Has it really been 20 years since the world didn’t seize up at the stroke of midnight, as we feared it might? Yes. Every time I walk out into the garage, my 2000 R1 sitting dormant on its stand (the last year of the first-gen R1) reminds me of what a long time ago that was. Next to all the new bikes it sees come and go, the old girl is positively archaic. In a good, Ann-Margret way, but still. While we’re still quarantining seems like a good time to look back upon what bikes have moved the game forward the most since the millennium.
Suzuki has been stringing us along with short teaser videos for a new model set to debut next week at EICMA 2020. The first video was laughable, showing friends having a meal countryside – there wasn’t even a motorcycle! The second video revealed a dark, shadowy silhouette of a motorcycle. Finally in this, the third teaser video, Suzuki has revealed the new machine – the 2020 V-Strom 1000.
This week you might notice Motorcycle.com being a little quieter than usual. The reason is because most of the MO staff are out riding in our Sorta Annual Big Adventure Bike Shootout. For 2018, we’ve gathered seven of the biggest and baddest adventure machines out there. The plan? To put them through their paces on both the pavement and the dirt. To prove we’re serious about the dirt part, each of the contenders here comes to us with wire wheels, except for one, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Not having saddlebags on your ADV bike is good for at least one thing: a good excuse not to camp out – and since these three all clock in at around $13,000, the occasional cheap hotel or Airbnb cabin won’t break the bank. Ducati, in fact, offers a Touring Pack for its new Multistrada 950 that includes (really good) sidebags, Suzuki offers same-key hard bags too on the V-Strom 1000 – but we left them behind because we’re going bare-bones with this little less-is-more test.
Yours truly was a big fan of the bigger ’Strom upon its redesign for 2014, and so was our man T. Roderick when he rode the new bike, but maybe to a lesser extent. It was hard to argue with Suzuki’s punched-out-to 1037cc tuned-for-torque L-Twin allied with the V-Strom 1000’s low-mass approach, and it still is.
The way our Suzuki rep ’splained it, is that it’s a 2018 model if it’s being produced in 2017. Go figure… anyway, the V-Strom 1000 was new in 2015. For 2018, it’s received a few significant upgrades to make it even more likeable, not to mention safer, including the addition of the new 1000XT version in the lead image.
Suzuki drew inspiration from its classic DR-Z Dakar racer and its production version the DR-Big, in updating its V-Strom 650 and 1000 models. Each available in regular and wire-spoke XT versions, the 2017 V-Strom 650s are available in dealerships now while the V-Strom 1000 models will arrive in showrooms early next year as an early 2018 model.
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.
Last year’s Ultimate Sports-Adventure-Touring Shootout – a six-day, nine-bike extravagasm – pitted some of the lesser dirtable models (Versys 1000 LT, Multistrada S, S1000XR) against some of the industry’s more formidable off-roaders (1290 Super Adventure, 1190 Adventure, R1200GS) as well as a few inbetweeners (Caponord, V-Strom, Tiger Explorer). With this year’s introduction of Honda’s Africa Twin, Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro, and Triumph’s Tiger Explorer XCx, three more off-roady models have emerged.
It’s a good time to be a motorcyclist. OEMs keep ratcheting up the amount of standard or optional technologies available on modern motorcycles. In just the last handful of years we’ve come to expect ABS, traction control, ride modes and slipper clutches as standard equipment. Cruise control is almost ubiquitous, and electronically adjustable suspension is gaining ground quickly. Five of the nine bikes in our Epic Sport-Adventure Shootout are equipped with semi-active suspension, one has electronically adjustable suspension, while only three are bereft of the technology.
Nine bikes and riders, six days and 2,000 miles are the key ingredients going into our 2015 Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure Shootout. Sprinkle in some off-road trekking and garnish with a few nights of camping, and our shootout souffle will be complete. Special sauce will be provided by the unforeseen occurrences that accompany any ride of this nature.
The 2015 model year is seemingly about the resurgence of the liter class superbike. However, another area gaining momentum for the new year is the adventure (and psuedo-adventure) market, with KTM, Ducati, Kawasaki, Yamaha and BMW but a few of the OEMs throwing their hats in the ring. One of the OG players in the game is Suzuki, with its V-Strom 650, and in this week’s Church feature we’ll take a look at this very bike, from the eyes of then-MO-Chief-turned-MO-Editorial-Director Sean Alexander. What’s amazing is that the V-Strom is still around today. It’s been updated in many ways, but that fantastic V-Twin engine from the SV650 lives on! Read on to see Sean’s thoughts about what is now a hugely popular go anywhere, do anything motorcycle. Also, be sure to check out the photo gallery for a plethora of pictures of Sean, uh, shall we say, thoroughly enjoying his time on the V-Strom.
The big V-Strom returns for 2014 in a much anticipated reincarnation of its original form. Obvious outward appearances aside, the new Strom boasts increased displacement and midrange power from its redesigned V-Twin, better handling and improved stability from its new chassis, and an electronics package including non-switchable ABS and a three-position Traction Control system; TC a first for any Suzuki motorcycle.