Head to head: Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT vs Yamaha Tracer 700

Visordown takes a closer look at two of the best mid-weight sports touring machines available today

Suzuki V-strom vs Yamaha tracer 700

WITH full size 1000cc+ adventure machines being such a popular choice in the UK and further afield, the knock-on success of long-legged mid-weight machines is hardly a surprise.

Head to Head: Moto Guzzi V85 TT vs 2020 Yamaha Tracer 700 | Visordown.com

In fact, it’s fair to say that in many everyday situations, a slightly smaller, lighter and easier to manage machine of around 700cc makes a more sensible option on the UK’s increasingly congested roads.

But which mid-weight contender is the right fit for your garage?

With all both bikes sitting neatly within the 650 to 700cc mark the performance figures for each are, as you’d expect, quite similar, with the Yamaha producing 72hp and 50ft-lbs of torque and the Suzuki 71hp and 45ft-lb of torque.

But the numbers on a spec sheet doesn’t tell the full story, and the two machines couldn’t be any more different to ride. The Yamaha’s CP2 engine feels the most lively and fizzy of the two, buzzing it’s way to the redline with an eagerness you don’t usually get from a parallel twin-cylinder engine.

Interestingly the V-Strom seems to have more grunt, despite losing 5ft-lbs to the Yamaha on the spec sheet. It’s down to the heavily updated, but long in the tooth engine providing a broader spread of torque from low in the rev-range right they way through to 6,500rpm.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - The best for off-piste riding and shorter pilots

For those looking for a proper do it all machine, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 might be the best choice. It’s a decent allrounder on the road, can handle touring and is only really let down on long trips by the slightly vibey nature of the V-Twin.

That V-Twin though will come into its own if you struggle with taller bikes as the narrow nature of the machine makes the step over and 835mm seat height seem a much easier proposition.

It’d also make perfect sense if your touring was to involve some light trails, especially as the standard V-Strom is so closely related to the more adventure biased XT version, with just the inclusion of spoked wheels and some protection really setting the two machines apart.

Yamaha Tracer 700 - The best for touring, scratching and commuting

The updates to the Yamaha for this year have transformed the way the bike handles. It’s quicker to turn and more accurate than the outgoing model but hasn’t lost any of the comfort of the previous bike. If you want a large dose of ‘sports’ with your sports-touring machine, this would be our weapon of choice.

The only really issue with doing larger miles on the new Tracer is that its revised styling has seen the front end bodywork shrink considerably, losing in the process some of the bike’s vital weather protection. There is a taller touring screen that should help although it would be nice for the stocker to be slightly better equipped on this front.