We’ve waxed poetic about the Kawasaki Ninja 400 more times than I care to count here at MO. Just check the Best Lightweight/Entry Level category posted a few days earlier to see what we like about the bike. Aside from being a polished, handsome, and fun motorcycle for both new riders and experienced veterans alike, what we didn’t mention in the Lightweight/Entry Level piece was just how affordable the little Ninja is. Ranging in price from $4,999 to $5,499, depending on color choice and ABS, the 400 is easily accessible for students on a budget – we’ve even had readers report dealer markdowns in their area on the Ninja 400.
On a humid and hazy southern California morning our cast of misfits began to stir to life from all stretches of the LA basin. Showers were had (by some), coffee was made and consumed, gear was donned. We seven fortunate souls set out on what would be our first true challenge of the next 72 hours, the first gauntlet that our machines would be subjected to, weekday traffic in Los Angeles with a destination of none other than Starbucks. The unofficial meeting place of adventure riders the world over, yet, for so many, the journey’s end before it ever even begins.
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.