-adjustable
Hand GuardsOptional AccessoryStandard
Lower Engine CowlOptional AccessoryStandard
Fuel Tank Capacity20.0 L (5.3 US gallons)20.0 L (5.3 US gallons)
ColorPearl Glacier WhiteChampion Yellow & Pearl Glacier White
IgnitionElectronic ignition (Transistorized)Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Headlight12V 65W (H9 high-beam) & 12V 55W (H7 low-beam)12V 65W (H9 high-beam) & 12V 55W (H7 low-beam)
Tail lightLEDLED
Overall Length2275 mm (89.6 in.)2275 mm (89.6 in.)
Overall Width839 mm (32.9 in.)910 mm (35.8 in.)
Wheelbase1560 mm (61.4 in.)1560 mm (61.4 in.)
Ground Clearance170 mm (6.7 in.)170 mm (6.7 in.)
Seat Height835 mm (32.9 in.)835 mm (32.9 in.)
Curb Weight213 kg (470 lbs.)216 kg (476 lbs.)
Warranty12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty
John Burns
John Burns

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2 of 8 comments
  • SRMark SRMark on Jun 03, 2017

    It would be nice to see some effort put into the Dr650

  • Andrew Capone Andrew Capone on Jun 05, 2017


    We've got one as one of our rental bikes on the Isle of Man right now, piloted by John San, my partner in ale. He's reporting that, versus the prior year model we had last year, there is a world of difference, all good.