2015 Suzuki V Strom 650
2015 Suzuki V Strom 650
If you’re bike shopping on a budget and have space in your garage for just one bike this year then the V Strom 650 Adventure could be the one you’ve been looking for. It’s hard to find a place to begin on this bike because it offers so many advantages for everyone from daily commuters to ADV riders and boasts itself as a well rounded and exceedingly capable machine. Introduced in 2002 as a 1000cc dual-sport touring bike the V Strom directly competed against the GS line from BW (kinda like everyone else in the ADV market does), especially when you go apples-to-apples with the likes of the GS650 single. They are nearly identical in function and ability with negligible differences. And while there are now many (maybe too many) bikes in the adventure touring class of motorcycling, you can rest assured that Suzuki really hit the mark when this 650cc version of the VStrom rolled on to showroom floors around the world.
Ringing in just ahead of the aforementioned GS650 at $8,599 ($7,899 for the GS) the V Strom 650 platform lives on now into 2020 and continues its legacy, while the liter variant has been dropped from the roles, I’d imagine due to the trend of the market towards smaller displacement bikes in the category. Circling back, I am not here to write a comparison piece to the BMW or any other bike in this market other than to say, you do in all respects, have a lot to choose from. But, that this bike in many ways, and considering the price, can outshine even the more polished among them.
Let’s dig in.
Starting at the frame we have a lightweight rigid twin-spar aluminum set up, that when combined with the aluminum swingarm delivers smoother handling with greater stability. Relatively, the seat is low – when again compared to other bikes traversing the tarmacs and gravels of the world. At a comfortable seat height of 32.8 inches, I find my lean, 5-11′ frame with a 33″ inseam fits just about perfectly. I am nearly flatfoot in a pair of leather sole desert boots and would be solidly planted in something like an Alpinestars Corozal ADV riding boot. The seat is wide and comfortable. The lines of the bike are organic in form and fit with the front of the bike wrapping around and beneath you in an attractive and comfortable fashion. A pair of side bolsters below the seat and above the frame do tend to push my legs outwards just a tad and could inhibit comfortably standing on the pegs, but its a situation I’ll take in stride when compared to other positive aspects. That wide seat is perfectly supportive and comfortable over long distances and gives you a confident view of the road and excellent control over the bike.
The gently swept tubular bars are incredibly comfortable and offer little vibration. The bike as a whole is silky smooth and vibration-free over many riding conditions and situations. Hand controls are easily reached and have solid tactile engagement. The combination analog/digital cluster is in clear view beneath a well sized and shaped windscreen with adjustable louver. The cluster shows all that’s needed and boasts nothing superfluous. Tach, speed, gear, temp, fuel, mileage/trip info, and an innovative outside temperature sensor that offers road condition information such as when in an icing situation. The mirrors are large in viewing area but not in a way that would block your view. They are positioned out of your eye line but just a quick glance away for a whole-road view of what’s transpiring in the past.
Powering the Strom is a 90-degree v twin with dual spark plugs per head, advanced throttle position sensing with electronically stepped throttle control, and a 32-bit processor controlling its very precise fuel injection. All this makes for an engine that idles smoothly, pours out the power at all RPM ranges, and soars to a 10,000 RPM redline with buttery smooth motion in every gear. The engine is well balanced and damped, along with the rest of the bike’s suspension, which aids in its overall smooth feeling. 6 constant mesh gears are working in conjunction with a wet clutch and chain drive. Shifting is razor-sharp and accurate. A twist of the throttle and acceleration comes on surprisingly fast. You quickly forget that you’ve only 645 cubic centimeters of power-inducing reciprocal mass between your legs and suddenly you’re flicking through seamless gears, winding out the tach to 8… 9… 10,000 RPM. The exhaust, while muffled, has a pleasing drone and makes you excited to modify it further.
The ride is clearly the most important piece of the puzzle and since the V Strom weighs in at around 480 lbs, which places it far below the larger bikes of its style, its weight is just over that of a few of its direct competitors (ex: GS650 – 430lbs). That weight is well managed by inverted 43mm stanchion tube front forks with 5-way adjustable spring preload. The link-type aluminum swingarm features adjustable rebound and stepless damping, in addition to a spring preload adjuster that may be increased or decreased simply by turning a knob. The result is a ride that is not too soft as to be lumbering or sluggish in aggressive corners, and not too harsh as to be twitchy when you encounter bumps or uneven pavement. It’s supple. It gives you all the feedback you need without shouting about it. It is compliant and forgiving while remaining comfortable and controllable. If you know what you’re doing you will chase down sportbikes and give them pause for concern.
The adventure model such as we have available features aluminum side panniers large enough to fit a standard full-face helmet or any number of gear, equipment, or just some groceries. There is a top case mounting bracket installed along with a RAM mount for your device. All V Strom models after 2006 receive ABS as a standard feature.
For further information, to schedule a test ride, or to purchase, please fill out the form below. Come take her for a spin and see for yourself.