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First ride: Suzuki V-Strom 1000 review

Suzuki’s updated 2017 DL1000 V-Strom is still great value – but is that enough to make it a winner?

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Submitted by Visordown on Tue, 04/04/2017 - 17:19

By Llewelyn Pavey

BACK in 2013, in the golden sun-baked hills of California, Suzuki unveiled an entirely new look V-Strom one-thousand. The cherry-red paint scheme, distinctive beaked nose and more adventurey styling was the very first step into a new ear for a company that barely seemed to be making bikes any more.

It has taken the Japanese firm a while to return from the cliff edge but they are back; racing in MotoGP and producing top-level sports bikes and bright yellow adventure bikes.

However, barring the jazzy new paint and Euro4 emission compliance, the latest iteration of the V-Strom 1000 isn’t a whole lot different to the one that came before it.

Euro4 has come at the cost of a single, negligible lbft for the V-Strom 1000, bringing the peak to 74.5lbft. Suzuki clearly didn’t feel it needed too much altering otherwise.

A little re-styling has seen the front beak shape altered, the seat shape changed and some new colour schemes added to the mix, including the ‘off-road’ style ‘Champion Yellow’ with its gold-coloured tubeless spoked wheels.

The windscreen has been updated after the old design received a lot of flack too, making it a little wider and 9mm higher. The height can still only be adjusted with an Allen key that doesn’t come in the toolkit but you can still change the angle with a one-handed push.

Suzuki have also popped some hand guards and a plastic sump cowl into the mix as standard items.

The biggest change to package is the addition of a cornering-aware ABS system and linked brakes. It’s one of the big new additions to the 2017 GSX-R 1000 and Suzuki have adapted the system to the V-Strom.

The ABS now uses a new inertial measurement unit to add lean data to the info collected by the existing wheel speed sensors and judge whether you’re braking too much at the wrong time. It’s a system that has typically been seen on more flagship-style bikes, in the £12,000-up price bracket.

From a riding perspective, the 2017 V-Strom 1000 isn’t a new beast. The updates are nice and the bike looks a little cooler, especially in the pearly white colour.

It’s also worth pointing out early on that the V-Strom isn’t a full-blown adventure machine. It’s a sports-tourer with a comfy, upright riding position and a sticker on the beak that says ‘Adventure’.

It’s 100% street bike and 5% off-road bike. I know maths like that is only possible on Saturday-night TV talent shows but if you’ve ridden a V-Strom you’ll understand.

The launch test ride in Spain did include a bit of trail, as sharp-eyed readers will be able to tell from some of the photos.

Suzuki built the V-Strom 1000 with the weekend tourer in mind, who wants to go places a more far-flung in the summer months. This is a bike for someone who who rides twisties and motorway, who may realistically carry a pillion and luggage. It’s not trying to be a GS and it has very little aspirations of crossing Mongolian plains.

If you like those aforementioned activities, you’ll like the V-Strom. The road handling characteristics are very Suzuki. It tips into corners in a linear, non-dramatic fashion. Making the bike lean over took more effort than I’d have expected but it isn’t sluggish to turn. It’s not inspiringly sharp-handling, nor terribly laconic. It rolls onto its side and comfortably holds position like a seal that’s been doing its morning Pilates.

Honestly, my expectation was something a little sharper-handling with a little more snap and zip. The V-Strom took some settling into.

The 232kg kerb weight is bang on with a standard Africa Twin. But some bikes ride light and others ride like they enjoy the odd pie.


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